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Chef Hugo Ortega’s New Uptown Park Restaurant Shines the Spotlight on Mexican Street Food

The long-awaited Urbe brings a casual destination for birria, massive chicharrones, and so much more

Pork al pastor and microgreen garnish sitting on top of a white flour tortilla
Tacos al pastor at Urbe
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

Urbe, the long-awaited street food spot from James Beard Award winning chef Hugo Ortega, has finally opened its doors.

The restaurant quietly made its debut last week at 1101 Uptown Park Boulevard, Suite 12, after “months” of unspecified delays likely influenced by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This is Ortega’s fifth restaurant, joining much-lauded Houston establishments Backstreet Cafe, Caracol, Xochi and his namesake Montrose eatery Hugo’s, and the first fast-casual spot that will focus exclusively on the famed street foods from all over Ortega’s home country of Mexico. Chef Paula Leguizamon will lead the kitchen, and comes to the restaurant after working at Hugo’s for three and a half years.

The restaurant’s menu takes influence from Ortega’s own time as a street vendor as a child, selling everything from flan and candies to shoeshines to passersby. As far as the food is concerned, expect slow-cooked meats like birria, barbacoa, carnitas, and pork al pastor roasted on a spit. Chicharrones a la mercado, or large sheets of fried pork skin similar to those found in Mexican markets, will assuredly be a star of the menu, along with tlayudas, gorditas, fresh seafood preparations, and tortas stuffed with chicken milanesa. In the mornings, breakfast tacos and entrees like chilaquiles will be on offer, plus plenty of pan dulce, Mexican cold brew coffee, and horchata.

Temporarily, Urbe will be open from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for breakfast, and lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner service is set to follow in the coming weeks.