Chic New Galveston Hotel Unveils New Restaurant From Chef and Drinking Stars – Get Ready for the Fantasy

OFrom a ramshackle beachfront motel circa 1963 — with a paltry two-star rating — the former Galveston Island relic, originally called The Treasure Island Motel, is being completely transformed from the ground up. Due to open at the end of this summer as a chic new boutique hotel, rebranded Lucina Hotelit brings in kitchen and bar heavyweights from the continent to make their mark on this gleaming new island retreat.

Lucine’s restaurant will be called The Fancy, and Justin Yu, award-winning chef James Beard and owner of Houston’s Theodore RexBetter Luck Tomorrow and Squable will prepare the food, while cocktail visionary Bobby Heugel known for the tinctures he shakes at Anvil and Refuge will collaborate on the drinks menu and the wine list.

The 55-seat restaurant, designed by Kartwheel Studio of Austin, is inspired by the spirit of this new hospitality venture, led by partners Dave and Keath Jacoby and Robert Marcus. Keath Jacoby is “BOI” or “Born on the Island,” and his strict requirement for this new Galveston restaurant is that it appeal to locals and hotel visitors alike.

With one must assume, tongue firmly planted in cheek, the playful name The Fancy will serve what Heugel and Yu dub American fine-ish cuisine with dishes prepared with local ingredients (and the obvious – seafood) built with French cooking techniques. Think casual French cuisine, not the big frou-frou toque and white tablecloth.

Yu aims to build a balanced European-style menu, at least half of which will incorporate fish and shellfish in original ways. The menu begins with a cold plate section with barely an oyster on the half shell in sight. Instead, crisp and crunchy salads, shrimp cocktail with so many sauces, and raw dishes like a chilled half lobster with a classic Ravigote sauce are on offer.

Small hot plates include homemade Texas pork and beef meatballs and a warm mussel salad sprinkled with chiles and olives. Bigger main courses to share, such as a pork belly roast, roasted whole plaice topped with braised oxtail and green mustard sauce, and a deluxe French dip sandwich round out some of the entries. Diners at The Fancy can end with small but decadent desserts. Theodore Rex’s Hot Butter Cake might even make an appearance.

“I hope it’s food that’s as gourmet as it is creative, rooted in my education in European cuisine, but with a lot of character,” says Yu. “There’s going to be a lot to celebrate at the hotel, and I think that the menu will really help people let go.”

Justin Yu, left, and Bobby Heugel are teaming up to develop food and drink menus for the upcoming Lucine Hotel in Galveston. (Photo by Jenn Duncan)

The Fancy is Heugel and Yu’s first time working to combine cocktails and food in a full dining space. It is also the first hotel project for both of them. As a result, you can expect classics they both love, including an extension of the Gulf Coast’s fanciest martini, Bobby’s Martini, and locally-inspired originals.

“Honestly, Justin and I spend too much time drinking and eating together,” Heugel says. “We think cocktails are a great start to the dining experience, but they have to respect an excellent wine list. We want our guests to be able to count on a wine list of nearly 100 selections which we believe complements The Fancy’s cuisine well, with an above average number of options by the glass.

“We believe there is a real opportunity in Galveston for a wine list that showcases small producers – both classic and natural in their approaches – in addition to selfishly stocking some of our personal favorites.”

Lucina Hotel and The Fancy is set to open late this summer for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.