"As a chef you’ve got to be really versatile. If you’re pigeonholing yourself in one kind of food, you’re never gonna grow as a chef," Matt Marcus, the chef behind Eatsie Boys and 8th Wonder Brewery, told Houstonia this morning by phone. He was talking about his latest consulting project, the Restless Palate, the latest restaurant from Hospitality USA, the company behind Local Pour, Baker St. Pub & Grill, Sherlock’s Baker Street Pub and Watson’s House of Ales.
The new restaurant, opening at LaCenterra Shopping Center in Cinco Ranch in Katy next month, has a "health-focused" menu at odds with the bacon-and-cheese coated pleasures of Marcus' Eatsie Boys food truck and his menu consulting work for James Coney Island. Taking calories and seasonality into account, Marcus created the opening menu with assistance from Hospitality USA corporate chef Pablo Gomez. A section of ever-so-hip toasts, including avocado, of course, and roasted beet, is sure to bring in healthy hipsters. But Marcus says he's especially fond of his recipe for chilled avocado-and-crab soup. "It's going to be so refreshing on those hot Houston days," he said. Gomez conceived a chicken mole dish with quinoa and fresh vegetables which Marcus dubbed, "exactly what our menu is about: big flavor that's healthy." There will also be "cool, inventive flatbreads," including one with Thai chiles and purple basil.
Since prolific Hospitality USA always has expansion in its plans, Marcus said that he planned the menu with that possibility in mind. The dishes, while flavor focused, can be easily replicated wherever post-Katy Restless Palates may crop up.
But while Marcus said he's passionate about consulting and enjoys it as a break from his routine of running a food truck and a brewery, those businesses are his babies. He even sees a future for another attempt at a bricks-and-mortar Eatsie Boys—on that will likely be paired with 8th Wonder. "We’re growing as a brewery and maybe one day we’ll outgrow [the current EaDo location]," he said. "The idea one day is to have a restaurant connected with the brewery." An Eatsie Boys/8th Wonder brewpub? The wonders never cease.