Chris Shepherd doesn’t skip a beat. Before Houstonians had time to complete the cycle of grief following the closure of Hay Merchant, the local culinary mastermind and his Underbelly team are already opening up a fresh new concept. On February 11, Houstonians will have the chance to dig further into their roots at the new Wild Oats restaurant at Houston Farmer’s Market.
Underbelly Hospitality is the culinary creative behind some of Houston’s hottest gastronomic destinations. Included in their repertoire are Underbelly Burger, Southern Smoke, Georgia James Tavern, Blacksmith, and Pastore Italian Kitchen. Their most recent project, Wild Oats, opens today.
Whereas Underbelly’s focused centered on Houston-centric cultural flavors, the mission of Wild Oats is to broaden their culinary scope to the state of Texas:
“This is a project that we have been working on the past few years, and we are so excited to finally share it with you,” the restaurant wrote in an Instagram post. “As Underbelly told the story of Houston food through the city’s cultures, people and ingredients, Wild Oats aims to explore the cultures and native ingredients that make Texas the diverse state that it is. Expect a menu inspired by the Southern, Mexican, and ranch-style influences that come together to create uniquely Texan cuisine.”
Wild Oats’ menu, curated in part by chef Nick Fine, is broken down into starters, soups, salads, main attractions, and desserts.
Its appetizer menu ($9 – $25) features a variety of American finger fare ranging from Fried Pickles, to Haven Style Shrimp Corn Dogs, and Bellaire Campechana.
If desired, patrons can order soup aka House in Chili in either a shop, cup, or bowl priced at $5, $10, and $14, respectively; or, can opt for one of three salads, options being Wild Oats Market Salad, Oak Grilled Romaine Salad, and Huveos Ranchero Salad – all priced at $12.
Continuing with the theme of Southern, ranch-style fare Wild Oats’ entree menu features such options as R-C-Ranch-sourced Wagyu Chicken Fried Steak, Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Quail, Short Rib Fajitas, and Amarillo’s World Famous Small Texan ($85).
As for its dessert menu, patrons can end on a sweet note with traditional staples including Banana Pudding, Peach Cobbler, Texas Sheet Cake, and Abuelita’s Tres Leches.
Patrons can also work up a Lone Star buzz through its variety of staple, seasonal, and frozen cocktails that which include Ranch Water, Paloma, and Old Fashioned, as well as seasonals which presently feature the German Town made with Rye Whiskey, raspberry kirsch, sweet vermouth, and bitters; Ball Park with Bourbon, Texas Pecan, Madeira, key lime, brown sugar, and egg white; as well as the Crowbait mixed with blended whiskey, watermelon, and soda.
Additionally, Wild Oats features an extensive wine menu that which includes a variety made here in Texas, as well as spirits ranging from mezcal, tequila, and sotol, to bourbon, rye whiskey, and scotch.
Wild Oats opens at Houston Farmer’s Market today at 2520 Airline Dr Suite C-315.