495 Chesapeake Eats
Downtown Rockport’s Latest Improvement
"Food and drink is art, not science,
there is no right or wrong way.”
If you love great food, especially seafood, then you probably already know that some of the best dining along the Texas Gulf Coast happens to be located in Rockport-Fulton. And, if you’re looking for an out-of-the-ordinary seafood culinary experience then you can find it at 495 Chesapeake Eats.
What makes 495 so special? The answer is the man behind the menu – Owner, Chris Fox. A new face to Texas, Chris comes to us from Maryland and he’s brought Texans a new taste on the traditional. He is providing a niche market with oysters, crabs and mussels you wouldn’t normally be able to enjoy this far south, all prepared “Maryland style”.
Chris Fox is passionate about food and craft cocktails. He chose to open his first out-of-state restaurant in Texas due to its’ welcoming business environment, the friendly folks and even friendlier weather. Not to mention the huge numbers of mid-Atlantic transplants who now call Texas home. His original restaurants in Maryland are the best of the best in Maryland style cuisine and it’s because he uses only the freshest of everything in everything he serves. The proof is in the eating.
Another thing that sets 495 Chesapeake Eats apart from other restaurants is the fine art created by Chris and served at his Craft Cocktail Bar. A personal favorite of mine is the Bourbonapolis. It’s made with Old Forester Bourbon, blended with Elderflower Liqueur, fresh Thyme and Lemon, local Honey and Swedish Herb Bitters. He mentioned gin which I’ve never fancied; however, Chris stated he could “turn a gin hater into a gin lover”. I tried the Cucumber Collins which consisted of Waterloo Gin, Fresh Cucumber Juice, House Made Sour and Club Soda. Okay, maybe I really do like Gin…now! Wow! He won me over with his artful precision in this incredible concoction. Unbelievable - you’ve got to try this Craft Cocktail Bar for yourself.
Chris shared a few of the secret ingredients he uses in these delightful cocktails but I gave my word I wouldn’t tell. There is one thing that bears mentioning though - he does something that most don’t - he makes his own fine spirit accompaniments. Like I said, everything is always fresh; onions for a Gibson never come from a jar at 495. Instead, they are bought fresh and marinated for approximately 6-weeks before being used in a cocktail. The same procedure is followed with maraschino cherries; purchased fresh, untouched and marinated for 1-week. Chris is serious about giving his customers the best of the best. “FRESH” is the key word at 495 for everything! How about a hand- made ginger beer? You simply can’t beat the difference in taste when everything is always fresh and made on premises.
This culinary ethic has definitely been working for him, because this food and spirit artist and the Fox Boys Hospitality in Maryland have twice been invited to cook at the prestigious James Beard House! Chris Fox lives and breathes healthy cooking; he also loves educating and teaching others the fine art of crafting cocktails and spirits. The uniqueness in both food and spirits make 495 Chesapeake Eats the newest and brightest star in restaurant offerings south of Austin. What a great place to meet friends and enjoy new experiences!
495’s Chef Wesley Virassamy is no stranger to the culinary arts. Like Chris Fox, he is very passionate about food and in creating new and unique dishes every day. Born and raised on the elite island of Mauritius, last known home of the extinct Dodo Bird and 500-miles east of Madagascar, Chef Wesley knew he wanted to be a chef at 6-years of age. Born into a family of restaurateurs, he helped in the family kitchen as a young boy and mentored by his uncle, who was a highly acclaimed chef. Chef Wesley would attend culinary school in Honolulu Hawaii where he trained and graduated in Classical French Cuisine.
Virassamy started the Paradise Cove in Mauritius. This world famous resort has been chosen as the location for many television shows such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the Baywatch Reunion and others. Chef Wesley’s career was launched when he worked as su chef under well-known and acclaimed Chef Fred D’Angelo at Ola, Turtle Bay Resort on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. D’Angelo saw great promise and talent in the young chef and, together with giving him the opportunity to work with him, also mentored him.
This talented chef’s career would take him to the Marriott, San Diego, Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach, Patina Group in Los Angeles and finally to San Antonio. It was a sad day for the Alamo City when Chef de cuisine Virassamy left the Riverwalk, moved to Rockport and took over the kitchen at 495 Chesapeake Eats. Together, he and Chris have melded their shared passion for cooking into creating the most tantalizing and unique dishes around. Masterpieces, true art!
Chef Wesley’s philosophy is that “Food is about making memories.” “People remember what they ate and will recall that special someone or something that ties into the food and place in which it was shared.” This statement makes a lot of sense. Think about sharing the fun in the pursuit and discovery of great new food and craft cocktails. That would make for some pretty wonderful memories.
There is always something new and exciting being served at 495. The fact the off-the-menu daily specials are forever changing, make this restaurant never boring. A new twist I’m excited about is on the “Fresh Fish & Mussels of the Day” dishes. New dishes are created every day so it never becomes same, same and boring. You might have Thai style on Monday and French, Italian or Spanish style on any other given day. It’s a new theme every day. What a great idea!
Customers are already embracing the uniqueness of what Chris Fox, Chef Wesley and the Fox Boys Hospitality of professionals are creating here in Texas. And, to make things even more special in late August-early September, 495 will be offering a special and rare taste treat for a very limited time - fresh Maryland crab!! The reason for the limited time is the season. During this time period the crabs are at their heaviest, making for one giant juicy crab cake. I can guarantee this will be off the charts fantastic! Better call for reservations now.
So, whether it’s dinner or appetizers and a one-of-a-kind crafted cocktail, Fox Boys Hospitality aims to please. Get yourself over to 495 and start creating your own fun memories shared with friends or making new friends.
495 Chesapeake Eats is located at 1008 E. North St., Rockport in the Downtown Arts District. For more information or reservations call (361) 450-0116.