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Kiss My Grits

Houston's top restaurants wage an all-out grits war as young professionals swoon: Who makes it best?

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Kiss My Grits Caroline Conway Ben Conner Lizzy Conner
Caroline Conway, left with Lizzy and Ben Conner.  Photo by Eddie Clark
Kiss My Grits Sairah Ahmed, Megan Cornelison, Heather Hines
Sairah Ahmed, left, Megan Cornelison, Heather Hines. Photo by Eddie Clark
Kiss My Grits Monica Guerra & Maricela Bassler
Monica Guerra, left, and Maricela Bassler. Photo by Eddie Clark
Kiss My Grits Matt Legros, Hannah Mount, Vince Strake
Matt Legros, left, Hannah Mount, Vince Strake. Photo by Eddie Clark
Kiss My Grits Christopher Chung Monica Yoo
Christopher Chung and Monica Yool Photo by Eddie Clark
Kiss My Grits Justin Hopkins, David Galic, Scott McCammon, Chris Mastrangelo
Justin Hopkins, left, David Galic, Scott McCammon, Chris Mastrangelo. Photo by Eddie Clark
Kiss My Grits Liberty Kitchen
Liberty Kitchen sous chef Aaron Miner, left, executive chef Travis Lengis, Bernie's Burger Bus chef/owner Justin Turner and Max's Wine Dive executive chef Michael Pellegrino. Photo by Eddie Clark
Kiss My Grits
Liberty Kitchen and Oysterette's vanilla grits bread pudding took the people's choice award.  Photo by Eddie Clark
Kiss My Grits
The Hotel Derek's Frito pie grits was one of the night's more unusual preparations.  Photo by Eddie Clark
Kiss My Grits
Line & Lariat presented its shrimp and grits with a fried potato ring.  Photo by Eddie Clark
Kiss My Grits Line & Lariat Tyler Malson
Line & Lariat executive chef Tyler Malson. Photo by Eddie Clark
Kiss My Grits Zimm's
The cocktail from the recently remodeled Zimm's was a popular choice. Photo by Eddie Clark
Kiss My Grits Hotel Derek Shannen Tune
Hotel Derek executive chef Shannen Tune. Photo by Eddie Clark
Kiss My Grits Caroline Conway Ben Conner Lizzy Conner
Kiss My Grits Sairah Ahmed, Megan Cornelison, Heather Hines
Kiss My Grits Monica Guerra & Maricela Bassler
Kiss My Grits Matt Legros, Hannah Mount, Vince Strake
Kiss My Grits Christopher Chung Monica Yoo
Kiss My Grits Justin Hopkins, David Galic, Scott McCammon, Chris Mastrangelo
Kiss My Grits Liberty Kitchen
Kiss My Grits
Kiss My Grits
Kiss My Grits
Kiss My Grits Line & Lariat Tyler Malson
Kiss My Grits Zimm's
Kiss My Grits Hotel Derek Shannen Tune

What: Young Texans Against Cancer Fourth Annual Kiss My Grits

Where: Silver Street Studios

The 411: A well-dressed crowd of young professionals (and the young at heart) turned out last Thursday night to take a stand against cancer while filling their bellies with grits. Chaired by Disney Hanka, Bonnie Inamdar and Sara Litton, the event benefited Candlelighters, the Methodist Cancer Center, The Rose and MD Anderson. In addition to funds raised by tickets, a tempting array of silent auctions helped part the crowd with some of its cash.  

Eight of Houston's top restaurants competed for approval from both the attendees and a panel of celebrity judges with variations on dishes that utilized grits, the Southern breakfast staple. New this year, an expanded drinks competition in which bartenders from well-established spots likes Reserve 101 and Hearsay Gastro Lounge competed with newcomers like the newly revamped Zimm's and River Oaks hotspot 1919 Wine & Mixology.

With most of the competitors providing riffs on the classic shrimp and grits, Bernie's Burger Bus flipped the script and won the day with grillades and grits, a New Orleans classic that will hopefully find a spot on the brunch at the burger spot's soon-to-open brick and mortar location. Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette took the people's choice thanks to vanilla grits bread pudding. El Big Bad's cocktail that combined gin, ginger beer and cucumber foam took the top prize from both the judges and the attendees. 

Who: Young Texans Against Cancer President Jessi Rayhill, artist William Lloyd, Titanium Tequila owner Robert Tijerina, Lisa Gochman, Ashley Vallone, Mark Zimmerman, Erin Wendt, Anna Garland, Price DuBose, Sam Bowen, Katelyn Richardson, Natalie Scott, Alex Richoux, Jimmy Comerota, Camilla and Nick Cubero, Lindsay Martin, Eleven XI executive chef Kevin Bryant, ​Marcy de Luna, Lily Jang, Taylor Byrne Dodge, Katherine Whaley, Katy Mayell Ellis and Katharine Shilcutt

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