1. The Hay Merchant / Underbelly1100 Westheimer Rd, Houston
2. Coltivare Pizza & Garden3320 White Oak Dr, Houston
3. Beaver's2310 Decatur St, Houston
4. Thanh Phuong Restaurant3236 East Broadway St, Pearland
5. Pluckers1400 Shepherd Dr, Houston
6. The Chicken Ranch6500 N Main St, Houston
7. Dak & Bop1801 Binz St Ste 120, Houston
8. Katz's Deli & Bar616 Westheimer Rd, Houston
9. The Breakfast Klub3711 Travis St, Houston
10. MAX's Wine Dive4720 Washington Ave, Houston
A joint venture, The Hay Merchant and Underbelly operate separately but are attached via a butchering room that’s fit to hold a whole hog, a cow, and other large, meat-bearing animals. Hay Merchant, a craft beer bar, boasts 75 draft beers that range in style from cask-conditioned American porters to sour and funky wild ales. Underbelly, the more upscale of the two, is a restaurant and wine bar serving up juicy burgers and meats, like roasted pig’s head and smoked brisket. No matter how adventurous your palate, consider pairing your dish with one of the aged barleywines on tap.
From Revival Market's Ryan Pera & Morgan Weber, Coltivare is a seasonally-inspired eatery that puts a fresh spin on traditional Italian foodstuffs. Think small plates & charcuterie, whole-roasted fish, pastas, and wood-fired pies. The kitchen picks every bit of fruit, veg, and greenery straight from its 3,000sqft garden. They don’t take reservations, so you’ll need to elbow your way to the bar and sip on a few of Weber’s classically inspired tinctures while you wait for your table.
Although this Sixth Ward BBQ spot offers top notch ribs and brisket, it has two main attractions: the first is a smoky queso (made with smoked asadero cheese, green chillis, and pico de gallo), while the second is a bacon omelette biscuit: an expertly crafted cheese omelette stacked with copious amounts of bacon and sausage with a chipotle honey and cream gravy blanket. Other menu items include Southern-style fare like fried pickles, barbacoa empanadas, and creative mac 'n' cheese.
This Pearland Vietnamese standby does the classic nuoc mam-style of fowl just right. Just make sure you pack some wet naps.
Few things in this world don't taste better fried, and if anyone knows this, it’s Houston’s Pluckers. Here, fried pickles are as popular as fried mac and cheese, which is still as popular as the Frachos (nachos that swap out tortilla chips for waffle fries). Pluckers is made for wing kings; available both bone-in and boneless, wings can be drenched in 20 different sauces -- from sweet and sticky "Dr. Pepper," to your-tongue-is-ablaze "Fire in the Hole" (yes, you will get placed on the Wall of Flame if you eat 25 of these). Not into wings? Pluck you.
Good-as-hell fried chicken, Johnny Cash chicken wings, and crispy fried chicken livers are allllll on the menu at this Southern-style chicken shack. As are the city’s most heavenly buttermilk biscuits, which you should definitely, definitely get.
Twice-fried, seriously crisp Korean fried chicken is the name of the game at this Park Binz spot. Co-owner Jason Cho trained under NYC’s Mad For Chicken before opening up this shop (which is a separate entity but shares some recipes). The chicken’s good plain, but we suggest getting it smothered in soy-garlic or hot-and-spicy sauce.
This old-school deli, open 24/7, won't disappoint. If you can get matzo ball soup, man-sized Reubens, and chocolate egg creams at 4am, YOU DO.
This Fourth Ward breakfast spot has some of the best fried chicken in Houston. They even give you the option of fried catfish (and waffles OR GRITS!). Plus, every once in a while there is a clown that makes you balloon animals while you wait in line. Real talk.
At Max’s Wine Dive, dining is a celebration. The exposed brick-walled joint, lit dimly by track lights and the glow of a green jukebox, boasts a buzzy energy that will spark your night. Embrace all the joys of Texas cuisine at Max’s: Get your hands on Nacho Mama’s Oysters on wontons with garlic aioli, then order a plate full of bison sliders topped with lip-puckering house-made pickles, ketchup, and grilled onions. At this point, you’ve already made the decision to stuff yourself silly, so add the fried egg sandwich to your order: three gooey eggs, a giant pile of applewood smoked bacon with melted Gruyere, a smear of black truffle aioli, and huge slices of buttery bread keeping it all safe inside.