While John Besh is putting the finishing touches on a major new project in New Orleans at the Pontchartrain Hotel, the celebrity chef’s company today announced that a new restaurant is under development in Houston.
The Besh Restaurant Group has signed a lease to open a restaurant at 3737 Buffalo Speedway, a new office development in Houston’s Greenway Plaza area.
The restaurant will be called Eunice, and in a release Besh’s company said it will be “a Creole, Cajun brasserie.” It will be some time before it debuts, however. Eunice is slated to open in the fall of 2017.
The new restaurant is named for a town on the Cajun prairie known for its strong embrace of the region’s traditions, especially music and food culture. It’s also the hometown of chef Drake Leonards, who will be chef/partner of Eunice. Leonards has been executive chef of Lüke in downtown New Orleans since 2014.
Drew Mire, operations director and general manager for Lüke in New Orleans and its sister restaurant in San Antonio, will be managing partner of Eunice.
“We’ve been fans of Houston for a while, and honored to now have the opportunity to share our culture, which is as much about hospitality as it is about food,” Leonards said in a prepared statement.
Eunice will be Besh’s fourth operation outside the New Orleans area. He now has a restaurant called the Marsh House under development in Nashville, as part of a hotel called the Thompson Nashville, which is expected to open this fall. His company will also run a coffee shop and bar in that hotel.
His first restaurant outside of Louisiana was Lüke in San Antonio, which opened in 2010, and in 2014 Besh and celebrity chef Aarón Sánchez opened their first location of the taqueria Johnny Sánchez in Baltimore.
Back in New Orleans, Besh’s company will operate food and beverage services for the Pontchartrain Hotel, a St. Charles Avenue landmark expected to open this month after an extensive renovation.
Besh’s group will run the Caribbean Room, a revamp of an acclaimed Creole restaurant that was previously part of the Pontchartrain Hotel, with chef Chris Lusk at the helm. The group will also introduced revived versions of the hotel’s Bayou Bar and its Silver Whistle coffee shop as well as a new rooftop bar.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.