Bobby Heugel and Justin Yu imagine a chic new boutique hotel in Galveston

Bobby Heugel and Justin Yu have revealed details of their plans for the restaurant at Galveston’s Lucine Hotel, the boutique hotel to open on the site of the historic Treasure Isle Motel property at the intersection of 10th Street and the Seawall Blvd. Called Fantasyit will be the first hotel project for the duo, whose hotel group Thorough Fare also operates two establishments in The Heights: the patio bar Better Luck Tomorrow and the European-inspired restaurant Squable.

The duo also have substantial achievements on their own. Heugel is the well-known founder of the game-changing cocktail bar Montrose Anvil, as well as establishments such as The Pastry War, Tongue-Cut Sparrow and the newly launched Refuge. Yu is the James Beard Award-winning chef behind the acclaimed Oxheart tasting menu and its successor Theodore Rex.

Tasked by Hotel Lucine partner and Galveston native Keath Jacob to create a restaurant that will appeal to island residents and visitors alike, The Fancy will offer what the duo define as “American Fine-ish Eat.” In a statement, the partners define “American Fine-ish Dining” as being rooted in fundamental French technique and local ingredients. The “ish” is essential when dining near the beach; despite its name, they recognize that The Fancy should not be also fancy.

“The Fancy is definitely not a seafood restaurant, but it would be ridiculous not to use the incredible Gulf of Mexico produce that literally stares us in the face,” Yu said in a statement. “The Fancy’s food will feel drawn to the best local produce and Texas meats available, almost always seasoned with the salt of the Gulf air.”

Open for lunch and dinner on weekdays and for brunch and dinner on weekends, Yu’s menu will include seafood dishes such as shrimp cocktails “with too many sauces”, a chilled half lobster and roasted whole plaice with braised oxtail and green mustard sauce. Carnivores can turn to meatballs that use a mix of Texas pork and beef and shareable items such as pork belly roast with roasted oysters. Yu, a big fan of Houston’s/Hillstone restaurant, also revisited the classic French dip sandwich.

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

Heugel’s cocktail menu will also help them let loose. As Heugel and Yu plan to be onsite every day for much of the hotel’s first year of operation — they plan to live on the island together, according to a statement — The Fancy’s cocktail menu will be based on drinks they both enjoy, including Tongue-Cut’s signature Bobby’s Martini, as well as an extensive wine list with plenty of choices by the glass.

“Frankly, Justin and I spend too much time drinking and eating together. We both think cocktails are a great start to the dining experience, but they have to be deferential to a great wine list,” said Heugel “We want our guests to be able to count on a wine list of nearly 100 selections that we believe complements The Fancy’s cuisine well. 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.

Le Fancy is just one element of the Hotel Lucine’s catering offer. Heugel and Yu will also operate The Den, a lobby bar that will serve three meals a day, a rooftop bar and a swimming pool. Taken together, this is Thorough Fare’s most ambitious project to date and one that has the potential to become a significant addition to Galveston’s culinary scene.

“We’ve known for some time that our next project would need to reaffirm our intent to challenge our professional accomplishments thus far,” Heugel said. “We weren’t sure exactly how these challenges would emerge, but we passed on multiple opportunities. Until we met with Dave, Keath and Robert about the Lucine Hotel. Everyone on this project has a lot to do, and we’ll make sure our contributions are as special as what our partners bring to the table.

The 61-room property will center around its pool and The Den. Plans by Austin-based design firm Kartwheel Studio call for preserving the building’s mid-century feel with details like white brick, bleached white oak and native greenery.

Joshua B. Speller