Meet the mastermind behind Houston's Australian-inspired coffee shops, plus our trips to 2 Chinese hot spots
what's eric eating episodes 306 and 307
On this week’s interview episode of “What’s Eric Eating,” Bluestone Lane founder and CEO Nicholas Stone joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss his career. The conversation begins with Stone explaining how he left investment banking to open his first location in 2013.
Since then Bluestone Lane has grown to locations through the East and West Coasts. It entered the Houston market in 2022 with a location in the Heights. Since then, it has expanded to four location restaurants, including its newest outpost in The Woodlands.
Given the speedy growth, Sandler asks Stone how many locations he thinks Houston can support.
“There’s capacity for at least eight to 10. If I look at the success of Snooze and I look at the success of First Watch, I think we have some elements that are common there,” Stone says. “We have a much stronger focus on coffee. We’re a world class coffee roaster. For us, that’s our DNA.”
“I think First Watch probably has 20 locations in the Greater Houston area. Snooze must have about 10. I think we could comfortably double from where we’re at over the next couple years.”
In addition to Bluestone Lane’s future in Houston, Stone and Sandler touch on a number of other topics, including how Melbourne’s coffee culture shaped Bluestone Lane and how the business shifted its approach as a result of the pandemic. On a lighter note, Stone shares his favorite dishes on the menu and discusses his recent appearance on Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars.
On this week’s other episode, Sandler and co-host Mary Clarkson discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Batanga changing into The Big Casino Kitchen + Bar; ChòpnBlọk owner Ope Amosu’s Chopd & Stewd Festival; and the opening of Fiora’s Bottle Shop at the Montrose Collective mixed-use development.
In the restaurants of the week segment, they share thoughts about two very different Chinese restaurant. First, they discuss a recent meal at Benny Chows, the luxurious new restaurant from B&B Butchers owner Berg Hospitality. Then, they rave about the dim sum at Tim Ho Wan in Katy.