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Hugo Ortega’s Downtown Restaurant Xochi Finally Reopens October 1st

The celebrated restaurant has been closed since March due to the pandemic

six chargrilled oysters on a plate with a large fireplace in the background
Xochi’s chargrilled oysters will finally be available again when the restaurant reopens October 1.
Paula Murphy

Xochi, the much-lauded Oaxaca-inspired restaurant from Chef Hugo Ortega and restaurateur Tracy Vaught, will finally reopen on October 1 after more than six months of closure.

The restaurant, at 1777 Walker Street in the Marriott Marquis Hotel Downtown, closed in mid-March due to Harris County’s Safe At Home order, and has opted to stay closed even as other restaurants were given the green light to reopen at limited capacity. It’s the last of Vaught and Ortega’s restaurants to reopen, and one of the most popular, landing on the Eater 38 earlier this year, before the pandemic began.

Hugo’s, the longtime Montrose restaurant owned by the married couple, reopened in May. In addition, the duo has been working on a mysterious new project in Uptown Park.

In an email, Vaught explained why they waited so long to reopen Xochi.

“With so many business offices not yet re-opened in Downtown, and conventions, concerts and sporting events halted, our customer base for this downtown location has been severely impacted and we have struggled with when to re-open,” she wrote. “While these hurdles are still in place, we felt it was important to welcome guests back and start to bring life back to Downtown.”

Xochi will reopen with a pared down menu, but will include highlights like roasted oysters, masa cakes filled with potato and chorizo, and sautéed shrimp with chile de ajo.

“Our employees are so excited to be back in the kitchen, behind the bar and in the dining room, and so many guests have been reaching out asking when we would re-open,” Vaught wrote. “We look forward to welcoming our wonderful guests back and ask for their patience and understanding as we re-open after so much time with many new guidelines and mandates.”

Seating will be limited to 75 percent capacity, in keeping with current guidelines, and for now, the restaurant is only open for happy hour, dinner, and Sunday brunch. Hours are Wednesday to Saturday from 4–9 P.M. and Sunday from 11 A.M. to 3 P.M. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made by calling 713-400-3330. Diners can also order curbside pickup by calling that number or ordering online at www.xochihouston.com.

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