Feast, Acclaimed Nose-to-Tail Restaurant, Closing in 9 Months

Categories: Restaurant News

feastsign.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
The sun is setting on Feast.
In the next nine months, you can do one of two things: (1) gestate a human being inside your womb (requirement: possessing female anatomy) or (2) eat at Feast one last time before the restaurant closes for good.

In a Twitter update this afternoon, Meagan Silk -- wife of chef James Silk, who owns the restaurant along with their partner Richard Knight -- announced that Feast would be closing after four years in business in the old Chez Georges space on Lower Westheimer.

"We have an announcement! It has been a hard decision to make but our lease is up in August and we've reluctantly decided to not renew it."

feastlunchitem2.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Don't leave us yet, fish and scallop pie! We hardly knew ye!
Even as far back as 2010, business wasn't great for the nose-to-tail restaurant -- despite acclaim from former Houston Press food critic Robb Walsh (who called it "bloody brilliant" in his 2008 review), Houston Chronicle food critic Alison Cook and even the likes of Frank Bruni and Pete Wells at the New York Times. Silk admitted on the restaurant's Twitter feed two years ago: "We have been critically loved but we still don't have the sales here in Houston. We still have 3 table nights."

The statement prompted a blog post and call-to-arms, "Five Reasons Houston Is Letting The Best Restaurant In Town Die," which listed many of the erroneous ideas that many Houston diners had about Feast: that it only served offal, for example, or that parking was too much of a hassle.

Feast's owners even attempted to open a second location in New Orleans in hopes of finding a more receptive audience for their fare. That location closed in 2011 after only one year in business.

No word on what's next for Knight or the Silks, but diners in love with the team's homespun British food, interesting spins on Gulf seafood and unique repurposing of offal no doubt hope that the trio remains in Houston. And even the bad news comes with the silver lining that Feast won't close overnight and disappear into the ether.

"So the bad news is we're closing in 9 months but the good news is you have 9 months to come eat at Feast!" wrote Silk. "Thanks for all of your support!"



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Location Info

Venue

Map

Feast - CLOSED

219 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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25 comments
Helena28
Helena28

How does a restaurant so critically acclaimed go out of business in two fairly large cities? Either the critics are tone deaf about what's good, or the restaurant itself has no clue of how to mine marketing gold.

K_G_
K_G_

I've eaten at Feast only a couple times, but I enjoyed the meals - the food was excellent and creative.  In my opinion the issue they have is not parking or the "offal" reputation, but its the dining room.  Its too English country pub for Houston.  I've lived in London (and Chicago and New York), and a room like that works in a place where its cool and dark for a lot of the year.  But in Houston, where its 80, 90, 100 degrees for much of the year (it was 80 yesterday, December 2nd!), you don't want to eat in a low ceilinged room with dark wooden beams - it makes the meal feel heavy, even when its not.  Maybe that works for cantinas, because Mexican / Tex-Mex is inherently warm-weather food, and they serve colorful drinks, but it works against a place with a farm-to-table concept.  For food that's more cutting edge, you need something more open, with lots of light, and you absolutely need a patio.  I'd hate to see Houston lose such a talented crew, so I hope they can find a better space to execute their concept.

blkblueguitar
blkblueguitar

This article definitely makes me want to try this place ASAP. Although, the idea of spending $25+ a person, valet, and food that is not familiar to many, can scare away the Average Joe.. Sad I know... That said, I will be visiting soon because it sounds great!

Kyle Jack
Kyle Jack

Feast is awesome and I will miss it. Michael, I had an interesting discussion with Richard Knight (one of the chef owners at Feast) one time about British food. He said that during WWII that British food got very bland out of necessity of rationing and etc., and that it unfortunately stayed that way for many years. He said that people have just started to rediscover the interesting food that existed in Britain before the war.

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

Like my father used to say, "we can't have anything nice because of you kids."  So many good times and I never ate the offal.  Best chef around.  Meagan always made us feel like we were guests in their home, and we will be until they close.  Sad news indeed.

timblack2
timblack2 topcommenter

well son of a bitch.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

Did you see their website? They have a dinner going on Sunday--rez required--for $19.95/head. Great deal, excellent way to sample before THE END.

RoqueGuinart1
RoqueGuinart1

@EatingOurWords @FeastHouston best snails EVER

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

Can we use this as a way to let folks like me know what are the "must try" things here?  I'd love to try them out.

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

As disappointed as I am, I'm thrilled to have enough notice to go again -- more than once. I was just saying the other night how much I've been craving their toffee pudding & clotted cream.

THEY MADE ME LOVE SPLEENS.

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

@K_G_ Feast's patio has a great view of downtown. I recommend eating up there.

J.A.Justice
J.A.Justice

@TxViaChicago A chef can pee off the Space Needle for all I care, if his kitchen is clean and his food is good, I'm happy.

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

@TxViaChicago Not all that unfortunate. If true, it revealed that a possum died and a chef peed outdoors. Possums live outdoors, and I don't care where chefs pee.

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

@FattyFatBastard Menu changes daily, but some things stick around for a while. https://sites.google.com/site/feasthouston/

Off the current menu:

Warm Pork Fat on Toast with a Fried Egg, Star-gazy pie, Calf's liver, exmoor toasts, and the terrine are all awesome. Bubble and squeak is a mashed potato with veggies in it, also good.I'm not sure if they're still doing it, but Happy Hour was one of the best ways to experience. They had many apps for $4, and all drinks were half price. The upstairs patio has a good view of downtown.

moonamongus
moonamongus

@FattyFatBastard There are so many great dishes at Feast and they rotate regularly. Pork dishes are always top notch, sorbets/ice creams are jam-packed with flavor, their soups smell and taste amazing, and even the vegetarian dishes (and I'm a big meat-eater) are some of the best I've had anywhere.

Specific menu items that have absolutely wowed me are the haggis, baby octopus panzanella salad, seared gulf fish with fresh peas/tomatoes, and a whole roasted baby snapper with sauteed kale. Bubbles and squeak as a side dish addition to your table's meal is always wonderful as well.

Honestly, just order the chef's tasting menu and thank me later. You will enjoy one of the best dining experiences you've ever had -- it may take a couple hours, but you'll need it if you're planning on making it past course #4. 

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

@FattyFatBastard The toffee pudding/clotted cream is my favorite dessert. It's quite sweet, but rich enough to share and the clotted cream tamps down the sweetness nicely. (I prefer no dessert or tart desserts like lemon, but I adore this dessert.)

The fish/scallop pie is also outstanding. I had an incredible piece of rainbow trout there the last time I went as well. Scallops St. Jacques are quite nice, but after 3 or 4 times I moved on to try other things, though they are a "must try" I think. I've opted for vegetarian dishes several times and always had a spectacular meal.

Josh's rule is "If it sounds weird, order it." He's loved everything from tongue to cheeks to livers.

J.A.Justice
J.A.Justice

@FattyFatBastard It really is a fantastic place. The Pork Belly is incredible.  Let Katharine give you the full rundown though, she knows the place backwards and front.

texmex01
texmex01 topcommenter

@conebaby "THEY MADE ME LOVE SPLEENS"  You just don't get to say that everyday!

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