Are we all done pretending to stay true to our "healthy" New Year’s resolutions yet? OK, sweet. Since you're ready to fall off track, you may as well do it with some of the most exciting new food and drink opportunities going on in Houston right now. But where would you find that kind of information? Oh wait.
Houston's Best New Restaurant and Bar Openings of the Winter
Whiskey. Beer. Tacos. Sound like heaven? That’s because it is. Named after the heirloom corn that was the first corn ever distilled into whiskey in the US, the modern icehouse and neighborhood lounge carries more than 100 selections of whiskey, including proprietary barrels of bourbon hand-selected by Beverage Director Morgan Weber that get showcased in a cool looking rickhouse-like structure behind the bar. Eats come from the food truck, with the menu created by AGRICOLE Hospitality’s (Coltivare, Revival Market) other half, Chef Ryan Pera. Take down short pulls like the Hell’s Bells, a shot of Buffalo Trace with a shot of Revival b&b pickle brine PLUS a Lone Star, alongside superior-quality, scratch-made tacos filled with things like braised beef cheek and Berkshire pork collar carnitas.
You’ll want to start with the I-10 Tower at this Third Coast eatery from powerhouse restaurant group Treadsack. That’s a truck load of raw oysters, blue crab claws, pickley shrimp and veg, smoked fish dip, heritage breed cured ham, and a massive slab of chicharrón for you which you can peel, suck, slurp, and crunch. With Executive Chef Graham Laborde and the kitchen taking on a “catch of the day” mentality, the concept knocks it out of the park with fresh-off-the-boat eats and good ol’ Southern hospitality. Laborde is also trained in butchery, so you can’t go wrong by land or sea, as you’ll see when you smash their not-to-be-missed dry aged beef burger.
Clark Cooper Concepts -- the guys behind some hot restaurants like Brasserie 19 and Ibiza -- have unveiled their latest creation, and it’s breathtaking (in the real way, not in the Seinfeld way). With a matrix of mismatched vintage chandeliers and floor to ceiling open windows offering lush views of the Buffalo Bayou, being here is like chillin’ in a million dollar treehouse. The eatery doubles as an event space and a California-inspired fast casual breakfast and lunch spot, so even if you’re not invited to a super fancy pants party, you can still get your grub on. Do so with salmon gravlax toasts and pressed Cubanos, treat yo’ self to a well deserved glass of wine and one of Houston’s best cheese plates after a run on the bayou; or pick up grab and go muffins and a coffee on your way to the dog park.
In case you missed the mayhem that was their grand opening, NYC’s famed street meat completed its pilgrimage to Houston last month. Since then, fans have been lining up to drench everything on the menu in THG’s dreamy white sauce, because that’s what you do here. Go for yourself to see why their chicken, lamb and rice platters sparked the halal revolution that swept the country. Then add some extra hot sauce, because we’re in Houston and that’s what you get.
If lounging in a sea of hammocks and taking down an eclectic collection of craft beers pulled from sweet-looking hand-carved taps that are housed inside a restored century-old building is your idea of a good time, that’s a very specific idea of a good time. Regardless, this eastside of Midtown brewgarden is going to be your new jam. The recent crowds and plethora of ‘here’s my feet swinging while I’m listening to live music’ Snapchats prove that so far, Houstonians likey. Take a seat at one of the community picnic tables to play games like Clue and regular-sized Jenga while you imbibe and take down a pie and some knots from the always trusty Luigi’s Pizza, which shares the yard and will bring said pie straight to your table.
So it turns out Aristotle was right. TABLE on Post Oak was great, but the rebranded La Table -- complete with a fine dining restaurant (La Table Chateau) upstairs and brand spanking new French-inspired bakery (Macarons) and cozy breakfast and lunch spot (Marché) downstairs -- is greater. Get classic poached pear tarts and smoked duck brioche that taste just as good as they look; feel like a lady who lunches with towering caramelized cheese soufflés and tuna niçoise; or ball out (in a fancy French way, obviously) with parmesan-crusted rack of lamb and double-pound ribeye for two.
Good fortune has shone down upon us, because one of Houston’s oldest and most iconic dive bars has been brought back to life after shuttering to a public outcry last year. The new owners, which include Davenport’s Duane Bradley, have kept the character of the original by only making a few well-received structural changes. Who doesn’t like more open space and a stage for live lounge acts? Reacquaint yourself to an old friend through a nice lineup of American whiskeys and drink specials like the Citywide, in which you get the completely classy combination of a bottle of Lone Star and a shot of Jameson or Fireball.
Fans of Liberty Kitchen & Liberty Kitchen Oysterette will be happy to know this little brother concept is ready to rage in Rice Village. Just to be clear, by rage, we mean fill you with things like 1/2lb double cheeseburgers smothered with pickles and thousand island, fiery Creole seafood and andouille gumbo, and deviled eggs topped with fried oysters.
Lord of the burger Ricky Craig (of Hubcap Grill) and culinary ninja Joshua Martinez (of the Modular food truck and former Goro & Gun and Chicken Ranch) teamed up to bring Galveston this New Orleans-style eatery with plenty of H-town soul. With the recent soft opening showing off all kinds of awesomeness through crazy good crawfish boils, bbq scrimps and bay oyster po-boys, we expect many a messy-faced visit to this new kid on the beach.
Houston’s latest dive is seriously cool, but you’ll have to travel East toward Magnolia Park to find out. Hint: with a rowdy and totally fun DIY music scene, fantastic library of cheap craft beers, and a big yard complete with twinkly lights, you’ll want to do just that. When you get hungry, have no fear: there’s a Whataburger and a 24-hour Mexican joint right next door.
This cool kid gastropub jumped at the opportunity to evolve into an ITL location after a successful stint outside the loop in Willowbrook. House in the old Outlaw Dave’s, it’s a much welcomed addition that just may help revive Washington Ave’s social status. Owner and chef of Federal Grill Matt Brice oversees the kitchen, which pumps out haute comfort food like CFB, that’s applewood smoked bacon that gets hand battered in house buttermilk batter, then chicken-fried and smothered with thick country gravy. Sure, these guys may be jumping on the craft grub & cocktail gravy train, but that gravy train tastes pretty damn good.
1. Eight Row Flint1039 Yale St, Houston
2. Bernadine's1801 N Shepherd Dr Ste B, Houston
3. The Kitchen at The Dunlavy3422 Allen Pkwy, Houston
4. The Halal Guys3821 Farnham St, Houston
5. Axelrad Beer Garden1517 Alabama St, Houston
6. La Table1800 Post Oak Blvd Ste 6110, Houston
7. Leon's Lounge1006 McGowen St, Houston
8. Little Liberty2365 Rice Blvd Ste A, Houston
9. Harborside Mercantile2021 Strand St Ste 3, Galveston
10. Satellite Bar6922 Harrisburg Blvd, Houston
11. Revolver Bourbon Social6502 Washington Ave, Houston
Named after the heirloom corn that was the first corn ever distilled into whiskey in the US, this modern icehouse and lounge in Greater Heights carries more than 100 selections of whiske. This includes proprietary barrels of bourbon hand-selected by Beverage Director Morgan Weber that get showcased in a cool looking rickhouse-like structure behind the bar. Tacos are available from the food truck, with the menu created by AGRICOLE Hospitality’s (Coltivare, Revival Market) other half, Chef Ryan Pera.
Bernadine’s in Heights is a contemporary Creole/Gulf Coast seafood restaurant with as much Southern tradition in the hospitality as there is in the food. Stop in for the quality seafood and stay for the patio seats and inventive cocktails. The trendy ambiance makes it a perfect spot for date nights, work dinners and other special occasions.
Overlooking picturesque Lost Lake on the banks of the Buffalo Bayou River, Houston's The Kitchen at The Dunlavy is a refined resto serving breakfast and lunch daily. Inspired by the farm fresh cuisine of Southern California, The Kitchen at the Dunlavy offers savory and simple bites: think heirloom beet salads, pesto chicken sandos, and juicy, grass-fed burgers. The chandelier bedecked dining room is truly luxe.
See what all the fuss is about at this recently landed Houston offshot of this famed NYC street cart. Open for lunch and late night, the Guys serve gyros, wraps, and falafel platters, piled high with savory, seasoned meats and their legendary white sauce.
This is one of Houston's hidden gems -- like, really hidden -- a daytime drive past its storefront on Alabama would have you thinking it was an abandoned brick house that's more than likely haunted. But at night time, once the strings lights and heat lamps go on, the patio and back yard full of picnic tables and zany, colored hammocks really start to fill up, because this is without a doubt one of the best places in Midtown, no, Houston, to sample domestic craft beers and pizza from next door neighbors Luigi's.
La Table's a classy French/New American fusion bistro in Houston's Uptown neighborhood. This massive spot offers four types of service: elegant, four star dining at The Chateau, casual eats at Marche, private dining at Privee, and coffee and pastries at their Macaron bakery. La Table's a one stop shop to experience all the elements of French cuisine.
Let the faux London telephone booth outside this Midtown joint's front door be a word of warning: Leon's Lounge delivers old-school English class and wealth in spades with luxe chandeliers and plush velvet seating. While the night's live music act plays anything from jazz to alt-rock in the back room, Houston's most stylish crowd around the bar for whiskey smashes and glasses of white to accompany their chicken curry- or beef-stuffed empanadas.
The recently opened little sister restaurant to Houston's Liberty Kitchen, BRC Gastropub and Petite Sweets, Little Liberty is a quaint, cozy seafood resto near University Place. The market-driven menu is comprised of refined takes on East Coast crab shack faves: hand-rolled Chesapeake crab cakes, Connecticut lobster rolls, and crispy shoestring fries, to name a few. Also try out some of their Southern inspired dishes and sides.
He’s already been wowing Houstonians with beef bombs at Hubcap Grill (earning the burger joint the No. 2 spot in our burger expert’s list of the Best Burgers in Houston), but Chef Ricky Craig has even more tricks up his sleeve. Along with Chef Allen Duhon (formerly of Haven and Table 57), burger guy turned restaurateur Craig has brought Galveston a classy but casual New Orleans-style eatery with plenty of H-town soul. Set in a handsome 1890s building, the eatery offers awesomeness in the form of silky and rich crawfish étouffée, dark rouxed smoked duck gumbo, classic muffalettas and po’ boys, and Gulf shrimp n’ grits that would put your Maw Maw’s to shame. With the summer in full swing, now is the time to take a trip to the beach and take in the glory of this harborside gem.
This cool East End music venue and bar features great tunes by local and visiting indie bands, and as any dive would have it, lots of cheap beer. The best part is, they are located right next to a 24-hour Mexican restaurant and a Whataburger so that you can get some delicious late night bites after a night of drinking.
Revolver Bourbon Social's a trendy spot for burgers, chicken-fried bacon (what?), and bourbon (duh). Serving up over 50 kinds of whiskey, bourbon and rye from Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ireland, and beyond, Revolver has got you covered for all your imbibing needs. Soak up some of that chicken-fried bacon (a house speciality) with a well crafted Manhattan.