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Food & Drink

Eat Local: Belly of the Beast

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Chef Thomas Bille and his wife Elizabeth own the groundbreaking new dining establishment, Belly of the Beast, in Spring, Texas. Chef Thomas describes their restaurant as “Global cuisine through the perspective of a first generation Mexican American.” Thomas’s skills coupled with Elizabeth’s expertise in service and hospitality, they are making an impressive mark on the area restaurant scene.

The couple aim to provide high quality ingredients handled with respect and cooked with love, and their food speaks for itself, with bold flavors and unique dishes drawing from their cultural upbringing and travels. The cuisine and service convey the thoughtfulness and passion that is implemented in the restaurant. They take no shortcuts and emphasize using local and fresh ingredients when available.

Belly of the Beast restaurant front. Photo by Belly of the Beast. / Chef Thomas Bille and his wife Elizabeth Bille. Photo by Nick Rama.
Belly of the Beast restaurant front. Photo by Belly of the Beast; Chef Thomas Bille and his wife Elizabeth Bille. Photo by Nick Rama.


Born and raised in Los Angeles, Chef Thomas started cooking professionally in 2007. He worked at The Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles for 5 years and later moved to the Otoum Restaurant as Executive Sous Chef. 2018 began with Billie’s move to Texas in August. The following year Chef Thomas signed a lease to open Belly of the Beast in Old Town Spring, which subsequently opened in February 2020. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit that March which ultimately forced the closure of the business in July 2021. Prior to re-opening at their current location, Chef Bille worked as the Executive Chef at Chivos in Houston and provided consultancy services to several area restaurants. During this time, Chef would also do pop-up events to keep the Belly of the Beast’s name in the spotlight. The time was right to reopen and a neighborhood spot became available, leading to the November 2023 relaunch of Belly of the Beast, becoming an instant hit for the Spring community.

Saag Paneer served with fresh corn Tortillas, Birria Queso tacos, Grilled Shrimp and Pork Belly; Photos by Nick Rama.


How did they came up with the name? Chef Thomas responded that “the name came from me yelling out ‘we’re in the Belly of the Beast’ whenever we got slammed at work.”


Chef Thomas felt the Spring, Texas area was underserved when it came to chef driven restaurants, leading to the shared vision, along with Elizabeth, of opening a small, intimate neighborhood restaurant, similar to a bistro. As Spring has become their home over the past six years, the couple wanted to make sure they kept the restaurant in their community.

We asked Chef Thomas what he attributed his success to so far, he shared, “First and foremost; God. We trust in the Lord and know with hard work and faith anything is possible. Our staff who come in to work and put up great products. Whether it is our line cooks, dining room team, or my mom who makes the tortillas and empanadas. Our guests who grace us with their support and word of mouth recommendations.”

Chef Thomas continued, giving a shoutout to his entire staff, “without them we wouldn’t be successful in what we do. They come to work and put in their time, dedication, and full effort.”

As the winner of many awards, we asked the Chef which one meant the most to him. “Over the course of my career I have had a few accolades, mentions, and nominations. I am very blessed to have this kind of recognition. I would say the James Beard semifinalist nomination would be the one I would take notice of, simply because it has always been something I’ve aspired to have throughout my career and when I least expected it, there it came alongside some great talent.”

Empanadas de Papa y Queso, Scallop Tiradito, Hamachi Tiradito; Photos by Belly of the Beast.


Chef Thomas’s forte is infusing a range of international flavors into Mexican-inspired cooking. Everything from small bites, raw bar, tacos, delicious entrées, sides and desserts.

Saag Paneer, which uses a Mexican Adobera cheese, instead of the Indian Paneer cheese that’s seared and served with a Mexican style spinach mole verde with corn tortillas.

Grilled Shrimp and Pork Belly, for some Asian flavors, served with ingredients tossed with a Thai tom yum sauce and topped with peanuts and topped with fermented hot sauce.

The Birria Queso tacos (with quesillo, salsa roja, onions, cilantro) that Chef Thomas became famous for are also on the menu from the original location.

Chef Thomas breaks up the monotony and gives his guests weekly or weekend specials. One of his specials was so well received, it made it to the regular menu. The Iberico Pork al Pastor Quesadilla uses the highest quality pork in the world. Chef Thomas marinates the pork in an adobo, grills it, and adds the prepared pork to a large 10-inch handmade corn tortilla filled with Oaxaca cheese, roasted pineapple, and caramelized onions.

Iberico Pork al Pastor Quesadilla. Photo by Nick Rama.


Belly of the Beast supports local events and also provides mentorship to local high school students who are interested in the hospitality industry.


We asked Chef Thomas and Elizabeth to pick their perfect meal from start to finish at Belly of the Beast.

Chef Thomas: “I would start with Scallop Tiradito, empanadas de papa y queso and shrimp and pork belly. Followed up with our gnocchi carbonara, roasted half chicken, and a side of brussels sprouts. I would finish the meal off with our seasonal panna cotta.”

Elizabeth: “I would start with our grilled peach and burrata, tuna tostadas and glass of our Pierre Sparr Cremant Rose. Next I would follow up with our Street Corn Agnolotti, and our 44 Farms Ribeye with a side of steak fries and shishitos peppers and a glass of our Postmark or Verdad Cabernet. Last but not least, buttermilk panna cotta.”

Tuna Tostadas, Brussel Sprouts, 16 oz 44 Farms Ribeye; Photos by Nick Rama.


What are the locals eating? Belly of the Beast’s top selling menu items for each category are:

Small Bites: Empanadas de Papa y Queso – and a close second is Shrimp and Pork Belly – tom yum flavors, herbs, garden veg, crunchy things, peanuts

Sides: Crispy Brussels Sprouts – caesar dressing, bacon, parmesan, pickled onions

Raw Bar: Tuna Tostadas – nori, cabbage, avocado, uni emulsion, peanut salsa macha

Tacos: Birria Queso Tacos (It is always birria!) – braised beef, quesillo, salsa roja, onions, cilantro

Homemade Pastas: Tagliatelle – roasted mushrooms, Spanish chorizo, porcini cream, egg yolk, parmesan

Entrée: Carne Asada – 8 oz grass fed bavette, frijoles aligot, maggi onions, 50/50 tortillas

End on a Sweet Note: Tres Leches – sponge cake, 3 milks, passionfruit meringue or their seasonal tart

Ceviche Mixto, Tagliatelle, Tres Leches; Photos by Nick Rama.


Since opening Belly of the Beast have done tasting menus with wine pairings for special occasions, such as New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. Chef Thomas has also done some collaborations with chefs in the city and some out of state. Future plans are to have in house wine dinners with a 5 course tasting menu during the summer to highlight the wines and the summer bounty. Watch their social media channels for updates and announcements

Belly of the Beast also does the following for catering services:

  • Corporate Lunches
  • Private Events
  • Birthdays
  • Holiday Parties
  • Socials, and more.


Whether you are out for a casual meal, family dinner, or a date night, Belly of the Beast has some delectable food. Chef Thomas changes their menu seasonally as he likes to celebrate the area’s bounty that is provided. One will always find unique specials, utilizing ingredients of that particular growing season. The Billie’s also hope to open for lunch in the future.

5 Words to describe Belly of the Beast?

Chef Thomas: “Love, Passion, Service, Thoughtfulness, Dining experience.” 

“We aim to provide high quality ingredients handled with respect and cooked with love. We are grateful for the love, support and friendships we have fostered with our guests!”

Belly of the Beast

Address: 5200 Farm to Market 2920 #180, Spring, TX 77388

Hours of operation: Wednesday – Saturday, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.




Nick Rama is a food writer, contributor to Hello Woodlands, and shares his restaurant experiences on Nick’s Local Eats at and on the TX BBQ, Burgers, and Brew Facebook page. Nick enjoys helping small business owners, supporting his community by fundraising for food banks, and plans tasting events with locally owned mom and pop restaurants.