Welcome to AM Intel in the time of coronavirus, a round-up of the city’s newest bits of restaurant-related intel. Follow Eater on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date details on how COVID-19 is impacting the city’s dining scene.
Houston’s Third Ward gets its first community fridge
Houston’s Third Ward now has a community fridge, at 3801 N MacGregor Way. The fridge is the first of many to be installed thanks to a fundraiser launched by Houstonian Nina Mayers to help feed food-insecure residents throughout the city. The fundraiser earned $1,900 in just two days, according to a story on ABC13.
Community fridges are donation-based, publicly-accessible fridges in which anyone can take what they need or leave food for those in need. Though they started popping up in more places following the coronavirus pandemic and economic shutdown, the Houston suburb of Alvin has had one since 2019.
In addition to the fundraiser, Mayers has set up a signup sheet for people who want to volunteer to stock and man the fridge. She has also created an Instagram with information on the Third Ward fridge and upcoming installations in other neighborhoods.
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we cannot express how blessed we are to have so much love and support from our Houston community thank you to all that took time, energy, resources etc out to help us turn this out. to the volunteers, artists, donors and hosts, we are so thankful for you and none of this would be possible without you this effort is one of mutual aid, get involved in your community anyway you can! sending lots of love to you all, let’s keep the momentum and provide for our community ***all artists will be tagged!!! check them out!!***
Houston restaurants can now create ‘parklets’ for outdoor dining
Last week, the Houston City Council unanimously passed a program called “More Space” that allows local restaurants to set up additional outdoor dining spaces in their parking lots, The Defender reports. The move will effectively allow restaurants to serve more diners while also maintaining social distancing.
Under the new program, a restaurant can use up to half its allotted parking as a dining area — the restaurant only needs to notify the city that it intends to do so. Restaurants must follow a few other guidelines too, such as not blocking sidewalks, driveways or wheelchair ramps.
The program is similar to one launched in Dallas in May.
Kamp is now open in former Beavers West spot
Kamp, the newest project from Prospect Park owners Mojeed Martins and Jonathan Reitzell, is now open at 6025 Westheimer Road, the spot that used to be Beavers West, CultureMap reports.
The retro camping-themed spot serves comfort food like beer cheese mac, loaded nachos, fried seafood and barbecue alongside colorful craft cocktails. Owners Martins and Reitzell also recently took over the West Grey location of Ginger Man, turning into neon-drenched cocktail bar Lost & Found.
Brennan’s hires former French Laundry alum
Brennan’s has a new executive chef with an impressive resume, according to the Houston Business Journal reports. Joey Chavez, a California native, takes over the spot from former chef Joe Cervantez, who is opening a waterfront oyster restaurant called Pier 6 in San Leon later this year. Chavez has previously worked at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Beaver Creek, Colorado, Per Se and 11 Madison Park in New York City, and The French Laundry in California’s Napa Valley. Most recently, he was named best new chef by The Baltimore Sun for his work at that city’s restaurant The Bygone.
Chavez is likely familiar with the Creole cuisine of East Texas and Louisiana that Brennan’s is famous for — he attended Lamar College in Beaumont, TX on a football scholarship before becoming a chef.