Harry's is back
Beloved Midtown breakfast institution reopens with fresh new space and shorter waits
Zoi Platsas is really proud of her new bathrooms.
“The restroom is always the mirror of the entire place,” Platsas tells CultureMap. “That, for us, was the number one thing. It’s the first thing everyone looks at.”
New restrooms aren’t the only thing that’s changed at Harry’s Restaurant & Cafe, the Midtown staple that Platsas operates with her parents, Johnny and Patricia, and her brother John. The restaurant closed in July for a comprehensive series of renovations. Originally scheduled to reopen in mid-August, the restaurant quietly welcomed back diners last week.
After work by the local designer Ferenc Dreef from Kollectiv and Construction Concepts, a local contractor that’s responsible for a wide variety of recently-opened Houston restaurants, Harry’s is back and looking better than ever. Highlights of the renovations include an all-new coffee bar, a dedicated waiting area, and a better private dining room.
The expanded waiting area is a key addition. Harry’s remains a popular weekend brunch destination thanks to dishes like chilaquiles and tamales eggs Benedict that aren’t available during the week. People need somewhere to wait, but the restaurant does it best to keep them short.
“Other places you might wait an hour-and-a-half to two hours for breakfast, here you might wait 30 to 45 minutes,” John Platsas says. “That’s when we’re packed ...We still turn them.”
While all of the Harry’s classics remain on the menu, Zoi Platsas has upgraded with better ingredients and new dishes. Diners looking for something lighter in the morning may opt for grilled tomatoes with their eggs instead of meat. Buckwheat pancakes provide a gluten-free option. For dessert, consider homemade rice pudding or a selection of sweets sourced from local bakeries Cake & Bacon and Kraftsmen Baking.
“People think of cafeteria, they think of hospital cafeteria food,” she says. It’s not. I put my heart and soul into this food. Homemade, and it’s fresh. We still go to the farmers market. People need to see the good side of cafeteria.”
The family is also keeping the environment in mind by swapping out plastic cups and a soda fountain for glass bottle drinks (Mexican Coke, Topo Chico, etc.) and metal cups for water and iced tea. Asked about whether customers have complained about the lack of free refills, Zoi Platsas says so far the response has been positive.
Even with all of those additions, a little work remains. They’re still waiting for new furniture to finish up the expanded patio, and a new refrigerated case will allow for more grab-and-go-salad options.
Meanwhile, the search continues for a second location. Options include The Heights, the Energy Corridor, and Sugar Land.
“Sugar Land is in serious need of breakfast,” Zoi Platsas says. “My daughter used to go to school there. I drove out there all the time. It needs a place.”
The family hopes to find the right spot soon, which would allow them to open as soon as next summer. Until then, fans of the Midtown original know where to go to get their favorites.