6 things to know

6 things to know in Houston food right now: Reopenings, closings, and an Insta-worthy new mural

6 things to know in Houston food: Reopenings and an Insta-worthy mural

Chris Shepherd Aaron Franklin Southern Smoke
Aaron Franklin and Chris Shepherd have a new beer. Photo by Catchlight Photography
Whiskey Cake The Woodlands exterior
Whiskey Cake has opened in The Woodlands. Courtesy of Whiskey Cake
Ben & Jerry's social justice mural
A new mural adorns the Ben & Jerry's on Kirby Dr. Courtesy of Ben & Jerry's
Chris Shepherd Aaron Franklin Southern Smoke
Whiskey Cake The Woodlands exterior
Ben & Jerry's social justice mural

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, rebrandings, and coming attractions

Houston’s restaurant on Kirby has adopted the monicker of its corporate parent. Effective immediately, the restaurant is now called Hillstone.

“As many of our guests may know, we have remodeled and made a number of improvements over the last few years with this in mind,” the company states on its website. “We know changes can be surprising but be assured that everything you’ve experienced will have a familiar feel, if not even better. We hope you will join us for this exciting move forward.” 

Overall, the Hillstone menu appears to be roughly the same as the fare served at Houston’s, minus the prime rib. Thankfully, the signature French dip sandwich remains available. 

Whiskey Cake has opened its fourth Houston-area location in The Woodlands. Located at  27800 N. Freeway Service Rd., the comfort food restaurants serves a wide range sandwiches, salads, grilled seafood, steaks, and its namesake dessert — many of which are made with local ingredients such as Texas olive oil, cheese, and produce. Cocktails and a selection of 350 whiskeys offer plenty of pairing options. The restaurant opens for dinner daily at 3 pm with weekend brunch starting at 10 am. 

Sweet Paris Crêperie & Café will open its 11th location in Sugar Land Town Square. Slated to open this fall, Sweet Paris will offer indoor seating for 74 plus another 40 on its patio. The menu includes sweet and savory crepes, salads, and panini paired with beverage options that range from coffee and champagne to over the top milkshakes. 

“We always envisioned a Sweet Paris in the development given its unique charm, and we even considered it as the site of our first location,” owners Allison and Ivan Chavez said in a release. ‘In addition to its outdoor, pedestrian orientation, we’re also excited about the opportunity to personalize our storefront.”

Other news and notes

Karbach Brewing Co. has partnered with two of Texas’ most well-knowns chefs for a new beer. James Beard Award winners Aaron Franklin (Austin’s Franklin Barbecue) and Chris Shepherd collaborated with the brewery on Horseshoe Pilsner. Described by Franklin as a “clean, crispy pilsner,” Horseshoe is a smooth, light-bodied beer that comes in at a low 4.5-percent ABV.

Karbach will donate $0.25 per case equivalent (draft or package) of all Horseshoe Pilsner sold to the Southern Smoke Foundation, Shepherd’s non-profit that provides financial assistance to hospitality workers in crisis. That same arrangement for Karbach’s Crawford Bock has yielded almost $200,000 to the Astros foundation.

Dessert Gallery will recognize Celiac Awareness Day (Sunday, September 13) by giving away a free French macaron with the purchase of any gluten-friendly dessert.

Ben & Jerry’s Rice Village-area scoop shop (5515 Kirby Dr.) now features a mural dedicated to the cause of social justice. The Black-owned franchise commissioned artist Reginald Charles Adams to display the message of “peace, love, ice cream, and equity.” 

“I’m very proud to be part of a network as colorful as ours,” co-owner Josiah Fisher said in a statement. “We aspire to be pillars for universal equity. So, we work diligently and intentionally on being catalysts for change.”

Seen above, the Instagrammable mural is perfect for selfies. We recommend pairing them with a scoop of Cherry Garcia.