With several now open, and quite a few delayed, check out the updated list of Houston's most anticipated restaurants openings from Spring/Summer 2015.
Winter is gone and the temperatures are getting hotter, but that's not all that's sizzling. This spring and summer bring the second round of Houston's hottest restaurants. Sure to set the dining scene on fire, here are the restaurants that should be on everyone's radar in the coming months.
Where: 4822 Fulton St.
The Details: Lawrence and Narumol (Noi) Allen are moving their uber-popular Thai restaurant to a bigger space. Originally inside their West Cavalcade Southeast Asian market, the husband and wife team will offer the same Thai dishes they're known for in the market's first stand-alone restaurant.
June Late July
Where: 1814 Washington Avenue
The Details: Benjamin Berg, former general manager of high-end steakhouse chain Smith & Wollensky, steps out on his own with this double concept along the Washington Corridor. Part retail butcher shop, part upscale steakhouse, the forthcoming restaurant will also serve a wide range of steaks and chops. Other additions to look forward to: a cocktail program and raw bar.
Early May or June at the latest. Opened in late May.
Where: 1819 N Shepherd Dr., Ste. A
The Details: Graham Laborde partners with restaurant group Treadsack for this modern Gulf Coast concept next door to forthcoming Hunky Dory. The restaurant is a love letter composed of a fully stocked raw bar, grilled oysters, BBQ crab, house-made boudin and a collection of wines, beers and cocktails from Louisiana and Texas.
Late June August or September.
Where: 11001 Studewood
The Details: Replacing the space last occupied by Bryan Caswell and Bill Floyd's Stella Sola, this two-in-one concept from Mexican restauranteurs Hernan Garcia and Sven Hossfeld. One component will be dedicated to contemporary Mediterranean and European cuisine, while the other will focus on seafood.
Mid May or June at the latest.
Where: 4003 Washington Ave
The Details: The group behind recently opened Commonwealth, the restaurant which replaced TQLA, is bringing another restaurant to the Washington Avenue strip. Part lounge, part kitchen, this two-in-one concept will offer a roster of cocktails from Andrew Grala (Reserve 101) and food from Michael Sanguinetti (Artisans). Sanguinetti will use the upcoming space as his culinary playground serving a chef-driven tasting menu during dinner hours.
Projected Opening: Summer
Where: 416 Main
The Details: A collaboration between Michael Collins (The Refinery Burgers & Whiskey's) and Jason Lowery (Proof Rooftop Lounge), this downtown gastropub will highlight burgers, chops and other beefy creations in addition to a long list of craft brews.
Where: 2231 S Voss Rd
The Details: Focusing on locally sourced and foraged ingredients, former Bootsie's Heritage Cafe and Rainbow Lodge Randy Rucker's long-anticipated eatery will occupy the former Mancuso's Italian Table space. Expect a heavy Southern influenced menu (think Gulf Coast seafood and wild game indigenous to Texas) and a packed house once this 46-seat Tanglewood area restaurant opens.
May or June at the latest. Opened July 7
Where: 1010 Prairie
The Details: Liam Pham and Anh Mai, owners of swanky Prohibition Supperclub & Bar, are opening an underground beer garden beneath their restaurant/burlesque venue. Offering a wide variety of brews, the space will also house the city's first food hall of recent years. Expect a rotating list of food vendors serving a varied selection of cuisines.
Projected opening: Late summer or early fall
Where: 322 Westheimer
The Details: Roland Laurenzo, son of Houston Tex-Mex legend Ninfa Laurenzo, expands the family's mini restaurant empire with bigger digs in Montrose. Look for sizzling fajitas, Tex-Mex favorites and margaritas to make an appearance on the menu.
Late April or May Opened April.
Fluff Bake Bar
Where: 314 Gray St.
The Details: Pastry chef Rebecca Masson is moving into her Kickstarter-funded stand-alone bakery in Midtown. Serving the decadent salty and sweet Veruca Salt chocolate cake, Fluffernutters and other signature desserts, Masson will offer a wide selection of pastries and savory baked goods. In addition to the sweet and savory offerings, the bake shop will include a curated roster of beers and wine from local sommerlier Antonio Gianola (Houston Wine Merchant). Expect dessert tastings paired with beer and/or wine.
April Opened late May.
Where: 2300 Westheimer
The Details: From co-owners Raymond Gibson and chef Craig Bianco, a casual upscale steakhouse in place of shuttered 60 Degrees Mastercrafted. The menu will highlight high-end Akaushi steaks and burgers.
April Opened April.
Hugs & Donuts
Where: 1901 N Shepherd Dr., Ste 4
The Details: Matt Opaleski and Jason Hill, the duo behind Htown-Streats food truck will soon add donut shop owners to their credentials. Promising to push the envelope on gourmet donuts, the pair will offer apple caramel donuts, a fried chicken donut sandwich, Gatlin's brisket-filled kolaches and a variety of other savory kolaches. A coffee program will be in place, plus taps filled with flavored milks.
Early April Opened April 6
Where: 1819 N Shepherd Dr
The Details: Former nose-to-tail Feast chef Richard Knight heads the kitchen of this upcoming British-American tavern adjacent to sister concept Bernadine's. Wood-grilled offerings and a lengthy collection whiskeys are at the center of this highly anticipated restaurant and bar.
Mid-May August or September
Where: 318 Gray St
The Details: This izakaya concept from The Azuma Group (Kata Robata, Soma Sushi and Azuma Sushi & Robata) brings together powerhouse chefs Manabu Horiuchi and Jean Philippe Gaston. The duo will put their culinary prowess on display showcasing small plates, ramen and Japanese fare. Expect a heavy focus on beverages including a cocktail program developed by mixologist Claire Sprouse (San Fransico's Tin Roof Drink Community) as well as wines and beers curated by sommelier Antonio Gianola (Houston Wine Merchant).
Mid-April or early May. Late July.
Jackson Street BBQ
Where: 209 Jackson
The Details: Chef/owner Bryan Caswell and Bill Floyd (Reef, El Real and Little Bigs) will debut their 8,000-square-foot downtown joint venture with the prince of East Texas-style 'cue Greg Gatlin (Gatlin's Barbecue). The trio will offer a wide variety of smoked meats ranging from ribs to briskets, plus Southern sides to boot. In addition to grilled burgers, Caswell will include seafood dishes like barbecue shrimp and crab on the menu down the road.
Early April Opened April 7
Where: 1901 N. Shepherd, Ste. 1
The Details: Chef/co-owner Pak Tsui of Asian fusion restaurant Fat Bao and Linh Nguyen of Fat Wagon (Fat Bao's food truck) will make their Heights debut with their latest concept. The menu blends Japanese elements, focusing much of its attention on sushi. Additionally, the duo will offer a craft cocktail program alongside Japanese beers, wine and sake.
Late May or June at the latest. Summer.
Where: 2517 Ralph St.
The Details: Bar heavyhitters Harres Exezidis and Rob and Sara Cromie (Liberty Station and Cottonwood partners), plus Jake Rainey (Flying Saucer) are transforming former Montrose staple EJ's Bar into a Mexican food haven. The joint venture will highlight coastal-Mexican fare with a dash of Tex Mex. Expect a seafood heavy menu, plus craft brews on tap, Mexican cocktails and a selection of tequilas and mescals.
Late April to Mid-May Opened late May.
Lawless Kitchen & Spirits
Where: 909 Texas St, Ste 2A
The Details:After The State Bar & Lounge closed last year, real estate blog Swamplot reported its successor was rumored to be Lawless Kitchen & Spirits. It's true. The restaurant located within Rice Lofts is currently undergoing renovations. Once completed, a chef-driven menu and a cocktail program will be the main attraction.
Projected opening date:
May Opened late May.
Lee's Fried Chicken and Donuts
Where:601 Heights Blvd.
The Details: Lee Ellis and executive chef Lance Fegen of F.E.E.D. TX restaurant group are adding another concept to their mini-empire (BRC Gastropub, Liberty Kitchen and Oyster Bar, Sweet Petite, Liberty Kitchen and Oysterette). The duo will launch a fried chicken spot in the Heights offering buttermilk fried chicken and biscuits.
May to early June.
Mala Sichuan Bistro
Where: 1201 Westheimer Rd
The Details: A Chinatown favorite among Chinese expats and Houston's restaurant industry plans. Tongues are wagging now in excitement but will soon be numbed when the extremely spicy dishes the bistro is known for serves its widely popular Sichuan menu.
Projected opening date:
April to early May. Opened late May.
Where: 9630 Clarewood Dr, Ste A-13
The Details: This is the latest concept from Mike Tran (co-owner of Tiger Den and Aka Sushi), who has remained tight-lipped on his forthcoming project. Though details remain scarce, housemade noodles will definitely be incorporated into the menu.
May or early summer. Opened June.
Where: 1401 Binz
The Details: Chris and Alex Kinjo's acclaimed sushi restaurant returns but at a new address. Moving from the Galleria (the brothers are no longer associated with the location) to fresh digs in the Museum District. Expect the same expertly prepared fish dishes and omakase dinners that captured Houston's heart at the new location.
Where: 5085 Westheimer, Ste. B-2515
The Details: This upscale South African restaurant will occupy the space of shuttered Gigi's Asian Bistro. Named after the Portuguese spice, expect to the spice incorporated in most dishes from steaks to seafood, plus a curated list of wines from the region.
Projected opening date:
March 30 Opened March 30
Where: 1700 Post Oak Blvd
The Details: A sophisticated, fresh seafood restaurant with a high energy vibe. This fish market-to-table concept from restauranteurs Diego and Maite Ysita of Mexico's La Trainera, will be the first outside in the US. The menu will focus on the best of globally sourced seafood, combining the flavors of South America, the Mediterranean and Europe in simple prepared dishes. Additional touches includes seafood sommeliers.
Projected opening date: Early April
Where: 2612 Joanel
The Details: Houston native and budding pitmaster Grant Pinkerton is going brick-and-mortar, opening his first restaurant in his childhood neighborhood of River Oaks. The menu will include a selection of Central Texas-style barbecue alongside potato salad, beans and a variety of Southern sides.
Projected opening: Summer
Where: 1020 W Gray
What we know: Bill Hutchinson is expanding his authentic Italian pizzeria into Montrose. A Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) Certified Master pizzaiolo, Hutchinson minimalistic Napoletana pies are made of housemade mozzarella, imported flour from Italy and San Marzano tomatoes, baked in a wood-fire oven.
Projected opening: April or May.
Where: 947 Gessner, Ste B-190
The Details: James Beard Award winner Bradley Ogden (Bradley's Fine Diner and Funky Chicken) goes for a trifecta with an American gastropub concept expected to open within Gateway Memorial City. A heavy focus on local craft beers complemented by upscale pub fare.
Projected opening date:
February 2015 September 1
Where: 3029 Kirby Dr.
The Details: Charles Clark and Grant Cooper of Clark Cooper Concepts (Ibiza, Brasserie 19, Coppa Osteria, Punk's Simple Southern Foods). Expect a mix of East Coast, Spanish and Gulf Coast influences woven together coupled with friendly wine prices.
Projected opening: Summer
Where: 623 W 19th St.
The Details: Charles Bishop (former partner at Liberty Station and Cottonwood) and Lyle Bento (Underbelly, The Modular, Feast) are coming together for a joint Southern-themed concept in the Heights. Joined by executive chef JD Woodward (Underbelly, Goro and Gun, Plonk) and Patrick Feges (Underbelly, Killen's Barbecue), the restaurant will offer up a mix of down South dishes, plus a blend of Cajun and Tex-Mex. Craft beers, Southern spirits and wine round out the drink menu.
April or early May. Summer.
Where: 3256 Westheimer Rd.
The Details: Chef/owner Ford Fry, a Houston native, returns home to open his first concept outside of his success restaurants in Atlanta. The menu will highlight Texas and Gulf Coast fare with an emphasis on seafood and locally sourced meats.
Projected opening: July or late August.
Where: 2301 Main, Ste 200
The Details: Piran Esfahani (Zimm's Martini Bar, 55 Restaurant & Bar) and Pemjan Jamea (West End Public House) are partnering together on Midtown's latest Pan-Asian restaurant. The menu will highlight Asian-inspired dishes, sushi and cocktails.
June or mid-summer Summer
Where: 6565 Del Monte Dr.
The Details: The latest concept from restaurateur Shepard Ross (Pax Americana) and Studewood Hospitality Group blends elements from their previous restaurants (Glass Wall, Brooklyn Athletic Club) together and the result is the forthcoming eatery with a contemporary club vibe. With a focus on locally sourced ingredients, the menu will include updated versions of burgers, lobster wraps and club sandwiches. Gulf seafood and steaks will also be the highlight of the 65-seat Tanglewood restaurant (which seats an additional 65 outside), complete with a lounging area and patio.
Late spring or early summer. Summer.
The Details: Chef Jason Liao (Preview Modern Seafood Cuisine) is moving his seafood-focused concept to Midtown. Although Liao has remained mummed on the restaurant's location, expect a full bar in the new space. Edwin Hui of Aka Sushi and Tiger Den is assisting with Tides' bar program as a consultant.
Projected Opening: Early summer