Rising star Houston chef to head Montrose’s new seafood-focused Italian restaurant
Underbelly Hospitality’s next restaurant has started to take shape. The Houston-based restaurant group announced that chef Jeff Potts will lead the kitchen at Pastore, its new Italian restaurant.
Expected to open in June, Pastore will be located in the Regent Square mixed-use development (1180 Dunlavy St.) next to Georgia James, the company’s luxurious steakhouse that opened last year. Pastore will serve a seafood-driven menu inspired by coastal Italian fare.
Potts brings experience from a number of other Houston restaurants, including Helen Greek Food & Wine and Shun Japanese Kitchen. A Florida native, Potts earned a CultureMap Tastemaker Award nomination for Rising Star Chef of the Year for his work at Montrose record bar 93’ Til. He’s also worked at many of Underbelly Hospitality’s restaurants, including One Fifth, UB Preserv, and Georgia James.
“Seafood has been a recurring theme throughout my life and career, and I’m thrilled for the opportunity to unite my love of seafood and seasonal cooking at Pastore,” Potts said in a statement. “We’re still working on the menu, but you can expect crudos, whole roasted fish, and even flatbreads, an homage to the kitchen’s hearth. Working across different Underbelly restaurants was one of the highlights of my career, and I'm honored and excited for the chance to open Pastore.”
Pastore will distinguish itself from Underbelly’s other restaurants — Underbelly Burger, Texas comfort food restaurant Wild Oats, downtown pub GJ Tavern, and Georgia James — in ways beyond its seafood focus. Houston-based architecture and interior design firm Montgomery Roth has taken inspiration from Italian gardens to create a space that utilizes lighter colors with floral and brass accents. Like Georgia James, the restaurant will offer a rooftop patio.
"Jeff is an extraordinary chef, and has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to delivering seasonality, technique, and thoughtfulness – all of which define the ethos of Underbelly Hospitality,” Underbelly director of operations Nina Quincy added. “Pastore will be far different from our existing concepts, but we are excited to usher in this new era for our hospitality group through a coastal Italian dining experience.”
This year will be a busy time for the company. Later this year, it will open second locations of Wild Oats and Underbelly Burger in Spring Branch. In February, the company named chef Scott Muns as its new culinary director to work with chef likes Potts on menu development and other responsibilities.