Restaurants / Openings

Top Chef Brings His Fast Casual Taco and Chicken Restaurant Home to Houston — Little Rey Channels Northern Mexico

Ford Fry's Latest Seems Certain to Become a Quick Favorite With the River Oaks Crowd

BY // 04.12.24

Although he first made his professional name in Atlanta by opening a bevy of clever, critically acclaimed restaurants there, chef Ford Fry continues to venture back to the place he was raised — Houston. In the last few years, this talented toque has given us the tony State of Grace in River Oaks; plus the seafood forward La Lucha and the Tex-Mex focused Superica right next door to each other in The Heights. Now chef Fry is making news again with the much-awaited opening of the first branch of his fast-casual restaurant Little Rey in Houston.

Located on Mid Lane, sandwiched between Highland Village and River Oaks District, Little Rey takes inspiration from the dishes of Northern Mexico. Think wood-roasted chicken al carbon, street tacos replete with handmade tortillas like carne asada (wood-grilled skirt steak), carnitas (crispy smoked pork belly) and El Diablo tacos filled with spicy shrimp. You’ll also find queso fries and smoked chicken wings sprinkled with fried peanuts and chiles on Little Rey menu.

And don’t forget the cool soft-serve ice cream in flavors such as tres leches and a salty cajeta with those aforementioned fried peanuts. While weekends bring on migas breakfast tacos and Little Rey’s sure-to-become cult favorite pancakes served with buttermilk syrup.

Inside the Little Rey
Little Rey is a new fast casual Northern Mexico-inspired restaurant from Ford Fry. (Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee)

Mixologist Eduardo Porto Carreiro, Little Rey’s beverage director, aims to bring authentic flavors to the offerings with both on-the-rocks and frozen margaritas and a revolving lineup of house-made agua frescas. Cerveza lovers are covered with an array of Mexican made beers and a hand selected list of top local and regional craft ales.

The Texas-based Michael Hsu Office of Architecture is created with designing the interiors of the restaurant. The super-casual haunt offers a relaxed yet rustic vibe with Texas iconography in mind. Here you’ll find a mix of rose pink, deep blue, and soft sage hues, accents of reclaimed wood and Old-World Mexico-inspired hand-painted signage, vintage memorabilia (think Mexican festival masks) and standout pieces by a curated collection of artists.

Little Rey is located at 2345 Mid Lane. Its hours run 11 am to 9 pm Mondays through Thursdays, 11 am to 10 pm Fridays, 9 am to 10 pm Saturdays and 9 am to 9 pm Sundays.

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