Family-Owned Fish and Chips Restaurant Makes a Splash in Kemah
Fish & Chips Houston opened this past February at 609 Bradford Avenue in Kemah and has quickly reeled in a cult-following for its eponymous dish, as well as other authentic, from-scratch British fare. Just in time for Independence Day weekend, the family-owned and operated pub is launching a Full British Breakfast menu starting Saturday, July 1.
This is the first restaurant outing for husband and wife duo Andrina and Craig Williams. The pair spent time working in the service industry when they were growing up and have long cherished the experience and sense of community that comes with dining out. I recently had a fantastic meal at the bar, and, afterwards, Craig told me a bit about their endeavor — and how it also serves to keep them busy now that their children have flown the nest.
When asked about what led to the concept and why they chose Kemah, Craig, who is from Scotland originally, said it was a simple decision. “We chose Kemah because we have always lived within five miles of water all our life. Kemah is such a special little place and is close to our hearts. In truth, every time I drive past Clear Lake on my way to the restaurant, I get a huge smile on my face. It is such an idyllic place.”
He told me the response so far has been “beyond amazing.” “We knew we would attract some of the expat community in Houston, which is great, but the response from the local community has been simply stunning,” he said. “We have numerous regulars, and it is just such a pleasure getting to know some of these fascinating people on a personal level.”
This came as no surprise to me. Before visiting, I’d seen numerous posts from avid fans in various Facebook foodie groups raving that the restaurant has the best fish and chips in the Houston area. After finally making the trip out, you could say I’m hooked.
For the Williams, fresh, high-quality ingredients and sticking to their roots are what makes their food standout. “We believe in keeping things simple and traditional. I don’t know of any fish and chip shop in the UK that uses a beer batter. That’s just not how it’s made. We don’t change our recipes because we are in the U.S. Our recipes are tried and true family recipes that just work. Everything is made from scratch in our kitchen — except for puff pastry. Every kitchen chef knows that it’s not worth it when you get such good pre-made stuff.” For the fish, they source sustainable Icelandic haddock and cod, which is fried in a proprietary batter that comes out golden, light and crispy to the last bite.
The signature fish can be ordered à la carte, or as a “supper” — which the menu makes a note of as being a dish traditionally served with chips in Scotland. Come hungry because the filets are about the length of a toaster. (We Americans will use anything but the metric system for measurement). Other supper options include fried shrimp (nearby Rose’s Seafood supplies the shrimp), seasoned pork sausage, chicken goujons (chicken fingers), haggis and Pizza Crunch — a large slice of pizza that is battered and deep-fried. The chips are served thick and cut daily from Idaho potatoes, blanched and twice-fried, rendering a fluffy interior and crispy, browned outer edge. I highly recommend adding on some curry sauce for dipping. The restaurant also offers affordable lunch portions of these suppers that are available during the week from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Other dinner items include savory pies, scotch eggs, sausage rolls, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash and sticky toffee pudding for dessert.
The first weekend of July, Fish & Chips is introducing breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays between 8 and 10 a.m. The breakfast menu will start with two different fry-up options. The full English breakfast is served with rashers of British bacon cured in-house, scratch-made sausages, black pudding, Heinz baked beans, grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms and fried bread or toast served with a non-alcoholic beverage of your choice. The full Scottish breakfast also includes Tattie scones and haggis. More morning options will be added throughout the summer.
For those over 21, Fish & Chips has a full bar with a specialty cocktail menu and several beers from across the pond. Happy hour runs Tuesday through Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. It’s also a great place to catch a football or rugby match, as Craig wanted the pub aspect of the restaurant to also be a draw. “We are listed on the English Premier League website as an official bar for the English Premier League football in Houston. We will be showing the Rugby World Cup games that are on during opening hours in September and October. We are a supporter of the Houston SaberCats Rugby team and have watch parties for away games.”
Diners can sit at a table inside or at the bar, and outside seating is available on the patio or in the shaded breezeway.
There are always obstacles when it comes to opening a restaurant, and currently the roadwork along nearby SH146 has been vexing for businesses in the area. There may be unforeseen delays en route because of this, so add a little extra time and patience when trying to visit. (And remember — it will be worth it!)
So, if you’re a fan of fish and chips, a good fry-up or other British specialties served with a side of chipper customer service, make the trip to Kemah’s Toucan Alley to try Fish & Chips Houston — and get filled to the gills!
Fish & Chips Houston is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (The kitchen closes at 9 p.m.). Parking is available throughout the Kemah Boardwalk area.
Mario-Sebastian Berry is a wine and spirits vendor who has been in the hospitality industry since 2002. Currently, he represents Blanco, Texas-based Andalusia Whiskey Co. and multiple wine labels. Somehow, he also finds time to be Houston Food Finder’s associate editor and social media manager.