What's Eric Eating Episode 274
Veteran Houston chef dishes on his seafood-focused Italian restaurant and eclectic cafe, plus hottest food news
On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," chef Justin Turner joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler. As the director of culinary hospitality for McCord Development, Turner currently oversees two restaurants in the Generation Park project near Lake Houston — Bocca Italian Kitchen and Lupo Caffe.
The conversation begins with Turner discussing his decision to close Bernie's Burger Bus and accept his current position with McCord. From there, Sandler and Turner discuss Bocca's evolution into a seafood-oriented Italian restaurant and Lupo's transition for a pizzeria to a more eclectic cafe that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
One of Turner's responsibilities is to help recruit other restauranteurs to open their own concepts at Generation Park. The chef shares that he aspires to open an intimate, tasting menu space that would take some of its inspiration from his time as a private chef for former NBA player Shane Battier.
"I cooked for them. They ate at their island. They'd have guests over. I'd engage with them," Turner says about his time working the former Houston Rocket. "That experience was so great. I got to explain what I was doing and why I was doing it. I was so passionate about it. I want to create that experience."
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Linda Salinas discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: chef Philippe Schmit returning to restaurants at PS21; Best Regards, a new bar and lounge opening in the Heights; and Haywire, a Dallas-based comfort food restaurant that will open at Gateway Memorial City.
In the restaurant of the week segment, they share thoughts about their recent meal from PrimoHoagies. Listen to the full episode to learn whether Salinas and Sandler think the East Coast-based sandwich shop is a worthy addition to Washington Avenue.