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Thursday
Jan262012

Shepherd Park: A Hidden Culinary Gem

BY DISH CONTRIBUTOR: DONNA SAA

Shepherd Park Draught House is almost quickly passed over when driving down Shepherd. Its location is secluded on the corner of Shepherd and 34th next to Pinks Pizza. It’s a quaint pub with an intoxicating ambiance that feels as if you have walked through a time machine back to the 80’s with great hair rock and roll music constantly playing and the same styled décor gives an illuminating atmosphere accompanied with tall red booths. The booths were inspired by the old school 80s look, but to also create an air of intimacy in the small space provided. Most of the décor on the walls are from Ken Bridge, the Head Chef and Owner, it’s his personal collection.

Bridge says it best,

“No matter how much money you have, you can’t buy ambiance or character.”

 

The pub plays on different atmospheres from a family restaurant, a local sports bar, a casual lunch with friends space or business associates meeting to discuss the latest deal, and even a girls night out talking over a fine bottle of wine place. Named after the area it surrounds, this pub delivers what any neighborhood wants: A place where you can be a “regular.” Bridge who used to skateboard around these parts as a child wanted to pay respects to the area he always knew and called Shepherd Park. He likes the area because The Heights is getting so overcrowded and a bit congested. The area he opened Shepherd Park in is as he describes, “the new Heights.”

 

This perfectly located pub has so much more to offer than merely atmosphere, which is always a huge part of any experience. The food is nothing short of heavenly. The dishes are all unique creations of Chef Bridge, also owner of Houston favorites, such as Pinks Pizza, Lola and Dragon Bowl. He asks for only one thing: no alternatives to dishes. But trust DISH when we say, you will not want to change a single thing. The amazing textures and the unique and sometimes strange combinations will leave you salivating for more and eating off of each other’s plates.  Chef Bridge explains that the inability to alternate any item on the menu is so that people can

“challenge themselves and explore different combinations. I want people to open their minds and challenge their palates.”

And boy, do you! My own personal favorite, the Poblano Burger, is a concoction created by Bridge after his recent (6 years) exposure and use of cilantro. Never imagined a burger stacked with an overwhelming amount of fresh cilantro could make such a riveting combination, but I constantly find myself ordering the rare treat time and time again. The Thai Curry Chicken is another wonderful dish especially for those weary of Indian food. This meal brings together the great flavors of curry chicken, without too much of the overwhelming flavors that many are reluctant to try. Only thing not on the menu is pizza. What are we to do when we want a pizza to go with our football game? Don’t fret too much. Go over next door to Pinks Pizza, order yourself a large and bring it in to Shepherd Park. It’s that easy!

While enjoying your meal, you’ll want to wash everything down with a beer from one of their great beer selections. The beer menu is short, but not generic by any means. The small but welcoming area only offers a limited amount of space and the 15 beers on tap and jam packed in there to create a diverse, yet local selection. The offerings range from St. Arnolds, Shiner, Southern Star and Leprechaun Apple Cider – all Texas owned favorites. You won’t find any over-exposed brands at this local pub. Most of these beers are Texas owned and brewed and who can argue with that brilliant reasoning? Just when you thought it was over … the bar offers brunch every Saturday and Sunday for the amazing flavors to follow you through the weekend. If you didn’t think Shipley’s Donuts could get any better, try it with bacon and whipped cream, in an amazing concoction called the Donut Waffle. This locally Houston owned treasure is a gem at the end of a long exhausting hunt for great food and a great environment.  

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