Downtown Houston Food Scene is Booming

Although the COVID-19 pandemic had devastating effects on the food and beverage industry nationwide throughout 2020 and into 2021, Houston’s trademark hospitality scene is resilient as the region continues to see an increase in vaccinations and a reduction in cases. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than in Downtown Houston. Downtown continued to see openings during the pandemic and has experienced an even greater uptick in restaurant and bar openings and announcements throughout this spring, with further projects set to debut later in the year and beyond.

“With Downtown’s workforce returning to the office, hotel occupancy on the rise and locals and visitors alike looking for activities and entertainment, the Downtown Houston food and beverage scene continues to thrive,” said Angie Bertinot, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Houston Downtown Management District. “While we saw some permanent closures in mid-2020, those who endured and those who have since opened are poised to come back strong.”

Restaurants and bars that opened in late 2020 and early 2021 include:

  • Day 6 Coffee Co., a Black-owned specialty coffee shop and collaborative space on Prairie Street dedicated to providing an optimal environment for creativity and productivity (opened November 2020, 910 Prairie St.)
  • The Nash, an eclectic bar and restaurant at The Star (the former Texaco building) with a menu developed by chef Omar Pereney that he calls a “love letter” to American food (opened January 2021, 1111 Rusk St.)
  • The Halal Guys, which opened its fifth Houston-area location—and its largest one to-date—in the lobby level of 609 Main at Texas (opened March 2021)
  • Cru Hemp Lounge, a hookah bar and restaurant on Travis Street known for its craft cocktails and CBD-infused offerings, as well as small plates including wings, lollipop lamb chops and baby burgers (opened March 2021, 311 Travis St.)
  • Cherry Bar, an 80s- and 90s-themed dance club on Main Street decorated vibrantly with glittery red walls, zebra-striped floors, and music icon photography to transport you back to a different time( opened May 2021, 208 Main St.)
  • High and Dry Rum Bar on Main Street expanded to allow access to both its first and second floors, where guests can enjoy around 200 hand-selected rums from all over the world as well as cocktails and classic tiki drinks (expanded May 2021, 306 Main St.)
  • Angel Share HTX, the new occupant of the former OKRA Charity Saloon on Congress Avenue, will donate a portion of its proceeds to different Houston non-profits each month (opened June 2021, 924 Congress St.)

 

Expected openings this summer include:

  • McIntyre’s second location in Houston, which will feature both a casual neighborhood sports bar as well as the McIntyre’s outdoor pavilion (901 Commerce St.)
  • 3 Fibs, a coffee and wine bar opening at Main & Co. on the corner of Main and Commerce (104 Main St.)
  • Georgia James Tavern, a casual offshoot of James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd’s upscale steakhouse Georgia James, at Market Square Tower (expected early July 2021, 777 Preston St.)
  • Ixím, a concept by chef Tim Reading at Bravery Chef Hall that aims to showcase unseen Mexican cuisine (409 Travis St.)

This fall and winter, Houstonians can expect openings from:

  • Common Bond, a full-service restaurant and bakery, full bar and 4,900-square-foot dining area at Understory, the food hall in Bank of America Tower (expected fall 2021, 800 Capitol St.)
  • Toro Toro, a steak and seafood restaurant from Richard Sandoval, set to open in the newly renovated Downtown Four Seasons Hotel (expected fall 2021, 1300 Lamar St.)
  • Pur Noire (Noire Urban Winery), Houston’s first Black-owned urban winery and tasting room opening on Milam Street (expected fall 2021, 802 Milam St.)
  • Frost Town Brewing, a craft brewery opening a 9,100-square-foot taproom and a 10,000-square-foot outdoor beer garden on Jackson Street (expected October 2021, 800 N. Jackson St.)
  • POST Houston also recently revealed the first vendors that will populate its 53,000 square foot Post Market food hall: Gelu Italian Ice, Lea Jane’s Hot Chicken, Salt & Time Butcher Shop, Soupreme, Taco Fuego and The Butcher’s Burger (expected fall 2021, 401 Franklin St.)
  • Etta, a rustic Italian restaurant, will be Hines’ first Texas Tower location and feature a menu centered around the wood-fired hearth, with items like wood-fired pizzas, house-made pastas, and farm fresh salads (expected February 2022, 601 Travis St.)

The recent openings and expansions on the horizon are bolstered by the return of office workers, business travelers and staycation visitors, and a packed events calendar, with sports stadiums and other events returning to full capacity.

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