Sandwiches for Southern Smoke

Houston's best food and drink talent star in new charity pop-up series

Houston's best food and drink talent star in new charity pop-up series

Winnie's Southern Smoke pop-up chicken sandwich
Sample this chicken thigh melt at Winnie's. Courtesy of Winnie's

One of 2021's best new dining destinations has launched a charity pop-up series that's spicing up Monday nights. Winnie's, the sandwich shop and bar in Midtown, has invited some of Houston's top food and drink stars to participate in a new pop-up that raises money for the Southern Smoke Foundation.

Beginning Monday, January 24 and continuing through April 4, participants will collaborate with the Winnie's team on three featured cocktails and a special sandwich. Proceeds from sandwich sales will benefit Southern Smoke, the non-profit established by James Beard Award winner Chris Shepherd that provides cash assistance to hospitality workers in crisis situations. 

“So many of our industry friends hang out at Winnie’s and talk to us about their favorite sandwiches that the idea just kind of evolved organically,” Winnie's general manager Tina Marie Brackett said in a statement. “As soon as we started reaching out to see if people were interested, the answer was an overwhelming yes and we had to start adding more dates.”

Shepherd headlines the roster of participants. It also includes some of the city's most prominent bartenders, CultureMap Tastemaker Award winners, and couples who may be working together behind the bar for the first time in years. Each pop-up runs from 8 pm until midnight.

Here's the full lineup:

  • January 24: Rich Bailey (Bacardi brand ambassador) and Linda Salinas (Beverage consultant and contributor to CultureMap's "What's Eric Eating" podcast)
  • January 31: Rebecca Burkhart (Johnny’s Gold Brick) and Justin Ware (Night Shift)
  • February 7: Alex Negranza (March) and Taylor Wright (Night Shift)
  • February 14: Lindsey Rae (Two Headed Dog)
  • February 21: Josh Alden (Reserve 101)
  • February 28: Westin Galleymore (Underbelly Hospitality) and Chris Shepherd
  • March 7: Lainey Collum (Monkey’s Tail) and Andy Mauer (Back Bar Project)
  • March 14: Mate Hartai (Tongue-Cut Sparrow) and Tommy Ho (Anvil)
  • March 21: Josh Jaramillo (Johnny’s Gold Brick) and Danny Rocha (Johnny's Gold Brick)
  • March 28: Robin Berwick (Double Trouble) and Peter Jahnke (Tongue-Cut Sparrow)
  • April 4: Julie Rodgers (True Anomaly Brewing) and Christopher Roy (Winnie’s)

For this week's kickoff, Salinas and Bailey will be serving three drinks that utilize rums from the Bacardi portfolio and syrups from Liquid Alchemist, the California-based company that employs Salinas as its Texas market manager. They are: Daiq Daddy Drake (Santa Teresa 1796, passion fruit, lime), Hot in Hurr (spiced whiskey and apple cider), and My ThirsTai (Santa Teresa 1799 Rum, Orgeat, orange, lime).

This week's sandwich special is called sandwich is called “Thicc Thighs Save Lives:” blackened chicken thigh melt with collard greens, french fries, pickled peppers, cheese, and Duke’s mayo on milk bread.

Next week, Ware and Burkart will pair three cocktails with a chicken parmesan sub topped with Ware's bacon-tomato gravy, garlic-thyme mayo, cherry pepper relish, and arugula. Other dishes and cocktails will be announced on Winnie's social media pages as their dates draw near.

Admittedly, Monday nights may not be ideal for fans of The Bachelor, but the quality of the food and drinks certainly justifies having a rose ceremony or two spoiled, right?