Hermann Park has a boho-chic new restaurant in Ginger Kale, the latest project from Vietnamese eatery Saigon Hustle’s Cassie Ghaffar.
The restaurant just opened its doors in the space formerly occupied by Pinewood Cafe, which closed its doors in August, at 6104 Hermann Park Drive. Following its closure, Ghaffar heard that the Park was looking for a new tenant for the space, and quickly put together a pitch deck to show off the project. “They loved the food and the concept, and the price point was a good fit for the park,” Ghaffar tells Eater. “We won the contract four days later.”
“We were won over by the owners’ enthusiasm and local ties, the modern look of the space, and most of all by the wonderful taste-testing we had of their menu,” Hermann Park Conservancy president Doreen Stoller says. “In the short time they have been open, our staff have already become regulars at Ginger Kale.”
As far as the food is concerned, Ginger Kale’s menu is designed for easy grab ’n go. There are breakfast tacos, chia puddings, and overnight oats. There is a “toast bar” with avocado and egg toast, beet and goat cheese toast, and a strawberry mascarpone toast. The salad menu is notable because it feature’s Cassie’s signature salad — Ghaffar’s own take on a Mediterranean fattoush — made with romaine, cabbage, parsley, mint, cucumber, tomato, mini peppers, dates, and candied pecans, with a sumac dressing.
“Everything is pretty and colorful,” says Ghaffar as she describes her mini banana and lemon olive loaves. There are fresh pressed juices and a full coffee bar, too, featuring local roaster Katz Coffee. Lunchtime brings made-to-order, family-friendly items such as hot dogs, a 44 Farms burger, fries and chicken tenders. As a bonus, Ginger Kale’s eats are also budget-friendly — nothing on the menu here is priced at more than $10.
The design of the cafe will definitely be a draw. Though the space was already built out, Ghaffar tapped Gin Braverman of Gin Design Group — the mind behind the aesthetic of her recently opened restaurant Saigon Hustle — to completely redesign its look. Scope out a peek of the restaurant’s sun-filled space below:
“Ginger Kale is possibly the only restaurant in Houston with a lakefront view,” Braverman says. “As such, we wanted to purposefully limit the interior finish palette to five natural elements—concrete, wood, rope, leather and brick—in order to allow the park’s natural setting to remain the prime focus.” The result is gorgeous, with concrete stadium seating, clay-colored leather cushions, and an eye-catching custom macramé wall art installation by Nancy McElligott with ZigZag Macramé. Outside, underneath a canopy of trees, there are tables coated in powder white.
“You get the view of the water, ducks, and the train,” says Ghaffar. “The interior space is light and bright and a perfect for the park.”
Ginger Kale is located at 6104 Hermann Park Drive and is open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. Takeout orders can be placed at gingerkale.com.