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The Biggest Houston Restaurant Stories of 2020

From major controversies to exciting newcomers, these are the dining stories that moved the needle this year

Turkey leg from Turkey Leg Hut
Controversy was real at the Turkey Leg Hut this year
The Turkey Leg Hut/Facebook

In 2020, there was literally too much news to keep up with. Between election year chaos and the ongoing pandemic, it’s totally understandable if you missed a few of the year’s biggest stories in Houston dining.

To be sure, the city’s dining scene moved at an equally dramatic pace. From messy lawsuits to major new openings, these are the year’s biggest news stories.

Turkey Leg Hut’s extremely dramatic duo of lawsuits

Back in July, two partners in Houston’s wildly popular Turkey Leg Hut filed lawsuits against each other alleging a range of financial misdeeds. The first suit, filed by minority owner Steven Rogers, accused co-owner Nakia Price of diverting funds away from the business. Price countersued, alleging that Rogers had embezzled “thousands” of dollars from the business and improperly pocketed thousands of dollars in valet parking payments, among other misdeeds. Per Harris County court records, the litigation is still pending.

Acme Oyster House heads to Houston

It’s been a rough year, but news that beloved New Orleans restaurant Acme Oyster House would open in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood was totally welcome. It’s set to take over the space formerly occupied by Tex-Mex restaurant El Real, and should debut sometime in spring 2021.

Houston’s drive-thru strip club makes national headlines

Vivid Gentleman’s Club on Winrock Boulevard made major news when it announced that it would open the city’s first drive-thru strip club. Involving a large tent in which dancers perform behind metal barricades, this COVID-19 era innovation also allowed patrons to order beer and burgers while visiting.

Tilman Fertitta’s hotel eliminates paid time off for employees, then reverses course

Houston Rockets owner and billionaire hospitality magnate Tilman Fertitta is a contentious figure in the city for myriad reasons, but the decision to refuse paid time off for employees at his swanky Post Oak Hotel roiled Houstonians back in March. The bad news came in a memo issued by the hotel’s general manager, who attributed the decision to declining revenue at the hotel. After sparking a fury on social media, the decision was ultimately reversed.

And, of course, COVID-19.

This year has been full of news about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it’s impacting restaurants. For a full wrap-up of the year, scope out this extensive timeline of everything that’s happened since March. From shutdowns to reopening and a tangled web of regulations, it’s been a truly wild year.

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