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Chef Lance Fegen Brings Classic Italian-American Dishes to a Familiar Heights Location

Fegen’s will soon debut in the space that once housed Liberty Kitchen

the interior of a bar with marble bar top, black and white zigzag tile on the floor, and dark red leather booths agains a wall of windows
Fegen’s will open later this spring in the original Liberty Kitchen location on Studemont Street.

Lance Fegen, the chef who founded Liberty Kitchen in the Heights a decade ago, has announced a new restaurant that will open in the original Liberty location on Studewood later this spring.

The chef, whose cooking experience goes back to 1991 in kitchens like Brennen’s, The Houstonian Hotel Club & Spa, and Trevisio, is returning to The Heights after a year hiatus. Fegen is considered a pioneer in turning the Heights into a dining destination, starting with his first restaurant, Glass Wall, which was open from 2005 to 2010 at 933 Studewood before he left to found Liberty Kitchen.

The new self-named restaurant, Fegen’s, at 1050 Studewood Street, will serve classic American food and craft cocktails, with dishes like chicken schnitzel, juicy steaks, mussels, and veal and pork tomato gravy with macaroni. In an homage to Fegen’s Italian-American heritage, the restaurant will also serve dishes like Neapolitan-style pizza, clam linguini, and meatballs.

The bar at Fegen’s will stay open late Thursday through Saturday. Nicole Meza, who led the bar program at Weights & Measures and also worked at Julep, will bring classic craft cocktails and a few modern interpretations to the bar. In a nod to Liberty Kitchen, the bar will also occasionally offer raw oyster specials as well as a regular menu of eats like cheeseburgers and small bites.

The announcement comes after a year of changes for F.E.E.D. TX, the restaurant group that Fegen founded in 2010 as a parent company to Liberty Kitchen and BRC Gastropub. In March 2020, all of Houston’s Liberty Kitchen locations closed temporarily due to the coronavirus and ensuing shutdown. A few months later, Culinary Khancepts, the group that owns State Fare Kitchen & Bar, took over the Liberty Kitchen name and two locations, one in River Oaks and one in Memorial City, leaving the original Studewood spot with Fegen and F.E.E.D.

While the Heights location sat fallow, F.E.E.D. opened a long-await Memorial City musical hangout called Cowboy Surfer, with F.E.E.D. business partners Jim Jard and Carl Eaves at the helm alongside Jack Massing, one half of legendarily subversive creative duo the Art Guys. But the plans was always to return to The Heights, says Fegen’s managing partner Will Davis.

“This is a very special place for us. When we sold the Liberty Kitchen brand last year, we knew we had to keep this particular locale; it’s where Liberty Kitchen started.”

When it opens, Fegen’s will start service with dinner only, with online and to go ordering. The restaurant eventually plans to expand to lunch and brunch service. Stay tuned for more details on an opening date and hours.