James Beard Award Semifinalist in Katy Announces New Woodlands Restaurant
During the fourth anniversary celebration of his highly successful Katy Asian Town restaurant, Phat Eatery, owner Alex Au-yeung revealed that a second location is in the works for The Woodlands. Anticipated to open early next year, the second Phat Eatery will be located at 2290 Buckthorn Place in Grogan Mills Village. The location was formerly a Fuddruckers.
At 7,800 square feet, the new Phat Eatery will be much larger than the original location, seat twice as many guests, and sits on over an acre of land. That lends itself to plenty of space for a patio and outdoor dining. The additional indoor space means that The Woodlands location will have three private dining rooms — something the Katy location is too small to accommodate.
Tramonte Design Studio, which also worked on colorful dining and gaming center Palace Social, has been hired for the interior design. The Woodlands location will have a more open kitchen, but will carry over the most striking design elements present in Katy, such as the wood-accented interior and vibrant Malaysian street food signs.
It’s Au-yeung’s third restaurant overall, as he opened casual Asian eatery Yelo in 2021 next door to Phat Eatery. While Yelo’s menu was originally focused on banh mi, it’s since expanded to include dumplings, hand-pulled noodle soup and Asian-style doughnuts called youtiao.
For its part, Phat Eatery’s won a loyal fan base — and landed Au-yeung a Best Chef: Texas semifinalist nod early this year — thanks to well-honed Malaysian favorites such as beef rendang, sizzling tofu, nasi lemak, mee goreng and chicken curry. There’s also a curated dim sum selection that includes shrimp dumplings, sticky rice in banana leaf and barbecue pork buns. Au-yeung plans to add steamed rice roll and xiao long bao (steamed Chinese buns with meat or vegetable fillings) to the mix.
The larger Woodlands restaurant also lends itself to a brand-new menu category: Chinese barbecue. Au-yeung is leveraging his experience from working in Cantonese kitchens to make Chinese barbecue pork and Peking duck part of the permanent menu. Another addition is bian dang. Akin to the Taiwanese version of Japanese bentos, these composed meals include a main dish, rice and sides. At Phat Eatery Woodlands, entrée choices will include the aforementioned barbecue and stir-frys.
On the drink side, unlike the Katy location, Phat Eatery in The Woodlands will have a liquor license — and a cocktail list. The staff is working on developing Southeast Asian-inspired craft cocktails to add to the drink list, which currently features beer, wine and sake.
“I’ve been thinking about expanding to The Woodlands for a while,” says Au-Yeung via press release. “It’s not easy to find good real estate in The Woodlands, but we’ve found the perfect spot with room to do the menu I’ve always wanted.”
Phat Eatery in The Woodlands will serve lunch and dinner daily, and offer both curbside pickup and delivery. Those who’d like to keep up with new developments can follow the restaurant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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.