Houston has been waiting eagerly for Fort Worth chef Tim Love to make his debut there, and finally, they get to eat. Love is taking three of his popular Fort Worth-area restaurants to Levy Park in Houston's Upper Kirby area. Opening on Thursday, March 12 are:
- The Woodshed Smokehouse: The Trinity River smokehouse that he calls "an homage to all things wood grilled, roasted, steamed, braised and slow-cooked."
- The Love Shack: the chef's take on a classic burger joint, which originated in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
- Side Dough: a double-decker bus serving coffee and pastries, which is a lot like Love's Back Dough, a dessert spot at his Queenie's Steakhouse in Denton.
Some two years in the making, the new restaurants are Love's first Houston establishments. Best known for Lonesome Dove, his Stockyards restaurant that will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year, the chef operates establishments in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and Nashville.
He's also become a reality TV star who has made appearances on Iron Chef America, Top Chef Masters, and Restaurant Startup, a Shark Tank-style show he hosted with Masterchef judge Joe Bastianich.
“Houston has an unimpeachable food scene and some of the most curious and welcoming diners my team and I have had the pleasure of serving, Love says in a statement. "A sprawling space with an outdoor element is hard to come by, so when the opportunity came to be considered for Levy Park, I jumped at the chance. It’s really the perfect fit with a laid back oasis-in-the-city vibe I’m excited to be a part of."
Woodshed is the largest and most significant of Love's Houston restaurants. The restaurants seats approximately 100 in its main dining room, with another 35 available on its patio and a private dining room that holds 16. The building features a custom smoke room as well as rotisseries and grills. It opens for lunch and dinner daily at 11 am.
Similar to its sibling in Fort Worth, Woodshed's menu lists not just a dish and its ingredients but also the type of wood used to season the dish: mesquite, hickory, pecan, or oak. Proteins include the usual beef, chicken, and pork as well as wild game such as venison and antelope.
The offerings are extensive. Starters include crispy Brussels sprouts with lime vinaigrette, smoked whitefish dip with camp bread and tortilla chips, and "Kick Ass Nachos." Similarly, entrees range from Southern staples like chicken fried steak and a pulled pork sandwich to globally-inspired tastes such as a Peking-style duck that diners must reserve 24-hours in advance. One other signature item is the tacos of the day, which are made with pork, lamb, venison, goat, or antelope.
Love Shack is a considerably more no-frills affair. Located in a kiosk, it serves burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, nachos, and more, as well as wine, beer, lemonade, and root beer on draft. Since the kiosk is located near the dog park, Love Shack will also offer canine-friendly items such as housemade rawhide bones. It also opens for lunch and dinner daily at 11 am.
Open for breakfast and lunch, Side Dough will serve a full range of coffee drinks plus grab-and-go items such as breakfast tacos, sandwiches, and pastries. It will operate daily from 7 am until 5 pm.
"We are thrilled to welcome Tim Love and his dining concepts to Levy Park,” park director Stephanie Kiouses says. “Levy Park’s guests are a vibrant, diverse mix of visitors and we are excited to add these exciting culinary offerings to our existing park amenities, events and programs for our beloved parkgoers to enjoy.”