Eric Sandler | Culture Map
July 14, 2020
M-K-T Heights, the mixed use development currently under construction on Shepherd Dr. just north of I-10, has added another promising new restaurant to its mix of dining options. Meet Homestead Kitchen & Bar, an all-day cafe that’s focused on breakfast and brunch.
Proprietor Jeff Svenvold tells CultureMap that he and his father have discussed the idea of opening a breakfast-focused restaurant for many years. Ultimately, they developed a concept that’s inspired by three of Texas’ most beloved culinary traditions: Tex-Mex, Cajun, and Southern.
“Those are the cuisines I grew up with. Who said you can’t have them all under one roof.” Svenvold says. “We adapted it for breakfast and lunch. Now we’ve expanded it to dinner as well. We want to capture the people coming off the hike and bike trail.”
As a first-time restauranteur, Svenvold had a clear vision for the menu but lacked the experience to turn them into recipes that could be executed in a professional kitchen. To bring the ideas to life, he worked with A’ La Carte Consulting Group to develop Homestead’s menu, which is designed to satisfy just about any craving with an extensive selection of pancakes, Benedicts, and other breakfast favorites.
In particular, Svenvold cites a dish that initially drew skepticism from A’ La Carte culinary director Omar Pereney — the Homestead omelet, a three-egg omelet with smoked brisket, onions, and bell peppers that’s topped with pico de gallo, guacamole, and white queso. Ultimately, the chef acknowledged that Svenvold had create a winner. Yes, (almost) everything is better when it's covered in queso.
“That’s the one I’m most proud of,” he says.
Pereney also created a version of entomatadas that could become a signature. Svenvold says he hasn’t seen the dish very often in Houston. It features corn tortillas stuffed with seared panela cheese that are topped with roasted tomato salsa, crema fresca, iceberg lettuce, avocado, and cilantro.
“To be totally honest, I had never had one before,” Svenvold says. “Chef Omar made one for me, I thought this is it. It’s something I want to have on a Saturday morning.”
Other breakfast dishes include the Mandarine-Blueberry Pancakes (two blueberry infused buttermilk pancakes, blueberry-mandarine sauce, French vanilla cream cheese glaze) and the Tex-Mex Steak & Egg Benedict (potato bun, fajita steak, poached eggs, queso, etc). At lunch and dinner, look for options like crawfish pistolettes, a Cajun classic of crispy bread stuffed with crawfish etouffee, carnitas (served with choice of flour or corn tortillas), and fried chicken.
“The fried chicken, I’ve never had one this good,” Svenvold says. “It’s probably the best fried chicken I’ve ever had . . . This one strikes the perfect balance of texture, moisture, and flavor. It leaves you wanting more.”
Veteran bartender Caleb Gutierrez (Stone’s Throw, Royal Oak) is consulting on Homestead’s cocktail program. Expect mimosas, Bloody Marys, and other classic cocktails that pair well with the restaurant’s down home dishes.
As for the location, Svenvold says he weighed several options before signing on with M-K-T Heights. Homestead will be in good company that includes Da Gama, an Anglo-Indian restaurant from Oporto owners Shiva and Rick Di Virgilio, California-based sandwich shop Mendocino Farms, and an ice cream shop from farmers market favorite Honeychild’s Sweet Creams.
“The first time we went and looked at it, [we said] this is it,” he says. ‘I can’t be more excited about getting into a development like this. It checks all the boxes.”
Construction timelines make predicting an exact timeline for opening difficult, but Svenvold hopes to be proving he’s got Houston’s best fried chicken by December or January.