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Welcome to
Georgia James Steakhouse

Georgia James is Chef Chris Shepherd’s take on a steakhouse. It’s unconventional. It’s driven by quality. And, most importantly, it’s fun.

 The Food Image

The Food

Named for his parents, Georgia James serves the food Chris cooks at home—cast-iron seared steaks, lots of cold seafood and seasonal sides. Chris opened Georgia James to be the steakhouse that cares—about sourcing quality product, technique, execution and the highest level of service.

Wine & Cocktails

Wine director Matthew Pridgen has designed a list with 500 selections from around the world with representation from all major wine regions, in addition to more obscure locations and varietals. We’ll have your California Cab, but we’ll also have plenty of well-priced wines that will challenge your preconceptions about a steakhouse wine list.

Our cocktail list is made up of classic steakhouse cocktails that are reworked to fit the style of craft cocktails we expect today. Similar to the food menu, we’re taking something comfortable and shaking it up a bit.

Wine and Cocktail
Spirit Image

Spirits

When you’re pairing with baller boards, there should be no shortage of baller booze. And lots of whiskey.

Our Team

Teamwork makes the dream work.

GREG PETERS
RAUL LORENZANA
BEN SNELLENBERGER
VICTORIA DEARMOND
MATTHEW PRIDGEN
WESTIN GALLEYMORE
CHRIS SHEPHERD
GREG PETERS

GREG PETERS
Executive Chef, Georgia James and Hay Merchant

Houston native Greg Peters began working in the restaurant industry in 2007 when he was a journalism major at the University of Mississippi. He cooked under Chef John Currence at City Grocery and Vishwesh Bhatt at Snackbar in Oxford before moving back to Houston in 2014 to work as a line cook at Underbelly.  Greg grew up hunting and fishing and was drawn to Underbelly’s whole animal philosophy. He was promoted to sous chef after two years and managed both the Underbelly and Hay Merchant kitchens. When Underbelly closed in 2018, Greg was named chef de cuisine at Georgia James. In 2019, Georgia James was named the best new restaurant in Texas by Texas Monthly and was included on GQ and Robb Report‘s lists of the best new restaurants in America. Greg was promoted to executive chef of Georgia James and Hay Merchant in 2021.

RAUL LORENZANA

RAUL LORENZANA
General Manager

New York native Raul Lorenzana started in the hospitality industry at a young age as a dishwasher in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Early in his career, Raul earned an Associates in Food and Beverage Management from the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, studied Sociology and Economics at Harvard University, and specialized in Business Management Studies at Northeastern University.  Raul continued to work in restaurants and nightclubs to get through school, and eventually found himself immersed in the industry once again. Raul has held various management roles, including managing partner for Assaf Group, Inc., general manager at Ember Grille and Wine Bar at L’Auberge Casino, and general manager for Bayou & Bottle at the Four Seasons. Raul joined Georgia James as general manager in August 2021.

BEN SNELLENBERGER

BEN SNELLENBERGER
Sous Chef

Houston native Ben Snellenberger always had an interest in cooking but followed his parents’ suggestion to attend college before choosing the restaurant path. After graduating from Texas A&M with a degree in construction management, he immediately sought out kitchen jobs, starting out as a prep cook at Masraff’s. He moved to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America and worked in Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C, and Montana before returning to Houston. After staging at Oxheart, he accepted a job at Coltivare under Chef Ryan Pera and was promoted to sous chef. After opening Pera’s East Downtown restaurant Indianola, he led the kitchen of Calle Onze as executive chef of Calle Onze. He joined Georgia James as a sous chef in 2021.

VICTORIA DEARMOND

VICTORIA DEARMOND
Pastry Director

Victoria Dearmond has been a member of the Underbelly team since the restaurant opened in March 2012. In addition to managing the pastry departments for all Underbelly Hospitality concepts, she serves as Chris Shepherd’s consigliere—managing his schedule, collaborating on recipe development and overall project management. Prior to joining Underbelly, she worked in the pastry department at Triniti and at a ski lodge in Washington State. The Lake Jackson native graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Austin. In 2016, she was named an Eater Young Guns semifinalist, and in 2018, she was named Eater Houston’s Pastry Chef of the Year.

MATTHEW PRIDGEN

MATTHEW PRIDGEN
Wine Director

Matthew Pridgen was raised in a farming community—and he understands the hard work involved in the production aspect of the food industry. The Houston native started in the restaurant business as a bartender at Mark’s American Cuisine, where he was eventually promoted to General Manager and asked to take over the wine list. From there, Matthew accepted the general manager position at Catalan, where he worked alongside Chris Shepherd for five years. Because of their shared philosophy on using small-farm produce and supporting family-run businesses, Matthew followed Chris to Underbelly, where he was hired as general manager. Matthew employed the same attitude in crafting Underbelly’s wine list, choosing selections from wineries that are family owned and operated. Matt was promoted to wine director for Underbelly Hospitality in 2017 and runs the wine programs at One Fifth, UB Preserv, Georgia James, and Georgia James Tavern.

Wine Enthusiast, recognizing Matthew’s expertise, named both Underbelly (2015-2016) and One Fifth (2017-2019) to its list of America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants. In 2021, Georgia James made Wine Enthusiast’s list of 50 Wine Restaurants We Love. Georgia James earned a Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator in 2020 and 2021.

WESTIN GALLEYMORE

WESTIN GALLEYMORE
Spirits Director

Westin Galleymore grew up in the restaurant business and learned about wine from his chef/sommelier dad, who also introduced him to cocktails at Anvil Bar & Refuge. Westin was hooked. Not long after, he accepted a job at Anvil, completed the bar’s notoriously rigorous training program and developed a strong understanding of cocktail architecture. Two years later, he opened One Fifth Steak as bar manager. In 2018, he was promoted to spirits director of Underbelly Hospitality and manages the cocktail programs at Hay Merchant, UB Preserv, One Fifth and Georgia James. Westin was named a Rising Star Bartender by StarChefs in 2019.

CHRIS SHEPHERD

CHRIS SHEPHERD
Chef/Owner

Midwest-raised, James Beard Award-winning Chef Chris Shepherd has helped change the landscape of the Houston culinary scene since opening Underbelly in 2012. He built the restaurant to support the Houston food community and its suppliers by buying local and drawing inspiration from the people and cultures that live in the city. Thanks to Chris’ vision and passion, Underbelly was a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, was named one of the best new restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit and Esquire and was named one of 38 essential restaurants in America by Eater. Chris was named one of the 10 Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine in 2013 and was then awarded the 2014 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest.

In 2018, he closed Underbelly to expand his Underbelly Hospitality restaurant group, which includes Georgia James steakhouse—named the Best New Restaurant in Texas by Texas Monthly and one of the Best New Restaurants in America by GQ and Robb Report; Georgia James Tavern, and Underbelly Burger. Underbelly Hospitality will open Wild Oats, a fresh take on traditional Texas cuisine, and Pastore, a red sauce Italian restaurant, in 2022.

Chris was a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in 2019 and was named Robb Report‘s Chef of the Year the same year. Chris’ first cookbook, Cook Like a Local: Flavors that Will Change the Way You Cook—and See the World, was published by Clarkson Potter in September 2019 and was nominated for a 2020 James Beard Foundation Book Award.

Chris began his fine dining career at Brennan’s of Houston, where he spent seven years in the kitchen and then ran the wine program for two. He left Brennan’s in 2006 to open Catalan Food & Wine, which was named one of Esquire’s Best New Restaurants in America that same year.

Chris’ foundation Southern Smoke has distributed more than $9.5 million directly to people in the food and beverage industry in need via the Emergency Relief Fund.

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