If you were to poll Houstonians on the city’s best area to eat and party, they will likely point you to Midtown. This area has a reputation for bars and restaurants catering to 20-somethings, but actually, Midtown is actually for everyone! With walkable parks, restaurants, stores and clubs, Midtown is a plethora of excitement for all ages. While you’re there, make sure you check out a number of the small, local businesses unique to this community.
Thiên Ân Sandwiches
Coming to Houston and eating Vietnamese cuisine is on par with coming to Houston and eating Tex Mex. It is a must-do item. In fact, Houston has the third largest Vietnamese population in the U.S., which means the city’s Vietnamese food is amazing. For a relaxed and local Vietnamese meal, head to Thiên Ân Sandwiches. On the menu are pho noodle soups, vermicelli bowls, banh mi sandwiches, rice platters, smoothies, desserts and boba teas. The prices are affordable, and the portions are generous.
The Japanese word izakaya (居酒屋) is made up of three kanji meaning “stay-sake-shop.” Izakaya, a Midtown establishment, does just that; provides a delicious and inviting place of respite for those who are hungry and thirsty. Described as a high-end Japanese gastropub, Izakaya works to introduce global cuisine by mixing cultural ingredients with Japanese techniques. The tapas-style small plates allow for plenty of tasting and sharing. The drink menu is robust with authentic cocktails, complemented by separate menus for its sake and Japanese/Taiwanese whisky selections. Embrace izakaya culture by staying, having sake and ordering endless amounts of delicious food.
To Texans, custom boots are the ultimate luxury. To select, style and snag your own pair, head to Al’s Handmade Boots. For over 30 years, Alvaro Rivera has been honing his craft by creating exquisite handmade boots, wallets, belts and clutches for a global clientele. Further, he works in different hides and has extensive knowledge of exotic skins like ostrich, alligator, buffalo, crocodile, elephant, lizard, python and shark. Custom boots start at $1,399, but belts and accessories are a lower price point. Walk into Al’s as a tourist, but walk out as a Texan.
There’s always something happening at Red Dwarf. This local event venue is truly one of the coolest spaces in Houston. Located in Midtown, of course, Red Dwarf has live music, fun events, coffee, food and a full bar. From crawfish boils to monthly belly dancing and fusion dance nights, the events are always creative and ever changing. Further, the live music lineup appeals to all genres and musical tastes. The Red Dwarf menu is full of delicious light bites like flatbreads and a caprese salad, but we think everyone should go all in on the Comeback Burger. The coffee bar has espresso and drip coffee options, while the drink menu boasts plenty of craft cocktails. Does it get any better than a chill afternoon with cocktails, coffee, food and live music? We think not.
If you love vintage clothing, estate finds and interesting inventory, head to My Flaming Heart. This iconic Midtown shop specializes in eclectic mixes of custom-fitted, vintage-inspired clothing, unique handmade jewelry, and vintage cowboy boots. For the person who has everything, you’ll enjoy browsing the unusual gifts from its collection of Texican and Mexican folk art, including vintage trinkets and antique curiosities. There is also a mesmerizing selection of crystals, beads, and charms. My Flaming Heart will definitely set your heart ablaze.