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5 Houston Restaurant Openings Diners Need to Know Right Now

From Mediterranean-influenced seafood to a big dog-friendly backyard, scope out these new spots

a greenhouse-like dining room with windows and hanging plants on the left side, exposed metal beamed ceilings, an open kitchen on the right, slate grey walls, wooden floors, and furniture.
Chef Travis McShane’s Ostia
Jenn Duncan/Ostia

Houston is home to literally hundreds of restaurants, and even in the midst of a pandemic, new spots are popping up every day. It’s tough to keep up with every single new eatery that’s debuted in recent weeks, but here are seven brand new openings to know about right now.

Thursday, October 22

Chef Aaron Bludorn’s much-anticipated Taft Street restaurant opened its doors on August 21, serving Gulf Coast seafood, local catch cioppino, bacon-wrapped quail and other French-inspired fare. Bludorn is an accomplished chef who’s appeared on Netflix’s The Final Table and worked in kitchens like Cafe Boulud. He decided to open a restaurant in Houston thanks to his wife Victoria Pappas, a daughter of the city’s most iconic restaurant families.
Bluedorn, 807 Taft Street

This Mediterranean-influenced restaurant from Chef Travis McShane opened in the Montrose on September 25. The greenhouse-like space features “season and spontaneous” dishes like red snapper crudo, wild mushroom gnocchi, and an extensive bar menu of amaro cocktails. Before opening his first restaurant, McShane was a corporate chef in Jonathan Waxman’s restaurant empire.
Ostia, 2032 Dunlavy Street

East End Backyard
The newest hangout from former Houston Dynamo star Brian Ching opened in the East End in early October. East End Backyard features a massive yard, complete with a gated dog park, a rotating fleet fo food trucks, and plenty of space for social distancing. The bar also features 25 beers and ciders on tap. Ching’s first bar, Pitch 25, opened in 2018.
East End Backyard, 1105 Sampson Street

The Sporting Club
A sprawling new Washington Avenue restaurant opens today, October 22, from the minds behind other Washington Avenue spots like Clutch and the Sugar Room. The Sporting Club boasts 8,000 square foot space, complete with a retractable roof and garage-style doors that allow for open-air dining, as well as late night pizzas, frozen cocktails and eventual plans for a decadent brunch service.
The Sporting Club, 5102 Washington Avenue

Amsterdam Co. Coffeehouse
Houston’s long-awaited destination for CBD-spiked coffee, baked goods and cold-pressed juice opened in the Heights on September 21. The cafe, on popular 19th Street, was in the works for more than a year. The spot allows diners to choose an amount of CBD to be added to drinks, versus selling pre-infused CBD beverages. The hemp derivative is said to induce relaxation and feelings of calmness.
Amsterdam Co. Coffeehouse, 807 West 19th Street

Tuesday, September 6

Street to Kitchen
A new restaurant from Benchawan Jabthong Painter, an alumna of the kitchens at SaltAir and Theodore Rex, has opened at 6501 Harrisburg Boulevard. Painter, a native of Thailand, wanted to focus on “unapologetic Thai food” like drunken noodles, crispy Thai fried chicken and curries made with spices blended in-house. Street To Kitchen opened August 17.
Street to Kitchen, 6501 Harrisburg Boulevard

Louie’s, a new cloud kitchen inside Riel in the Montrose, is serving up specialty sandwiches like fried fish topped with dill tarter sauce, a pizza sub with pepperoni, salami, and capicola, slathered in marinara, and Canadian delights like poutine and Nanaimo bars, reflecting Riel Chef Ryan LaChaine’s Manitoba upbringing. The pop-up, which opened August 13, offers takeout and delivery from Riel’s location at 1927 Fairview Street. Order through the Riel website.
Louie’s, 1927 Fairview Street

Miss Mini Donuts
A SoCal-based bakery has brought its tiny, colorful doughnuts to Houston. Miss Mini Donuts, founded by BCK co-owner Leslie Nguyen, is now open inside of BCK’s location at 933 Studewood Street in The Heights. Miss Mini’s Newport Beach, Calif. location, founded in 2010, is known for flavors like Cotton Candy, Fruity Pebbles and Kit Kat, and is beloved by celebrities. Orders for the doughnuts can be placed through the Miss Mini Donuts website for pickup at BCK.
Miss Mini Donuts, 933 Studewood

Chef Ronnie Killen’s long-awaited first inner loop restaurant has finally opened. Killen’s in The Heights focuses on hearty Southern-style comfort food like meatloaf, chicken fried steak, mac and cheese and of course, smoked meats. The restaurant, at 101 Heights Boulevard, opened August 19 for dine-in service only — no takeout or delivery.
Killen’s, 101 Heights Boulevard

The Original Hot Dog Factory
Real Housewives of Atlanta fans might already be familiar with The Original Hotdog Factory, thanks to owner and club promoter Dennis McKinley, whose fiance Porsha Williams is a major character on the show. Now the restaurant, founded in 2010, is bringing a location to Houston as part of massive expansion that also includes openings in Philadelphia, Memphis and Brooklyn. The Original Hot Dog factory, known for its bacon-wrapped hot dogs and loaded chili cheese fries, will open in Houston on September 4 at 920 Studemont Street.
The Original Hot Dog Factory, 920 Studemont Street Suite 300

Thursday, August 6

Flower Child
More than three years after Flower Child, a healthy restaurant offering avocado toasts, heirloom tomato salads and gluten-free mac and cheese and beloved by the yoga crowd, announced its expansion to Houston, the Heights location finally opened on Tuesday, August 4, at 1533 North Shepherd Drive. The Heights spot joins two other locations, Uptown Park and The Woodlands. All locations offer food to-go.
Flower Child, 1533 N Shepherd Drive

Phat Kitchen
Chef Alex Au-yeung of beloved Malaysian restaurant Phat Eatery is opening three new restaurants which will operate out of a ghost kitchen at Blodgett Food Hall, Houston Food Finder reports.

Phat Kitchen, slated to open in September, will serve the same Malaysian street food Phat Kitchen is known for, like curry crab, satay skewers and roti canai, available for delivery only.

Au-Yeung eventually hopes to add two more restaurants to the mix — Yelo, a delivery-only location of chef Cuc Lam‘s upcoming banh mi shop (currently delayed due to COVID-19), and Pig + Duck, a Chinese barbecue restaurant. No word yet on when Yelo or Pig + Duck will open.
Phat Kitchen, 3300 Smith Street

Screaming Sams
Yet another Nashville hot chicken truck has brought its dare-to-eat dishes to Houston. Screaming Sams, which opened July 18 at 14485 Bellaire Boulevard, offers crispy, spicy chicken in levels from “silence” to “screaming”. Unlike many hot chicken trucks, which serve breaded chicken breast in sandwich or tender form, Screaming Sams also offers Nashville-style drumsticks and popcorn chicken, alongside ice cold smoothies meant to temper the heat.
Screaming Sams, 14485 Bellaire Boulevard

The bakery and bubble tea spot, which opened in Dun Huang Plaza in Chinatown last year, has a new sibling in Katy’s Asian Town. Yumcha Katy opened July 11 and serves boba flavors like Grapefruit Overflow, Green Apple Lover and Strawberry Yogurt, plus treats like matcha red bean mochi.
Yumcha, 9889 Bellaire Boulevard Suite E217

Liberty Kitchen
Liberty Kitchen’s three locations have been closed since the coronavirus pandemic began, and when they reopen soon, things might look a little different. Culinary Khancepts, the group behind State Fare Kitchen & Bar, announced they had purchased two locations — the Treehouse in Memorial City and Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette in River Oaks, with plans to repoen them very soon — August 7 for the Oysterette and August 14 for the Treehouse, according to a press release.

Menus at both locations will feature some Liberty Kitchen faves like gumbo, deviled eggs and impressive spreads of raw oysters, alongside new dishes focused on fresh produce and other fresh ingredients. The Liberty Kitchen location in the Heights will remained closed for now while current owners, F.E.E.D. TX Restaurant Group, drum up a new idea for the spot.
Liberty Kitchen, 4224 San Felipe St, Houston, TX 77027