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Houston’s Biggest Restaurant Openings of 2019

In a year packed with new eateries, these rose to the top

Tray of barbecue from Truth BBQ
Truth Barbecue is already a Houston favorite
Robert Jacob Lerma for Truth BBQ

Over the past year, Houston’s dining scene has continued to grow in ways that continue to make this city one of the best places to dine in the country. The past 12 months have brought a slew of exciting newcomers, ranging from stunning Spanish eateries to chic Italian spots from California celebrity chefs.

As 2019 officially winds down, take a look back at some of the year’s biggest Houston restaurant openings.

Is your favorite 2019 newcomer missing? Shout it out in the comments.

Rosalie

Private dining room at Rosalie
The private dining room at Rosalie
Julie Soefer for Rosalie

Back in October, much-lauded celebrity chef Chris Cosentino debuted Rosalie, his chic, Italian-inflected restaurant inside Downtown Houston’s C. Baldwin Hotel, and it was definitely one of the splashiest openings of the year. The restaurant’s stunning space also helped it earn Eater Houston’s 2019 Most Gorgeous Restaurant of the Year award, and has racked up almost universally positive reviews from diners thanks to its classic American-Italian dishes like eggplant parm and whole chicken Milanese.

Food Hall Mania

Houston’s dining scene was dominated by an onslaught of new food halls in 2019, and even more are en route. This year alone, Bravery Chef Hall and Understory arrived in Downtown Houston, and Politan Row debuted at Rice Village, following the late 2018 debut of Finn Hall. Whether or not these food halls will remain a permanent part of the city’s dining scene, it’s clear that developers for these projects find the city attractive — in the coming months, diners can expect the forthcoming Post HTX food hall project to debut, the second outpost of Miami’s 1-800-Lucky, and the long-awaited Lyric Market, among others.

Squable

A spread of dishes at Squable
A spread of dishes from Squable’s opening menu
Jenn Duncan Photography

Bringing together Houston hospitality titans Justin Yu and Bobby Heugel once again, Heights stunner Squable has proven that it’s one of Houston’s most compelling places to dine despite having one of the city’s most bizarre new restaurant names. Squable’s “French cheeseburger,” which boasts a meaty patty that’s showered in pickles and doused in a gooey shower of raclette cheese, is already a Houston dining icon.

Truth BBQ

The lengthy lines that have persisted months after this Brenham barbecue export’s debut in January prove that it’s been fully welcomed into the city’s dining scene. The brainchild of pitmaster Leo Botello IV, Truth BBQ’s succulent briskets, eclectic (and well-executed) sides, and towering slices of cake make it worth the wait every single time.

MAD

The dining room at MAD
Spanish tapas in a gorgeous space make MAD a stunner
Mai Pham

Inspired by the cuisine and culture of Madrid, BCN Taste and Tradition sister spot MAD does modern Spanish cuisine in a truly unique way. Following its opening in June, the restaurant was booked solid for weeks as diners eagerly awaited the opportunity to try dishes like suckling pig empanadas and open-fire grilled Spanish octopus.

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