Culture / Restaurants

The Chef Behind Houston’s Best Restaurant Starts Anew

His New Neighborhood Bar (with a Cocktail King Assist) is Almost Here

BY // 03.30.17

If you’re still mourning the loss of Houston’s acclaimed city-changing restaurant Oxheart (which served its last meal earlier this month), it’s time to dry your tears. The culinary mastermind responsible for the Warehouse District vegetable haven — James Beard award-winning chef Justin Yu — is already on to the next one.

Yu partners with cocktail king Bobby Heugel — you may know him for popular haunts such as Anvil Bar and Refuge, The Nightingale Room, and the new Tongue Cut Sparrow —  for Better Luck Tomorrow, the duo’s riff on a neighborhood bar set to open sometime in April at 544 Yale Street.

“Good bars are happy places with a dash of melancholy,” Heugel says when explaining the bar’s chosen name. “I like [the name] because it’s both a well wish and a sarcastic comment,” Yu adds.

The new venture offers both Heugel and Yu a chance to flex their diverse range of skills, starting with BLT’s cocktail program which will veer away from the classics and instead feature 10 original concoctions highlighting hyper-seasonal ingredients and avant garde garnishes (think Gibsons finished with pickled onions). Heugel’s whimsical libations will be accompanied by a dynamic wine list curated by Justin Vann, Yu’s partner in posh downtown bar Public Services Wine and Whiskey.

Lookout for Vann’s weekly Break-Even wine selection at Better Luck Tomorrow, which will allow for by-the-glass pours of rare, high-end bottles every Sunday.

Yu will enrich the Better Luck Tomorrow experience with a 10-item food menu, but don’t expect remnants of Oxheart to creep through. Yu describes the future offerings as “food we’d make for ourselves and friends on our day off.” Which also means this won’t be your typical fried bar food. We’re bracing ourselves for Yu’s Party Melt, a patty melt comprised of thin beef patties, caramelized, onions and crispy cheese.

“We’ll be offering our guests something different than what they’ve experienced at Anvil or Oxheart,” Yu says. “This bar will be playful and lighthearted while continuing to execute at the highest level.”

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