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Shelby's Social Diary

No summer doldrums here: Houston's top restaurants are packed with local celebrities

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News, Shelby, Brooks Reed, Philippe Schmit, Philippe Veripand, Connor Barwin, Etoile, July 2104
Houston Texans Brooks Reed, from left, chefs Philippe Schmit and Philippe Verpiand and Connor Barwin at Etoile. Courtesy of Etoile
Lance Fegen, Lee Ellis and Travis Lenig of Liberty Kitchen
Lance Fegen, from left, Lee Ellis and Travis Lenig are all smiles of the continued success of Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette. Photo by Eric Sandler
News_Artisans Restaurant_chef_Jacques Fox
Chef Jacques Fox welcomes summer guests to his Artisans Restaurant. Artisans Restaurant
News_Steven_Brasserie_19
It's a rare moment when the bar at Brasserie 19 isn't packed two and three deep. Courtesy photo
1 Common Bond May 2014 interior with crowd
Common Bond a breakfast hot spot, particularly on weekends. Photo by Eric Sandler
News, Shelby, Brooks Reed, Philippe Schmit, Philippe Veripand, Connor Barwin, Etoile, July 2104
Lance Fegen, Lee Ellis and Travis Lenig of Liberty Kitchen
News_Artisans Restaurant_chef_Jacques Fox
News_Steven_Brasserie_19
1 Common Bond May 2014 interior with crowd
Shelby Hodge, head shot, column mug, white off-shoulder blouse

While one might think that well-heeled foodies all depart for the summer, a recent perusal of the local restaurant scene has proven otherwise. Brasserie 19 continues to boom night and day. Tony's is enjoying its best summer on record. And how long can the line get at Common Bond on weekend mornings?

H-Town's booming economy doesn't hurt. There seems to be enough discretionary income floating around to withstand what appears to be an endless, if subtle, escalation in menu prices. When CultureMaps' Eric Sandler describes $30 entree prices at as reasonable, we have to acknowledge that "check, please" means digging deeper into the wallet. A few more greenbacks for the Caesar salad notwithstanding, these joints are seriously jumping even in the dog days of summer.

Dinners are showing the love this summer to Artisans chef Jacques Fox, who recently welcomed KPRC Channel 2 news anchor Dominique Sachse. 

Prime example of the hopping restaurant scene is Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette. The wild popularity of the San Felipe location of Lance Fegen's seafood-oriented eateries seems to have waned little since opening in October. Even on weeknights, the bar is packed three and four deep and if you show up without a dinner reservation, be prepared to park at that bar for a table wait.

And who could have predicted the apparent instant success of Mark Holley's new namesake seafood house? As strategic marketing specialist Cindy Clifford recently emailed, "I was thrilled to get a reservation as it’s been booked solid since it opened!  We love a roaring economy!"

Among those spotted at Holley's were City Controller Ronald Green, First Southwest’s investment banker Lester Byrd, Shell attorney Carolyn Benton-Aiman, Klotz Associates executive Delvin Dennis and wife Rita, University of Houston VP of Community Relations Elwyn Lee and City Councilman Mike Laster

Dinners are showing the love this summer to Artisans chef Jacques Fox, who recently welcomed KPRC Channel 2 news anchor Dominique Sachse and Nick Florescu along with Debbie and Rudy Festari.

Across town at Etoile, it was a sellout for the Bastille Day dinner cooked in tandem by Philippe Verpiand and Philippe Schmit.  The classic French offerings were a hit with NFL linebackers Connor Barwin of the Philadelphia Eagles, formerly the Houston Texans, and the Texans' Brooks Reed. Among the sellout crowd were Ricardo Weitz, principal owner of Momentum Automotive Group, and Dave Petratis, Allegion CEO. 

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