Underbelly Hospitality, the restaurant group once helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd, is expanding with new locations of two of its restaurants in Spring Branch next year.
Both Wild Oats, the Texas-themed restaurant by chef and former Underbelly partner Nick Fine, and burger joint Underbelly Burger, will begin construction in early 2023 at a mixed-use development space at 1222 Witte Road, with the goal of opening mid-year, according to a release. Fine, who officially resigned on Monday, November 14, will still oversee Wild Oats’ menu and direction, but the group plans to hire a separate executive chef.
In a written statement, Nina Quincy, Underbelly’s director of operations, said that the two restaurants were chosen for their family-friendly approach.
Underbelly Burger’s first location opened in the Houston Farmers Market (2520 Airline Drive) in January 2022, serving up 44 Farms Angus and R-C Ranch wagyu burgers, fries, and milkshakes. The original Wild Oats opened next door in February 2022, paying homage to the culinary history of Texas with dishes like Frito pies and chicken-fried wagyu steak.
Once complete, Wild Oats will seat 184 people in its dining room and outdoor area, while Underbelly, which will feature a walk-up window for orders, will seat 12 indoors, and will feature a patio and outdoor green area that together can seat nearly 100 people.
The restaurants will join other food establishments opening in the area, including James Beard Award-nominated chef Christine Ha’s sandwich shop, Stuffed Belly, and her new location of the Blind Goat, which is also slated to open next year in the Spring Branch shopping center.