Underbelly Hospitality Replaces UB Preserv With Montrose Bar, Reveals Another New Restaurant
In light of the impending closure of The Hay Merchant and the relocation of the Georgia James steakhouse to Regent Square, the chef Chris shepherd A catering group, Underbelly Hospitality makes major moves to accommodate the beginnings and ends of several leases.
UB Preserv makes way for Everlong Bar & Hideaway
Like the hay merchant, UB Preserv at 1609 Westheimer also closes towards the end of the year – on December 23, in particular – and is replaced by a new cocktail bar called Everlong Bar and Hut. Named after a song by the Foo Fighters, a press release from Underbelly Hospitality states that while Everlong is a bar, it is not a replacement for Hay Merchant. Further, the press release states that UB Preserv was the Underbelly Hospitality restaurant that was “hit hardest by COVID-19” and although there were “plans to redesign and potentially rename to better present the vision of [chef Nick Wong] and his team ”, these plans were abandoned in favor of their transfer to Georgia James Tavern.
Director of Beverages Underbelly Hospitality Westin Galleymore creates an 80s and 90s style cocktail menu for Everlong. Some examples of drinks include Mojitos, old, cosmopolitan, a variety of martinis and sour, and the famous Long Island iced tea. A small list of selected wines will also be available.
For food, popular dishes carried over from The Hay Merchant are Korean Braised Goat and Dumplings (which itself was taken from the original Underbelly) and the muffuletta. However, under chef Lucas McKinney (former sous chef at the Hay Merchant and Georgia James Tavern), Everlong gets his own style of Burger as well as new sea bass bites and small plates.
Everlong is also continuing the popular Trivia Night established at The Hay Merchant, in part thanks to the makers of The Hay Merchant. Kyle Rahé and Lisa mccoy also make the trip.
Chef Nick Wong Moves To Georgia James Tavern
Wong has already worked in his new home restaurant a few nights to familiarize himself with the terrain, and will no doubt make some changes to better suit his work style and cuisine. (Georgia James Tavern’s opening chef, Matthew Coburn, is no longer with the company.) The sous chef and the director of operations also move to the tavern Leila Frink.
Wong’s menu for Georgia James Tavern promises to be “more refined” and won’t be a duplication of UB Preserv’s menu, either. (The only dish likely to reappear is the Crispy Rice Salad.)
A new Italian restaurant is coming
But wait: there is more! Underbelly Hospitality has added another restaurant to its list: an American-Italian “red sauce” restaurant called Pastor, which means “shepherd” in Italian. This type of menu is currently served at One Fifth, which means it’s the only other revolving restaurant concept outside of One Fifth Steak to get its own brick and mortar. Like Georgia James, Pastore opens in Regent Square.
Houston interior designer Amanda Medsger takes notes from Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa while providing an atmosphere “a whimsical ode to traditional, family-style Italian-American cuisine”.
General manager Tara MacMullen helps with other transitions until the opening of Pastore – estimated at the end of spring 2022 – then she will move there.
Georgia James gets a temporary home
But what about Georgia James? Glad you asked the question, because there is some news on this as well. Shepherd and company were hoping for a Jan. 2022 opening in Regent Square, but the City of Houston is unlikely to issue the necessary permits until March at this time.
To bridge the gap between Georgia James closing at 1100 Westheimer later this year and reopening in Regent Square, he moved temporarily to A fifth, just down the street at 1658 Westheimer. There could be a little downtime for the move, as it is expected to reopen in its temporary home in “early 2022”.
There is a certain synchronicity at work; Georgia James’ concept has proven itself as One Fifth Steak, Shepherd’s very first revolving restaurant idea. So, in a way, the steakhouse returns to its base, where it will stay until the Regent Square spot is ready. One Fifth must then close permanently.
Wild Oats & Underbelly Burger open soon
In addition to the new Georgia James in Regent Square, Wild oats executive sous chef Nick good and Belly burger (click to read our article on this concept) 2520 Airline are still under construction at the Houston Farmers Market. However, both are almost done. The burger stand is slated to open in December and Wild Oats in January.
The next few months will be a lot of churn for Underbelly Hospitality, but once the dust settles, the company should end up with an updated portfolio of businesses by the end of spring: Georgia James and Pastore in Regent Square, Georgia James Tavern in Market Square Tower, Wild Oats and Underbelly Burger at Houston Farmers Market and Everlong, Montrose bar in the future former UB Preserv spot. It will certainly be an exciting time for the company, its employees and its fans.