Rhotey Rotisserie, the promising rotisserie chicken sandwich shop from 28-year-old first time restauranteur Vincent Taylor, just called it quits after six months in business. Opened on August 6, 2018, the fast-casual spot opened with a goal of serving “sandwiches that eat like a burger” and quickly gained rave reviews on Yelp — and from food critics.
Just two weeks after it opened, in fact, Jeff Balke, who scours Houston for the best sandwiches in town for his best sandwich column in the Houston Press, called it “nearly perfect,” saying, “this might be one of the best chicken sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.” Later that year, Rhotey’s rotisserie chicken sandwich came in at No. 11 on the Houston Press’ list of 13 Best Dishes of 2018.
In spite of the great reviews, Rhotey never quite achieved the numbers necessary to make it a success for the long term. Though its juicy, halal rotisserie sandwiches made with Wayne Farms Naked Truth Chicken, caramelized onion, crispy chicken skin cracklings and buttermilk dressing attracted fans from across the city, the Mid-West Houston strip mall location on Westheimer did not see enough foot traffic, Rhotey Rotisserie’s owner tells Eater.
After one good month in October, Taylor said that traffic slowed down considerably. “It just kind of just kept going down,” Taylor says, “to the point where even though our catering was up, wasn’t enough to keep it sustainable at that location.”
In January, the writing was on the wall: “I just knew the numbers weren’t right,” says Taylor. “They just didn’t mesh what was expected and what was budgeted for.” Rhotey Rotisserie officially closed its doors this past Saturday, February 16.
Taylor is optimistic about the future. For the time being, the UT graduate is going back to accounting, but he’s not giving up on his dream of owning a gourmet sandwich shop. “What I did at that location was a mom and pop-type setup,” says Taylor, who says that he’ll be looking for investors to better fund his next venture.
“Next time, the concept could go two different ways. One would be were the customer comes in to pick bread, toppings - a gourmet Subway, if you will,” he says. “Or, I could go more higher end with wine knowledge, where I can bring the sandwich experience to a more elevated format.” In the second scenario, he’d serve things like braised octopus sandwich, or a beef cheek mole with chimichurri sauce. Whichever way he decides to go, stay tuned for Taylor’s comeback.
- Rhotey Rotisserie [Official Site]