In May, Justin Yu took home the 2016 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest for his work at five-year-old Oxheart. Less than a year later, on March 15, 2017, he'll close the restaurant and move on to the next challenge. In a post on his personal blog he stated, "Oddly enough, the decision wasn't too hard to make." He goes on to say, "I want to make an even better restaurant."
Of course, that would be a tall order. In Houstonia's August review of the restaurant, we said, "Restaurateurs often speak about the theater involved in running an upscale eatery. At Oxheart, the only performance is the one from the kitchen. It’s a simple space, devoted to people who love food and wish to eat it without the pressure of 'dinner and a show.'" Featuring it in October's Where to Eat Right Now: Houston's Best 100 Restaurants cover feature was an obvious choice.
Longtime Oxheart cook Jason White will be chef de cuisine at this new venture at Oxheart's current Nance Street location. Yu says that he'll often be there, but adds, "I’m very excited to see how he’ll direct our staff to new and higher heights." What he doesn't mention in the post is his upcoming collaboration with Anvil's Bobby Heugel at 544 Yale Street, former home of Dry Creek. When we last spoke with Yu, he said that the concept was still evolving. But if we have two new restaurants "better" than Oxheart on the way, we're salivating.