Family-Friendly Spring Branch Restaurant With Full, Self-Service Bar is Closing
Shoot The Moon, the Spring Branch restaurant with an innovative, self-service bar system at 8155 Long Point, is set to close. Its last day of service is Sunday, June 19, and it will be open until 10 p.m.
“We encourage folks to come in and enjoy their favorite beverages and menu items one last time. Order as much food as you like to take home. This will be the last chance to experience our tap wall and try our pizzas, appetizers, salads and more – this will be our last day of service,” stated a press release.
Co-owners Kevin Floyd, chef Dax McNear and Jonas Herd (owner of Cecil’s Pub and part of architectural design firm Collaborative Projects) announced Shoot The Moon in September 2019 — about six months before the COVID-19 pandemic started wreaking havoc on the restaurant and bar industry. The concept, intended as a family-friendly, neighborhood hub where kids were welcome and parent could relax over quality adult beverages, had a lot of promise. It was the first business in Houston to have a drink system made by Pour My Beer, which dispensed not only wine (self-service wine dispensers are much more common), but also beer, batched cocktails, spirits and, after some difficult tweaks, even Champagne.
Unfortunately, due to the timing, Shoot The Moon was immediately besieged by challenges. It took nearly two years to open due to the pandemic and supply chain issues, which affected the entire construction industry. Once it did open in August 2021, residents didn’t embrace it as eagerly as expected — despite Floyd’s and McNear’s considerable reputations established during their work at The Hay Merchant and other Houston restaurants and bars. The press release reads:
“When our foot traffic was low in the first few months we were open, we thought it was because of the COVID Delta wave during the late summer of 2021. However, now that the major health concerns of COVID for the vast majority of the population seem to be behind us, it is clear the economy is still suffering from escalating inflation – especially food and gas prices – and supply chain disruptions with no end in sight.
We believe a huge push in marketing could have potentially generated the necessary level of foot traffic, but we have not been able to get access to the funds needed to launch a comprehensive marketing strategy.”
It seems tragic that more people didn’t try Shoot The Moon, because consumer reviews indicate that the owners achieved what they set out to do: open a family-friendly establishment with a self-service bar and approachable, quality food. “I get a little sad when I don’t see their spot get too much traffic, because I know if this was located somewhere like downtown, it would be swarmed… but, selfishly, it works out for those of us who prefer the quieter places,” reads one. From another consumer: “First visit today and had a great experience. Great concept and great food. Nice clean restaurant. Meat lovers pizza was fantastic. The manager was extra helpful and showed us the process for getting drinks. Love the idea of pouring your own drinks. We will definitely come back. Looking forward to trying trivia night on Thursdays.”
In addition to lack of sales and the financial cushion needed for the large-scale marketing that could have turned the business around, Shoot The Moon encountered yet another problem in April. Some capital was raised though NextSeed, a crowdfunding investment platform that was later acquired by Republic Investment Services LLC. Unlike companies with equity investors, who see no return unless there are profits, NextSeed expects businesses in its program to pay investors monthly from gross revenue. In April, Republic/NextSeed sent notices to Shoot The Moon’s over 400 investors that the company was in default on its investor payments. With so many receiving these notices, the situation very quickly became public.
“We’re going to have to hire counsel to deal with this at this point, which is really a shame, because every dollar that I spend to deal with this is a dollar I’m not going to have available to spend on payroll, rent or to pay investors,“ said Floyd in April. “If NextSeed gets very aggressive with this, I can see a scenario that forces us into bankruptcy, and then there would be no way to pay the investors back.” Update, 6/20/2022, 12:53 p.m.: It should be noted that it does not appear that NextSeed actions contributed to the owners of Shoot The Moon deciding to close.
With Shoot The Moon’s closing imminent, it appears that Floyd’s bankruptcy prediction is indeed coming true, and it may not just be for the business. The press release reveals that even some of the owners may be forced into personal bankruptcy:
“We have relentlessly sought funding to help us overcome the financial hurdles we encountered in our start-up journey and to fuel enough marketing and advertising to make this location viable, but to no avail. We have turned over every stone, shaken every tree to the point where members of Ownership will most likely end up in personal bankruptcy as a result of this closure.“
All told, it’s an incredibly sad ending for everyone involved: owners, employees, loyal customers and investors.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.