7 things to know

7 things to know in Houston food right now: Reopenings, closings, and $1 Ninfaritas

7 things to know in food right now: Openings, closings, and $1 margs

Original Ninfa's margarita Ninfarita
Get $1 Ninfaritas every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Photo by Becca Wright
Joey Chavez Brennan's
Joey Chavez is Brennan's new executive chef.  Photo by Kimberly Park
Goode Bird fried chicken
Goode Bird pops up in The Woodlands this weekend.  Courtesy of Goode Co. Restaurants
Original Ninfa's margarita Ninfarita
Joey Chavez Brennan's
Goode Bird fried chicken

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.

Re-openings and closings

Clark Cooper Concepts has switched things up again. Just a few weeks after reopening The Dunlavy for dine-in service, the company has temporarily closed the restaurant for daily service. However, groups of 20-50 people may utilize the chandelier-adorned space for private dinners. 

On a more positive note, those who prefer meals that include bivalves and bubbles will be cheered by the news that Brasserie 19 has resumed weekday lunch service. The company’s River Oaks mainstay now opens at 11 am Tuesday - Sunday. 

Chefs on the move

Brennan’s of Houston has a new executive chef. Joey Chavez comes to Houston from Baltimore, where he served as executive chef of The Bygone, a rooftop concept at The Four Seasons hotel. His resume includes a year spent working for legendary chef Thomas Keller at both The French Laundry and Bouchon as well as stints at San Francisco’s OTD and the Caribou Club in Aspen.  

In addition to serving Brennan’s classic Creole fare, Chavez is introducing himself to diners with a five-course chef’s tasting menu that currently includes Louisiana crab salad, cornbread and truffle chicken, and bbq lamb with smoked tomato relish (specific dishes vary by availability). The meal costs $80 per person and is available for both dine-in and to-go. 

“One of my greatest joys while here at Brennan’s has been to introduce Houston to exciting new talent,” proprietor Alex Brennan-Martin said in a statement. “We’ve been energized by so many who have spent their early careers with us in our restaurant and, in large part, are the restaurant we are today because of these great people. With that being said, I am very excited to introduce Houston to our newest executive chef, Joey Chavez.”

Other news and notes

A hearty congratulations to Tracy Vaught. The Texas Restaurant Association has inducted Vaught — who owns H-Town Restaurant Group with her husband, James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega — into its Hall of Honor. Described as the highest award the association can bestow on members, criteria include “superior business ethics,” significant contributions to the TRA, and a “lengthy and comprehensive evaluation” by other people in the restaurant industry.

Two of Houston’s Black-owned restaurants have each received $25,000 from Discover. That’s My Dog and GoCajun Subs are two beneficiaries of the Eat It Forward program that will supply a total of $5 million to 200 Black-owned restaurants nationwide. Recipients are randomly selected from nominations submitted via Discover’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. The company will hold weekly drawings through November to pick the remaining winners. 

Goode Company will give The Woodlands a taste of its smash hit Goode Bird pop-up this week. Get fried chicken, biscuits, and sides such as jalapeño creamed corn at The Woodlands location of Goode Co. BBQ (8865 Six Pines Drive), which has been temporarily closed since the start of the pandemic. Pre-orders are already available for pickup between 12 - 8 pm Saturday and Sunday; interested diners should act quickly — it will definitely sell out. 

The Original Ninfa's is selling its house margarita for $1 every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Customers may choose either on-the-rocks or frozen with a limit of two Ninfaritas per person. The special is available “for the foreseeable future” at both the Navigation and Uptown locations.

Nancy’s Hustle will host a pop-up on Saturday, August 22 in support of Mavia Bakery, which has been feeding the citizens of Beirut since the tragic explosion that damaged much of the city. The menu includes manoosh (flatbread topped with za’atar, cheese, or both), a lunch plate with four items, and desserts. The pop-up starts at 10 am and lasts until sold out, which will probably happen quickly.