top 10 restaurant stories

These are the top restaurant and bar stories Houstonians devoured in 2021

The top restaurant and bar stories Houstonians devoured in 2021

Roberto Crescini Fresco Café Italiano Guy Fieri Diners Drives In Dives
Fresco Cafe Italiano chef Roberto Cresini cooks alongside Guy Fieri. Courtesy of Food Network

Looking back at the most popular restaurant and bar stories of the year reveals the highs and lows of Houston dining in 2021. Over the last 12 months, we've celebrated the best restaurants in Houston and the imminent reopening of a beloved seafood restaurant.

This website has also documented the struggles of life during COVID-19, as restaurants adapted to shifting protocols and, most recently, the rapidly-spreading Omicron variant. Even as Winter Storm Uri ravaged Texas, these businesses managed to stay open and serve their community.

As for two of the three most-read articles of the year, the results speak for themselves: Houston loves Guy Fieri. The mayor of Flavortown visited the city in April to film new episodes of his signature series, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and to cook a special birthday dinner for TV legend Lee Majors. Readers devoured the news about when the episodes would air on the Food Network. Those who missed them the first time can still view the show on Discovery+.

1. Guy Fieri showcases 4 Houston restaurants in new Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episodes. Simply put: Houstonians couldn't wait to watch episodes featuring their favorite local spots.

2. These are Houston's 9 best restaurants for 2021. We celebrated the CultureMap Tastemaker Awards Restaurant of the Year finalists for all that they did to lead during a challenging time for restaurants. 

3. Food Network superstar Guy Fieri dives into Houston for surprise visit. CultureMap was the first to report that Guy had arrived in Houston to film new episodes of "Triple D." 

4. Running list of Houston restaurants and bars temporarily closed due to latest COVID outbreak. Already short staffed, losing even a couple of key employees could be enough to force a restaurant to close for a few days to regroup.

5. 2 classic and longtime Houston restaurants announce imminent shutters. While Spanish Village reopened under new ownership, Tony Mandola's plans to relocate have yet to materialize. 

6. These Houston restaurants are now open despite the devastating winter storm. Battling through road closures and power outages, a small group of local establishments managed to serve their neighbors during the height of Winter Storm Uri. 

7. 2 hot Houston chefs suddenly depart from acclaimed restaurants. One of this year's most exciting new arrivals and one of the city's most well-established institutions both saw their chefs depart suddenly.

8. Master list of Houston restaurants maintaining COVID-19 safety protocols. Published in March after Gov. Greg Abbott ended official restrictions, these restaurants maintained protocols designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 such as mask wearing and capacity limits.

9. Pappas revives its intimate, Inner Loop beloved seafood restaurant. Hiring will begin in January, which means the restaurant's reopening won't be too far behind.

10. Where to eat in Houston right now: 10 exciting new restaurants for dining out again. Our April list of new restaurants to try included March, Tiny Champions, and the Littlefoot pop-up held by Tastemaker Awards Chef of the Year winner Kaitlin Steets.