HOUSTON (June 27, 2017) – Six months after its initial debut, the downtown district known as Avenida Houston continues to expand with the announcement of a new restaurant and entertainment concept and upcoming attractions.

Construction will start soon on The Rustic, a successful Texas restaurant, bar and live music concept that will go up just south of the George R. Brown Convention Center at 1836 Polk Street. The 25,000-square-foot venue is slated to open summer 2018.

Launched in Dallas in 2013, The Rustic has become a popular spot, bringing together farm-fresh, home-style cuisine, a full bar including 40 beers on tap and live musical acts in a casual indoor/outdoor atmosphere. The Houston location will be the second.

“It’s been a long time coming, and I just can’t wait to introduce the great people of Houston – my hometown – to our one-of-a-kind concept!” said Kyle Noonan, co-owner of FreeRange Concepts, which operates The Rustic, alongside partners Josh Sepkowitz and Texas country artist Pat Green. “The Rustic is the perfect venue for fans to see their favorite local and national artists under the stars in an intimate setting like no other. We’ll have live music seven nights a week and our menu will feature all of the Lone Star State’s best cuisines, beers and liquors.”

The Rustic is the latest announcement for Avenida Houston, the reinvented district surrounding the George R. Brown Convention Center. Houston First Corporation wrapped construction in December on the $175 million initiative that included the renovation of the convention center, the new Partnership Tower office building, a 1,900-space garage and a 97,000-square-foot pedestrian plaza in front of the convention center complete with restaurants, public art, shopping and entertainment. Grotto – Downtown, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen and McAllister’s Deli all opened in January, just before Super Bowl, as did the local designer-focused retail shop LAUNCH. Bud's Pitmaster BBQ launched its soft opening last month. The restaurant is expanding its menu throughout the coming weeks and is hosting a grand opening in early August.

“In just a few short months, we’ve built incredible energy around this emerging district with spectacular events, innovative art installations and new restaurants,” said Dawn Ullrich, CEO of Houston First. “The Rustic is precisely the kind of establishment that we want to add to Avenida Houston – an interactive experience that will draw patrons seeking everything from live music to great food. This unique concept will help us perpetuate the momentum and excitement of Avenida Houston into 2018.”

Meanwhile, construction continues on another previously announced project nearby. Restaurateur Marcus Davis plans to open kulture in late summer. Exploring the cultural contributions and cuisine of the African diaspora through the Caribbean to the southern U.S., kulture will offer a selection of food, spirits, art and music in a posh yet comfortable space on the ground floor of Partnership Tower, immediately north of the convention center.

From the outset, Houston First sought to make Avenida a multi-faceted destination, and entertainment has been an integral component. The organization is working with Discovery Green to help program events, concerts, exhibitions and more along Avenida Plaza that complement the 12-acre park just across the street, creating a seamless experience for both visitors and locals. In recent months, events have included a rebirth of the weekly, live-music-focused Party on the Plaza, performances by international acrobatic troupes and an art car exhibition.

In August, a new art installation will bring dramatic color and whimsy to Avenida Plaza and Discovery Green. Arcade from Dallas-based art group Color Condition will feature streamer sculptures sliced out of materials from table cloths to shower curtains that create “a new image, vision, color, pattern and painting with every gust of wind.” This dynamic exhibition will run through mid-November.

About Houston First Corporation

Houston First operates the city's finest convention and arts facilities to position Houston as a world-class destination. In 2014, Houston First and the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau aligned operations to create a single voice representing the city under the brand Visit Houston. Houston First owns the Hilton Americas-Houston hotel, manages the George R. Brown Convention Center and 11 city-owned properties and is the driving force in developing the new Avenida Houston entertainment district. Learn more at HoustonFirst.com and VisitHouston.com.

Carolyn Campbell