Stuff Your Face: Market merges upscale with down-home


VICTORIA – Spiced with intriguing ideas and a laid-back atmosphere, formal business meetings and casual lunches live in harmony at Huvar’s Artisan Market.

The restaurant, sandwiched between city hall, a furniture shop and the skeleton of a former wine bar, offers a breath of fresh, albeit eclectic, air to downtowners looking for good eats.

Under the direction of Sean Fanelli, executive chef and general manager, Huvar’s new menu features salads loaded with organic greens, hot-pressed sandwiches, gourmet burgers and a selection of in-house, pecan- smoked bacon, in-house corned beef, pimento cheese and other goodies for sale by the pint or by the pound.

Fanelli, a Victoria native, left town when he was 18, and after 25 years away, preparing meals for Lady Bird Johnson, the Austin Council on Foreign Affairs and other dignitaries, he’s getting back to his roots.

It’s a philosophy Fanelli, 43, incorporates into his cooking.

“It’s upscale homestyle,” he said.

On the catering side of the business, Fanelli is growing a reputation for instilling special memories into each dish with custom menus and his own flair.

While Victoria may have a reputation as a meat-and-potatoes town, he enjoys guiding customers to new flavors, including Creole, Mediterranean and Vietnamese fare.

Robert Briggs and his wife, Erica, brought the restaurant to life in 2010, and with it, brought a light-hearted spirit back to downtown Victoria.

The couple grew up in Victoria and knew Fanelli from Stroman High School.

“We wanted to get businesses back downtown, to the heart of the city,” Robert Briggs said.

In 1946, the building was home to Huvar and Son Grocery; although, Fred Huvar’s original store opened in 1920 on South Main Street. The grocery store eventually closed in 1999, according to Advocate archives.

Briggs said his goal was to keep the “market feel” of the original grocery store, giving the environment an eclectic, creative spin.

Fanelli is still putting to words how he envisions Huvar’s.

“My interpretation is that it’s tried and true traditional food done in a healthier, fresher way with a modern twist,” Fanelli said. “It’s the difference of having it fresh.”


Published Aug. 30, 2014, in the Victoria Advocate


Published by

Melissa Crowe

I’m Melissa, an adventure-seeking, budget-crunching, internet-loving journalist. Along with covering local government at Victoria Advocate, I write a weekly music column for Get Out and freelance for University of Houston-Victoria in my spare time. In this year’s Texas Associated Press Managing Editors awards, I won first place for star breaking news report of the year, first star online package of the year, first community service and first deadline writing. I also won third place for team effort, honorable mention for freedom of information, and honorable mention for star investigative report of the year. I also took first place for best breaking news story in the Local Media Association Editorial Contest, a national contest. Last year, I won second in the TAPME contest for star online package, third for star breaking news report and honorable mentions for star investigative report and team effort. The Local Media Association awarded me with an honorable mention for best breaking news story. I grew up in rural northern Texas and graduated from the University of North Texas. After working for a family-owned paper in the eastern corner of the state, I took an opportunity to move south. When I’m not filing FOIA requests, I enjoy spicy Bloody Marys, kayaking the Guadalupe River and exploring South Texas. Would you like to hire me to write or edit something? Or ask me a question? Or send me a link to a funny GIF? Email me!

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