by Mai Pham, Eater
SaladHead will open in West University
In the coming months, talented Houston chef Martin Weaver will introduce SaladHead, a new fast-casual restaurant that grows its own lettuce, to Houston.
After more than a year of planning, Weaver and partner Andrew Alvis finally signed a lease at 5410 Kirby Drive, taking over a space formerly occupied by an outpost of My Fit Foods. Instead of the bowls of chopped romaine and arugula found at chains like Sweetgreen and Salata, Weaver’s restaurant will base its offerings on heads of lettuce and other greens grown hydroponically by the restaurant.
“I call it ‘root-to-bowl,’” Weaver tells Eater. A chef who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Austin and comes from a fine dining background — his resume includes long stints at Brennan’s of Houston, KUU, and Artisans — Weaver had been working on plans for his own restaurant, when Alvis, whom he met at the farmer’s market and owns half of Sustainable Harvesters in Waller County, approached him with the salad bar idea.
“When you walk in, there will be a display of live lettuce with descriptions, flavor profiles, and names,” says Weaver, who estimates the he’ll probably have up to eight different lettuce selections at any given time. “We will also be growing our own kale.”
To build a salad, diners will start with a base of one to three different lettuce heads, adding proteins, additional toppings and dressings of choice. “44 Farms will supply our beef. Felix Florez of Black Hill Ranch will supply heritage breed pork. And I’ll be getting all of my fish and seafood from Frixos,” states Weaver, who adds that he’ll be using a wood-fired grill that will allow him to serve entire grilled steaks and chicken instead of the diced, cubed versions you might find elsewhere.
The partners have a contracted with Gin Braverman of Gin Design Group, who has designed places like Oxheart, Public Services Wine & Whiskey, and Beckrew Wine House, to design the 1500 square foot space.
If all goes according to plan, SaladHead should be open by early November.