Development never stops in H-Town! New restaurants, bars and attractions are opening all the time. Consider this your go-to guide for staying in the know in Houston.
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OPENINGS: MARCH 2014
Upscale drinkerie Barringer Bar is the latest establishment to join the ranks of Main Street hot spots like its downstairs neighbor Clutch City and Okra Charity Bar. The speakeasy-style bar sets itself apart with live entertainment including local blues player the Mighty Org during happy hour on Friday and a variety of musical talent on Saturday.
Midtown residents have another French-Vietnamese outpost to satisfy their banh mi cravings at now that Cafe Helene has opened along the METROrail. On the menu, customers will find a mix of vermicelli bowls and rice plates, along with pho and banh mi.
Embers American Grille
Tanglewood residents now have a new steakhouse to frequent. Embers American Grille, with its dark and inviting interior, is ideal for a bite after work or a casual date.
Local Foods- River Oaks
The second location of Benjy Levit's scratch gourmet sandwich shop has set up shop in Taco Milagro's old digs in River Oaks. Expect an always changing menu, locally-sourced products and a cheerful interior at his latest spot.
Coffee drinkers and shoppers of fine wine and cheese can rejoice thanks to the recent opening of Max Gonzalez's second Mercantile location. Gonzalez started out with Washington Avenue's popular Catalina Coffee and Amaya Roasting Company, then expanded on the coffee concept into the gourmet grocer realm.
Midtown Mobile Cuisine
Why pick just one restaurant when you can have an assortment of options come straight to you? Midtown Mobile Cuisine's Food Truck Park rolls in new food options daily, bringing with it an assortment of savory culinary provisions from breakfast to dinner.
Pimlico Irish Pub
Named after his family's Dublin-set pub from the 70s, Kevin McElroy's Pimlico unfolds in a two-story expanse that features a traditional bar set up downstairs and killer Downtown views from the second-story patio.
Punk's Simple Southern Food (pictured above)
Located next door to Rice Village's Coppa Osterio, Punks celebrates classic southern dishes pulled from the regions of the Gulf Coast up through the Carolinas. Inside the rustic meets mod space, guests can dig into everything from deviled eggs and pimiento cheese to shrimp and grits and peach cobbler.
OPENINGS: FEBRUARY 2014
Andes Café is the East End's newest spot. The laid-back eatery showcases food from the South American countries that run the span of the Andes mountain range: Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela.
Brooks Family BBQ
Third Ward residents craving smoked ribs, baked beans and brisket found a new place to indulge with the recent opening of Brook’s Family BBQ. Located across the street from the University of Houston, the family-run spot serves wallet-friendly barbecue and traditional southern sides.
Fish & The Knife
Four years after breaking ground, executive chef Bob Iacovone and sushi chef David Kim are turning out fresh catch at the highly anticipated sushi, creole and japanese-influenced concept. The breathtaking space, designed by New York-based architect Tony Chi, was worth the wait.
Flow Juice Bar
Increasing your health and happiness is the number one goal at Flow Juice Bar. Just ask one of the ambassadors on staff who are there to help educate you as you embark on your juice experience.
Johnny Carrabba's newest culinary venture pays tribute to his grandmother, Grace. The striking brick bungalow space sets the scene for family recipes and plenty of southern charm.
The Heights Lodge Gastropub
After closing for a reconception and remodel, Washington Avenue Drinkery has reopened with a new, food-focused vision. Expect locally-sourced "American Revival" fare served in a rustic chic space.
Kate Spade, Highland Village
Fans of Kate Spade's clean-lined bags and accessories no longer have to venture to The Galleria to peruse her punchy products now that the brand has opened a second flagship location in Highland Village.
West Houston continues to welcome new dining options as Kuu recently opened in the Gateway Memorial City Complex. The upscale Asian fusion concept serves artistically plated sushi, as well as hot and cold options.
Luigi's Pizzeria, Bellaire
This family owned and operated pizza joint has been such a fan favorite in Midtown that they recently opened a second location in Bellaire. At Luigi's Pizzeria you get crowd-pleasing New York style pizza from a wood burning oven at a reasonable price.
Upper Kirby has a lot to offer when it comes to fine dining, but a casual pizza joint? Thanks to Luna Pizzeria, a classic slice of pie is now a reality.
OTC Patio Bar
Think patio, games and grill. OTC Patio Bar is the place to be to catch Monday night football or boxing match on TV, play air hockey with a friend or grab happy hour after work.
The Les Givrals Kahve family has expanded their reach with an Upper Kirby set bakery shop. Find daily-made macarons, fruit tarts and cookies, as well as Illy coffees.
OPENINGS: JANUARY 2014
Cook & Collins
Cook & Collins, an American eatery set in a charming dual-level space, has opened its doors in Midtown.
Dish Society is a casual farm-to-table restaurant that offers a local ingredient driven and chef inspired menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with brunch on the weekends.
Vietnamese crawfish from LA Crawfish, with a broader array of seasonings and dipping sauces, has quickly become a favorite for fans of the messy, spicy and flavor-packed food.
The infamous make out bar is back. Marked only by a bright blue door, Marfreless has been a favorite for lounge lovers since 1972. But with new management and a total renovation, it's likely long time fans won't recognize anything but the name.
Max's Wine Dive - Montrose
After operating the original Max's Wine Dive location on Washington Avenue for more than six years, owners Jerry and Laura Lasco have opened a second Houston location in the Montrose neighborhood at Fairview and Taft, next door to Cuchara.
Though executive and artistic director Jennifer Wood founded Suchu Dance in 1998, the organization only recently open its doors to its self-titled home, Suchu Dance. There, the postmodern dance and theater performing group presents artistic and humorous shows.
OPENINGS: DECEMBER 2013
Big Freeze Ice Cream
Big Freeze Ice Cream opened in late 2013, offering more than 30 flavors of handmade sorbetto, gelato and ice cream in a beautiful lounge-like space.
The newest relative of Chef Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught's culinary family has arrived. Caracol, located in the heart of the Galleria area, is a south of the border seafood kitchen that will take your taste buds on a flavorful tour along Mexico's 16 coastal states.
Settling into the space that was previously home to V 21, the casual burger joint brings the area a menu filled with sliders, sandwiches and classic sides, along with a full-service bar.
Churrascos at The Gateway
Twenty-five-year-old Churrascos, a restaurant that played an instrumental role in launching the worldwide Latin food movement, opened its fourth location in West Houston at Gateway Memorial City in December 2013.
West Houston made room for a new Indian food spot with the December 2013 addition of Curry Bistro. There, fans find classic Indian and Pakistani dishes including tandoori specialties, seafood offerings and vegetarian plates, as well as a handful of Indonesian-inspired items.
El Big Bad
El Big Bad, the sister operation to El Gran Malo, may be younger than its big brother, but is no Little Red Riding Hood. This Big Bad came huffing and puffing into the spotlight featuring 50 handcrafted tequila infusions (think peanut butter and vanilla habanero), craft beer and plenty of fare to feast upon.
Fat Cat Creamery
Get your paws on a scoop (or two) of Fat Cat Creamery ice cream and experience for yourself why just three year-round staples -- Mexican Vanilla, Chocolate Stout and Strawberry Buttermilk-- keep regulars pouncing on the door for more.
West Coast-based James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur Bradley Ogden recently entered the Houston market with a Southern fare concept dubbed Funky Chicken. The moderately-priced spot, located in The Heights, is casually cool with a range of breakfast, lunch and dinner options sure to please even the pickiest eater.
I Heart Cupcakes
Energy Corridor residents in the mood for gourmet confections don't have to travel far now that I Heart Cupcakes is open. The sweet shop, located just west of Eldridge Drive, offers a daily-changing selection of classic cupcakes, along with a rotating mix of flavors like snickerdoodle, peanut butter and dulce de leche.
The Midtown mega-club space that once housed Rich's has been reborn as Limelight, a welcome addition for club-goers who missed this space's giant dance floor and multi-level experience.
MAM's House of Ice
After years spent turning out New Orleans-style "snoballs" from a small robin-egg blue trailer in the Heights, MAM's House of Ice recently traded its mobile stand set-up for a brick and mortar location. The 780-square-foot storefront serves more than 50 flavors of the soft, fluffy treat.
Ramen fans in West Houston won't have to venture inside The Loop to get their soup fix now that Ramen Jin is open in the Westchase area. The counter-service spot is busy turning out piping-hot bowls of ramen, mini rice bowls and cold noodle dishes.
St. Cloud Boutique
Designophiles and Fashionistas have a new place to peruse at Saint Cloud Boutique, a home goods and accessories store stocked with luxuries from around the world.
The company, which has spread to more than a dozen countries around the world since its debut in 2000, offers a custom clothing experience at a fraction of the cost of major designer labels.
The Rig is a nightlife homage to classic petroleum extraction. Here you'll find a chill, laidback lounge with all of the comforts of a neighborhood watering hole on the Washington Avenue Corridor.
OPENINGS: NOVEMBER 2013
60 Degrees Mastercrafted
The menu at 60 Degrees Mastercrafted is built around generous offerings of hard-to-find akaushi beef, a breed of Japanese cattle that are raised in America.
Azuz in Rice Village
Fashion forward and pet friendly, Azuz is the latest shop to hit Rice Village. Four-legged companions can grab a drink of water at the pet station while shoppers pour over racks of designer clothes.
The Brandon brings a new contemporary art gallery to Montrose's Lower Westheimer district.
Brick & Spoon
Southern food fans found a new place to indulge in Louisiana-style Cajun brunch fare when Montrose-set Brick & Spoon opened in November 2013.
Cafe Layal Express
Mediterranean concept Café Layal has taken over the Westheimer Curve space left vacant by the closing of La Fendee.
Dean's Downtown is the reinvention of Dean's Credit Clothing, a Historic District hipster hangout. The bar has a new, posher look and a more elaborate cocktail and beer menu.
Charcuterie boards and paninis have replaced frozen yogurt in a small Highland Village spot.
The Gaslamp took over and added to a small former bar space at McIlhenney and Brazos streets. The result is a three-story bar and lounge serving up craft cocktails and beer plus a substantial menu of sandwiches, burgers and salads.
Good Dog Hot Dog
Good Dog has been rewarded for good behavior (and flavor) and given amore permanent home indoors. Following the success of its food truck, the locally loved and nationally recognized eatery has set up shop in The Heights neighborhood.
The Heights General Store @Harolds
We're all in a rush these days. That's why one-stop-shops are so appreciated. But few offer quite the experience as The Heights General Store @ Harold's, the neighborhood's newest market, deli, kitchen, restaurant and bar.
Located in the former Cafe Artiste space, adjacent to The Menil, Lowbrow opened in October 2013, offering buttoned-up comfort food, a relaxed atmosphere and an emphasis on local breweries.
Craving fresh, Asian-inspired food? You're at the right place. Whether it's Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese or Korean, Mama Fu's is a one-stop-shop for Asian cuisine.
Building off his 23 years of experience in local kitchens, Korean Chef Donald Chang opened Nara in late 2013, bringing authentic Asian cuisine to one of the hottest developments inside the Loop.
Pluckers is the place to come to find spicy, crazy-hot buffalo wingsand an ice cold beer while soaking in more sports than thought possible.
Trenza, meaning "braid" in Spanish, skillfully weaves Latin cuisine with an Indian influence to create flavor forward dishes like lamb vindaloo sopes (fried Mexican masa cakes), and shrimp dumplings with cilantro, curry and lime.
Effortless style, comfort and quality come together at Soft Surroundings. The boutique offers heavenly-soft clothing, jewelry, French-inspired home furnishings, and beauty and skincare for women.
The menu at Tiger Den focuses around four varieties of ramen: traditional tonkotsu (pork, noodle soup), garlic black bean, miso and tantan ramen (minced pork, peanuts and chilies). And Tran is cutting no corners, spending a day-and-a-half on his broth prep and making his ramen noodles in house.
Vallone's offers a creative twist on the all-American classic steak and fish house through the lens of Houston native and James Beard-nominated chef Grant Gordon, and partners Tony Vallone and Scott Sulma.
OPENINGS: OCTOBER 2013
Izakaya-wa gets its name from the traditional izakaya setting, which is essentially a beer/sake-forward establishment that serves a variety of Japanese style tapas.
Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette
The owners of The Heights' popular Liberty Kitchen have opened the doors on the restaurant's high-end sister concept. Located in River Oaks, Oysterette serves up a seafood-focused menu with a Southern influence.
The Litter Box
If Marcus Davis' Alley Kat was appropriately named for the alleyway that spans the rear of the building on Mid-Main, the new club builds on the cat idea with a moniker that's sure to turn heads.
Little Dipper is decidedly low-key in comparison to its hipster haven sister Poison Girl. Might that change as Downtown grows as the place to be for Houston nightlife? Perhaps. But for now, enjoy the cozy if boozy vibe.
My Food Park HTX
The Energy Corridor is getting in on H-Town's food truck craze with the recent opening of My Food Park HTX. Located just south of Memorial Drive, along Highway 6, the three-acre expanse makes room for a changing mix of trucks like H-Town StrEATs, Bernie's Burger Bus and Zeapod Cakery.
In November 2013, Princess Cruises launched new service from the Port of Houston, sailing from the state-of-the-art Bayport Cruise Terminal. Passengers can set sail on one of 26 planned Caribbean Princess departures in the 2013-14 season.
OPENINGS: SEPTEMBER 2013
Since it opened in Austin in 2009, Barbarella has become one of the hottest clubs in the Capital City-a place to dance all night and mingle with friends and strangers. The unique video bar expanded into Midtown Houston in fall 2013, drawing crowds to its large space on San Jacinto.
The Blue Elephant
The Austin-born women's clothing boutique recently opened a Houston outpost showcasing the company's namesake collection of contemporary dresses, blouses and jewelry. Soon, the spot will add other brands including Current/Elliott, Splendid and Marc by Marc Jacobs.
The brains behind River Oaks' Local Pour have expanded their restaurant presence with a Heights-area pizza tavern. Set in the former D'Amico's location, the Italian eatery is busy turning out wood-fired pizza, along with an eclectic mix of American fare.
Need a slice of pizza? Osteria Coppa has you covered. The relaxed, family-centric restaurant in Rice Village beckons patrons with house-made pastas, meat and cheese boards, sandwiches and, perhaps most importantly, a street-side pizza window where passersby can snag a slice.
Award-winning pastry chef Chris Leung and biz-partner Christopher Balat recently opened their highly-anticipated ice-cream and sorbet shop in the Hanover Rice Village development. Expect progressive flavor mash-ups like toasted rice, gingersnap and camomile-dulce de leche.
Drybar Houston, Uptown Park
H-Town's latest blow dry bar concept comes courtesy of the west coast. Founder and blow-dry maven Alli Webb launched her hair-taming venture five years ago, before adding locations throughout the U.S. Find her Houston outpost holding court in Uptown Park.
Kate Spade Saturday, Rice Village
Preppy accessory queen Kate Spade recently expanded her cheerful luxury empire with a lower-priced concept dubbed Saturday. Stop into the designer's Rice Village boutique and peruse a mix of clothing, patterned accessories and home goods, all on offer for a fraction of what fans pay at Spade's Galleria-set store.
The popularity of their original location in the Heights and suburban outpost in Sugar Land led the proprietors of the macaroni-and-cheese wonderland Jus' Mac to expand to Montrose.
Max Gonzalez, the owner of Washington Avenue's popular Catalina Coffee, has added a second, more buttoned-up concept to his local bean biz. His new Rice Village venture serves up the purveyor's famous coffee, while also expanding into the gourmet grocer realm.
The Place Upstairs
Those looking for the unusual and collectible have a new spot to explore. The Place Upstairs is a pop-up boutique from the owners of the popular resale shop Replay on 19th Street.
Local vegetarians and vegans embraced owner and chef Staci Davis' Mexican food venture when it first opened in summer 2011. Recently, however, the forward-thinking talent uprooted her Northside Village-set location and reopened in the heart of Montrose.
Saleem Fernandez—one of the names behind other local nightlife concepts including Roosevelt and Drinkery—has taken over Washington Avenue's former Sawyer Park location. In its new incarnation, as Social Junkie, fans will find a sports bar lounge offering up burgers, dancing and, of course, plenty of game watching.
Torchy's Tacos - The Heights
Following on the debut of its popular locations in Montrose and Rice Village, Torchy's Tacos has opened another outpost in the Heights. The Austin-based, food-trailer-born venture has developed a loyal local following for its wallet-friendly menu items and come-as-you-are attitude.
Vineyard Vines, the New England-born clothier synonymous with East Coast prep, opened its first store in the Houston area at Market Street in The Woodlands.
OPENINGS: AUGUST 2013
Grotto - Galveston
The upscale restaurant takes its place along the San Luis' 32 acres of beachfront property, offering Southern Italian fare such as veal San Pietro and salmon brioso. A nice assortment of pastas, pizzas and other entrees make Grotto a suitable place for a leisurely lunch or a romantic dinner.
Grub Burger Bar
College Station-born Grub Burger Bar recently put down Houston roots, along the second level of CityCentre’s bustling mixed-use development. The casual, come-as-you-are venture spotlights in-house grinded beef, fresh-baked buns and other made-from-scratch fare.
Set along Shepherd Drive, inside the former Sugarbaby’s Cupcake Boutique space, Maine-ly Sandwiches turns out classic New England-style lobster rolls on buttery, toasted buns, along with other coastal favorites like clam chowder and saltwater taffy.
Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon
Inside the space once home to the famous Esquire Ballroom, this new country gay bar retains a huge dance floor, large stage and multiple bars. That stage where Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson performed in their heyday will now feature regular performances by local musical acts and a lot more.
Chef John Sheely of Mockingbird Bistro introduces his latest concept to the Houston market—a northern Italian, Tuscan-inspired venture reflects Sheely's Italian heritage both in name—Mazzantini is his mother’s maiden name—and in cuisine.
The Pastry War
Expect a true multisensory experience at Pastry War with its dia de los muertos-inspired décor and meticulously selected tequila and mescal selection -- many of which have never before been poured in Texas. The margarita's the thing -- salt or no salt, tequila or mescal, house or flavored (the mango habanero seems to be the big hit).
Brands such as Soul Star, Altru, Superdry and Original Penguin come together with a wide selection of accessories in this new Montrose-set men's shop.
This bar doesn't seem to be trying to attract a fancy crowd, and there's a bit of tongue-in-cheek vulgarity that may be a turn off for some and refreshing to others. But patrons will find a nice mix of tiki cocktails and New Orleans-style poboys.
OPENINGS: JULY 2013
For a bird’s-eye view of Downtown Houston, head to Midtown’s 3rd Floor Bar. Guests take an elevator ride to the upper-level venue, where they find skyline views and a libations lineup highlighting American beer, wine and cocktails (pictured above).
Camerata at Paulie's
Houston sommelier David Keck and restaurateur Paul Petronella teamed up for the opening of a new wine bar concept, located next door to Montrose's Paulie's restaurant. Beyond a well-versed beverage menu, Camerata patrons also find a small plates menu touting fine charcuterie and cheese options.
After three years turning out tacos from her Fusion Taco Truck, Julia Sharaby recently put down brick-and-mortar roots across from Downtown’s Market Square Park. There, Sharaby and partner David Grossman (former chef/owner of Branch Water Tavern) showcase a menu of globally-influenced tacos, salads and sandwiches.
Houston Food Park
Houston has been building a great food truck scene in recent years, garnering national attention from aficionados of these rolling restaurants. But the city has lacked a steady place to find good food trucks. Enter the Houston Food Park, which opened for business in mid-summer 2013 offering space to vendors on wheels.
The Lancaster Hotel Houston
An extensive renovation was completed in summer 2013 that includes a major redesign of this historic hotel's lobby and meeting spaces as well as all guest rooms and suites. The result is a more modern take on luxury, with a large, dramatic lobby and reception area filled with natural light and warm tones.
Something unique has landed in Midtown--a steakhouse with a brash, eccentric personality that aims to reimagine upscale dining in one of the city's hottest districts.
This upscale steakhouse has been a landmark on the national dining scene for decades. Now a $5 million renovation has transformed Houston's Palm restaurant into a modern white tablecloth experience.
Owner and interior designer Deanna Breaux Gathe fills her Uptown Park shop with rare finds she’s collected from her travels abroad. Stop in and peruse an ever-changing inventory of bold interior accents, accessories and furniture pieces.
Rosemont Social Club
From dive bars to top-notch cocktail bars, you'll find a lot of nightlife on Lower Westheimer. Rosemont Social Club added a new dimension to the mix when it bowed in late summer 2013.
Ruth's Chris Steak House
Set just a few blocks west of the Galleria, the new glass-lined location offers a more open and modern take on the traditional, heavily-wooded steakhouse. The nearly 10,000-square-foot space offers three private dining rooms in addition to its main dining room.
Want even more scoop on all of Houston's newest restaurants, boutiques and attractions? Check out our monthly breakdown of all the hot-spots that opened in the past year.
In the year 1252, Alfonso X of Castile and Leon was crowned King of Spain. Widely recognized as an intellectual, writer and composer, Alfonso is also credited as the father of Spanish tapas. What Read more »
For a bird’s-eye view of Downtown Houston, head to Midtown’s 3rd Floor bar. Guests take an elevator ride to the upper-level venue, where they find floor-to-ceiling windows offering patrons skyline Read more »
The menu at 60 Degrees Mastercrafted is built around generous offerings of hard-to-find akaushi beef, a breed of Japanese cattle that are raised in America. Fritz Gitschner, the former longtime Read more »
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Andes Café is the East End's newest spot. The laid-back eatery showcases food from the South American countries that run the span of the Andes mountain range: Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Read more »
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One of west Houston's newest destinations takes the shooting range concept to an entirely new level. The luxurious, 26-lane Athena Gun Club offers classes, rentals and a wide range of firearms for Read more »