A legendary New Orleans seafood restaurant will open a Houston location in the heart of Montrose. Acme Oyster House will open a Houston location as soon as this fall, the restaurant tells CultureMap.
Acme director of marketing Monique Rodrigue confirms a report by Eater Houston that the restaurant has selected the former El Real space at 1201 Westheimer Rd. for its Houston outpost. The building's iconic neon signage, a vestige of its days as the Tower Theater, played a key role in Acme's decision to choose it.
"If you have ever been into one of our restaurants, whether in Louisiana or along the Gulf Coast, you will notice one thing: neons," Rodrigue writes in an email. "It’s a part of who we are!"
Acme traces its roots back to 1910 and has occupied its present location since 1924. In addition to its home in the French Quarter, the restaurant operates Louisiana locations in Baton Rouge and Metairie; in Gulf Shores, Alabama; and Miramar Beach, Florida.
Houstonians can expect Acme's extensive menu that starts with raw, fried, and chargrilled oysters alongside other New Orleans favorites like gumbo, étouffée, and po'boys. Signatures include "Boom Boom shrimp" (fried shrimp in a house sauce) and the "10 napkin" roast beef po'boy.
Of course, the restaurant is best known for the hall of fame it maintains for anyone who can eat 15 dozen raw oysters. Texas food writer Robb Walsh joined the club as part of the research for his book Sex, Death & Oysters. In the book, Walsh's daughter asks the writer if he felt full from eating so many bivalves.
"I told her I didn't feel full, like when you eat too much Thanksgiving dinner," Walsh writes. "It was more a sloshy feeling, like I drank too much water."
The coronavirus pandemic makes Acme's timing somewhat uncertain, but hopefully Houstonians will be able to decide for themselves what eating that many oysters feels like sooner than later.