Owner John Amato and General Manager Jason Daly opened the restaurant in 2015 to provide a family-style dining experience complete with a changing selection of brews, many of which are locally produced.
The two grew up in Texas City and have lived in the Clear Lake area for more than 15 years; now, both reside just down the street from J. Henry’s. One of the most rewarding parts of running the business, Daly said, is interacting with the locals.
“This is where we know everybody, and this is home,” Amato said.
Aside from getting to know customers and ensuring low levels of staff turnover, a key part of the business involves developing relationships with local brewers, including those just starting up, Amato and Daly said. About 70% of the 51 beers offered on tap are produced in Houston, Dallas, Austin or San Antonio. No beer has appeared on the menu twice, as they constantly rotate, but Amato said IPA beers are typically popular and therefore appear often.
After five and a half years in business, Amato said beers from Houston-based companies, such as True Anomaly Brewing Company, Galveston Island Brewing and Webster-based Saloon Door Brewing, are frequently featured because of the positive partnerships he and Daly have formed with those businesses.
The food menu consists of crowd-pleasing items that are as simple as possible while still providing variety, Amato said. Popular items include the fried egg burger, buffalo mac and cheese, bacon tomato basil soup and soft pretzel.
The eatery also features a drive-thru growler line, where customers can purchase 32- or 64-ounce draft beers at a lower cost than if they were to drink them in the restaurant. While diners will occasionally come in requesting a more mainstream beverage, such as a Bud Light, staffers usually try to direct them to a locally produced equivalent.
“I think we’ve kind of changed the community to where they now appreciate craft beer,” Daly said.