Despite COVID-19 pandemic, State Fare Kitchen & Bar opens, thrives in Sugar Land Town Square

State Fare Kitchen & Bar opened its second location July 8 in Sugar Land Town Square. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
State Fare Kitchen & Bar opened its second location July 8 in Sugar Land Town Square. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)

State Fare Kitchen & Bar opened its second location July 8 in Sugar Land Town Square. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)

Even during the coronavirus pandemic, State Fare Kitchen & Bar—which opened in Sugar Land Town Square on July 8—draws large weekend and brunch crowds, leading to hours-long waits, Director of Operations Justin Yoakum said.

“The hardest part is not being able to accommodate everyone, epecially when we are operating at [reduced] capacity," Yoakum said.

In addition to limiting the number of customers, the restaurant is following the appropriate health and safety protocols by spacing tables at least six feet apart, monitoring the well-being of staff and requiring masks when guests are not eating or drinking, Yoakum said.

Yoakum, who oversees the food program at both the new Sugar Land location and the original location in Houston’s Memorial City, said most people are drawn to the restaurant for its unique identity.

“I feel like we're an upbeat Southern concept,” Yoakum said. “So we have a bunch of really cool twists on Southern favorites. Then, also, we have a couple of spinoffs of fair-type food—like, we have fried Oreos and funnel cake—as well.”

Yoakum said he works to stay on top of the latest culinary trends and changes up the menu at least once or twice a year. Current menu offerings include the Texas Red beef chili Frito pie, the Sabine Pass gumbo, the H-Town hot fried chicken and the Kuykendahl burger.

Drinks come and go, too, as the restaurant is constantly rotating out its selection of frozen cocktails, Yoakum said. New this fall is a pumpkin spice cocktail, he added.

“Just as much as the food is important, the drinks are really important,” Yoakum said. “We take pride in having our beverage program be very driven. We print our menus in house, and we change them up daily.”

Two years ago, when State Fare was acquired by Culinary Khancepts—the parent company behind Star Cinema Grill and Liberty Kitchen—Yoakum said the owner bought the restaurant with the intent of growing it and that he eyed the Sugar Land area for the second location.

“Town Center has always been a really great place,” Yoakum said. "For a long time, it was kind of a place to see and be seen, and I think it kind of died down a little bit, and now, I feel like they're trying to re-surge it and make it a good place to be again.”

Construction on the Sugar Land restaurant began in 2019, with the goal of opening around Easter in 2020. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, restaurant leadership decided to focus on keeping the Memorial location afloat, Yoakum said.

“We'd been watching this spot for a while, and when we finally had the ability, we started to build out,” Yoakum said. “Of course, COVID happened, and it put a halt on things, and it was really unfortunate, but we decided to continue the construction process and continue to get the restaurant ready. At one point, we just decided, ‘If not now, then when? When is the right time to really open?’ And so, we decided to go ahead and do it.”
By Claire Shoop
Claire joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2019 as the reporter for the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2019 where she studied journalism, government and Arabic. While in school, Claire was a fellow for The Texas Tribune, worked for the student newspaper, The Daily Texan, and spent a semester in Washington, D.C. She enjoys playing cards with her family and listening to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.


MOST RECENT

Early voters wait in a line out the door at the Fort Bend County Libraries Sugar Land Branch the morning of Oct. 20. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
Fort Bend County averages more than 21,000 in-person voters daily during first week of early voting

Fort Bend County saw 128,619 voters cast ballots in person during the first week of early voting for the Nov. 3 general election.

Fort Bend ISD officials presented their efforts to address gaps in student learning during the Oct. 19 board of trustees meeting. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Fort Bend ISD administrators describe efforts to close learning gaps

Officials said the learning gaps, which were caused by interruptions to instruction in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, could have lasting effects for two or three years.

Voters wait in line at a Cy-Fair polling location Oct. 16. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)
Day 7 of early voting brings 91,000 in-person, mail voters in Harris County

Eleven days of early voting remain before the Nov. 3 general election.

Amazon's new sorting center is now open at 22525 Clay Road, Katy. The 800,000-square-foot building opened Oct. 9. (Courtesy Amazon.com Inc.)
Amazon center in Katy to bring 3K jobs and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

A rendering of the renovations planned for Sugar Land Town Square. (Courtesy Sugar Land Town Square)
Sugar Land Town Square redesign to bring more outdoor space, updated storefronts

Phase 1 of the renovations are set to be completed by mid-2021 with additional phases over the next two years.

Early voting in Fort Bend County for the Nov. 3 election runs Oct. 13-30. (Community Impact staff)
Nearly 56,000 Fort Bend County voters cast in-person ballots in first three days of early voting

Three days into early voting for the Nov. 3 general election, 55,999 Fort Bend County voters have cast ballots in person at the polls, and another 9,160 mail ballots have been received.

Fort Bend County saw 326 new cases of the coronavirus Oct. 9-15, a nearly 50% increase from the week prior. (Community Impact staff)
DATA: Fort Bend County averages 46.57 new daily coronavirus cases Oct. 9-15

Fort Bend County saw 326 new cases of the coronavirus Oct. 9-15, a nearly 50% increase from the week prior.

The outlet mall is located in Cypress. (Courtesy Houston Premium Outlets)
Outlet mall in Cy-Fair opens 3 new stores and more top Houston-area news

Read the most popular news form the past week from our Houston coverage area.

With early voting underway for the Nov. 3 election, read how local candidates were able to fundraise and campaign in the midst of a pandemic. (Community Impact Newspaper)
Sugar Land, Missouri City-area campaigns see low donations due to effects of COVID-19 pandemic, election experts say

With early voting underway for the Nov. 3 election, read how local candidates were able to fundraise and campaign in the midst of a pandemic.

As the coronavirus pandemic and the economic downturn that resulted from it stretch past the six-month mark, mental health professionals in the Sugar Land and Missouri City area have seen an increase in anxiety, depression and substance use. (Community Impact Newspaper)
Sugar Land, Missouri City-area mental health providers see anxiety, depression levels rise

As the coronavirus pandemic and the economic downturn that resulted from it stretch past the six-month mark, mental health professionals in the Sugar Land and Missouri City area have seen an increase in anxiety, depression and substance use.

As some Fort Bend ISD students returned to the classroom, trustees returned to the boardroom for the first time since March for their Oct. 12 meeting. (Screenshot courtesy Fort Bend ISD)
‘It was every bit as challenging as we knew it was going to be’: Fort Bend ISD leaders, board discuss transition back to classrooms

With the district's first week of running face-to-face and online learning models underway, Fort Bend ISD is continuing to work out scheduling kinks and other challenges, Superintendent Charles Dupre said at the Oct. 12 board of trustees meeting.