14 Essential Black-Owned Restaurants to Know and Love in Houston
Dig into vegan brunch, slide into some soul food classics, or delve into new modern favorites.
Everywhere you look, Houston is dripping in Black culture. It’s no surprise that so many corners of the city are beautifully lined with stellar Black-owned businesses. And its influence spreads into the culinary scene, where we’ve recently seen creativity and community growing—there’s even been an influx of chefs converting vacant spaces into hotbeds for Southern hospitality. The city’s Black-owned restaurants offer everything from Southern classics like gumbeaux and collard greens at The Greasy Spoon to the finest plate of oxtails you’ve ever had to ocean-fresh seafood platters. New ways to explore Black foodie must-haves such as vegan “veef” sandwiches and smoked “wangz” have emerged, too. These are 14 Black-owned restaurants in Houston that’ll leave you speechless (but never hungry).
Essential Black-Owned Restaurants to Try in Houston
Bungalow provides a sort of one-size-fits-all dining experience. With a rooftop patio and a luxury dining area, this is the perfect place for a girls’ night out or even an intimate date night. They offer upscale items such as Wagyu Meatballs, Black Truffle Mac and Cheese and even a 32-ounce Tomahawk if you’re game. They also serve signature drinks like the tropical Tipsy Sailor and the adult Milk and Cookies.
Experience West African cuisine at ChòpnBlọk, now located inside one of Houston’s most popular food halls, POST Houston. You can go straight for the meats with the signature Blọk Chicken or steak skewers. Or you can never miss with their Jollof Jambalaya or Rice+Greens. Grab an Oga Palmer, their Arnold Palmer twist with lemonade and African hibiscus tea, at checkout because this spice is no joke.
Led by the 2016 champion of the TV show Chopped, Shannen Tune offers quality burgers, chicken, and other diner essentials with a modern twist. An oxtail fan? Try the Oxtail Burger (but order early, it sells out quickly each day). Or go with a classic cheeseburger drenched in Craft Sauce. They have hand-battered chicken tenders that can also be Nashville Hot for the spice lovers. And once you need to solidify that food coma, get a delectable shakes in flavors like Maple Bacon Bourbon and Strawberry Cheesecake to finish your meal on a sweet note.
Crispy. Fried. Chicken. Always a great choice. Frenchy’s Chicken has been serving it up Louisiana-style for over 50 years. Choose from perfectly seasoned chicken piece meals or tenders to fish and shrimp combos. Just be sure to save enough room for their Creole Pecan Pralines, Sweet Potato Pie and other delectable desserts.
When you walk into Lucille’s, it feels like you’re walking back into your grandmother’s house—and the food has the same effect. From Pork and Beans to their Fish Fry, Lucille’s offers that necessary comfort food. But those familiar flavors are contrasted by offerings like the Grilled Octopus or even the Oxtail Tamales. Come take a load off and get the food you reminisce about.
Mo’ Better Brews
Imagine if your go-to record store also sold a one-of-a-kind breakfast. Welcome to Mo’ Better Brews, where you can jam out while also eating an entirely vegan brunch. They have the Southern favorites like Chik’n Fried ‘Shrooms and Waffles. They also serve snacky morning bites like avocado toast. And unique finds like their Dilla Donut Burger (quesadilla + donut = perfection). If you’re more of a coffee person, try Mo’Better’s Cappuccino, Americano, or other brews to get some pep in your step.
Start your night off at Ratio Houston with their special cocktails, including their Sour Patch-inspired “Diddy Bop” drink. Then, dive into their vast food menu full of Southern classics, like collard greens, or you can go big with a Chicken-Fried Lobster Tail. If you don’t mind getting your fingers a little dirty, grab some mouth-watering crawfish when they’re in season. Sausage, corn, and potatoes are, of course,potential add-ons.
Soul Food Vegan
Third Ward is filled with key restaurants to the culture. Soul Food Vegan is no different. They add a vegan twist to hometown favorites like jambalaya with soy-free Cajun Sausage. Super Nachos—vegan ranch, anyone?—are a game day necessity. If you’re more in a dessert type of mood, the Peach Cobbler Egg Rolls will satisfy your sweet tooth.
The Greasy Spoon
You can never go wrong with some soul food. At The Greasy Spoon, they’re serving classics like oxtails, candied yams and smothered pork chops. Voted “Houston’s best soul food restaurant” by Houstonia Magazine, they also offer daily specials like Louisiana-style Gumbeaux, or snack on some chitlins, which are cooked pork intestines, for the more adventurous palate. Don’t forget a sweet treat on your way out, like some homemade Peach Cobbler or Italian Cream Cake.
The Sauce Pit
It’s the barbecue Houston is known for—with a twist. The Houston Sauce Pit is the city’s first 100% vegan barbecue food truck. The menu includes smoked “wangz” (their spin on BBQ chicken wings), chopped “veef” sandwiches and of course, baked beans. The truck is normally found on 500 Almeda Road Tuesday through Sunday. But you can sometimes catch them roaming around the city, so follow them on social media.
The Ultimate Kitchen
With a name like The Ultimate Kitchen, you know that they can throw down. If you need food like your grandma used to make, look no further. You can explore deep-fried heaven through catfish and shrimp platters. If you need some of that Sunday best, try weekly specials including turkey necks and smothered pork chops. PSA: The Waffle Burger could be the perfect meal after a long night out.
James Harden may no longer be with the Houston Rockets, but he left behind a delicious restaurant and lounge for the city. The always-packed Thirteen offers glitz and glamor with the hip-hop vibes that make Houston one-of-a-kind. Plus, the menu is filled with drool-worthy dishes like their Korean BBQ Sticky Ribs, giant 32-ounce Prime Tomahawk steaks, and Four Layer Deep Fried Lasagna. They have plenty of mimosas and shrimp and grits on hand for your brunch moves this weekend. But if you want to get the party started after dinner, head downstairs to The Basement.
Trez Bistro & Wine Bar
If you’re looking for a little wine and dine, head to Trez Bistro and Wine Bar. You can pick your poison from a list of reds, whites and other vino by the glass. For the indecisive, go for a wine flight to taste your way from the sweet to the bold. On the food menu, find charcuterie boards, Rosemary Jerk Lamb Chops, and other sweet and savory dishes to pair with your drink. Stay on the lookout for their weekly specials as well, like Taco Tuesdays and Thursday All Day Happy Hours.
Twisted Grilled Cheese
There’s nothing like a warm grilled cheese sandwich to help satisfy your hunger. But what if you could have a little something extra? Twisted Grilled Cheese reinvents the grilled cheese in bold and flavorful new ways. Come by the food truck or restaurant to try a vast menu, bearing bites such as the Truffle Mushroom, Tarragon Lobster or even Smokehouse Brisket grilled cheeses. If you’re not feeling super cheesy today, you can’t go wrong with smashburgers, wraps, or tenders.
Brooke Viggiano is a Houston-based food and lifestyle writer. Share your tips with her on IG @brookiefafa or on Twitter @brookeviggiano.
Adrianne Reece is a contributor for Thrillist.