Restaurant News

Beard Award-Winning Chef Chris Shepherd Debuts One Fifth Tonight

View of One Fifth from the restaurant's mezzanine.
View of One Fifth from the restaurant's mezzanine. Photo by Julie Soefer Photography

James Beard Award-winning chef of Underbelly and whole animal enthusiast Chris Shepherd opens his highly anticipated new eatery One Fifth tonight in the former Mark's American Cuisine space at 1658 Westheimer.

The restaurant is considered one of the most anticipated not only in the city, but in the entire country, thanks to Shepherd's impressive credentials, big-name partners, including Houston Texan Whitney Mercilus, Hay Merchant's Kevin Floyd, and Steve Flippo, and a wild idea — the restaurant will change concepts once a year, including entirely new digs, uniforms and menus, for the duration of its five-year lease.

Shepherd and his team, which includes chef de cuisine Nick Fine, will kick off the opening with a steakhouse concept, One Fifth Steak, featuring numerous meaty dishes, including steaks prepared in cast iron skillets along with wood-roasted lamb neck and even a side known as Lamburger helper. Plus, there's a raw bar that will crank out oysters on the half shell, seafood towers, tuna tartare and more.

The restaurant's website promises that "each concept will be open Sept. 1 until July 31 and will close each August for renovations," which is obviously not the case for this first go-round.  So get there ASAP — the raw bar and regular bar are reserved for walk-ins, or you can attempt to make a reservation at Good luck with that.

One Fifth Steak opens tonight, January 26, at 5 p.m. and then daily, 5 to 10 p.m.

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Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.