What's Eric Eating Episode 270
Montrose's king of Cajun dishes on crawfish season and his growing empire, plus Houston's hottest food news
On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," BB's Tex-Orleans founder and CEO Brooks Bassler joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss the growing Cajun/Creole restaurant. Over the course of 15 years, BB's Tex-Orleans has grown from one, nine-table restaurant in Montrose to 14 locations in Houston and San Antonio.
Bassler begins the conversation by explaining how a search for more late night dining options inspired him to start BB's. Initially, the restaurant earned acclaim for its po' boys and dishes like red beans and rice.
Crawfish came after a second, larger location opened in the Heights. Now, mudbugs are such a focus of the restaurant that it employs a dedicated executive to source them from different parts of Louisiana. Sandler asks Bassler how many pounds of crawfish BB's sells at the peak of crawfish season.
"Last year, we sold almost 1.3 million pounds of crawfish. When we're humming, we're selling 70,000 pounds per week," Bassler says. "What we've found is dedicated one individual to the purchasing and sourcing has been key, because he keeps his fingers on the pulse of weather conditions in the ponds by region and buys around the problematic issues."
Listen to the full episode to hear Bassler discuss the lessons learned for his short-lived, quick service concept. He also talks about expanding to San Antonio.
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Mary Clarkson discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: the Clé Group's plans to open Post Oak Lodge in the former Yia Yia Mary’s space; cocktail bar and pizzeria Betelgeuse Betelgeuse opening a second location in Montrose; and Cafe Express opening a new location in The Woodlands.
In the restaurants of the week segment, the two friends share their thoughts about Sushi by Hidden, the new omakase restaurant in Rice Village from the owners of Hidden Omakase. Listen to hear their take on the restaurant's format of serving 12 pieces of nigiri in just 30 minutes.