The Hit Houston Steakhouse's sequel opens in a casual setting

The Hit Houston Steakhouse's sequel opens in a casual setting
Courtesy of The Tavern

The James Beard Award-winning chef shows a more casual side at Georgia James Tavern.

The club sandwich is more than just a sandwich to Chris Shepherd.

Shepherd built a destination steakhouse his way in a state known for its love of beef, and he decided that a club sandwich wasn't an option at the Georgia James. All the meats served at Georgia James were prepared in cast iron pans, drawing on the rich diversity of cuisines from all over the world. This is a break from the conventional steakhouses. The Tavern belongs to the same family as the restaurant it shares its name with, but, like a younger sibling, it is dedicated to giving its guests high-level comfort food that can be enjoyed every day instead of making it a special occasion.

As Shepherd expands within the city to a part of town he never thought he would venture into, it represents a new challenge for him as well. In the past, Shepherd's establishments have been located in the hip Montrose neighborhood of Houston, but now he will move into the towers and offices of Downtown Houston, where he will set up his shops. It is the culmination of a chef and business owner who has endured the pandemic and has gained some difficult lessons through it. The Tavern, which opens on Tuesday, is the evolution of a chef and business owner who has endured some hard times.

Courtesy of OpenTable


Taking over as chef de cuisine at The Tavern is Matt Coburn, who has previously worked for Shepherd both at their Underbelly restaurant and, most recently, Georgia James, where he was a sous chef. He has worked at both restaurants for six years. The menu he's designed shares ideas with other Shepherd restaurants, for example, the wings have Vietnamese-Cajun flavors, the steaks are cooked in cast iron, the butcher's cut rotates every month, beef sourced from 44 Farms, and Georgia James' take on the classic wedge salad will be served. You can choose from ribeyes, NY strips, or a rotating butcher's cut.

Even so, the Tavern's menu is unique, featuring hearth-roasted chicken with coconut sticky rice, papaya salads, and peanuts, as well as smoked oyster mayo topped thick fries and kaluga caviar that can be topped with thick slices of country ham accompanied by pimento cheese baked on the hearth.

As part of the newly constructed Market Square Tower, a high rise completed in 2017, Georgia James Tavern will occupy a cozy space at its foot. Shepherd was attracted to the building because of the built-in clientele it could offer him - with room for 40 seats inside and 40 outside.

In addition to this, it's also worth mentioning that the residents appear to have a voracious appetite, but can be trusted to leave the cooking to someone else if they wish.

Shepherd intends to build this restaurant more so than the other ones he has already built. Therefore, in addition to offering takeout, The Tavern will also offer to-go cocktail kits, so residents can grab them and go up to the pool with some food. In addition to taking a liquor license for the entire building, he has also taken control of the building's theater, so that he could serve food and drinks there if the Super Bowl were to take place.

He has been trying to find ways to feed people wherever they are since the outbreak of the pandemic, not just bringing people together at a restaurant like he used to. Additionally, he has expanded his product line to include Goldbelly sausages and smoked bacon sausages, both of which are available at local grocery stores as well as nationwide delivery.

Despite being known as one of the most constantly changing chefs in the restaurant industry, he is in search of stability after a chaotic year for the restaurant industry, and he even went so far as to sign a lease for a restaurant where he would completely revamp the concept every single year for five years in order to make it work. One Fifth's fifth and final concept is just about to be completed.

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