On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Riel chef-owner Ryan Lachaine joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss his turbulent year. Despite the challenges of operating during a pandemic, he's found a number of creative ways to keep his doors open.
Lachaine last appeared on the show a few days before government officials ordered a temporary shutdown of indoor dining. Since then, he's begun offering food to-go, created a ghost kitchen sandwich concept, riffed on his favorite fast food menu items, and become the executive chef of the Commons Club restaurant at the Virgin Hotel in Nashville. With all that, Sandler asks Lachaine if he's looking forward to 2021.
"You've got to stay positive. Hopefully things work out," Lachaine replies. "That's what kept me and my staff going. Let's try to stay positive and do what we can do. We can only control what happens in the restaurant."
Prior to the interview, co-host Matt Harris and Sandler discuss the news of the week. Their topic include: some of the reasons why 2020 has been a good year for dining in Houston; Van Leeuwen's plans to open ice cream shops in Houston; and three recent openings — record bar 93 'Til, Kanau Sushi, and Tiny Champions, the new pizza and pasta concept from the owners of Nancy's Hustle.
In the restaurants of the week segment, they discuss recent meals at Better Luck Tomorrow and Lefty's Famous Cheesesteaks, the Michigan-based restaurant that counts Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson as one of its owners.