Before the current downtown bar boom began with the opening of the Original OKRA Charity Saloon in December 2012, a few adventurous operators found success by defying the conventional wisdom about the grim prospects for casual, neighborhood-style restaurants in the central business district.
One of the most successful of these establishments will expand to a second location this fall.
Hearsay Gastro Lounge, a pioneer in the trend of turning a historic space into a restaurant, will open a inside the Embassy Suites at Discovery Green. As with the original, Hearsay Discovery Green will offer lunch, dinner and late-night dining options for the office workers, hotel guests and park visitors who frequent the area. Expect it to be a postgame destination for Houston Astros and Houston Rockets fans, too.
A 40-foot bar will provide plenty of space to serve Hearsay's signature craft cocktails.
The menu will be similar to the original's mix of salads, sandwiches, burgers and more but will contain a few unique items. A 40-foot bar will provide plenty of space to serve Hearsay's signature craft cocktails, wines by the glass and local beers. Other common design elements include brick walls, an exposed ceiling and a chandelier.
"It will certainly be the most unique restaurant setting found in any Houston hotel, particularly in this part of downtown," Nick Massad of Houston-based American Liberty Hospitality, which owns and operates the hotel, said in a statement.
The Embassy Suites isn't the only downtown hotel looking to become a food destination. When it opens late this summer, the JW Marriott's Main Kitchen & 806 Lounge will employ executive chef Erin Smith and pastry chef Plinio Sandalio. That's enough talent to make it one of the fall's most exciting openings. Across Discovery Green, the Hilton Americas will add a Pappasito's outpost that should open soon.
Hopefully this new movement means the end of generic national chains cluttering up the city's hotels.