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Chris Shepherd to Heat Up Buffalo Bayou Area with New Restaurant

The James Beard award-winning chef will take on a global concept.

By Timothy Malcolm March 22, 2021

Chris Shepherd.

Image: John Davidson

Get ready for yet another Chris Shepherd restaurant in Houston.

According to an announcement Monday, Shepherd's Underbelly Hospitality has signed a lease for a 5,000-square-foot standalone space at Regent Square, the urban development planned for West Dallas Street between College Memorial Park Cemetery and Waugh Drive, just south of Buffalo Bayou Park.

The restaurant will focus on global live-fire cooking, according to the announcement, and will anchor the phase two addition of GID Development Group's masterplan for this area. This part of the project is scheduled to debut in late 2021; Shepherd's restaurant will include a rooftop terrace.

"While we have more surprises in store, we couldn’t help lead the beginnings of our tenant lineup with Chris Shepherd, a chef who has helped to define the dynamic, culinary landscape of Houston and whose passion for food, the restaurant industry, and his city is unparalleled," said James Linsley, president of GID Development Group, in a release.

A rendering of phase two of Regent Square.

"We’re still working through a lot of the details," Shepherd said in the release, "but the idea of live fire cooking using multiple types of wood really excites me. Regent Square is an ideal location for this restaurant and for Underbelly Hospitality—convenient to Montrose, downtown, River Oaks—and it’s great to be a part of a project with so many like-minded people."

A James Beard award-winning chef, Shepherd has been cooking with live fire a lot over the past year, especially at home in his backyard. He told Houstonia in late 2020 that it was his one of his favorite things to do.

"For me, sitting in the backyard on the patio watching football, having a beer or a glass of wine, and tending a fire ... it's awesome," Shepherd said in December. 

But does this mean Central Texas barbecue?

"Do I have the endurance to cook brisket ... no," he said in December. "Quite frankly, I am too afraid of the 14 hours and me not doing it well. But I'm just as much a nerd as everyone else doing this." 

Shepherd also confirmed to Houstonia Monday that he will not, in fact, have a pit smoker at the new restaurant. He previously has said that he likes leaving that kind of work to the masters, like his friend and Austin barbecue hero Aaron Franklin, owner of Franklin Barbecue.

Shepherd is staying busy lately. His Underbelly Hospitality is opening Wild Oats this summer at the Houston Farmers Market site, while a spinoff of his acclaimed steakhouse—Georgia James Tavern—is scheduled to open this year at Market Square Tower in Downtown Houston.

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