Gatlin’s BBQ owner and pitmaster Greg Gatlin will open his second restaurant in the city, tapping into the culinary traditions of his upbringing in the historic Independence Heights.
Located at 302 W. Crosstimbers Street, Gatlin’s Fins & Feathers will be a “love letter” to the neighborhood under the lead of Gatlin, chef Michelle Wallace, and chef de cuisine Darius King, it will serve up epic comfort foods Gatlin ate growing up, ranging from fried chicken to gumbo to seafood, starting in late June.
Fins & Feathers will also boast an expansive sandwich menu, with po’boys and a Houston spin on the hot chicken sandwich with a distinct Vietnamese flair, and a seafood menu with fish from various coasts around the country.
Designed by H3D Hospitality Group’s lead architect Craig Schuster, the 3,000 square foot space can seat around 80 people and will serve lunch and dinner, with an emphasis on brunch, which is anticipated to be busy given the close proximity to the neighborhood’s churches.
Gatlin says that he and his team started discussing the Fins & Feathers before the COVID-19 pandemic in hopes of making something out of the beloved days when Gatlin’s BBQ served up specials of fried seafood and chicken. They hoped to turn it into a full-blown restaurant in the same area where Gatlin was raised but decided to put it on the backburner until 2021.
Gatlin added that in the barbecue world, it’s common to deal with a lot of heavy red meat and pork.
“We thought, ‘Let’s get into a little bit lighter fare and connect with people on the Gulf Coast,” he says.
“Growing up, if you’re in the South — fried fish and chicken, that was just something on the dinner table on a regular basis. If you didn’t have it on the menu from mom or grandma, it’s like, where were you living again?” Gatlin says.
Even the restaurant’s space — the former location of Herrera’s Mexicatessen Restaurant — an establishment Gatlin and his family frequented growing up — seems like a full-circle moment, according to a release.
“I really wanted [Fins & Feathers] to just be a place where people can really sit down and have a meal with friends and family. And we want to have the same consistency that we’ve always had to be a Houston staple,” Gatlin says. “We want to be around a long time. It ties into who we are and what we believe – in our mission at our restaurant group is faith, family, and food, and we want to grow those things all equally.”
The restaurant follows Gatlin’s first establishment, Gatlin’s BBQ, which he opened in 2010 to great acclaim. The restaurant has been named one of the best barbecue joints in the state by Texas Monthly.