On this week’s episode of “What’s Eric Eating,” chef Lyle Bento and bartender Greg Perez join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Night Moves Hospitality. The newly formed company has plans to open as many as four new bars and restaurants in 2021, starting with the tropical-themed Space Cowboy at the Heights House Hotel later this month and the Southern-inspired Trash Panda Drinking Club in the former Edison & Patton space in either May or June.
After briefly recapping their careers — Perez got his start at Helen and Arthur Ave. before earning recognition at Calle Onze and Monkey’s Tail, while Bento is best known for his time at Underbelly and as the chef-owner at the now closed Southern Goods — Perez explains how he formed Night Moves, added Bento to the team, and began developing the company’s first two projects. Several of Perez’s former employees at Monkey’s Tail have signed on to Night Moves and will be responsible for the day to day operations at both Space Cowboy and Trash Panda.
Perez says he plans to bring a Monkey’s Tail-style low-cost food program to all of Night Moves’ projects, which means diners will be able to get Bento’s well-regarded cuisine for prices that are below what they’re used to paying when he worked at restaurants. They also plan to offer discounted rooms at the Heights House Hotel on Sunday and Monday nights for restaurant industry workers looking for a staycation.
“When we were talking about menu prices, he’s worked at restaurants where the food is the bigger seller. I was telling him, let’s give a great deal on the food and let the bar make you money,” Perez says. “You’re going to see non-Lyle prices. . . . If you can get a whole menu of Lyle’s food for $11 [per dish], that’s hard to pass up.”
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Michael Fulmer discuss the news of their week. Their topics include Ritual’s transition into a new Korean BBQ restaurant; Fusion Eats opening a new location in Montrose; and College Station favorite Layne’s Chicken Tenders’ entrance into the Houston market.
In the restaurants of the week segment, Sandler and Fulmer discuss two meals. The first is King Ranch Texas Kitchen, the new casual steakhouse concept from Landry’s. Then, they describe their 18-course omakase dinner served by the buzzy Neo pop-up in collaboration with artisan tortilleria Tatemo.