Menus

A Preview of Ford Fry’s Upcoming La Lucha

Oysters will feature heavily on the menu at La Lucha.
Oysters will feature heavily on the menu at La Lucha. Photo by Mai Pham
La Lucha, a brand new concept by Atlanta-based restauranteur and Houston native Ford Fry, is set to debut in the upcoming weeks. Taking over the space that formerly housed Hunky Dory in the Heights (and adjacent to sister restaurant Superica, which will go in the former Bernadine’s space), La Lucha, which means “The Fight,” pays homage to the cuisine of Houston’s historic, but now defunct San Jacinto Inn.

Those not familiar with the San Jacinto Inn won’t remember the all-you-can-eat spreads that the restaurant was known for. Founded in 1918, and located on near the site of the famous Battle of San Jacinto (when Texas won its independence from the Republic of Mexico), the restaurant enjoyed a 69-year run, gaining national acclaim for serving unlimited helpings of in-season seafood, fried chicken and biscuits before ultimately closing in 1987. As a kid growing up in Houston, Fry and his family paid regular visits to the inn, where he would feast on crab, shrimp, oysters, fried chicken and more. 
click to enlarge Chef Bobby Matos previews a platter of fried chicken and biscuits from the menu of the upcoming La Lucha. - PHOTO BY MAI PHAM
Chef Bobby Matos previews a platter of fried chicken and biscuits from the menu of the upcoming La Lucha.
Photo by Mai Pham
The menu at La Lucha recalls Fry’s halcyon memories of those glory days. State of Grace’s executive chef, Bobby Matos, who will be in charge of culinary at all three restaurants once they are open, is developing the menu, which he describes as, “Texas coastal meets Louisiana.”

You can bet that there will be oysters. An oyster shucking room and a wood-burning hearth are two key features in the new design of the space.“We will be featuring only Southern (Gulf) oysters from small farmers from Florida to Texas,” Matos says. Roasted oysters come in two flavors reminiscent of something one might find in coastal Mexico, one a bright, aromatic, green-colored cilantro-based sauce; the other a deep red, smoky ancho-chile sauce.
click to enlarge Thai-style curry shrimp. - PHOTO BY MAI PHAM
Thai-style curry shrimp.
Photo by Mai Pham

There will be boiled shrimp by the pound, served with cocktail sauce. And for those who want something more chef’d up, there will be a Thai-style coconut curry shrimp topped with fresh sprigs of mint.

One of the standout menu items is something Matos calls crawfish toast. Sliced into small finger sized pieces, it’s like the ultimate grilled cheese, filled with melted cheddar and crawfish tails and sandwiched between slices of airily crisp bread that is to-die-for.
click to enlarge You will not be able to stop eating the crawfish toast (shown here with fried shrimp) - PHOTO BY MAI PHAM
You will not be able to stop eating the crawfish toast (shown here with fried shrimp)
Photo by Mai Pham
Are you a fried chicken lover? If so, be prepared for the fried chicken at La Lucha. Full of flavor, and dusted in a thin, golden crust that is simply wonderful, this juicy fried chicken is a about as good as it gets. The reason? No cheap chicken here. It’s free-range, antibiotic-free, hormone-free chicken from luxury food purveyor D’Artagnan.
click to enlarge The fried chicken, made from chicken sourced from D'Artagnan, is incredible. - PHOTO BY MAI PHAM
The fried chicken, made from chicken sourced from D'Artagnan, is incredible.
Photo by Mai Pham
A sampling of the sides include homemade biscuits with house-made preserves, house-made pickles, braised collards, and for dessert, soft serve ice cream topped with hot caramel sauce.

“Most of the food will be super simple just with great technique and lots of love,” says Matos, who says he’s got about 60 percent of the menu complete. And among the many other dishes he’s excited to debut? “Chili-lime-butter blue crabs, when they’re in season.”

La Lucha will be located at 1801 N Shepherd  in the Heights. For tickets for the restaurant’s pre-opening bash, scheduled for Sunday, September 9, 2018, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/la-lucha-superica-pre-opening-bash-tickets-48285418988.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Mai Pham is a contributing freelance food writer and food critic for the Houston Press whose adventurous palate has taken her from Argentina to Thailand and everywhere in between -- Peru, Spain, Hong Kong and more -- in pursuit of the most memorable bite. Her work appears in numerous outlets at the local, state and national level, where she is also a luxury travel correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide.
Contact: Mai Pham