Update, September 3, 9 a.m.: This article has been updated to note that chef Chris Shepherd is no longer a part of the Underbelly Hospitality. Shepherd’s departure from the restaurant group was announced in July.
After roughly a two-week hiatus from service to prepare for its big move, steakhouse Georgia James has reopened in its new location in Regent Square — and this time, with more personality and a breathtaking rooftop.
The Underbelly Hospitality restaurant group, formerly co-owned by James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd, opened the original location in Montrose in October 2018, serving up cast-iron steaks and noteworthy cocktails before deciding to make a move last year — officially closing down in mid-June to prepare for its grand opening Friday, July 1.
“What I love about the space and what the team has created there is we took everything people loved about Georgia James,” says Nina Quincy, director of Underbelly’s operations. “We’re still cast-iron searing everything that comes out of that kitchen, but it’s like we’ve graduated.”
The new location at 3505 West Dallas Street — on the corner of Dunlavy Street — is just one of three “jewel box spaces” to open at the Regent Square development, an area brimming with residents and space for Underbelly’s anticipated Italian restaurant Pastore, which will move next door to Georgia James by early next year, Quincy says.
And at 11,000 square feet, the new Georgia James is much bigger.
The expansive first-floor dining room, which seats more than 200 people, overlooks Regent Square Park. The second-floor rooftop lounge, slated to open in late July, is outfitted with two terraces, skyline views, seating for 200-plus people, fire pits, and an indoor, temperature-controlled space with a skylit bar.
The restaurant decor takes notes from the nearby Buffalo Bayou, with bottle green carpets and woodgrain tile floors, and a wall of broad windows, giving peeks of Regent Square’s green space. The northern section of the restaurant also features a Beech oven with decorative tiling, a raw bar that seats four guests, and a cocktail bar that seats 10.
The open kitchen is an important fixture for Underbelly staff, Quincy says.
“Having the chefs in the dining room being able to interact with the tables is so important. It helps give that kitchen energy,” Quincy says. “Our [staff] love being a part of the night-to-night action.”
The divided first-floor dining room sits 106 people in its west end, featuring swanky semi-private banquettes with marble table tops, while the east can accommodate 114 people at white-clothed tables accented by Scandanavian-style walnut dining chairs with plush mustard seats. The private dining room, which seats 24 people, has views of the wine room, which can hold up to 3,800 bottles on its racks customized by HTXmade.
Diners will be able to choose from a list of 500 wines from around the world, including picks from major producing regions and lesser-known varieties, and a host of spirits, including a collection of American whiskey and intriguing cocktails, like the gin-based Pear n’ Tonic, made with gin, Japanese bermutto, pear, and a citrus tonic.
The returning team — including Greg Peters, who was promoted to executive chef last year, general manager Raul Lorenzana, managing sommelier Fremmiot Rodriguez, and bar manager Westin Galleymore — will continue Georgia James’s tradition of paying homage to Houston’s diverse culinary scene with dishes like Viet-Cajun oysters, a nod to Bellaire’s Crawfish and Noodles, while also incorporating cold seafood for its raw bar and products sourced directly from farmers and ranchers, including many of its cast-iron-seared steaks. The meat-aging room also returns, allowing guests to see and pinpoint various cuts of meat hanging on display.
“Anyone who hasn’t dined at Georgia James and hasn’t in a while,” Quincy says, “should come back and visit.”
Georgia James will be open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. georgiajamessteak.com.