Barbecue owner and Gatlin pitmaster Greg Gatlin will open his second restaurant in the city, drawing on the culinary traditions of his upbringing in the historic heights of Independence.
Located at 302 W. Crosstimbers Street, Gatlin’s Fins & Feathers will be a “love letter” to the neighborhood under the direction of Gatlin, Chef Michelle Wallace and Executive Chef Darius King. It will serve epic comfort food that Gatlin ate growing up. , ranging from fried chicken to okra to seafood, starting in late June.
Fins & Feathers will also offer an extensive sandwich menu, featuring po’boys and a Houston twist on the hot chicken sandwich with a distinct Vietnamese twist, and a seafood menu featuring fish from different coasts of the country.
Designed by H3D Hospitality Group lead architect Craig Schuster, the 3,000-square-foot space seats approximately 80 people and will serve lunch and dinner, with an emphasis on brunch, which is expected to be busy given of the proximity of the churches of the district.
Gatlin says he and his team started discussing Fins & Feathers before the COVID-19 pandemic in hopes of learning something from the beloved days when Gatlin’s barbecue served fried seafood specialties and chicken. They hoped to turn it into a full-fledged restaurant in the same neighborhood where Gatlin was raised, but decided to put it on the back burner until 2021.
Gatlin added that in the barbecue world, it’s common to eat a lot of heavy red meat and pork.
“We thought, ‘Let’s go to a little lighter fare and connect with people on the Gulf Coast,'” he says.
“Growing up, if you’re in the South – fried fish and chicken, it was just something on the dinner table on a regular basis. If you didn’t have it on mom’s or grandma’s menu, it’s like, where did you still live? said Gatlin.
Even the restaurant space — the former location of Herrera’s Mexicatessen restaurant — an establishment Gatlin and his family frequented growing up — appears to be a full-loop moment, according to a statement.
“I really wanted [Fins & Feathers] just to be a place where people can really sit down and have a meal with friends and family. And we want to have the same consistency that we’ve always had for being a Houston staple,” Gatlin says. “We want to be there for a long time. It’s tied to who we are and what we believe in – in our mission within our restaurant group is faith, family and food, and we want to develop those things equally.
The restaurant follows on from Gatlin’s first establishment, Gatlin’s BBQ, which he opened in 2010 to great acclaim. The restaurant was named one of the best barbecues in the state by Texas monthly. Eater has contacted the Gatlin team and will update this story when more information becomes available.