One of the most difficult challenges a restaurant encounters is establishing its presence, particularly in a location that has already seen a number of eateries come and go, which is why Texas Mesquite Grill owner Austin Yates is proud of his distinctive business model. With a freezer in the kitchen big enough to only hold ice cream and a few other items, Yates said his restaurant strives to serve fresh food and ingredients that are never frozen.
"My vision is to have a good neighborhood restaurant that specializes in regional cuisine and offers all fresh food," he said. "It's nice to serve fresh food that is not pre-packaged."
Although the promise comes with a cost—more carefully scheduled and frequent deliveries—Yates said he does not plan to stray from his business model.
A Katy resident for more than 10 years, Yates has 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry and said he believes in serving food with integrity by putting the best ingredients on the plate. Texas Mesquite Grill's pantry is not entirely furnished by local producers, but Yates said he strives to purchase locally as much as possible.
The menu highlights dishes Texans come to expect in neighborhood establishments, including burgers, ribs and Tex-Mex. On the weekends, the kitchen offers random specials, such as a surf-and-turf plate, Yates said. He also came up with the recipes included on the grill's versatile menu.
"Our customers give us great feedback that the food is good, and that makes me feel happy about what we do," said kitchen manager Hector Torres, who has years of experience working with Yates at various Pappas Restaurants.
To maintain a menu that is popular to customers, Torres said the restaurant makes changes according to feedback and works to make sure customers know their opinions are heard and valued. Torres said he does not shy away from creating dishes per request.
Another aspect of the business customers have taken to is the selection of craft beers on tap, Yates said. He was surprised by the demand, and is considering adding taps to the existing 21, most of which are locally crafted.
"Our catering business also continues to grow and has taken off in the past four months," Yates said. "We do on-site mesquite grilling and people love it."
From 3–7 p.m., Monday through Friday, Texas Mesquite Grill offers happy hour specials to guests who sit at the bar and on the spacious outside patio.
TMG Original Rita, $3
Regular Taps, $2.50
Premium Taps, $3.50
Copper Ridge cabernet, $4
Canyon Road chardonnay, $4
Guests can reserve a back room with a 25-person capacity and also features a screen for presentations.
Quail Bites—Out of the eight offered appetizers, this is the grill's most popular— Bacon wrapped quail breast stuffed with jalapeos and jack cheese. $8.95 (four), $12.50 (six), $15.95 (eight)
California Avocado Burger—Although owner Austin Yates recommends any of the restaurant's fire-frilled burgers, his favorite features avocado, pico de gallo, jack cheese and creole mayo complete with fries. $9.90
Bonfire Shrimp and Rib Combo—Another customer favorite, the plate features mesquite-grilled shrimp drizzled with pineapple glaze and mesquite ribs. $17.95
Texas Mesquite Grill
Mon.-Wed.: 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m.
Thurs.-Sat.: 11 a.m.–midnight
Sun.: 10 a.m.–9 p.m.