On Saturday, Muertos Kitchen & Lounge closes its doors as we know it. On Jan. 2, it will re-emerge as Two Goats & The Goose, a pub-style eatery that won't be a culture (or culinary) shock for loyal customers.
Owner Shawna Haddad Byers said she was inspired by the thought of a next chapter.
"I saw a brilliant post by a fantastic life coach, Kym Showers, that said, 'It's 70 days to a new decade, what do you want to do?' About day 60, I decided let's just embrace something new."
The restaurateur is comfortable with change and adapting to downtown dining needs, having done so for nearly 20 years. Operating Fishlips in the Padre Hotel, pre-remodel, she carried on when it moved to 18th and Eye and grew as a music venue. She consulted on Texas 28, the restaurant that took over that space when Fishlips closed. And she opened Muertos in 2012 in Wall Street alley in the space once home to Suds Tavern and Paco’s Tacos. She also launched CraSh Lounge, an upscale bar that serves small plates, around the corner on Eye Street in 2014.
Haddad Byers' love of family continues in her work: While Muertos was designed in part to honor her late grandmother, Sittie, Haddad Byers said Two Goats & The Goose pays tribute to her Aries husband and son and her nickname from her dad.
"Goose is the nickname my father has called me since I was 2. I like to do a play on words."
She added, "My husband and son are both Aries, charming, hard-headed, stubborn goats."
(Even though Aries is often depicted as a ram, a goat is also acknowledged.)
Over the next week and a half, the restaurant will undergo a design refresh but no major remodeling, Haddad Byers said. Fresh paint and at least one mural, installing televisions inside and on the patio for game-watching and darts for that pub touch.
The menu will be mix of fan favorites, daily specials and new items.
Haddad Byers promises chile verde and fish and chips will be available daily and the specials will rotate rather than the same item offered on the same day of the week.
"We're not starting from scratch," she said. "We're not reinventing the wheel."
But she's revamping the hamburgers. While you'll be able to order versions of your favorites (Hudson, James, Homeboy, etc.), the focus will be on a build-your-own burger. Haddad Byers said regulars have always customized their orders but now it will be front and center on the menu. They'll be available with side options of french fries, salad or grilled green beans.
"We've always served them," she said of the beans grilled with mushrooms. "But we're going to highlight them."
Appetizers will still include popcorn pork, now called pork bites, and the fried mushrooms.
"I think if I took the mushrooms off the menu someone would take a pitchfork to me."
Hot dogs and tacos will remain as well with new additions such as beer-battered cauliflower tacos with sweet Thai chili sauce and ones with spicy chicken and jack cheese (which Fishlips diners might recall as Primus tacos).
There will be more entrees, developed with cooks Matthew Tidwell and Filadelfo "Homeboy" Vaquero. In addition to grilled salmon and seared ahi, Two Goats will have steaks and grilled pork loin.
If this sounds like a lot of meat, Haddad Byers also points out there will be more vegan and vegetarian options. Her son and husband's recent journey into veganism has sparked some new ideas, which she thinks will take off downtown, given the success of vegan spots Better Bowls and The Hen's Roost.
Two Goats will continue to offer beer and wine, along with beer- or wine-based drinks such as the sangria, micheladas and blood orange jalapeno margarita. Longtime server Sarah Kirchner, who developed the aforementioned beverage, will also come up with more, which may include spirits down the road.
Local beers will also be highlighted, with Kern River Brewing Co., Great Change Brewing and Dionysus already on board.
For now, these are the only changes Haddad Byers has planned but she said that's she's always has a need to keep creating.
"In five years, if I'm feeling a different way ... I'm a Gemini. It's never it."
Two Goats & The Goose opens Jan. 2 at 1514 Wall St.