Your Expert Guide
West University Place: The ideal area to live, play, and build community
There are so many great places to live in Houston that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.
Kasteena Parikh has been a top-producing real estate agent since 2007 and is currently ranked the No. 10 luxury agent in Houston by the Houston Business Journal. She is ranked No. 2 for West University Place based on 2022 sales volume.
Not only that, but Kasteena and her family have resided in "West U" for the last 25-plus years.
"The small-town feel and city services drew me to the area," she says. "We have our own police and fire departments. I know my mayor and city manager. The beauty, safe community, central location, elementary school, parks, and green space make West University Place unique."
Kasteena also notes that the location can't be beat. She can drive to a Rockets game at the Toyota Center, a Texans football game at NRG Stadium, and go see Astros baseball at Minute Maid Park — all without getting on the freeway.
Kasteena shared a few more of her personal favorites about life in West University Place. Here's her guide:
Where to eat & drink
"Tiny's No. 5 is one of my favorite brunch, lunch, and dinner spots," she says. "The food is delicious and it has relaxed vibe. It's a beautiful place to catch up with family and friends. Be sure you get a chocolate chip cookie!"
But by far the most popular coffee spot in West U is the walk-up coffee shop and bakery called Milk and Cookies. "I love their matcha with house-made almond milk," Kasteena says.
Another favorite is the French restaurant Eau Tour in Rice Village. It's a "community bistro" that's both open and intimate with a refined but not too serious dinner-party atmosphere, with food that's meant to be shared and accompanied by fun music. Their most popular cocktail comes in a fish-shaped glass: The “Left Hook” has rum, chartreuse, coconut, pineapple, and lime.
She also notes that residents are looking forward to the opening of Teshica, a collaboration between chef Tony Luhrman and restaurateur Benjy Levit, the owner of Local Foods and Eau Tour.
Where to play
"Colonial Pool is a neighborhood favorite water park for toddlers and teens," Kasteena says. "They have a water slide, rock climbing wall, two basketball goals, diving board, cargo net log walk, and volleyball net for the older kids, along with a section for toddlers with water guns, slides, and a jungle gym."
And don't overlook the concession stand, she says, which has everything kids and adults could want.
"Another hidden gem in our community is the year-round heated pool at the West University Recreation Center," Kasteena says.
Colonial Park, adjacent to the pool, has shaded play areas, tennis courts, sand volleyball, playgrounds, a walking track, and an open field.
West University Place is also known for hosting multiple community events, which include festivals, concerts, and holiday celebrations like the annual tree-lighting ceremony the first Monday in December.
What to see
"We are near several Houston attractions — you can explore the Museum District, home to the Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Natural Science, and the Children's Museum," she says. "Or explore Rice Village, an eclectic mix of national brand names, unique boutiques, and award-winning restaurants."
As locals know, the Village has been one of Houston's oldest and best-loved shopping destinations since the 1930s. It has more than 300 shops in a 16-block area.
Just a quick bike ride from West U is Hermann Park, recently named one of America's great public spaces by the American Planning Association.
Where to live
West University Place is known for its diverse range of architectural styles. "We have tree-lined streets with bungalows, remodeled homes, and abundant beautiful new and recent construction," Kasteena says. "Contemporary, Tudor, Georgian, New Orleans, and French-designed homes blend harmoniously in the neighborhood."
Kasteena has represented multiple award-winning builders, including Covington Builders, Frankel Design Build, Brookstone Homes, Kamran Custom Homes, and Roberson Building Group.
Kasteena was fortunate to represent NFL player Randall Cobb when he sold his West University residence at 2615 Barbara Lane.
"This customized home was featured in Architectural Digest and built by Covington Builders," she says. "It is an excellent example of a home on an expansive lot that has a stunning indoor-outdoor living space, open-concept kitchen with bar, room for a pool, and a large first-floor guest suite that can serve as a multi-use space.
The home is just blocks from Rice Village and has an elegant, timeless white brick façade that offers a modern flare.
“Kasteena was very professional and provided me with all the necessary information we needed to make the best choices," says Cobb. "She was responsive and communicated with me through every showing until the closing. I highly recommend her.”
Kasteeena Parikh works and plays in West University Place. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email email@example.com, or call 281-772-5224.