Century-old New Orleans seafood institution Acme Oyster House is set to make its Houston debut next month.
The restaurant, which will go into the former Tower Theater at 1201 Westheimer Road, teased the opening with a Facebook post last week. The restaurant has also been in hiring mode over the past few weeks, specifically looking for a dedicated oyster shucker. According to CultureMap, the restaurant is set to make its official debut in Montrose at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 10. Don’t be surprised if there are lengthy waits as Houstonians greet this vaunted oyster destination.
The move to Houston has been a year in the making. As Eater previously reported, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission permits were first filed for the restaurant in April of 2020. The location, a 1930s-era movie theater, was an ideal choice, Monique Rodrigue Ricci, Acme’s director of marketing and branding, told the Chronicle.
“We think there is something eccentric, unique and awesome about the location we picked. Part of what we fell in love with was all the neon signage on the outside of the building.”
In recent weeks the building has been a hub of activity as the restaurant prepares to open. Signage from the former tenant, Tex Mex restaurant El Real, was recently removed from the marquee. El Real, originally helmed by oyster expert Robb Walsh and James Beard finalist Bryan Caswell, closed abruptly in October 2019 after employees complained of wage theft.
Acme Oyster House has been a staple in New Orleans since 1910, serving an extensive menu of Cajun and Creole favorites like gumbo, red beans and rice, po’ boys, and of course, shucked-to-order oysters. The restaurant is known for its “15 Dozen Club”, in which diners attempt to eat 180 raw oysters in a single sitting.
The restaurant has evolved into a chain over the years, and now operates multiple Louisiana outposts and restaurants in Florida and Alabama, but its New Orleans outpost, located in the French Quarter, is still a major tourist attraction. The Houston location will be the first in Texas.