What's Eric Eating Episode 275
Heights Chicken Shack owner dishes on her Mandy Moore-approved sandwiches and big national plans
On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," chef Pace Webb joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Daddy's Chicken Shack. The native Houstonian and HSPVA alum turned a former dry cleaners in the Heights into a flagship location of her California-based chicken restaurant that opened in October.
The conversation begins with Webb sharing the story of how her interest in entertaining evolved into operating a catering business in the Los Angeles area. When a fried chicken sandwich she made for a party caught the attention of actress Mandy Moore, she shifted her focus to a restaurant. Ultimately, she developed a concept that blends Southern flavors with Asian touches across a range of chicken sandwiches, salads topped with chicken, chicken fingers, and breakfast items
Working in partnership with her husband Chris Georgala and RE/MAX founder Dave Liniger, Webb plans to grow Daddy's as a franchised business to locations across the country. She shares that the restaurant's plans include 10 additional Houston-area locations, starting in neighborhoods like Montrose, West University Place, and Katy. Sandler asks the chef about how Daddy's positions itself relative to other chicken sandwich restaurants.
"We're selling you time back," she says. "Our target is dual working households — maybe they have kids, maybe they don't — that are short on time. That's where my husband and I are in our lives. Placing an order ahead to pick up is a weight off your shoulders. You know you'll get it on time. You don't have to cook, and it's going to be accurate, tasty, and fresh."
Prior to the interview, Sandler is joined by co-hosts Matt Harris and Michael Fulmer to remember the life of Lee Ellis, the veteran restaurateur who died last week at the age of 63. They share a couple of favorite stories about the man who helped found restaurants such as BRC, Liberty Kitchen, and State Fare.
In the news of the week segment, Sandler and Harris discuss the changes coming to Hobby Airport after Houston City Council approved a new concessions contract that will replace Pappas Restaurants with Areas, a Spain-based company that operates restaurants in airports all over the world. They also talk about the closure of Kraftsmen Cafe in the Heights.
In the restaurant of the week segment, Fulmer, Harris, and Sandler raves about Jūn, the new restaurant in the Heights from Top Chef finalist Evelyn Garcia and her business partner Henry Lu. They're impressed by the food, decor, and service at this self-described “New Asian American” restaurant that draws on their cultural backgrounds as well as their time cooking at restaurants in New York City.
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