June 26, 2022



New intel on fancy Galveston restaurant by Houston food stars

4 min read

“Fancy” may not be the first word that comes to mind when thinking “Galveston,” but soon the two will go hand in hand as Houston hospitality veterans Bobby Heugel and Justin Yu open their first concept on the island, called The Fancy.

The new restaurant is part of a larger picture, as it will be inside the new Hotel Lucine (formerly the Treasure Isle Motel) on Galveston’s seawall, whose overall food and beverage program Yu and Heugel will also run. If the duo’s other endeavors serve as a glimpse of what The Fancy will look like, there is plenty to be excited about.

Before packing your best beach towel and heading to the coast, here’s a quick look at what to anticipate.

You’ve likely already heard (a lot) about Bobby Heugel and Justin Yu, but here’s a quick refresher.

Both Heugel and Yu have been recognized by the James Beard Foundation’s coveted awards, Yu as “Best Chef: Southwest” and Heugel as a multiple-time-nominee for his Montrose bar, Anvil, a leader in Houston’s cocktail scene.

While the pair have independent projects—Heugel recently opened Refuge next door to Anvil, and Yu has his Warehouse District gem, Theodore Rex—they are partners on Heights concepts Better Luck Tomorrow and Squable. Operating the complete food and beverage program for Hotel Lucine will be the first such undertaking for them, which they’re doing under the umbrella of their new joint hospitality group, Thorough Fare.

As far as The Fancy goes, Heugel says it lies “somewhere between Squable and Theodore Rex.”

See also  6 places for icy treats in Houston's Third Ward neighborhood

Justin Yu (left) and Bobby Heugel are the brains behind The Fancy in Galveston.

Justin Yu (left) and Bobby Heugel are the brains behind The Fancy in Galveston.

Jenn Duncan

Don’t let the name deter you, The Fancy will only be fancy-ish.

The 55-seat restaurant will have a slightly retro vibe, but don’t expect Gilligan’s Island-chic. “We are trying to stay away from the beachy vibe, since Galveston already lends itself to it,” Yu explained. “Dining at The Fancy will be like going to someone’s house and using their fancy dining room.”

In line with Galveston’s easygoing vibes, The Fancy won’t have a dress code.

A kitschy beach dive The Fancy is not, but it will be a welcoming, come-as-you-are place for all. “There won’t be a dress code because that is sort of unbecoming of Galveston overall,” said Yu, although he went on to say donning more than a bathing suit is probably a good idea. “You might feel slightly out of place in swimwear, unless you’re very comfortable in your skin, which in that case, is really fantastic.”

While there are plenty of oysters to devour on the island, you won’t find any at The Fancy.

Salads, sure. Shrimp cocktail with too many sauces, bring it on. Chilled half-lobster with a classic ravigote sauce, bet your top dollar. Raw oysters on the half shell? Nope, sorry. The Fancy’s menu features a hefty cold plates section, which Yu warns does not include a single raw oyster.

“I love oysters on the half shell,” he said, laughing. “In Galveston, there are such great places to get them, like Gaido’s and Shuck’s Oyster Bar—we want to give everyone slightly different options.”

The Fancy will serve seafood dishes like raw Gulf snapper and chilled lobster.

The Fancy will serve seafood dishes like raw Gulf snapper and chilled lobster.

Jenn Duncan

If you’re a fan of Yu’s cooking, you’ll likely nerd out at The Fancy.

Influenced by the chef’s European-kitchen experience, the menu leans heavily on French cuisine, but not exclusively, incorporating Gulf Coast flair with dishes like warm mussel salad and roasted Gulf flounder with a braised oxtail and mustard green sauce.

“We want to incorporate all the great seafood in a way that gives you a sense of where you are,” explained Yu. “What I will stay away from, because I won’t be as good at it, would be those fried seafood platters, those classic seafood dishes so popular in Galveston.”

Despite its coastal locale and cocktail starpower, boozing on wine may be a better option.

Heugel makes no qualms about loving a refreshing fruit daiquiri or a solid margarita, but he says The Fancy will be much more focused on wine than cocktails. “I love beachy frozen cocktails as much as everyone else,” he admitted. “However, I find it easier to put yourself in a box when creating a bar program. Trying to give people their space in Galveston and do something new is the box we are working in.”

Heugel promises a wine list reminiscent of the ones at Squable and Theodore Rex, and says this is an opportunity for smaller producers to have a presence in Galveston.

Save some space in your travel plans: The Fancy is opening this summer.

Both The Fancy and Hotel Lucine are slated to open at the end of the summer. While Houston’s scorching hot temps can last well into the fall, we bet these Galveston newbies will be highly sought after the remainder of the year.

Stay tuned for an opening date and further details.

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