The pieces are coming together at forthcoming British-American tavern Hunky Dory and if all goes to plan, the long-awaited restaurant will be on track for a September opening. Below, a primer and teaser for the long-awaited project.
THE FOOD AND DRINK
Chef Richard Knight (Feast) is ironing out two-fold menu of modernized U.K. staples. First, there's a menu of fish and chips and the like to be served in the casual pub side of the restaurant. More formal fare like aged steaks will be served in the main dining room. The dining room at Hunky Dory focuses on an open-hearth wood-burning grill, which will kiss all the meats, vegetables, and even desserts that hit the menu. Knight's fans will be happy to see Feast-y offerings like "bones, necks, pies, and sexy bits" on the chalkboard menu. So too, his cult-followed sticky toffee pudding always be available. Otherwise "I'll be run out of town," Knight admits.
Beverage director Travis Hinkle oversees the wine and cocktails along with bar director Leslie Ross, and the restaurant's lead sommelier Michael Peltier. The 400+ bottle wine list focuses almost exclusively on Old World appellations. Cocktails will take a little liberty with British classics like the Pimm's Cup and old fashioned.
Treadsack International (Down House, D&T Drive Inn, Johnny's Gold Brick, future Foreign Correspondents) is overseeing the buildout at 1801 Yale Street, which will also house Gulf Coast kitchen Bernadine's. Co-owner Chris Cusack and his crew broke ground on the 41,000 square foot lot in September of 2013. Austin-based architect Michael Hsu (Uchi Houston, Oporto Fooding House) oversaw the buildout of two concepts under one roof: each has 200 seats along with patios, bars, and formal dining rooms. There's also a shared private dining room between the two spaces. Externally, the building is enveloped with planks of golden brown Douglas fir and a towering original oak tree anchors each patio. Director of restaurant operations Benjy Mason elaborates, "We wanted to create intimate neighborhood spaces. Preserving the character of the neighborhood while also helping it progress is super important to us."
Inside Hunky Dory, the decor will reflect the range of food options. The casual pub will feature dark woods, steel-framed glass windows, and a generous patio. Artistic woven brass wire screens will separate off the blue- and green-toned classic-themed fine dining area, complete with a banquette. Guests can also request the chef's counter with a front seat view of the grill.
WHAT'S WITH THE NAME?
With a menu and design geared towards camaraderie and comfort it's only fitting the name also reflects these qualities. "When Benjy and Richard were working together at Feast, their music for the kitchen was a boombox that they were playing CDs on," explains Cusack. "And if you've ever worked in a kitchen, particularly in the last 15 to 20 years, [you know that] everyone has a boom box with a big box of CDs, not in their containers or anything. So all of the CDs were pretty scratched up and the [only] one that would play was David Bowie's Hunky Dory. It's one of those first time out of the park perfect names."