11 things to know

11 things to know in Houston food right now: openings, closings, and how to beat the summer heat

11 things to know in Houston food: openings, closings, beat the heat

Better Luck Tomorrow Negroni pitcher
Share a pitcher of Negronis at Better Luck Tomorrow. Courtesy of Better Luck Tomorrow
Richard Knight Alli Jarrett Harold's
Richard Knight's tenure at Harold's has come to an end. Courtesy photo
Pondicheri ice cream cone
Pondicheri is now serving homemade ice cream cones. Courtesy photo
Pokeworks poke burrito
Pokéworks is coming to Katy this month. Courtesy photo
Nonna Mary's Gelato Texas Pecan
Find Nonna Mary's Gelato at Central Market.  Courtesy photo
Better Luck Tomorrow Negroni pitcher
Richard Knight Alli Jarrett Harold's
Pondicheri ice cream cone
Pokeworks poke burrito
Nonna Mary's Gelato Texas Pecan

Editor’s note: Houston’s restaurant scene moves pretty fast. In order to prevent CultureMap readers from missing anything, let’s stop to look around at all the latest news to know.

Chefs on the move
Richard Knight has departed Harold’s in the Heights after three months, the restaurant announced. The former Feast/Hunky Dory chef has decided to concentrate on Show Us Your Goods, the video series he is developing with his wife, Carrie Jean Knight. Harold’s, which parted ways with longtime executive chef Antoine Ware earlier this year, will remain in the hands of “solid am and pm sous chefs and cooks that have been with us for many, many years,” owner Alli Jarret tells CultureMap in an email.

Steve Haug, the well-traveled Houston chef who has served as executive chef at places like Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse and Grazia Italian Kitchen, has left Vallone’s to join the team at The Oceanaire Seafood Room in the Galleria, the chef announced on his Facebook page.

Openings and closings
Pour one out for Brooklyn Athletic Club. The windows of the bar and restaurant have been papered over, and a sign at the entrance states that it has closed for “much needed renovations.”  When it opened in 2013, BAC offered an innovative mix of comfort food, cocktails, and outdoor games but recently has been overshadowed by Houston’s growing roster of patio bars. Given the prime location, expect it to be snapped up quickly by some savvy operator.

Cheesesteak purveyor Pappa Geno’s has opened its Montrose location at 515 Westheimer Rd. Long regarded as one of Houston’s top destinations for the Philly favorite, the new spot gives the restaurant five Houston-area locations.

Pokéworks will open its third Houston-area restaurant in Katy. The New York-based poke concept joins restaurants like MidiCi pizza, Jinya Ramen, and grilled cheese chain Tom and Chee at 21788 Katy Freeway. Look for an opening in the third week of June.

Houston’s second JuiceWell will open in CityCentre later this summer. Already a success in the Greenway Plaza area thanks to its mix of cold-pressed juices, nut milks, smoothies, and acai bowls, the new JuiceWell will be located next to Bowl & Barrel at 797 Sorella Ct.

Other news of note

Better Luck Tomorrow has a new way for its patrons to beat the heat — craft cocktail pitchers. Priced at $38, pitchers of Martinis, Negronis, Manhattans, French 75s, and Mojitos are available for groups of three or four people. Each cocktail is served with traditional glassware, small snacks, and additional garnishes. Seek guidance from the bar staff on which options pairs best with that week's Pasta Tuesday special. 

For those looking to beat the heat without booze, consider Pondicheri. The popular Upper Kirby Indian restaurant has rolled out a brand new lineup of ice cream and flavored cones at its upstairs Bake Lab. Options include mango ice cream ladoo made with saffron, kevra, and cardamom or a dairy-free Moringa mint ice cream made with avocado, coconut, and lime. Match them with a housemade cone such as rose hibiscus and turmeric pink peppercorn covered with poppy seeds and edible flowers. Single scoops are $4 in a dish or $6 in a cone. 

Speaking of frozen treats, Cherry Pie Hospitality now sells its Nonna Mary’s Gelato at all Central Market locations in Texas. Created by gelatier Josh Collier, the brand offers six flavors, including a vegan chocolate sorbet, for $7.99 per pint.

Artisans has rolled out a new, three-course lunch. For $29, diners who patronize the Midtown French restaurant will receive a choice of soup or salad, an entree of filet, seabass, or lobster tail, and dessert.

Good news for fans of Nobie’s. Chef Martin Stayer’s eclectic restaurant is now open for dinner every day. On Sunday nights, the restaurant features a brunch for dinner menu with items like stuffed French toast, duck fat hash browns, and it’s gloriously over-the-top, oversized cinnamon roll.