Editor’s note: Houston’s restaurant scene moves pretty fast. In order to prevent CultureMap readers from missing anything, let’s stop to look around at all the latest news to know.
Openings, closings, and coming attractions
The Nash has opened in downtown. Located in The Star apartment building (1111 Rusk St.), the restaurant is described as a “love letter” to American cuisine with a menu created by chef Omar Pereney of A La Carte Consulting Group. Selections include steaks, salads, seafood, pizza, and pasta. Currently open for dinner daily from 4-9 pm, lunch and brunch will follow in the coming weeks.
Memorial-area French restaurant Bistro 555 will close after service on Saturday, January 30. In a letter posted to Facebook, proprietor Genevieve Guy writes that she’s moving to Austin with her family. Formerly Bistro Provence, Guy rebranded the restaurant in September in order to serve a more diverse range of French fare.
Van Leeuwen Ice Cream will open a location in the Montrose Collective, a new mixed-use development currently under construction near the intersection of Montrose and Westheimer. The scoop shop will join a previously announced location that will open in Rice Village this spring.
Founded in New York in 2008, the company is best known for its vegan flavors made with either cashew milk or oat milk. Overall, the shops offer 32 flavors — a mix of dairy and vegan — along with four special flavors every month. They are made, in the company's parlance, "without junk," from milk, cream, eggs, and cane sugar (or their vegan equivalents).
“As a small family run business, the decision to expand into a new market was a really big deal for us,” co-founder Ben Van Leeuwen said in a statement. “What attracted us to Houston was the incredible cultural and culinary diversity and the feeling of progress, growth in modernity the city radiates.”
Other news and notes
The Rewards Network, a company that provides marketing and loyalty services to the restaurant, has selected Lucille’s as one of five nationwide winners of its ‘Restaurant Resilient $50K Giveaway.’ Recognized for keeping its full staff employed during the pandemic and the Lucille’s 1913 foundation that feeds needy Houstonians, the Museum District restaurant received a check for $10,000.
“It’s a huge honor for us to be recognized by the Rewards Network for the work that Lucille’s and Lucille’s 1913 have been doing since the start of the pandemic. It’s even more awesome to see a company of Rewards Network’s magnitude getting behind the restaurant community during such a uncertain times by providing financial support,” Lucille’s chef-owner Chris Williams said. “This gift will go a long way in helping us to continue pushing Lucille’s 1913’s mission forward — building a vertically integrated ecosystem that will combat food insecurity and waste; create training and employment opportunities in traditionally under-resourced neighborhoods; and empower communities to discover a self sustainable livelihood through food.”
Bludorn has announced a year long partnership with the Southern Smoke Foundation. The Montrose restaurant will host a variety of dining experiences and special menus that will raise money for the non-profit organization that provides cash assistance to restaurant industry workers in crisis situations. Special to-go packages for Super Bowl Sunday and a guest chef dinner on March 11 will kick off the efforts.
“Opening a restaurant during a pandemic has really brought a lot of things into focus for me, and one of them is clearly those hospitality workers that continue to suffer during this ongoing crisis,” chef-owner Aaron Bludorn said in a statement. “We have always admired the way Chris [Shepherd, Southern Smoke’s co-founder] has worked tirelessly for those workers in need, and we’re honored to be able to work with him to raise even more funds this year!”
Pizzitola's BBQ owner Willie Madden died last weekend, the restaurant announced on Facebook. Madden purchased the historic restaurant from Jerry Pizzitola in 2019. It remains open for lunch and dinner service.
Upcoming food events
Montrose restaurant Riel will celebrate its fourth anniversary on Tuesday, January 26. Chef EJ Miller (The Sporting Club) will return to the kitchen and collaborate with chef Ryan Lachaine on a menu of dishes from the restaurant’s history. Reservations recommended.
One Fifth will celebrate its fourth anniversary on Wednesday, January 27. Chef-owner Chris Shepherd and chef de cuisine Matt Staph have created a five-course menu that draws from the restaurant’s former iterations: Mediterranean, Southern Comfort, Romance Languages, and Steak. The meal costs $100 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
The Friends of Periwinkle are hosting a virtual edition of their annual Hops & Hot Tamales fundraiser on Thursday, January 28. Enjoy a tamale sampler, tamale Azteca, and tres leches from Hugo’s along with beverage pairings while sommelier Sean Beck and the restaurant’s chefs lead a fun conversation over Zoom.
Proceeds benefit The Periwinkle Foundation, which provides programs for children and their families battling cancer and other life threatening illnesses at Texas Children's Hospital. Tickets, priced $25-70, are available online.