Pappas Restaurants is breathing new life into the former home of Little Pappas Seafood House, which shuttered in 2020 and has sat vacant since. The iconic Houston restaurant group announced it will reopen as Little’s Oyster Bar this spring, a brand new, chef-driven seafood concept with a spotlight on oysters, caviar, and raw seafood.
Helming the kitchen at Little’s Oyster Bar is California native, chef Jason Ryczek, who moved to Houston specifically for the job. His years of experience working with California Caviar Company give him a leg up in the business, and Houstonians are sure to take advantage.
“Since I’m personally involved in making the caviar, we get great value,” said Ryczek. Three styles will be offered, including a house caviar, Kaluga and Osetra, with the chef having hand-selected sturgeon roe specifically for Little’s Oyster Bar.
The personal touches don’t stop there. Gulf fish, including snapper, grouper, and tile will be sourced for Little’s Oyster Bar using the Pappas’ own boats. Barrier Beauties, Gulf oysters, farmed in the Bolivar Peninsula near Galveston, will round out the local bounty. The menu will be further complemented with items like Ora King salmon, Spanish octopus, and fish from sustainable farms around the country.
“As we lean on ingredients outside the Gulf, we’re looking for sustainability and proper sourcing so we can leave the ocean a better place,” Ryczek says.
With such provisions, the restaurant has put in place an attractive beverage program with Pappas Restaurants Fine Spirits and Expanding Concepts Wine Director, Robert Smith, building a wine list with a focus on European whites and Champagne.
The reimagined space, which can seat more than 80 guests inside, will feel different from its Little Pappas Seafood House days, but will maintain an aesthetic true to Pappas restaurants with banquettes, tables, millwork, an entry canopy, and a back bar, all made in house. Guests will have plenty of choices of where to dine, between the restaurant’s bar, a dedicated oyster bar with seating for 10, and a patio with seating for more than 50.
Little’s Oyster Bar will feature plenty of new, but the comfort and nostalgia of the Pappas brand will be more than evident. The all too familiar sign which towers over Shepherd Drive will get a splash of paint, but will otherwise remain as is, honoring the 35-year history of Little Pappas.