Year in Review

Top 10 restaurant and bar stories that Houston devoured in 2017

Top 10 restaurant and bar stories that Houston devoured in 2017

Players Tailgate Guy Fieri
Guy Fieri's visit to Houston was CultureMap's most popular story in 2017.  Photo by Eric Sandler
New England Patriots Killen's Barbecue
Members of the New England Patriots dined at Killen's Barbecue. Courtesy photo
Chengdu Taste - exterior
Chengdu Taste arrived in Houston. Photo by Eric Sandler
Houston, new brunch menus, Jan 2017, Lancelot bar at Holley’s
Holley's closed at the end of September. Photo by Julie Soefer
Ramen Tatsu-ya ramen bowls
Ramen Tatsu-ya offered half-off food during its three-day soft opening.  Courtesy photo
Players Tailgate Guy Fieri
New England Patriots Killen's Barbecue
Chengdu Taste - exterior
Houston, new brunch menus, Jan 2017, Lancelot bar at Holley’s
Ramen Tatsu-ya ramen bowls

Editor's note: As the year comes to a close, we look back at the 10 most popular restaurant and bar stories of 2017. These are the openings, closings, and celebrity sightings that Houston readers gobbled up, all from CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler.

1. Guy Fieri films Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives at six Houston restaurants. The Mayor of Flavortown snuck into Houston to shine the Triple D spotlight on six deserving Houston-area restaurants: the Original Irma's, Cuchara, Cool Runnings, Cafe Lili, The Original Marini's Empanada House, and  Q-Shi, the Spring restaurant that blends barbecue and sushi.

2. Despite Hurricane Harvey's havoc, some Houston restaurants remain open. One day after the historic storm made landfall, a few Houston restaurants managed to open their doors. Stir-crazy CultureMap readers managed to navigate through the flooded streets to find hot meals.

3. Developer unveils stunning plan to transform Airline farmers market into a foodie paradise. Real estate developer MLB Capital Partners unveiled an ambitious plan to convert the Houston Farmers Market, widely known as the Canino's Market after its largest tenant, into a "destination retail experience offering more diversified products, renovated facilities and community programming." The company has recruited chef Chris Shepherd and his business partner Kevin Floyd to help select the vendors for the new market. 

4. 'The best Sichuan restaurant in America' quietly arrives in Houston with Chinatown location. Chengdu Taste, a Los Angeles-based restaurant that's a favorite of Los Angeles Times critic Jonathan Gold and cookbook author J. Kenji López-Alt, quietly opened a Houston location in Chinatown — at least until CultureMap readers flocked to the place.  

5. Acclaimed Midtown seafood restaurant shutters as the latest victim of Harvey. In making the painful decision to close his eponymous seafood restaurant, popular local chef Mark Holley cited the three week closure of his restaurant after Harvey as being a financial blow that he couldn't recover from. Hopefully, the chef reemerges soon; Houstonians deserve regular access to his signature gumbo. 

6. Where to eat right now: 10 exciting new restaurants to try in January. This year's Where to Eat Now columns got off to a strong start in January thanks to restaurants like Riel, Pinkerton's Barbecue, and Maba Pan Asian Diner. 

7. Where to Eat Now: 10 new restaurants to try in June and one to avoid. Chengdu Taste, FM Kitchen & Bar, and The Branch led June's restaurant suggestions, but we strongly advised against a visit to Bud's Pitmaster BBQ.

8. New England Patriots players chow down on 40 pounds of Killen's Barbecue. Prior to their historic comeback win in the Super Bowl, about a dozen members of the New England Patriots got a taste of Texas when they dined at Killen's Barbecue in Pearland. Led by center David Andrews, the group also included backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and offensive linemen Marcus Cannon, Joe Thuney, Tre Jackson, Chris Baker, LaAdrian Waddle, Shaq Mason, Cameron Fleming, and Nate Solder. 

9. Sneak peek: Acclaimed ramen shop offers half off on food during soft opening. Austin-based ramen shop Ramen Tatsu-ya introduced itself to Houston in the best way possible — three days of half-off soup. If the current cold snap has you craving noodles, we recommend the Mi So Hot.

10. Enjoy Houston Restaurant Weeks 2017 at these 11 can't-miss newcomers. The list of restaurants participating in HRW for the first time is always popular with CultureMap readers. In 2017, Coltivare, Xochi, and Potente were the new participants we were most excited about.

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