My Montrose: Shawn Bermudez
Southern California native Shawn Bermudez has been called the Lord of Lower Westheimer. His ever-growing empire includes vintage clothing stores Pavement and Leopard Lounge, as well as bars like Pistolero’s, Royal Oak, Boondocks, and Stone’s Throw. His new restaurant The Burger Joint opens on November 4 at 2703 Montrose, the former location of Little Bigs.
Most of the boutiques and bars and restaurants you’ve opened in Houston have been in Montrose–what is it about the neighborhood that keeps you coming back?
I live in Montrose and I don’t really like driving all too much. Really, though, I always say that Montrose is the reason I moved here. I haven’t lived anywhere else in Houston, and I feel like I know this neighborhood better than any other neighborhood. I’ve always kept my mind open to doing projects in other neighborhoods, but I’ve been fortunate to come across enough opportunities here in Montrose to keep me busy.
You also live in Montrose. How has the neighborhood changed since you first arrived in 2004?
It definitely has changed! I’ve only been here for 11 years so I couldn’t imagine how those who have been here for 20-plus years would answer this question. Although it’s sad to see some of the old character of the neighborhood disappear, I feel like there has been a lot of new and exciting blood in Montrose over the past five years. We are spoiled now with some of the best restaurants not only in the city but the nation, while still maintaining a feeling of the “old Montrose.”
What’s the concept of your newest venture, The Burger Joint? Why does Houston need another burger restaurant?
I like to think of The Burger Joint as an ice house with amazing hamburgers. Our patio seats approximately 150 people so I’m really excited for the neighborhood to take advantage of us on those patio-weather days. We offer a large selection of burgers, but our focus is on our classic burger, which I think can rival any classic burger in town. We locally source our beef from 44 Farms out of Cameron, Texas and use all fresh and natural ingredients. We also have hot dogs, sandwiches, and burger bowls (our version of salads), and shakes with all syrups made in house. On the beer side, we have 23 beers on tap, along with Saint Arnold root beer on tap, and 19 beers in bottle. I think we are going to fit into the Montrose neighborhood quite nicely.
What would a perfect Saturday night in Montrose be for you? Where would you go?
I’m going to have start with dinner at Da Marco. Their amazing selection of wine and great food, accompanied with what I think is the best service in town, makes for a great beginning to an evening in Montrose. I would probably follow it up with a few cocktails at Stone’s Throw. Caleb Gutierrez, who runs the bar program there, continues to amaze me with his innovative, yet approachable cocktails.