Super Bowl LI might be over, but the afterglow shines on and Houstonians are the ones to enjoy a wave of new businesses, many opening up shop Downtown. In the months leading up to the big game, the Central Business District exploded with a dozen new restaurants and bars, many of which center around the bustling Avenida Houston district. Wondering what you might’ve missed? We’ve rounded up the latest additions.
Bayou & Bottle
The first Texas venture for Richard Sandoval Restaurants is a chic bourbon concept, set in the lobby of Four Seasons Houston. Created by celebrity chef and restaurateur Richard Sandoval, the lively spot serves more than 100 varieties of bourbons and whiskeys, along with a well-edited menu of New American fare.
Biggio’s Sports Bar
Just a long toss from where Houston Astros Hall of Famer Craig Biggio plied his baseball career at Minute Maid Park, fans will find a multi-level sports bar and restaurant, set inside the new Marriott Marquis Houston hotel. Each seat at Biggio’s comes with great views of all the games on flat-screen TVs, local craft beer, cocktails and upscale pub grub.
Brasserie du Parc
The husband-wife team behind Uptown Park’s Etoile Cuisine et Bar expanded their reach in 2017 with a second French concept in Downtown Houston. Located on the ground floor of One Park Place, Brasserie du Parc and its accompanying Creperie du Parc, overlook Discovery Green and offer classic French fare in an elegant, relaxed setting.
Nestled in the historic Sweeney, Coombs and Fredericks Building, Dizzy Kaktus brings a wide assortment of globally-inspired tacos to the bustling Downtown area. On the wallet-friendly menu, favorites like the chorizo way taco and migas con frito shine at breakfast, while more creative options like The Elvis—a fried pork chop taco that’s tossed in sweet chili and sriracha lime—emerge later in the day.
Set on the ground floor of the George R. Brown Convention Center, in the heart of the bustling Avenida Houston district, guests find a warm and inviting upscale trattoria. Grotto Ristorante serves authentic Southern Italian cuisine, specializing in traditional dishes from the Bay of Naples.
Local Foods Downtown
Fans of Benjy Levit’s wildly popular Local Foods were excited when the restaurateur opened a Downtown location early this year. Set along the METRORail, the expansive, three-level space unfolds in the historic building that once served as Byrd’s Department Store. The fast-casual, walk-up counter concept features soups, salads and sandwiches that highlight many locally-sourced products, as well as a raw bar and ceviche program—a first for the brand.
Find the fast-casual sandwich and salad shop on the ground level of the George R. Brown. In addition to dine-in and take-out service, the biz offers catering with a selection of sandwich trays, box lunches, desserts and more. In the mood for a picnic? Given its proximity to Discovery Green, McAlister’s is prime for grabbing a bite to enjoy alfresco.
Longtime fans of the Cajun concept will feel right at home at the company’s Downtown location. Set in a two-level, 9,000-square-foot space in the southwest corner of the George R. Brown Covention Center, Pappadeaux turns out fresh seafood and Louisiana favorites like blackened opelousas filet, crawfish & shrimp fondeaux and seafood gumbo.
Part & Parcel
Set on the ground floor of The Whitehall Hotel, Part & Parcel tempts guests with a relaxed courtyard setting, perfect for enjoying artisan cocktails and small plates, all beneath the Texas stars. Part & Parcel’s expert mixologists specialize in both classic cocktails and original libations, which are complemented by a tempting small plate menu and a heaving helping of Southern hospitality.
The highly anticipated restaurant from Houston Astros’ Owner Jim Crane unfolds across the street from Downtown’s Minute Maid Park. The restaurant promises upscale Italian fare offered in a luxurious and eye-catching setting. On the menu, the attention to detail carries over in daily seafood selections, homemade pastas and steaks. The restaurant’s extensive wine list highlights a healthy mix of Italian wines and West Coast vintners.
Bobby Heugel and Chef Peter Jahnke’s under-the-radar speakeasy sits just above Downtown’s Pastry War. Inspired by the owners' Asia travels, the name pays homage to a Japanese fable about greed, jealousy and friendship. Inside the intimate, 25-seat venue, the vibe is masculine with dark wood floors, exposed brick walls and clubby leather seating. The understated, low-glitz look allows Tongue-Cut Sparrow’s craft cocktails to take center stage.
Set in Downtown’s Marriott Marquis Houston, Xochi (pronounced so-chee) means to bloom or catch fire and represents another creative endeavor from award-winning Chef Hugo Ortega and the H Town Restaurant Group. There, fans will find a dining experience that celebrates the culinary and indigenous richness of Oaxaca, Mexico and its varied geographic regions.