Restaurant power broker hashes out savory plans for Houston, plus our trip to Norigami sushi


On this week’s episode of “What’s Eric Eating,” Andrew Smith joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Savory Fund. The venture capital firm has big plans for Houston.

The conversation begins with Smith explaining how he and his wife grew a restaurant from five locations to more than 50. He started Savory Fund to help other entrepreneurs achieve similar growth.

Last year, Savory Fund invested $1 million in Saigon Hustle, a Houston-based, fast casual Vietnamese restaurant in Garden Oaks. Smith explains the reasons for the investments and their plans to grow the brand.

The fund sees Houston as ripe for several of its other brands, including breakfast concept Hash Kitchen, Miami-based burger restaurant Pincho, Hawaiian restaurant Mo’ Bettahs, and Via 313, the Austin-based, Detroit-style pizzeria that will open its first Houston-area location near Memorial City Mall in the next couple of months. Sandler asks Smith why Savory has chosen to invest “tens of millions” of dollars in the Bayou City.

“At the end of the day, we like the economic growth in that market. Two, business friendly. Three, it’s kind of a foodie town. You guys like to eat,” he says. “People enjoy eating out. It’s part of their lives. It’s part of their social interaction with friends and family members.”

Listen to the full episode to hear Smith discuss how Hash Kitchen sets itself apart in the competitive breakfast market. He also shares the kinds of restaurants Savory is looking to invest in as part of its latest, $200 million round.

On this week’s first episode, Sandler and co-host Monica Danna discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: City Cellars HTX relocating to the East River development; Agricole Hospitality opening Lightnin’s Good Times in EaDo; and the Cursed Cauldron pop-up that’s taking over Ninja Ramen through Halloween.

In the restaurant of the week segment, Danna and Sandler share their opinions about Norigami, the new sushi hand roll restaurant that recently opened in West U. Listen to hear their favorite bites as well as their thoughts on Hidden Bar, the speakeasy-style bar next to Norigami.

Terms and Conditions