Yonderlust is making moves. (Photo by Allison Moorman)
The cocktail of the night featured gin, Prosecco, watermelon and chile.
Chef Troy Guard showed off his style with lamb sliders.
You haven't lived until you've tried this pickled shrimp.
The party inspired the mesquite grilled oysters recipe.
You can't say no to Guard's pickeld shrimp.
Mark Stalling provided the tunes.
The dinner collab was a great success.
People couldn't get enough of Yonderlust.
Who doesn't love a "bartay"?
The dinner drew quite the crowd.
Yonderlust is available for all your catering needs.
It’s time for a hell of a good drink on wheels. Goode Company, of barbecue, taqueria, seafood, cantina and giant Armadillo fame, has created a roving bar. Think of an all-new concept in old-school digs.
Yonderlust Mobile Airstream Bar is beefing up Goode Co.’s catering business, bringing eight to 10 draft cocktails, frozen drinks and handy bartenders to your door. Or garage. Wherever, really. It’s a well-oiled watering hole on the move.
And it promises updates on classic cocktails like Pimm’s Cups and Old Fashioneds — all served instantly. The official “debut” took place at Armadillo Palace on Wednesday night, even though Yonderlust’s already made a River Oaks splash.
It’s about 6 pm on a Wednesday, and Goode Co. Armadillo Palace is heating up — literally. A delicious-smelling cloud pours out of the smoker, set off by the breeze that’s been picking up, along with the cloud cover.
Chefs and cooks are slicing and dicing for the night’s special collaboration dinner between Levi Goode and Denver chef Troy Guard, who’s opening his very own steakhouse called Guard and Grace in Downtown Houston this November.
Guard may be from Colorado, but this isn’t his first Texas rodeo. This is the third of these collaboration suppers — other hosts include Drake Leonard at Eunice — but it’s the first that isn’t a sit-down kind of deal.
Goode had suggested a more casual ambience, with waiters passing around the hors d’oeuvres like Redfish dip on house-toasted baguettes. Guard was all for it.
Standing tables were set up on the sprawling patio, flanked by food stations, with four to five dishes from each of the chefs.
The crown jewel sat at the far back, a gleaming silver Airstream bearing a “BARTAY” license plate because of course.
Goode is winding his way through the growing crowd in his tan-colored cowboy hat, greeting familiar faces and strangers alike.
“I just thought it was kind of a cool project I wanted to do. It’s a 1968 Airstream Trailer called a Globetrotter,” Goode tells PaperCity. It may just trot around Texas, but it’ll go all over.
“I purchased it right about three years ago with the idea of turning it into a mobile bar. What better than having a cool prop for an event that’s also functional and can handle quenching thirsts at parties? It’s a great extension to the Armadillo Palace catering and events business,” Goode says.
There isn’t anything like it in town, which he proved at its unveiling at the Mens Clay Court Championship at River Oaks Country Club last month.
“It was out there nine days. Available for people to just walk up and get a cold drink. Everybody loved it,” Goode notes.
It’s just about ready to roll. “Phones are already ringing. People want to be the first ones to have it at their event or backyard party. I’m looking forward to making some memories and getting it out on the road,” he adds.
Meanwhile, beverage director Kyle Bell is running around the outdoor space, handing people the night’s signature cocktail: the Feisty Sardía, a drink of gin, watermelon, chili liqueur, lemon and prosecco. It’s got a little kick, just as it should in the Texas springtime.
“It’s been pretty popular, that’s awesome,” he laughs.
A woman standing at one of the tables accidentally knocks over an almost-empty cup with the ice-cold dregs of a Damne Good Margarita. Bell is over in a flash with a whole new round of margaritas, with a cocktail for everyone at the table.
“Yonderlust will obviously have frozen margaritas. They’re a staple for us at all of our concepts. I’ll go toe-to-toe with any other house margarita in the world. I’m biased, but the name fits,” Bell says.
Bell’s tasked with creating Yonderlust’s array of seasonal and rotating specialty cocktails. “We’ve barely kind of chipped the iceberg here on what we can do. I’ve got ideas for frozen Lynchburg Lemonades, whiskey Cokes,” Bell notes.
“Sometimes I close my eyes at night and it looks like a rolling Daiquiri bar in New Orleans with big Styrofoam cups,” he laughs. “Maybe at another time, we’re not ready for that yet.”
Guest’s recommendations helped catalyze a lot of the specialty cocktails. The new French 75 features a little elderflower, with floral notes to bring out the season.
Yonderlust has excited the whole team at Goode Co. “It’s not a new restaurant, but it feels like it,” Bell says.
Like Goode, Bell is most driven by the ease and convenience of the trailer. “It’s real simple. A quality, hand-crafted cocktail at the pull of a handle. We can literally pick it up and move it any time, any place. Wherever the call needs,” he adds.
Ready to Roll
This new rolling bar stands for what the Goode Co. brand strives for. “Being ready to do anything that’s asked. We don’t ever want to say no to somebody,” Bell says.
Goode feels it fits in with the philosophy, too. “It’s right in line with what we stand for. Fun, love, good time, food and drink, spending time with people,” he says.
“I don’t think there’s anything more special than being able to share the bounties of our region and state. Our little slice of hospitality is making sure people enjoy them. Plus, people tend to be a little happier with a drink in their hand and a bite of food in their mouth.”
On Goode’s side, that looked like a new recipe: mesquite grilled oysters with chile de arbol-epazote butter and seasoned breadcrumbs.
Plus crawfish tamales and his personal favorite, the rotisserie prime rib.
“We’ve got bone-in ribeye rolls that have been cooked over mesquite fire since early this morning, very slowly. You know, like you might do on the range, like cowboys might have done a couple hundred years ago,” Goode chuckles.
He topped it off with aged chimichurri, fresh horseradish cream and marinated roasted heirloom tomatoes.
Guard boasts a wide variety in his dishes, highlighting his personal flair. “I wanted to showcase what Troy Guard is all about, this is what we do. We did a Colorado lamb, sous vide for 48 hours, then barbecued with green chili, pineapple and ramp pico,” Guard notes.
Then, grilled hot links with housemade beer mustard, pickled gulf shrimp with fennel, Thai basil and olive oil, and even an octopus ceviche.
You’ll note a lot of Guard’s choices were inspired by the ocean. “People down here like a lot more seafood than in Denver, which is exciting and fun, so I definitely recognize that,” he laughs.
These collaborative dinners are teaching Guard what Houston is all about, prepping for Guard & Grace’s opening this fall. He’s all in on the city.
“I’m invested. I love the city, I love the community. We want to be down here as much as we can,” he says. He even closed on a condo this week.
“I’ve learned a lot. The people are great. What I’ve seen is everyone is excited about food, everyone loves food and going out and having a ball. They like big bold flavors,” he adds.
Keep your eye out for Guard & Grace’s opening this fall — and for Yonderlust. You’ll find the impressive aluminum bar drifting from Goode Co. concept to Goode Co. concept. And maybe even at your well-connected friend’s backyard barbecue.