Next came One-Fifth Romance Languages, which focused on Italian, Spanish and French cuisine, albeit with a Texas twang. That concept closed at the end of July in order to make way for the newest re-imagining, One Fifth Mediterranean. It was originally slated to be One-Fifth Fish, but that concept was shelved in favor of the Mediterranean idea.
On board will be chef de cuisine, Matt Staph, who has his own long-time interest in Mediterranean cuisine. In a press statement, Staph says, " Years ago, I worked with refugees from Iraq and Syria...They were so appreciative of me teaching them what I knew about food that they would always bring me food from home. I'd never had amba (a spicy mango condiment) with falafel before and it blew my mind". Staph also says that One-Fifth Mediterranean gives him the chance to learn more about the food and the culture of his friends.
Shepherd, Staph, culinary director Nick Fine and pastry director Victoria Dearmond will honor the diverse cultures of the region with the collaborative menu. The menu will not be set in stone, however. While the opening menu will feature traditional dishes as they focus on techniques, they expect it to evolve as they learn more about the cuisines, ingredients and flavors of the Mediterranean. The restaurant is open for dinner only.
For example, the "I Dip, You Dip, We all Dip" section will offer a selection of dips served with fresh pita. The "Mezze" will offer small plates such as lamb tartare and cauliflower and black shallot tehina. The "Al Ha'esh" (From the Fire) section, will feature meat and vegetable dishes coming from the taboon (wood-burning oven) and the counter top charcoal Konro grills. Shepherd will also be working with whole lamb and bycatch fish from the Gulf.
Dearmond's dessert menu will use local ingredients in dishes like babka and baklava. Her mezze plate will be a creation of chocolate hummus, semolina cake, and other rotating snacks.
Wine director Matthew Pridgen's wine list will draw heavily from the Old World wines of France, Italy and Spain, but also include lesser known wines from Morocco, Turkey, Israel and Lebanon.
The interior of the historic structure, which used to house the congregation of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church before being desanctified, has been renovated by business partner and director of restaurant operations Kevin Floyd, alongside Collaborative Projects. The walls have been painted white, with textured white tiles and blue trim.
Chris Shepherd's success owes much to his talent, creativity and work ethic, but also due to the strong players that he brings to the stage. His management team is entirely the same as when One-Fifth began. Along with Staph, Dearmond, Floyd and Pridgen, there is also his front of house management; Jeff Buhrer, general manager and Kelly Spradley, assistant general manager. That kind of constancy creates consistent quality.
Dinner service begins at 5 p.m.