Two talented chefs have teamed up to open a new bar and lounge in Montrose. Chefs Lung Ly and Gary Ly (no relation) unveiled 93’ Til over the weekend.
Located in the former Night Heron space at 1601 W. Main St., the restaurant represents a homecoming for both chefs. Diners may recognize Gary Ly from his time working at Underbelly and Revival Market; he left Houston over three years ago to work for celebrity chef David Chang’s Momofuku empire in New York. Lung Ly left Houston 10 years ago for various cities along the West Coast.
The two childhood friends reconnected in New York and started contemplating an establishment that took its inspiration from, in Gary Ly’s words, “a lot of small, Japanese, divey bars.”
While divey late night spots might be part of the inspiration, the vibe is slightly more upscale. The space has been transformed with new lighting and an entire wall devoted to the establishment’s record collection — a mix of jazz, blues, hip hop, and other genres. Those looking to dine will find some regular tables and chairs, while those who want to drink and listen to music can relax around comfy couches.
Named for the Souls of Mischief song “93 ‘Til Infinity,” the name also nods to the year Lung Ly moved to Houston with his family. “It’s a record bar,” he explains. “A place to hang out and chill and do the food that we want to cook.”
That food consists of a tidy menu of 12 items that draw inspiration from the various places the chefs have worked and the food they like to eat. It starts with four kinds of toast — foie gras with pecan butter and lemon preserves, clam ragout and sausage, avocado, and chicken liver mousse — plus a few vegetable plates, snackable items like citrus-cured hamachi and fried frogs legs, and a fried chicken sandwich made with chicken thigh (a more flavorful alternative to chicken breast).
“I would call it American food,” Lung Ly says. “We’re both born in the States. We don’t have a particular type of food that we grew up on. Especially growing up in Houston, there’s so many different things to eat.”
The chefs recruited veteran Houston bartender Jojo Martinez to oversee the beverage program. Martinez will serve a mix of creative cocktails and natural wine, a new interest she’s been studying while visiting nearby wine bar Light Years. Until 93 ‘Til receives its liquor license, Martinez is serving a nightly punch and offering complimentary sips of her future selections.
The establishment is currently open for dinner Tuesday - Sunday beginning at 4 pm. Gary Ly tells Eater Houston that lunch and brunch service will follow in the coming weeks.