Located in the former Mr. Peeples space at 1911 Bagby St., the 15,000-square-foot space offers a 75-seat dining room, an outdoor patio, a hookah bar, and a private dining room. Harden selected many of the design elements and literally left his mark on the establishment in the former of a light fixture shaped like his signature.
"We are so excited to officially be opening for business,” general manager Rosea Grady said in a statement. “James has put so much effort into every detail of this restaurant. It’s been a true labor of love for him, and we can’t wait to share the food, the atmosphere, and the experience of this amazing place with the Houston community.”
To create the food, Harden turned to chef Tobias Dorzon. A former professional football player, Dorzon started his culinary career as a private chef for athletes and served as Harden's personnel chef during last summer's NBA bubble. With almost 100,000 followers on Instagram, Dorzon may not be as famous as his boss (11.4 million followers), but successful appearances on Guy's Grocery Games and other reality TV shows give him a legitimate profile.
The chef has crafted a menu that mixes steakhouse and comfort food elements. Think shrimp and lobster mac and cheese egg rolls with crawfish cream sauce; four layer, deep-fried lasagna; mac and cheese topped with a deep fried lobster tail; and a 32-ounce tomahawk ribeye with Hawaiian marinade and shallot-pineapple compound butter. Brunch items include blueberry pie, deep-fried French toast, oxtails and grits, and avocado toast.
In the run up to its open, Thirteen engaged in charitable activities such as preparing 3,000 meals for people who suffered during Winter Storm Uri. On March 5, the restaurant gave away $100,000 worth of Adidas clothing to both children and adults.
After Harden forced a trade to the Brooklyn Nets, Rockets fans flooded sites like Google and Yelp with negative reviews that have since been deleted. A sold-out opening weekend suggests Houstonians are ready to give Thirteen a chance. After all, if Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta can forgive Harden and retire his jersey number, surely fans can see what Dorzon and Grady have in store for them.
Thirteen is open for dinner Tuesday-Sunday and brunch on Sunday. Reservations available via OpenTable.