In an interview about his favorite Houston food trucks, hip hop legend Bun B (UGK 4 Life!) says about The Modular that, although owner Joshua Martinez can be found serving food at Grand Prize Bar, "he's also opening two restaurants in downtown Houston." This revelation would seem to confirm the blind item Houston Press critic Katharine Shilcutt ran back in October that "a very popular food truck is about to put down brick-and-mortar roots...downtown."
Eater contacted Martinez, who said that the first restaurant refers to his involvement in the Original OKRA Charity Saloon, which will offer a menu based on the panini sandwiches Paul Petronella serves at his restaurant Paulie's. Although he confirmed he does have plans to open another restaurant, he declined to offer any information about its location or concept. Here are some educated guesses about what he's up to.
In terms of a location, it would make sense for the restaurant to be located near the OKRA Saloon. That would give Martinez access to a customer base that's already familiar with his work. A quick scouting expedition through north downtown reveals several locations in and around Market Square that could be suitable for the sort of small, counter-service type restaurant that's a logical progression from a food truck.
Pinning down what style of food the restaurant will serve is trickier. The Modular has always been known for having a diverse menu; Martinez has served a variety of seafood dishes, including lobster risotto and fried soft shell crab sandwiches. He's also served fried chicken wings, grilled cheese sandwiches and Asian-inspired fare that reflects his time as the general manager at sushi restaurant Kata Robata. Regardless of the style, it will be tasty, filling and the perfect accompaniment to a night of drinking.
No word on a timetable for opening, but, with a recent opening by The Burger Guys, the soon to open OKRA Saloon and tapas spot Batanga already set to open downtown, downtown revitalization is already looking like one of the dominant stories of 2013.
· Bun B Picks His 5 Favorite Food Trucks in Houston [First We Feast]
· Openings & Closings: Cafe Adobe Closing and Downtown Blind Items [Eating Our Words]
All Bun B Coverage on Eater Houston [-EHOU-]
· All Rumormongering on Eater Houston [-EHOU-]
Joshua Martinez [Facebook]