Austin-based Loro announces chef at Houston restaurant in the Heights

Hai Hospitality (the group behind Uchi) announced that the chef for the next Houston location of Loro will be Marcos Leal. Loro Houston is set to open its doors this fall in the heights. This is the third location of the concept that fuses the chef’s South Asian culinary perspective. Tyson cole of Uchi and Uchiko with the Texan barbecue of the pitmaster Aaron Franklin by Franklin Barbecue. (The first Loro is in Austin; the second is in Dallas.) The collaboration has created dishes such as Smoked Beef Brisket with Gastric Chili and Thai Herbs and Char Siew pork belly with homemade hoisin sauce.

Aaron Franklin and Tyson Cole
Loro’s Aaron Franklin and Tyson Cole. Courtesy photo.

Leal was born in Monterrey, Mexico, but raised in Houston. He started in the hospitality industry as a hotel dishwasher. In high school he wanted to be a professional boxer, but after graduating he enrolled in the Art Institute of Houston instead. After earning a culinary arts degree, he rose through the ranks as a line cook and butcher, eventually gaining the opportunity to run a kitchen as a chef at Wolfgang Puck Express in Houston. His next big break was getting the position of Executive Sous Chef at the historic Hotel Galvez in Galveston.

Bowl of pork belly at Loro
Bowl of pork belly at Loro. Photo by Logan Crable.

According to a press release, Leal’s interests and experience include classic American cuisine and barbecue. He honed his skills in the latter by smoking meat as a side gig for FireCraft BBQ’s David Welch. Leal has also worked at Chef Kent Rathbun’s Restaurant, Jasper’s and Topgolf, where he gained experience in a high volume setting.

“Chef Marcos has such a great attitude and a diverse background; we’re thrilled to have a Houstonian leading our Loro team up high, ”Cole said via a press release.

Michael Hsu making Loro Houston
A render of Loro’s next location in Houston. Rendered by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture.

“Joining the team as a chef at Loro Heights is the highlight of my culinary journey,” Leal said via a press release. “I am delighted to build a team from the ground up and come back to Houston, the city that I consider my hometown.”

While the hours for Loro’s location in Houston have yet to be officially announced, the Austin location operates from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and has a happy hour from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. It seems likely that the new Heights location will offer similar hours. More updates are expected before Loro Houston opens this fall.

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