Popular Heights-area restaurants Star Fish, Lee’s Fried Chicken & Donuts and Pi Pizza have a new culinary director in Lyle Bento. In addition to that responsibility, he will specifically team up with chefs J.D. Woodward and Michael Nutt in a chef trio over Star Fish.
Sambrooks Management Company (SMC) was created by David Sambrooks and sons Michael Sambrooks and Laine Sambrooks. Their goal was to build a Houston-based family owned restaurant group that focused on serving quality food, while fostering a culture of fun, friendliness and good service.
Star Fish, Lee’s Fried Chicken & Donuts and Pi Pizza were recently acquired by SMC from Cherry Pie Hospitality. SMC also owns The Pit Room and The Patio at The Pit Room.
“We could not be more excited to have Lyle and J.D join us and team up with current Star Fish chef Michael Nutt to revamp and hone our menu offerings,” Michael Sambrooks, owner and operator of SMC, said in a news release. “Lyle and the team will initially collaborate on the Star Fish menu and our goal is nothing short of creating the finest seafood restaurant in Houston. Teaming Lyle, J.D and Michael together is a huge first step toward this goal.”
Bento has a proven track record in Houston as leading and working in some of the most creative and successful kitchens. Before joining the team at SMC, Bento served as executive chef at Underbelly, and before that he led the acclaimed Heights restaurant Southern Goods.
Woodward comes on board with SMC as executive chef for Star Fish after he oversaw the opening of Timbergrove’s La Vista 101 restaurant. Woodward has also worked closely with Bento before at Southern Goods, where he served as executive chef.
The third in the trio, Nutt, is serving as executive chef for Star Fish. Nutt has worked with some of Houston’s best restaurant groups and as a leading chef many times over the last decade. Before joining SMC, he served as executive chef for Laurenzo’s.
The new Star Fish team is dedicated to creating a great menu that locals will love.
“We want only the best quality on the plates,” Bento said. “The menu will be unique, exciting and delicious.”