Eating Our Words recently caught up with Yorkshire native Craig Mallinson, owner of the Red Lion Pub. He talked about why he opened the Red Lion and gave us a brief history of pubs.
EOW: So what made you want to open an English pub in Houston?
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Mallinson: Well, before moving to Houston, I had two places, one in Greece and one in England. However, those bars weren't food-oriented. But the food angle for the Red Lion was something that just snowballed. With a kitchen in the Red Lion, I had two options: I could either just get by or try to excel. So I tried to excel in that since we had something, let's try to make it the best at what it is. At the time, there were several places that were called "pubs," but just because you call yourself a pub, it doesn't mean that you are one. In fact, this is not actually called a pub. The official name of this place is just the Red Lion. Then I allowed people to walk in here and determine for themselves what it was. Some people think they're walking into a pub, some think it's a restaurant, and some think it's a bar. So it's whatever you think it is.
EOW: So help me and our readers understand, what is the definition of a pub?
Mallinson: Well, pub is short for "public house." In the old days, people were allowed to open up their homes to become a public place of meeting where beer could be consumed. So anyone with two barrels and a plank of wood could literally open up a bar. Pubs in England are a way of life. Unfortunately, pubs in England have evolved more into discotheques full of loud music and large video screens. It used to be pubs were the place you go to get the latest news. Before TVs and news, to know what was going on in town, you would go to the local pub where everyone was gossiping about it. But nowadays, pubs are a dying breed.
Check in again tomorrow to learn about the humble beginnings of the Red Lion's menu and how it has evolved.