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WHOA: Justin Yu Is Already Planning A New Restaurant

Details are scarce, but Yu will soon make his culinary comeback

justin yu
The king of Houston’s culinary scene is making a comeback
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

After opening Better Luck Tomorrow just weeks ago, James Beard Award-winning chef Justin Yu is already plotting a new restaurant called Theodore Rex.

Yu teased the new eatery in a less-than-forthcoming post to his Instagram account late Friday night. At this point, the only thing known about the restaurant is that it takes its name from Yu’s nephew and that it will open inside the building that once housed Oxheart, but even with those few details, it’s already clear that Theodore Rex is poised to become one of the hottest new arrivals.

Check out the cryptic (yet extremely adorable) post below:

An Instagram account, Facebook page, and website have been set up for Theodore Rex, but little details beyond an image of a lucky cat and a “restaurant in Houston” description are available. So many questions abound about what Yu’s next venture will look like. When he closed his award-winning restaurant Oxheart earlier this year, he hinted at a little boredom with its tasting menu format:

“I want to make our kitchen less awkward to work in, our dining room more comfortable and beautiful, and our food more indicative of our personality. I know at times, regardless of what I convinced myself, I cooked food out of the ordinary for the sake of being out of the ordinary.”

Eater has reached out to Yu for more details. Stay tuned as this story develops.

UPDATE: 6/3, 12:55 p.m. — Yu responded to Eater’s request for comment, and wasn’t willing to divulge more details other than that the announcement was a total ploy to score brownie points with his nephew Theodore, who celebrated his third birthday on the day of the announcement.

UPDATE #2: 6/3, 1:46 p.m. — As some hawk-eyed Redditors have mentioned, Yu’s new restaurant shares a name with Theodore Rex, a 1995 straight-to-video film that starred Whoopi Goldberg as a futuristic cop with a dinosaur partner. Perhaps the restaurant will take a little ridiculous inspiration from this film? Who knows.

Check out the trailer for this cinematic masterpiece below.