11 things to know

11 things to know in Houston food right now: Openings, closings, and all things Chris Shepherd

11 things to know in Houston food: Openings, closings, Shepherd news

Levure bakery cafe
Levure is expanding to Market Street. Courtesy photo
8th Wonder distillery interior
8th Wonder has opened its distillery. 8thwonderspirits/Instagram
Wholesome Kitchen Wholesome Pies Redemption Square Generation Park
Wholesome Kitchen and Wholesome Pies will occupy this space in Generation Park. Courtesy of McCord Development
Hops Meet Barley patio
Hops Meet Barley has closed. Courtesy Photo
Levure bakery cafe
8th Wonder distillery interior
Wholesome Kitchen Wholesome Pies Redemption Square Generation Park
Hops Meet Barley patio

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 and closings
Pour one out for Hops Meets Barley. The craft beer pub recently poured its last pint, Swamplot reports. The space at 2245 W. Alabama St. is now for lease.

Pepperoni’s, the delivery-oriented local restaurant chain, will soon add a Galleria-area outpost to its growing roster. Owner Ray Salti (Bollo Woodfired Pizza) tells CultureMap that he’s claimed the former Healthy Cow Pizza location at 3005 W. Loop South. Area residents and office workers can look forward to ordering pizzas, sandwiches, and salads beginning around September 1.

Speaking of office workers, the ones who fill cubicles downtown will soon get a new healthy lunch option when Ono Poke opens in the tunnels. Already a hit in Montrose, the new Ono will arrive in One Allen Center later this fall

Veteran restaurateur Michael Collins (The Fish in Midtown, South Bank Seafood Bar) will be bringing two new concepts to the Generation Park development in the Lake Houston area. Wholesome Kitchen, a full service restaurant featuring “an all-organic seasonal menu, including gluten-free and vegetarian options,” will join Wholesome Pies, a wood-fired, Neapolitan pizza concept, in the development’s 7,600-square-foot “jewel box.” Slated to open in the spring, the two restaurants are the first projects from Collins’ new company, Wholesome Restaurant Group.

Three new concepts are slated for The Woodlands. Teriyaki Madness, an Asian-inspired, build-your-own-bowl concept, will open this fall at 1501 Lake Robbins Dr. Levure, the second location of the French-inspired bakery and cafe that’s been a huge hit in the Creekside neighborhood, will join luxury candy store Sugarfina as the latest arrivals to the Market Street mixed-use development. Sugarfina opened July 27, while Levure is expected to debut in August.

Finally, 8th Wonder Distillery is now serving vodka and gin flavored with hops. Get a taste either neat or in cocktails at the distillery (2201 Dallas St.) on Thursdays and Fridays from 5 pm to midnight, Saturday from 2 pm to midnight, or Sunday from 2 pm to 8 pm. As co-owner Ryan Soroka discussed on a recent episode of CultureMap’s What’s Eric Eating podcast, the two spirits are only the first efforts from the newly opened facility; bourbon is on the long-term agenda.

Chefs on the move
Harold’s in the Heights has tapped Kathy Elkins as its new executive chef. Elkins, whose resume includes stints at Hunky Dory and Better Luck Tomorrow, replaces Richard Knight, who departed after three months.

Both general manager Jeb Stuart and executive chef J.D. Woodward have left La Vista 101, the restaurant announced. Only open since May, the sudden departures constitute a surprising turn for the promising neighborhood restaurant.

“I appreciate Jeb and J.D.’s work and significant contributions, which helped shape La Vista 101 since its inception,” owner Greg Gordon said in a statement. “I will continue moving forward with our vision of serving fantastic food, serious cocktails, and big wines in a cool environment.”

All things Chris Shepherd
Hay Merchant has dropped the Impossible Burger and replaced it with a housemade veggie burger. Shepherd added the product, famous for its ability to “bleed” thanks to the plant-based protein heme, to great fanfare back in 2017.

“We sold the Impossible Burger at the lowest cost we could (and still didn't quite hit our margins), which was $18,” the restaurant writes on Instagram. “They've continued to increase their price on the product, and after the latest markup, we would have had to charge our guests $25 for a burger and fries. That's not acceptable to us.”

Those who still want a fix will find the product at Hopdoddy for $12 or at Beaver’s West, where it’s available a la carte ($17) or as an option on the Houston Restaurant Weeks menu for both lunch (two-courses, $20) and dinner (three courses, $35).

With One Fifth Romance Languages drawing to a close, attention has begun to turn to the restaurant’s next iteration as One Fifth Mediterranean. Shepherd tells Texas Monthly that diners can expect hummus, shareable mezze platters, and pastry chef Victoria Dearmond’s spin on babka when the restaurant opens in September. 

David Chang may not be returning to Southern Smoke, but the Momofuku chef turned multimedia star (his podcast is surprisingly enjoyable) will send two of his most-talented lieutenants to Shepherd’s annual barbecue bash. Matthew Rudofker, Momofuku’s director of culinary operations, and Tae Strain, executive chef of Momofuku CCDC, will join culinary superstars like Chris Bianco, Edouardo Jordan, and Aaron Franklin at the September 30 event. Tickets are on sale now