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Houston’s Underbelly Hospitality Taps Chef and Prepares to Open What Might Be Its Most Different Restaurant to Date

Plus, pop-ups from Burger Bodega and chef Michelle Wallace, a chef’s tasting menu at Karne, and another reason to wine and dine in The Woodlands. Here’s your AM intel.

A headshot of Jeff Potts
Chef Jeff Potts, who previously worked for Georgia James, will lead Underbelly Hospitality’s newest restaurant Pastore as executive chef.
Public Content

Restaurant group Underbelly Hospitality is finally preparing to open what it deems an “antithesis” to all its other restaurants, and its tapped its latest chef.

The restaurant group announced in a release Tuesday, May 2, that Houston native and Underbelly veteran Jeff Potts will lead as executive chef to Pastore, a Regent Square restaurant that will serve coastal Italian cuisine, according to a release.

Set to open this June at 1180 Dunlavy Street — next door to its sister restaurant Georgia James, Pastore will strive for a communal feel, with a seafood-focused menu of sharable dishes like crudos and flatbreads, and entrees like whole roasted fish. The decor is also set to take on a lighter vibe than most Underbelly establishments. Inspired by Italian gardens, Houston-based architecture and interior design firm Montgomery Roth has begun incorporating lighter colors, florals, and brass accents. Like Georgia James, though, Pastore will open a rooftop patio, which will be just across from GJ’s patio. Can we say patio party?

Out with the old, preparing for the new in River Oaks District

Ouzo Bay, the River Oaks District Mediterranean restaurant headed by Baltimore-based Atlas Restaurant Group, closed on April 30, but its owners are already plotting on a new establishment in its place. Atlas group founder and president said in a statement that Ouzo “had a great run,” but the group is seeking to bring something fresh to the River Oaks area this winter. More details regarding the new business to come this summer, he says.

A chef’s tasting menu at Karne

Sauce being poured onto a plated slice of wagyu, grilled mushrooms and onions.
Karne’s new chef’s tasting menu intends to give diners a taste of Korea with reinterpretations of American steakhouse dishes.
Jenn Duncan

Karne, the Korean steakhouse launched by Dak N Bop’s Jason Cho and executive chef “KP” Nam, has launched a new chef’s tasting menu, according to a release. Considered Nam’s “love letter” to his Korean heritage, the 11-course, tasting experience is $160 per person and must be reserved at least 24 hours in advance. Though Korean culture will be woven through the experience (Nam sourced the tasting menu’s dishware from Korea), the chef will create a fusion of flavors, with some play on American steakhouse dishes. Menu items include foie gras croquettes, “intermission” soba noodles to cleanse the palate, American wagyu chuck flap, smoked short rib, and a pomegranate cream mouse to finish things off.

An event to sandwich into your weekend

Chef Michelle Wallace officially parted ways with pitmaster Greg Gatlin’s restaurants earlier this year to pursue her own sandwich dreams, and this weekend, she’s giving Houston another taste of what’s to come.

As a part of a series, Wallace will offer a preview of her culinary vision for her sandwich shop, b’Tween Sandwiches, this Sunday, May 7, with a pop-up at Montrose’s Fareview. The event will offer five of the chef’s signature items, including a shrimp biscuit with a Viet-Cajun étouffée gravy and her Holiday smoked turkey sandwich topped with a giblet cornbread dressing, pickled cranberry compote, and cheddar cheese with gravy for dipping. Wallace will also team up with Devin Strahan, the owner of Devin’s Spiked Root Beer, who will offer samples of his alcohol-infused root beer and root beer floats. 1708 Fairview Street, 77006.

Another reason to wine and dine in the Woodlands

Postino Woodlands patio, with an outdoor bar, befitted with seating and umbrellas.
Indulge in good weather at Postino Woodlands’ patio.
Jenn Duncan

Restaurant and wine bar Postino opened its sixth location in the Houston Area in The Woodlands on April 24. If you haven’t made it there yet, expect the same charcuterie and bruschetta boards and $6 bottles of wine and pitchers during happy hour. What’s different? Located in the Hughes Landing mixed-use district, the wine haven take notes from some of its Woodlands neighborhood. The restaurant features an endearing, shaded patio that’s steps away from Lake Woodlands, and beverage director and sommelier Brent Karlicek has set out to create a beer, wine, and cider list tailored to residents. This most recent location also plans to unveil a summertime wine list with 30 new bottles and options by the glass this May. 2025 Hughes Landing Boulevard, Suite 1100. The Woodlands, TX, 77381.


791 Town and Country Boulevard, , TX 77024 (713) 574-8337 Visit Website


2805 White Oak Drive, , TX 77007 (713) 993-6588 Visit Website

Burger Bodega

4520 Washington Avenue, , TX 77007 (346) 293-8909 Visit Website