Local Foods Case Study

In 2011, veteran Houston restaurateur Benjy Levit was venturing into new territory after having successfully established his eponymous benjy’s restaurant as one of the city’s hippest dining destination, first with its Rice Village location in 1995 and later on Upper Washington Avenue in 2009.

Levit put a fast casual spin on his ever-popular benjy’s brand when he partnered with former benjy’s Executive Chef Dylan Murray to open a new concept in the Village called Local Foods. Replacing the iconic Antone’s Po’ Boys shop that had long occupied the space adjacent to the original benjy’s, Local Foods was predicated on simple, flavorful dishes and fresh, whole foods – gourmet sandwiches and seasonal salads, fresh soups and homemade handheld desserts – all made with local ingredients sourced from farmers and other purveyors throughout Houston and Texas.

After striking a chord among consumers spanning every demographic, Local Foods became an overnight hit, and soon plans were in the works for a second in Upper Kirby on the high profile corner of Westheimer Road and Kirby Drive, opening in the spring of 2014.

OtMC spearheaded the strategic launch of the second Local Foods location, which led to front-page stories in the Houston Chronicle along with editorial features in the Houston Business Journal, Houston Press, Zagat, CultureMap and Eater in addition to Houstonia, Houston Modern Luxury, 002houston, Bayou City, and My Table magazines. OtMC also helped Murray and his culinary team reach new audiences with featured segments on local TV networks including KPRC (NBC-2), KTRK (ABC-13), KHOU (CBS-11) and KRIV (FOX26).

Despite being less than two miles away from the first Local Foods, the second location became just as popular as the first – with a daily line out the door drawing Houston notables through its doors including Houston Texans players, local TV personalities and business and social influencers galore.

In an average week, Local Foods sells more than 2,500 of its signature Crunchy Chicken Sandwich. The restaurant is consistently rated among one of Houston’s best by Houston Chronicle restaurant critic Alison Cook and has endeared itself to the local community as a champion of local farmers.

In 2015, OtMC announced plans for a third location in the Tanglewood area – slated to open in January 2016 – while launching a fresh PR & Marketing campaign for the ever-popular benjy’s brand as the restaurant celebrates its remarkable 20-year milestone.