Caribbean and Thai restaurants reopen in shuttered Rice Village food hall

Caribbean and Thai restaurants reopen in closed Rice Village food hall

Ate Kitchen spread
Ate Kitchen will remain part of Rice Village.  Photo by Denny Culbert

Politan Row may have shuttered its location in Rice Village, but two of the food hall's former vendors will continue to occupy the space. 

Ate Kitchen, a Caribbean concept from chef Keisha Griggs, and Kin, a Thai-inspired restaurant from Chopped winner Evelyn Garcia, have both reopened in the space at 2445 Times Blvd. Ate Kitchen will be open for to-go and delivery from noon-7 pm Wednesday through Saturday. Kin will use the facility as a commissary to prepare jarred condiments and spice rubs that Garcia sells at retailers and markets around Houston.

Griggs blends her Trinidadian heritage with French, African, Indian, and Latin influences to create Ate Kitchen's contemporary take on Caribbean cuisine. Featured dishes include jerk chicken, stews and samosas, and more.

“I’m thrilled to be reopening Ate in Houston’s Rice Village,” Griggs said in a statement. “The restaurant community looks decidedly different and how we deliver our cuisine has definitely shifted, but we are looking forward to opening back up — just in time for the holidays. We can’t wait to see old and new friends alike.”

Garcia worked at a series of New York restaurants including Spice Market by Jean Georges, Masak, and Kin Shop before returning home to Houston. After building a following for her pop-ups, she served as the chef-in-residence at Decatur Bar and Decatur Bar & Pop-up Factory before it closed in 2019. The rubs and condiments she produces can be found at places such as Henderson & Kane, Local Foods, and the Saturday farmers market organized by Urban Harvest. 

“The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on restaurants everywhere," Garcia said. "We have taken this opportunity to reinvent the business and are grateful to be coming back.”

Politan Row opened in 2019 with a diverse slate of vendors and the credibility that came from a connection to New Orleans' acclaimed St. Roch market. It closed in November due to the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.