After such a record year of openings, especially in late 2015, we couldn’t imagine what spring 2016 could usher in. Sure enough, the restaurant scene will be as sizzling as a Texas summer day. From big-name local chefs to exotic global and national expansions, additional Heights neighborhood spots and a new shopping district touting dozens of restaurants, here’s a taste of what’s to come.
Toulouse Café & Bar
This stylish Dallas transport from Lombardi Family Concepts is on the brink of opening this month in the new River Oaks District. Dashing chef-about-town Philippe Schmit, aka “the French Cowboy,” is taking the kitchen reins, and we couldn’t be happier. On the menu, look for classic bistro dishes like croque madame with egg over easy, Dover sole meunière, bouillabaisse and salad niçoise.
The international Hakkasan Group brings its upscale chain (four locations in India, one in London) to the Houston Galleria this spring for one of two American debuts. The Michelin-starred modern teahouse will feature a gorgeous array of in-house French patisserie and a dim sum menu of dumplings, soups, noodles and rice dishes, along with meat and seafood entrees. Expect a large restaurant space with a sophisticated design including a dynamic cocktail bar with a strong cocktail program, a dim sum bar (no rolling carts) and a large terrace.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar
We’re salivating in anticipation of the king of burgers and beers opening this spring in the glossy newly minted River Oaks District shopping complex. Famous for its variety of patties, including beef, bison, lamb, chicken, turkey, tuna and black bean, guests wait hours in line in the Texas heat to snag one of these juicy creations with combos and toppings for days. Pair the burgers with a side of Kennebec truffle fries and craft beer to wash it all down.
Liberty Kitchen at The Treehouse
The bustling inner loop oyster bar owned by F.E.E.D. TX Restaurant group (Liberty Kitchen and Oysterette) is expanding outside the loop to Memorial City with another version of the popular eatery planned for late spring. Part of the draw is the stunning architecture in the collaborative MetroNational office building showcasing a two-story glass “treehouse” with a spacious rooftop patio. The Houston-based restaurant group opened its first Austin location in 2015, and in February 2016, a Little Liberty bowed in Houston’s Rice Village.
Phoenix’s Steak 44 is bringing its revamped version, Steak 48, to the River Oaks district this spring. An upscale menu will include steaks, seafood and a raw bar, as well as a few items that are specific to Texas. The posh two-story space will incorporate a glassed-in kitchen, an in-house butcher area for prepping the wet-aged steaks, a cocktail lounge and a small sidewalk patio.
Cane Rosso Pizza
Dallas-based Cane Rosso will bring wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas from the Metroplex to Houston locations starting with the Heights this April or May. Anticipate signature pies wood-fired in a dramatic gold dome oven led by certified Master Pizzaiolo chef Dino Santonicola. The pizzeria also serves starters, sandwiches and handmade pastas. A Montrose location is in the planning stage.
Morningstar Coffee & Donuts
Greenway Coffee & Tea’s David Buehrer and Ecky Probanto will open this highly anticipated cafe later this month next door to trendy Foreign Correspondents near the Heights. Look for breakfast, lunch and coffee, and a collection of kolaches and fancified donuts, including the glazed yeast made with local honey. Buehrer also is the owner of Blacksmith coffee shop in Montrose.
Steel City Pops
Sweet news: wildly popular Alabama-based Steel City Pops is coming this May to the Heights.The organic popsicles are made from locally sourced ingredients in unique flavor combos like maple bacon with bourbon and gingerbread cream cheese. We hear they are addictive!
For contemporary, New American cuisine make a beeline to Current starting March 18 located within brand new The Westin Woodlands hotel. Bright seasonal entrees by chef de cuisine Nathan Friend include grilled salmon with vegetable orzo, roasted lamb loin, and poached Maine lobster with shaved fennel. Its posh bar, SideBar, opens onto the upper level pool deck and overlooks the Fountains at Waterway Square.
2 Waterway Square Place; 281-419-4300