every day they're hustlin'

Houston restaurant lands coveted spot in national magazine's best-of-decade list

Houston restaurant lands coveted spot in national best-of-decade list

Nancy's Hustle redfish
The national magazine spotlighted Houston's Nancy's Hustle. Courtesy photo

It's just a single line in a sea of words of praise — but that single line is about a Houston restaurant, and that sea of words is Esquire magazine's "Best Restaurants of the Decade" list.

Nancy's Hustle, the only Houston entry to make the list of 40 spots hailed as the "most important restaurants" of the 10-year period from 2010-2019, is described by author Daniel Gordinier as "like a truck stop that spent a gap year in Copenhagen."

Since its opening in 2017, Houstonians have come to learn that Nancy's Hustle is a unabashedly modern, embracing natural ingredients and offering a fresh spin on bistro cuisine. This is, as CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler notes, the restaurant that revealed Houstonians' love for trout roe — via the signature Nancy cakes. It remains a favorite of Houston's restaurant community, thanks to chef Jason Vaughan's eclectic menu, front of house specialist Sean Jensen's beverage program, and the stylish interior.

The room has an unmistakable vibe that just feels good, and even familiar-sounding dishes like lamb tartare and grilled chicken soar, thanks to their precise execution. Pastry chef Julia Doran's breads and desserts are similarly can't-miss.

In 2019, Nancy's Hustle landed the No. 2 spot on CultureMap's inaugural Top 100 list of Houston's best restaurants. That same year, it won the coveted Restaurant of the Year award at CultureMap's annual Tastemaker Awards. In 2018, Vaughan also won the Tastemaker Rising Star Chef of the Year award.

So, while we're not quite sure what that Esquire quote even means, we're taking a victory lap for an H-Town favorite. In a list that's heavily tilted toward New York and Southern California, with only the barest mentions of Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, Nashville, and — ahem — Dallas (kudos to Knife), Nancy's Hustle is clearly a standout. 

And, obviously, Houston knew that all along.