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Restaurants / Openings

Celebrity Chef’s Second New Heights Restaurant to Pay Homage to Iconic Houston Treasure

Are You Ready for Fried Chicken and Oysters?

BY // 02.08.18

Celebrity chef Ford Fry has been cooking up his newest Houston hotspot Superica for a while now. The Tex-Mex haven, with two existing locations in Atlanta, was announced last year. Superica will set up shop in The Heights this spring in the restaurant space that used to house the shuttered Bernadine’s.

But it turns out there is much more to Fry’s next Houston restaurant. It’s looking like Fry has some other fish to fry in his hometown.

You won’t have to look far to find the next new restaurant he envisions. La Lucha, a Gulf-centric bar, lounge and eatery, will open right under the same roof as Superica. La Lucha will take up the former Hunky Dory space as something of an annex to Fry’s new Heights restaurant.

La Lucha will be a Bayou City themed throwback that pays homage to Fry’s Houston childhood. The chef behind State of Grace remembers chowing down on the hearty seafood and chicken dinners that brought the San Jacinto Inn nationwide fame. Like many Houston families, the Frys feasted on the Inn’s fresh caught fish and hot biscuits.

La Lucha coast
Houston native Ford Fry was inspired by his childhood.

Spanish for “the fight,” La Lucha’s name references the Battle of San Jacinto, which won Texan independence. Of course, the iconic  San Jacinto Inn operated out of an old dance hall right by San Jacinto Battleground Park. San Jacinto Inn opened in 1916 and closed in 1987, breaking many longtime devotees’ hearts.

At the heights of its popularity, San Jacinto Inn served 85,000 pounds of fish, 55,000 chickens, 200,000 pounds of shrimp, 1.7 million oysters, 50,000 crabs, and 500,000 hot biscuits per year.

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Fry’s homage will not do that type of volume, but it offers some of the same style of food. Gulf Coast-only oysters, crab and shrimp mark the menu, along with classic warm biscuits and fried chicken dinners. La Lucha will have an oyster shucking room and an exposed wood-burning hearth to roast them, along with a surrounding outdoor garden patio.

Diners will be able to partake in a diverse selection of beverages, including craft beers, tequila, mezcal and sparkling wines. In some ways, this is Fry’s back to the future moment — one that could please fans of both the old San Jacinto Inn and his River Oaks-crowd favored State of Grace.

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