Fire It Up

Chris Shepherd's Hospitality Group Announces Two New Restaurants

2021 brings us a second and more accessible Georgia James, plus Texas cuisine from Nick Fine.

By Timothy Malcolm January 6, 2021

Nick Fine will run his own restaurant at the Houston Farmers Market.

Image: Julie Soefer

Thought you knew about every likely restaurant opening in 2021? Here comes Chris Shepherd and Underbelly Hospitality to add some chaos.

Underbelly announced on Wednesday that Wild Oats will open at the Houston Farmers Market, the property being redeveloped by MLB Partners at 2520 Airline Dr. The company is handing the keys to this place over to Nick Fine, UB Hospitality's culinary director, who also opened One Fifth as its chef de cuisine.

At Wild Oats, Fine, a Houston native, will go all in on Texas cuisine, sourcing from local farmers and ranchers and producing dishes such as shrimp and grits with masa. NEST Design Group is overseeing the design of Wild Oats, which is projected to open in the summer.

But that ain't all. Shepherd's acclaimed steakhouse brand Georgia James is expanding with the Georgia James Tavern, set to open in the spring at Market Square Tower in Downtown Houston. NEST will also design the Georgia James Tavern, which will take the look of a cozy, dark art deco-style spot with tufted leather banquettes and window booths with brass screens. The tavern will seat up to 22 in the main dining room, up to 22 in the lounge and bar booth area, up to 16 at the bar counter, and up to 44 on an outside patio.

As for the menu, it will be a more accessible version of the Montrose steakhouse, featuring salads, sandwiches, burgers, and wood-fired entrées, along with a few steaks, naturally. Matthew Coburn, sous chef at Georgia James, will be promoted to chef de cuisine of the tavern.  Wine and tweaked classic cocktails with an emphasis on whiskey will be served.

"I love Georgia James," said Shepherd in a release. "But I understand that it’s not a restaurant most people can visit on a daily or even weekly basis. Georgia James Tavern is designed to be a place where our guests want to—and can—eat every day."

The Georgia James Tavern will be open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday to Saturday.

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