The Houston area is the midst of a mini-boom in the number of restaurants touting their healthy eating options. With newcomers like Vibrant in Montrose and Herb & Beet in Spring, it’s never been easier to feel good about dining out.
Those restaurants will soon be joined by a new-to-Houston concept with a strong pedigree. Flower Child, a fast casual establishment from North Italia owners Fox Restaurant Concepts, will make its debut in Uptown Park on September 12. Although it’s the first Houston outpost, the restaurant has already won fans in Austin and Dallas.
Head chef Don Bowie is a Third Ward native who once managed downtown’s Red Cat Jazz Cafe (now the OKRA Charity Saloon). After leaving Houston to attend culinary school in Atlanta, the chef worked in New York and Los Angeles before returning home to help open the Sweetie Pie’s soul food restaurant. Initially, he was skeptical about working for Flower Child, but one visit to the restaurant swayed him.
“I got a chance to try the food and I was blown away by the flavor profiles,” Bowie tells CultureMap. “Everything I tasted I was like wow. I see why so many people frequent this spot. It’s healthy food but it tastes good. That’s why I decided to be a part of this. It will blow people away.”
Bowie cites a number of examples of favorite dishes that are good for you and still tasty, such as the Rebel wrap (steak, charred onion, French Port Salut Cheese, and horseradish yogurt) and the Mother Earth bowl (sweet potatoes, portobello mushrooms, avocado, broccoli pesto, and red pepper miso vinaigrette). By making everything from scratch and incorporating lots of global flavors, the restaurant keep things fresh for its customers. Bowie says it’s not unusual to see customers dine at the restaurant two or three times a week.
The menu also offers a diverse set of options for diners who are looking to eat vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. “I’m a meat eater through and through but I find myself eating the vegan dishes because I enjoy the taste so much,” Bowie says.
Coming from a soul food restaurant, Bowie has high standard for mac and cheese, and Flower Child’s version, which uses a three cheese blend, exceeded them. “It has to be one of the top three cheese sauces I’ve ever tried. It’s something you have to try not to dip a spoon in throughout the day,” Bowie says.
At lunch, wraps and salads are possible. The summer seasonal salad, which combines watermelon and farro with heirloom tomatoes, pomegranate, and a preserved lemon vinaigrette, as proven to be particularly popular.
Those seeking a heartier meal may opt for a plate, which combines one, two, or three of the vegetable sides with an optional protein. Feeling healthy? Go for grilled asparagus, spicy Japanese eggplant, and organic tofu. Want to indulge a little more? Opt for mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, glazed sweet potato, and grass-fed steak.
Even the desserts are gluten-free. Bowie brags about the texture of both the brownie and the vegan chocolate pudding, which is topped with coconut. Together, they’re just one more sign of Flower Child’s commitment to providing its customers with satisfying meals.
“It’s a fast casual experience, but what we do in the back will rival any full service restaurant you go to,” Bowie says.