One of Austin's favorite restaurant is flipping into one of Houston’s hottest neighborhoods. Be More Pacific - Filipino Kitchen and Bar, an Austin-based hot spot that just opened its first Houston location in the Heights (and experienced hour-plus waits during last weekend’s friends and family preview).
Located at 506 Yale St., the restaurant has begun its public soft opening this week with dinner service on Tuesday,March 3, and lunch beginning Thursday, March 5. Brunch starts Sunday, March 8.
Lifelong friends Giovan Cuchapin and Mark Pascual started Be More Pacific as a food truck in 2011. They opened their first brick and mortar in Austin in 2017, earning a Best New Restaurant award in the 2018 CultureMap Austin Tastemaker Awards. For the Houston location, they added Houston hospitality veteran Roveen Abante (Lincoln Bar, Pour Behavior, Understory Bar in Capitol Tower).
Cuchapin tells CultureMap that the restaurant has thrived by blending traditional Filipino flavors with a welcoming atmosphere and a sophisticated beverage program that includes cocktails and Filipino beers.
“We try to create a nice ambiance,” Cuchapin says. “One of the comments we get from Filipino families in Austin is that they love the food and they thank us for creating a spot they can bring their own friends to.”
Towards that end, the Houston location has lots of touches designed to make diners feel welcome. A window provides a view into the kitchen. Neon signs with catchy slogans provide Instagram moments, and artwork contains puns that reference Filipino dishes. The restaurant also offers two karaoke rooms that are available for private parties.
Cuchapin cites a number of dishes as Be More Pacific signatures, including sisig, adobo chicken, and kare kare, a stew with creamy peanut sauce that gets a Texan twist with smoked brisket. Lumpia, the Filipino-style egg rolls, comes in three varieties: Shanghai (pork and shrimp), veggie, or Gio’s, a crab rangoon riff that comes with a spicy mayo dipping sauce.
“Our version of adobo is the best I’ve had,” Pascaul told CultureMap last year. “Our Filipino barbecue and our sisig [stand out]. I don’t think anyone in Houston does sisig as good as we do.”
Brunch adds items such as ube pancakes and eggs Benedicts that feature housemade spam or corned beef. All of the restaurant’s sauces are made in-house, too.
On Tuesdays, the restaurant will feature its kamayan feasts. Available for groups of six or more, the restaurant covers a table in banana leaves then puts down a meal of 10 to 12 dishes. Think of it as a tasting menu without all the jokes about going to Whataburger afterwards.