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Chris Shepherd Will Close One Fifth Gulf Coast to Make Way for an Experimental New Project

At One Fifth Lightning Round, he’ll try everything from Vietnamese dishes to pizza

Chris Shepherd
Chris Shepherd
Julie Soefer

Three and a half years into his “five restaurants in five years” project at One Fifth in Montrose, chef Chris Shepherd is entirely revamping the restaurant.

Shepherd will shutter One Fifth’s current iteration One Fifth Gulf Coast on March 23, with plans for a new concept called One Fifth Lightning Round, a restaurant that will change a whole lot in the 18 months it has left. “We will start with Vietnamese and then move through other ideas and concepts without giving them a time limit,” Shepherd said in a statement. “I want to try as much as I can but still give each one our full devotion. This will be arguably the most challenging thing we have ever done, but the team is ready.”

In addition to plans to serve Vietnamese cuisine at One Fifth, Shepherd has also teased the idea of firing pizzas in the restaurant’s wood-burning oven. “I woke up this morning and started thinking about the building’s wood burning oven—arguably the oldest wood burning oven in the city—and we have never cooked a pizza for a guest in that oven,” he says. “No, I don’t want to do a pizza place for 11 months but I would do it for a few.”

When Shepherd opened One Fifth in early 2017, the project was admittedly ambitious. He started off with a steakhouse theme that eventually evolved into sister spot Georgia James, then dug into European and Mediterranean cuisines before settling into the restaurant’s wildly popular current iteration, where chef de cuisine Matt Staph has earned raves for his Gulf-influenced dishes. According to an Instagram post from Shepherd, his team is “actively looking” for a permanent location for the dishes from One Fifth Mediterranean, as reported previously by Eater.

Unlike previous iterations of One Fifth, like Romance Languages or Steak, these new Lightning Round projects won’t have a fixed time limit. Shepherd says he’ll give diners “three weeks notice” before moving on to the next project so they can pop in and try the dishes he’s been working on. “I know it’s confusing, but I don’t want to end the 5 years and think ‘what if or why didn’t we try something,’” he says. “One Fifth is all about education and learning and experimenting and exploring, and we have so much more to explore in such a short time.”

This will be arguably the most challenging thing we have ever done, but the team is ready. We will not release what concepts are in the future, and we’ll give three weeks notice before we close a concept. I hope you all enjoy the ride with us and understand that this is insane in the BEST way possible. I wanna go fast. Who wants to ride with me?”

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