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Atlanta Chef Ford Fry Is Bringing His Coal-Roasted Chicken and Tres Leches Ice Cream to Houston

With Northern Mexico cuisine as his inspiration, the chef and restaurateur is bringing his second outpost of Little Rey to Houston in early 2024

A tray filled with Little Rey’s crispy chicken, tortillas, sides of salsa and rice, plus cups of margarita and bottles of hot sauce on the side.
Atlanta’s Little Rey is coming to H-Town.
Andrew Thomas Lee

Atlanta-based chef and restaurateur Ford Fry, who grew up in River Oaks, is returning to the area next year with a new restaurant.

Sister to La Lucha and Superica, which also has outposts in Houston, Little Rey will open at 2345 Mid Lane in the River Oaks area in early 2024, taking inspiration from Northern Mexico, according to a release.

The menu will be similar to that of Little Rey’s Atlanta flagship location and will offer street-style tacos, salads, fresh salsas, and hand-made tortillas, plus Tex-Mex-styled breakfast items like migas tacos and its cult-favorite pancakes on weekends.

A rendering of Little Rey restaurant, with an outdoor patio with overhanging string lights.
Little Rey Houston will feature a spacious outdoor patio and a rustic vibe.
Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

The restaurant menu’s centerpiece, though, will be the whole, bone-in chicken al carbon, which takes about an hour and a half to roast over coals mixed with mesquite and hickory wood. The chicken is then served by the quarter, half, or whole bird with a choice of corn or flour tortillas or as tacos wrapped in flour tortillas, according to an Eater Atlanta report. And as a special treat, the restaurant will offer soft-serve ice cream, with a rotation of Mexican-inspired flavors like tres leches and salty cajeta with fried peanuts.

Named for the Mexican border city of Reynosa, south of McAllen, Texas, Little Rey wouldn’t be complete without its beverages. Ford plans to offer a variety of margaritas — frozen and on the rocks, along with a wide selection of Mexican beers, hand-picked brews, and a rotation of homemade agua frescas. Diners looking for quick takeout service or to order a drink on the fly can make use of the restaurant’s outdoor, walk-up window, cheekily titled “Uno Mas!” (or “one more” in Spanish).

A headshot of chef Ford Fry, who is wearing an apron and a hat that says “Taco.”
Atlanta-based chef Ford Fry, who grew up in Houston’s River Oaks, is bringing another Mexican-inspired restaurant to Houston.
Johnny Autry

Though the restaurant places a huge emphasis on its rustic Mexican cuisine and theme by incorporating reclaimed woods, hand-painted signs that harken back to Old-Word Mexico, and vintage Mexican memorabilia, the restaurant will also take notes from its home here in Texas. Little Rey is set to incorporate soft hues of rose, blue, and sage in its decor, and will tap all the senses, with hints of smoked wood and a playlist that features Texas great, Willie Nelson.

Ford opened the first Little Rey’s in Atlanta in 2019 and described it as a more health-conscious but still casual riff off of his popular Tex-Mex restaurant, Superica.

Little Rey

1878 Piedmont Avenue Northeast, , GA 30324 (770) 796-0207 Visit Website

Little Rey

2345 Mid Lane, Houston, TX 77027 Visit Website