Underbelly Hospitality is Shuffling Restaurants at the Houston Farmers Market

Wild Oats Wagyu Chicken Fried Steak

On the heels of a busy summer, with the unfortunate closing of GJ Tavern and the long-anticipated opening of Pastore, fall brings another season of change to Underbelly Hospitality as the group continues to navigate its own way after founding chef Chris Shepherd’s departure.

After establishing a presence at the Houston Farmer’s Market with both Underbelly Burger (a “burger joint that makes ground beef from 44 Ranch and R-C Ranch steak trimmings generated by steakhouse Georgia James) and Wild Oats, which serves up fresh takes on traditional Texas fare, the restaurant group is shifting its casual concepts.

Wood-grilled chicken at Wild Oats
Wood-grilled chicken at Wild Oats. Photo by Duc Hoang.

In October, Wild Oats will relocate to 1222 Witte Road, home to a new dining and entertainment development in Spring Branch, alongside a second location of Underbelly Burger. The new digs will still be a family-friendly affair, offering familiar favorites like the Armadillo Eggs, Pepper Jelly, Wagyu Chicken Fried Steak, Shrimp and Grits and Wood-Grilled Chicken. Cocktail staples, such as the margarita, ranch water and palomas, are coming along, too. 

Underbelly Angus Burger
Underbelly Burger’s Angus Burger. Photo by Julie Soefer.

Like the original, the second Underbelly Burger, situated right next door to the new Wild Oats, will still also locally sourced beef from 44 Farms and R-C Ranch Butcher Shop. The chicken sandwich, veggie burger, sidewinder fries and milkshakes all remain on the menu.

Houston Farmers Market
Houston Farmers Market. Photo by Michael Craft.

The Wild Oats space at the Houston Farmers Market at 2520 Airline will not stay unoccupied. It’s being replaced by new concept Comalito, a taqueria inspired by the flavors of Mexico City. Partnering with Underbelly Hospitality is Mexico City-based chef, who was crowned Latin America’s Best Pastry Chef in 2019, Luis Robledo Richards.  

Diners can expect tacos al pastor, tacos de parrilla (grilled tacos) and housemade salsas. Vegan and vegetarian options will be available in the form of tacos de hongos al pastor (mushrooms as pastor), quesadillas de flor de calabaza (zucchini flower) and ensalada de nopales con quelites (cactus and purslane salad). Richards will bring his acclaimed pastry chef skills to Comalito’s in-house tortilla program, which will highlight organic heirloom corn sourced from Central Mexico. Tacos inspired by the capital city could only be properly paired with tequila and mezcal, so that’s Comalito’s cocktail focus. 

The taqueria is scheduled to open in late September or early October. Opening hours will include lunch and dinner service, with plans to expand into brunch and breakfast.

The past year for Underbelly Hospitality has been tumultuous but it seems the group is finding its footing with clearly thought-out concepts offering classic fare, anchored by the steakhouse Georgia James and refined Italian seafood restaurant Pastore

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