Best Restaurants 2013

What’s Next for Houston Food?

We asked six of Houston’s young cooks and restaurateurs what they hope to see from Houston in the short term, what trends they see, and what they want most from our dining scene.

By Katharine Shilcutt September 30, 2013 Published in the October 2013 issue of Houstonia Magazine

From left to right: Andrea Weir, Anthony Calleo, Adam Dorris, Joshua Martinez, Benjy Mason, Sarah Troxell

Get Dirty

Andrea Weir, line cook at Triniti and host of Heads or Tails pop-up dinners

“I would like to see a lot more nose-to-tail style cooking and chefs returning to getting their hands dirty. I definitely think Houston’s very open-minded—a lot more than it used to be. I don’t think they’ll need a whole lot of coaching.”

Stay True

Anthony Calleo, owner of Pi Pizza Truck and Sandy Witch

“I’d love to see Houston have more late-night dining options. I’d like to see more fast-casual, quality eateries pop up.… I feel like we’re in the process of putting out our second record, if we were in a band. I’d like to see more of what made Houston dining what it is. I don’t want to see Houston sell its soul in exchange for notoriety.”

Slackers Beware 

Adam Dorris, chef de cuisine at Revival Market and the upcoming Coltivare

“We have to have even better restaurants. There needs to be more pressure and scrutiny—we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard than we have in the past. As the public continues to grow and their palates continue to expand—which has happened a hundredfold since I moved here six years ago—they expect these restaurants to be better than they’ve ever been. We have to meet that challenge.”

Go Guerilla

Joshua Martinez, owner of Goro & Gun

“I love what’s happened with all these young line cooks and sous chefs getting the light put on them in pop-up dinners at places like Grand Prize and Glitter Karaoke, and in turn getting the funding to do their own restaurants. That’s a very big path. You’re going to start seeing some illegal bars and restaurants and pop-ups in East Downtown. People are going to do these guerilla kitchens similar to the Just August Project [a pop-up by Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan] but less slick, taking this really DIY approach. The East Side is the next great Montrose.”

Better Benefits 

Benjy Mason, executive chef at Down House and the upcoming Hunky Dory

“One thing that’s going to change is the way restaurants are staffed and structured. You’re starting to see places in New York questioning the tipping system and people are questioning the way culinary schools are set up. Health insurance is a killer buy [for restaurants]. How do you get people to care about a company? Number one, you have to care about them.”

Casual Quality

Sarah Troxell, chef de cuisine at Sandy Witch

“I want to eat somewhere I feel comfortable while still getting quality food. I like to eat. I like to eat well, but I don’t have time to get fancy. I want to see the Paulie’s model for every restaurant. I want to see the American version of Paulie’s and I want to see the Japanese Paulie’s and I want to see the Mexican Paulie’s and I want to see the Indian Paulie’s.”

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