16 Houston Restaurant Openings to Get Excited About this Fall

Top Chef-helmed Late August’s Midtown debut and other notable newcomers.

Toro Toro
Photo courtesy of Toro Toro

A game-changing international food and market hall reimagined in a historic post office. A proven-to-be-epic Asian smokehouse from two Texas restaurant industry titans. Life-affirming Afro-Asian eats from a real-deal Top Chef, and Mexican street food from one of the city’s most beloved culinary masterminds. These are just a few of the things Houstonians have to look forward to for the remainder of 2021 (oh, and there’s pizza and burger windows, a ballpark brewery, and taco- and cocktail-strewn patio, to boot). Here are 15 of the hottest bar and restaurant openings coming to Houston this fall.

Loro
Loro | Photo by Logan Crable

Heights
Opening date: Fall 2021
Powerhouse restaurant group Hai Hospitality (Uchi) is bringing this relaxed Asian smokehouse to the Heights. Franklin Barbecue’s Aaron Franklin and chef Tyson Cole are behind the concept, with Marcos Leal (Hotel Galvez, Wolfgang Puck Express) tapped as local chef de cuisine. Get ready for Smoked Brisket with Thai Herbs, Hoisin-Slathered Char Siu Pork Belly, Sesame Noodles and Oak-Smoked Salmon Rice Bowls, and boozy slushies to wash it all down.

The Lymbar
The Lymbar | Photo courtesy of Gin Design Group

Midtown
Opening date: Fall 2021
Perched at street level in a jewel box corner suite inside Houston’s new technology and community hub, The Ion, is this sexy Latin-Mediterranean restaurant and cocktail bar from veteran chef David Cordúa (Américas, Churrascos). Here, Cordúa shows off French training via a globally kissed lineup of small plates and mains from a theater-style open kitchen. A host of barrel-aged spirits are on hand to round things out.

chef Dawn Burrell and chef Chris Williams
chef Dawn Burrell and chef Chris Williams | Photo courtesy of Late August

Midtown
Opening date: Fall 2021
Also coming to The Ion is what may just be the most hotly anticipated opening of the year: Late August, a partnership between celebrated chef Chris Williams (Lucille’s) and recent Top Chef: Portland badass Dawn Burrell (Pivot, Kulture) set to take over the old Sears space (its name is a nod to the fabled department store’s iconic late August catalog). Burrell’s soulful, Afro-Asian flavors (remember the scallop with Creole XO and ham hock broth she made for Restaurant Wars?) form the basis for a menu of international comfort fare.

Pur Noire
Pur Noire

Downtown
Opening date: Expected fall 2021
The city’s first Black-owned urban winery and tasting room arrives courtesy of husband-and-wife duo Carissa and Kenneth Stephens, who released their first vintage in 2020. Look forward to exploring the complexities of wines like the Pur Epiphany, a plum-forward Petite Sirah, and Pur Elevation, a Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc blend with notes of citrus and herbs. Follow their social media for updates.

Toro Toro Houston
Toro Toro Houston

Downtown
Opening date: Fall 2021
Critically acclaimed chef and global restaurateur Richard Sandoval is bringing his sleek pan-Latin steakhouse to Houston’s Four Seasons Hotel. Aiming for a September debut, head here to feast on tableside churrasco cooked in a wood-burning rodizio, mojo tiger prawns, and shareables from family-style ahi tuna ceviche and chicken anticucho to a smoked apple dessert.

POST Houston
POST Houston

Downtown
Opening date: Fall 2021
ChòpnBlọk, East Side King, Golfstrømmen Seafood Market, and Salt & Time Butcher Shop are just some of the 30+ vendors coming to mixed-use development POST Houston’s international food and market hall. The completely reimagined 550,000-square-foot space once housed downtown’s historic post office, and from the looks of things so far, you can fully expect this opening to be an epic one.

Frost Town Brewing
Frost Town Brewing

Downtown
Opening date: Fall 2021
Gear up to down frosty housemade brews at this breezy taproom and outdoor beer garden stashed in a fresh-faced indoor-outdoor space on Jackson, just down the street from Minute Maid Park. Refreshing sessionable styles are the name of the game here, with locally inspired ales and lagers perfect for beating the Houston heat.

URBE
URBE

Galleria/Uptown
Opening date: Expected fall 2021
Chef Hugo Ortega (Hugo’s, Caracol, Xochi) has long served as a hype man for all things Mexican street fare (he even has an entire cookbook dedicated to them), which is exactly what he’ll be celebrating at this long-awaited, casual Uptown Park spot. With a name translating to “city,” Urbe aims to marry Ortega’s native Mexico City with his adopted hometown of Houston, channeling street stalls and mercados to put out breakfast, lunch, dinner, pastries, and snacks like chicharrónes and scratchmade quesillo.

Garden Oaks/Oak Forest
Opening date: Fall 2021
Barrel of Monkeys Hospitality of Monkey’s Tail fame is turning the old Petrol Station space into a massive, taco- and cocktail-fueled patio bar this fall. Industry vet Lainey Collum (Yauatcha, Prohibition, Hay Merchant) will act as beverage director, concocting a non-alcoholic “free-spirited” menu alongside rotating seasonals like a creamy rum- and coconut-spiked Guanabana Colada to pair with crave-worthy tacos, burgers, and dry-rubbed wings.

Wild Oats
Wild Oats

Heights
Opening date: Fall 2021
Texas original Nick Fine (Brennan’s, State of Grace, One Fifth) will helm the kitchen at this buzzed-about Underbelly Hospitality venture, offering a fresh riff on traditional Lone Star eats in the revamped Houston Farmers Market. Expect grade-A service and dishes like Cornbread-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Texas Quail and Shrimp Diablo, Fine’s tamale-style take on shrimp and grits with masa.

Underbelly Burger
Underbelly Burger | Photo by Taylor Hall

Heights
Opening date: Fall 2021
Burger fans are hyped for Underbelly Hospitality’s eponymous burger shack. Entering the Houston Farmers Market next to sibling establishment Wild Oats this fall, it’s set to feature a convenient pick-up window for those who want to smash their patties al fresco. Beef comes from RC Ranch and longtime UH supplier 44 Farms, with the standard burger featuring double meat, double cheese, and LPT on a squishy potato bun.

Lazybrook/Timbergrove
Opening date: October 2021
You may know it from its crowd-drawing pop-up night markets or sold-out intimate tasting dinners, but this tortilla savant is finally getting a place of its own, leasing a 12-seat restaurant space near Karbach Brewery and shooting for an opening date by the end of October. Chef and co-owner Emmanuel Chavez has a bunch of tricks up his super talented sleeve, including but not limited to a mosaic of maize-based dishes using heirloom corn plus what we imagine will be a truly transcendent brunch.

Home Slice Pizza
Home Slice Pizza | Photo courtesy of Home Slice Pizza

Midtown
Opening date: Fall 2021
Austin’s famed Home Slice is coming to Houston, y’all. Perched to open in the former Sparrow Bar + Cookshop space at the corner of Winbern and Travis, this late-night favorite will feature take-out and dine-in seating, a dog-friendly patio, and South Congress’ trademark Slice Window peddling hot New York-style slices well into the evening.

Lulu's Round Top
Lulu's Round Top

River Oaks
Opening date: Fall 2021
Husband-and-wife duo Cinda Murphy-Palacios and Armando Palacios of Houston Tex Mex temple Armandos bring their Round Top Italian restaurant to Kirby. Here, unfussy, classically prepared dishes reigns supreme, from meatballs served over polenta and Bucatini Puttanesca to Italian Chimichurri Steak and Eggs at brunch.

Winnie’s
Winnie’s

Midtown
Opening date: Fall 2021
Old pals and industry giants Benjy Mason (Johnny’s Gold Brick), Graham Laborde (Bernadine’s), and Chris Roy (Killen’s) are bringing the band back together for this fun-loving patio bar, opening in early fall in the former Natachee’s space in the Mid-Main block. Soon you’ll be livin’ easy with Ranch Water and White Claw mashups and Cafe Su Da-style Frozen Irish Coffees alongside po’boys stuffed with all the fixin’s.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Brooke Viggiano is a Houston-based writer who is totally pumped for fall, and not just because it’s 94 feels like 104 degrees as she writes this. Eat, drink, and (hopefully) cool off with her @brookeviggiano on Twitter and @brookiefafa on IG.