Chef Chris Shepherd debuted his Lower Westheimer restaurant, Underbelly in 2012. In his first solo venture following posts at Brennan's of Houston and Catalan, Shepherd imparts his extensive knowledge of locally-sourced food, fine wine and passion for Houston on a menu inspired by the city's cultural diversity.
The tagline, "The Story of Houston Food," sums up the vision: A menu showcasing local ingredients, as well as Shepherd's culinary experiences in the city. Everything from his frequent farmers market visits to his passion for local cuisine is reflected in the menu, as well as the restaurant design. Shepherd is even working directly with area ranchers to raise his own pigs and other animals. But the focus now is primarily on sustainably caught fish and locally grown vegetables.
The 180-seat restaurant—set inside Lower Westheimer's former Chances building—has been transformed into a farmhouse-inspired space. Key design elements marking the dining space include everything from an antique plow to two communal, family-style tables.
The private dining room, designed as a contemporary farmhouse complete with a sliding barn door, can accommodate up to 46 people.
The wine bar serves food until 11pm Monday through Wednesday and until 1am Thursday through Saturday.
Next door, Shepherd's business partners Kevin Floyd and Bobby Heugel (of Anvil Bar & Refuge) opened their craft beer bar, The Hay Merchant.
Underbelly is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday, and dinner on Saturday.
For more information on the chef behind Underbelly, click here.
- Included on Southern Living's list of 100 Places to Eat Now (2013).
- Named one of the Best New Restaurants in the American South and one of the 70 best in the world by Conde Nast Traveler (2013).
- Chef Chris Shepherd named one of Food & Wine's 10 Best New Chefs in America (2013).
- Included on TheDailyMeal.com's list of the 101 Best Restaurants in America (2013).
- Named James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant (2013).
- Chef Chris Shepherd named James Beard Award finalist for Best Chef: Southwest (2013).
- Named one of the 12 Best New Restaurants in Texas by Texas Monthly (2013).
- Named one of Esquire's Best New Restaurants in America (2012).
- Included on Bon Appetit's list of the Top 50 Best New Restaurants in the U.S. (2012).
- Included on Food & Wine's list of the best steaks in the U.S. (2012).
- Named one of the 5 hottest restaurant openings in America in 2012 by Bon Appetit (2012).