Acclaimed Houston-based Underbelly Hospitality is growing its hometown footprint moments from where the city was first born and just steps from Buffalo Bayou Park. The restaurant group, led by James Beard Award-Winning Chef/Owner Chris Shepherd, has signed a lease for a 5,000-square-foot standalone space with rooftop terrace at Regent Square, a game-changing urban infill development reimagining the in-demand Allen Parkway corridor, which abuts Montrose and bridges downtown and River Oaks.
Focusing on live fire cooking, the global concept will serve as an anchor for GID Development Group’s much-anticipated Regent Square Phase 2 addition – at the heart of a community masterplan that will ultimately span 24 acres along W. Dallas Street between College Memorial Park and Waugh Drive. Scheduled to debut in late 2021, the eight-acre project at Dunlavy Street will incorporate 50,000 square feet of prime, pedestrian-oriented retail plus a premier 600-unit multi-family building.
Shepherd has spent much of the past year cooking with live fire on various smokers and grills in his backyard and has become fascinated by the flavors and nuances of different kinds of wood. He wants to open this restaurant not only to explore both the cuisines around the world centered on live fire cooking, but also using wood—post oak, hickory, pecan and mesquite—as a key flavor component in the dishes.
“We’re still working through a lot of the details,” says Chris, “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.”
Designed by acclaimed Boston-based architectural placemaking firm CBT in conjunction with Houston’s OJB Landscape Architecture, Regent Square’s Phase 2 sets a unique backdrop for its three, free-standing restaurant spaces, which will overlook two activated green areas, a signature water feature and a pedestrian promenade.
“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,” says James Linsley, President, GID Development Group.