Local Foods has arrived Downtown. The brainchild of hometown heroes Benjy Levit and chef/partner Dylan Murray, Local Foods struck an immediate chord when it first launched in 2011 next door to its big brother restaurant, benjy’s in the Village.
Levit and Murray’s simple formula sources ingredients, produce, veggies and protein from local purveyors, farmers, ranchers and the Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market, which when combined make for the most flavorful sandwiches, freshest soups, seasonal salads, and sumptuous sides available in the marketplace. The public took notice, as evidenced by two additional locations in Upper Kirby and the Tanglewood area. The newest incarnation is found in the 1934 Joseph Finger-designed art deco building on the northwest corner of Main and Prairie Streets.
The collective design of each Local Foods location recalls the style of a classic 1950’s American diner, cafeteria, delicatessen, and butcher shop effortlessly meshed together to create a unified concept. The Downtown location offers something of a nautical motif as a nod to its raw bar and ceviche offerings. Colors and objects that emulate the serenity of flowing water were utilized throughout the space, including pale teals and turquoise tones; a cluster of brass light pendants that emits a feeling of being inside a champagne glass; and blue fiberglass industrial globes that might seem to be straight out of the Kevin Costner film Water World.
In its new Downtown digs, Local Food’s 10,000-square-foot, three-story space connects its ambiance and offerings directly with the neighborhood it serves. To that end, it’s is giving office warriors, neighborhood residential dwellers and urban sophisticates something to clamor about with its first-ever raw bar and ceviche program, including Gulf shrimp ceviche with jackfruit and spicy chili threads, red snapper campechana served with avocado, miso cucumber and rice crackers, sesame crusted tuna with pickled ginger aioli and tamari glaze; Local oyster shooters with peperoncini vodka and a Bloody Mary vinaigrette. Menu staples from other Local locations such as the crunchy chicken and truffle egg salad sandwiches, vegetarian falafel, salads and sides remain firmly front and center at Local Downtown.
With a mezzanine level wrapping the entire space and overlooking the main dining area, Local Downtown offers a variety of seating options with eclectic furnishings, including a 4,500-square-foot private event space on the basement level equipped with A/V capabilities for corporate events and festive occasions that can accommodate up 100 people.
After successfully making waves in the Rice Village, Upper Kirby, and Tanglewood while growing a rabid fan base across Houston and beyond, Local Foods is just the latest reason you might want to consider calling Downtown Houston, “Home!”