most anticipated openings of 2023
The ultimate list of the 60 hottest Houston bars and restaurants opening in 2023
By any measure, 2022 proved to be an incredible year for new restaurants. From Aaron Bludorn’s new seafood palace to intimate tasting menus to getting down and dirty with a smash burger, last year produced a wide range of new options to suit every taste and price point.
The growth spurt shows no signs of slowing down in the next 12 months. Some long-simmering new concepts will finally make their debuts, including three from chefs who’ve achieved fame and success on reality TV. Mixed-use developments throughout the inner loop will provide homes for new concepts from local operators and serve as launching pads for big names from out of town. While the Italian restaurant boom of the last two years may finally be slowing down, the raw bar trend is picking up steam — oyster lovers, rejoice!
This list isn’t complete, but it aims to be comprehensive. Opening estimates represent current plans, but they are subject to change for any number of reasons. Nothing about these timelines should be considered set in stone until the restaurant actually opens and starts serving customers.
To make sense of the more than 50 restaurants listed below, this list is organized as follows:
- 15 restaurants and bars that we perceive to be the most exciting new arrivals of the year
- 5 new restaurants from Berg Hospitality, the company behind B&B Butchers, The Annie Cafe, etc.
- 3 existing Houston restaurants that are reopening after being closed or are moving to a new location
- 22 establishments that are new locations of existing concepts either from Houston or elsewhere
- 17 more all-new bars and restaurants from local operators
Top 15 most anticipated restaurants of 2023
Dawn Burrell, the Olympian-turned-chef who earned a James Beard Award semifinalist nomination for her work at Kulture and nearly won season 18 of Top Chef, has teamed up with Lucille’s Hospitality Group for this restaurant in the Ion mixed-use development. Exploring the intersection of African and Asian flavors, Burrell will serve meals built around her ideas of global comfort food. Expect dishes such as rotating seasonal hummus, crispy beef rib sandwich, black rice congee with smoked goat and marinated egg, and dried beef with corn pappardelle, corn cream, tomato broth, and okra.
Jūn by Kin
Top Chef season 19 finalist Evelyn Garcia and her business partner Henry Lu will serve what they’re calling “New Asian American” cuisine at this restaurant in the Heights. Scheduled to open in January or February, the restaurant’s name, Jūn (pronounced June), pays tribute to the month their mothers were born in and demonstrates the importance both chefs place on food, family, and culture.
Joining Clarkwood in the former Star Engraving Building on Allen Parkway, this live fire steakhouse from Sambrooks Management — the owners of the Pit Room BBQ, 1751 Sea & Bar and Candente — will mix steakhouse classics with an eclectic menu of small plates. Dishes will incorporate high quality ingredients and be prepared different live fire techniques (smoking, grilling, roasting, etc.). Executive chef Louis Maldonado is a Top Chef veteran (and former People magazine's Sexiest Chef) who held one Michelin star at Cortez restaurant in San Francisco.
Coming to the Heights in April or May, this ambitious restaurant features the talents of two chefs, Fernando Recio and Jacques Varon, who’ve worked extensively at Michelin-starred restaurants such as Mugaritz, Saison, and Angler. Named for the Basque word for “forest,” Baso will be centered around Basque and Spanish flavors prepared with live fire. At a preview dinner last year, they duo served dishes such as caviar with citrus and kohlrabi, a beet that had been slow roasted for three days, and antelope loin.
Elro Pizza // Crudo
Chef Terrence Gallivan, formerly of The Pass & Provisions, will return to the dining scene at this intimate Midtown restaurant. Scheduled to open in the spring, the menu will feature creative pizzas, crudos, salads, snacks, and sandwiches. Located in a converted bungalow, the space will feature a cozy lounge, wooden bar, and 40-seat patio.
The Blind Goat and Stuffed Belly
Masterchef winner Christine Ha and her husband John Suh are bringing their James Beard nominated Vietnamese gastropub to Spring Branch. Freed from the restrictions of operating in Bravery Chef Hall, Ha will be able to expand her menu and offer a full beverage program. In addition, the duo are opening an all-new sandwich concept in an adjacent drive-thru space that will serve comfort classics like grilled cheese, tuna salad, and fried chicken sandwiches.
The Big Vibe Group (Flora, Coppa, and Gratify) will open this new restaurant in the Montrose Collective later this month. Described in a release as a "coastal cool raw bar,” the menu will feature grilled meat and seafood alongside ceviche, crudos, tartares, and pastas. An extensive cocktail list will pair with the diverse menu.
Austin-based MML Hospitality will make its Houston debut with this oyster bar and seafood restaurant that’s known for dishes such as seafood towers, lobster rolls, and cioppino. Scheduled to open this summer in the former Montrose Auto Repair at the corner of West Alabama and Montrose, expect a stylish restaurant with an expansive patio.
Pastore Italian Kitchen
Underbelly Hospitality’s Italian concept will join Georgia James in the Regent Square development this spring. Led by former Uchi chef Chris Davies, the restaurant will feature freshly made pastas and a garden-themed patio with fountains.
The world-renowned, South Africa-based chicken restaurant will make its Houston debut with two locations — one near the Galleria at Post Oak Plaza and a second in Katy’s LaCenterra development. Best known for its grilled chicken that’s available at different spice levels, the Uptown location will feature a L-shaped patio and South African art.
Houston hip hop legend Bun B and California-based restaurateur Andy Nguyen will bring their award-winning smash burger concept to the former James Coney Island space near Montrose. The signature OG Trill Burger will be joined by additional menu items, including milkshakes. Design elements will pay homage to Bun’s career in the music industry.
The Marigold Club
Goodnight Hospitality (March, Rosie Cannonball) will transform the former Goodnight Charlie’s space into a modern Continental restaurant that takes inspiration from some of London’s top eateries. Slated to open in the fall, the restaurant will feature a luxurious interior, a raw bar, and afternoon tea service. Chef-partner Austin Waiter comes to Marigold Club after a well-regarded stint at Tony's.
Little’s Oyster Bar
Pappas Restaurant will reboot the former Little Pappas Seafood as this new concept built around oysters, caviar, and sustainably-sourced seafood. Chef Jason Ryczek, a veteran of top seafood restaurants in the Bay Area, will lead the restaurant that's expected to open this spring.
The acclaimed Austin bar will open a Houston outpost in EaDo at 2910 McKinney St. Expect the bar’s familiar “Rust Belt Chic” aesthetic as well as a secondary bar on the patio that’s devoted exclusively to rum.
Berg Hospitality’s five new establishments
La Table and Tavola
Berg Hospitality has teamed up with The Bastion Collection to reboot Galleria-area French fine dining restaurant La Table as two separate concepts. Expected to open in the spring, the new La Table will offer an updated take on brasserie-style fare on the second floor. Tavola, which will be located on the first floor, will serve Roman-style Italian dishes in a New York-inspired atmosphere.
Located in the Autry Park mixed-use development, this American-style brasserie will serve its take on familiar fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Expect a lively atmosphere and luxurious design, including a view of Buffalo Bayou, when the restaurants opens this spring.
A steakhouse take on Berg Hospitality’s luxurious Turner’s supper club concept, Turner’s Cut will join Annabelle Brasserie in the Autry Park mixed-use development. The menu will feature premium cuts of beef from both America and Japan as well as an over-the-top design. Look for a summer opening.
Prime 131 at The Docks at Timbergrove
Berg Hospitality’s wood-fired steakhouse will celebrate the “grilling culture of Texas.” Expected to open in late summer, the restaurant will feature stadium seating that gives diners a 360-degree view of the kitchen.
3 Relocations and Revivals
Baba Yega Café
Shuttered since 2018 after being damaged by a fire, the Montrose institution will return this summer. Executive chef Sue Nowamooz has updated the Mediterranean-inspired menu and added an all-new roster of plant-based options. Houston’s Gin Design Group has remodeled the space to include a beer garden, a lounge, and an internal courtyard that will host the restaurant’s signature Sunday brunch.
Caps Supper Club & Bar
The former Caps Piano Bar will be converted into an intimate restaurant with a steakhouse-style menu developed by consulting chef Omar Pereney. Owner Venkata Diddi has retained the venue’s former house band to perform nightly.
Frank’s Americana Revival
The River Oaks favorite will relocate from its current home on Westheimer to the Alexan River Oaks (3015 Weslayan St.) this summer. With more space than the current location, Frank’s will be able to expand its popular White Star Bar, use the larger kitchen to grow its catering business, and offer patio seating for the first time.
22 Expansions and Out of Towners
Bosscat Kitchen & Libations - The Woodlands
The California-based, whiskey obsessed comfort food restaurant will open its second Houston-area location in the Market Square development. Slated to open in late January or early February, the restaurant will feature the same lively brunch as the inner loop location, along with its signature whiskey room.
Cali Restaurant & Bar
Oscar Edwards, the owner of the Oakland location of celebrated Los Angeles restaurant Trap Kitchen, will bring some of that restaurant’s signature items — including pineapple bowls filled with charred teriyaki chicken or seafood, lamb chops, and mac and cheese — along with standout dishes from other California concepts to this restaurant and sports bar in northwest Houston. The former Brick House Tavern space will receive a comprehensive makeover designed to give the restaurant a West Coast-style atmosphere that will include California-inspired murals. Expect an opening in January or February.
Cyclone Anaya’s - River Oaks
The popular Tex-Mex restaurant will open its seventh location this summer in the space currently occupied by Frank’s Americana Revival. Expect the restaurant’s familiar menu of classic dishes and potent margaritas for lunch, brunch, and dinner.
Eight Row Flint - East End
Agricole Hospitality’s bar that’s built around whiskey, agave, and tacos has claimed the former Night Shift space for a second location that’s expected to open in the spring. A full kitchen (instead of a food truck) and a rooftop patio will distinguish the newcomer from the original.
El Condor Coffee Roasters
The New York City-based coffee shop will open its first Texas location in the East River development this fall. Designed around offering more hospitality than the typical coffee shop, El Condor offers table service, wifi and plugs for remote workers, an all-day menu of breakfast and lunch dishes, and coffees that it roasts in-house.
Henderson & Kane - Houston Farmers Market
A second location of Veronica and John Avila’s modern general store will open later this year. In addition to selling food and other items created by a range of local producers, it will offer a full barbecue menu that includes a number of housemade sausages.
Hungry’s Cafe - Woodway
The third Houston-area location of the crowd-pleasing Mediterranean restaurant will occupy the former Le Peep space at 5750 Woodway Dr. Scheduled to open this summer, the restaurant will serve a wide-ranging menu that includes pizzas, salads, sandwiches, kebabs, gyros, and more along with a selection of plant-based dishes from Heartbeet, its sister concept in the Energy Corridor.
Killen's Barbecue - Cypress
Ronnie Killen is only weeks away from opening the third Houston-area location of his highly rated smokehouse. Located in the former El Burro and the Bull space, the new restaurant will offer a full barbecue menu at lunch with steaks and other more elevated fare for dinner.
Lick Honest Ice Creams
The first Houston location of this Austin-based ice cream shop will open in the Autry Park mixed-use development. Best known for seasonal flavors like honeyed peaches with rosemary; dewberry corn cobbler; and zesty blackberry, lime, and basil, Lick makes ice cream with ingredients sourced from Texas farms and dairies. All of its flavors are soy-free, palm oil-free, and preservative-free.
Los Tios - West U.
The Tex-Mex institution’s sixth Houston-area location will open in the former Buca di Beppo space in the Plaza in the Park shopping center this spring.
Armandos owners Cinda and Armando Palacios will open a second location of their Round Top Tex-Mex restaurant in Bellaire this spring. While Armandos is known for its fine dining touches. Mandito’s — “little Armando’s” in a nod to Palacios’s childhood nickname — will be a family-friendly spot that’s known for its signature burrito bowl, a clever reimagining of a taco salad with ground beef, steak, or chicken topped with lettuce, corn, cheese, avocado, beans, and more. Cocktails will be centered around different margaritas.
Monkey’s Tail - Conroe
A second location of the Mexican-inspired, CultureMap Tastemaker Award-winning bar will open in Conroe this spring. Look for the same menu of affordable pizzas, burgers, tacos, and wings, along with the extensive cocktail list that includes seasonal sips and frozens.
Ojo de Agua
This Mexico City-based all-day cafe will open its first Texas location in River Oaks District in early 2023. Known for fresh juices and dishes such as acai bowls, chilaquiles, lobster grilled cheese, and a kale and salmon salad, the restaurant will be open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The design pays homage to open air markets with hanging wicker chairs and light fixtures made from milk boxes.
The Austin-based restaurant that’s known for accommodating people with food allergies and specialized diets will open its first Houston location in the Montrose Collective this spring. All of the restaurant’s dishes are gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and peanut-free. A dedicated bar area will make the restaurant welcoming for those who just want a drink and a snack.
Phat Eatery - The Woodlands
Chef Alex Au-Yeung will bring his acclaimed Malaysian restaurant to the Grogran's Mill neighborhood later this year. Significantly larger than the Katy original, Au-Yeung will utilize the extra space to the expand the menu by offering Hong Kong-style dim sum and Chinese BBQ.
The Pit Room - Memorial
Guy Fieri’s favorite Montrose barbecue joint will open a second location in the Memorial City area this fall. In addition to its Texas barbecue and Tex-Mex-inspired sides, the expanded kitchen will allow the new restaurant to serve a dedicated bar menu, select grill items, and more desserts.
The Rice Box - Rice Village
The Blade Runner-inspired Chinese takeout bar will open its fourth Houston-area location in Rice Village. Roughly double the size of the River Oaks location, it will feature indoor seating for 60 along with an expanded selection of tea and craft beer.
Tin Drum Asian Kitchen
Having worked through construction delays, this Atlanta-based pan-Asian concept is on track to open in February near the intersection of Washington Avenue and Shepherd Drive. Founded by Hong Kong native Steven Chan, the restaurant serves familiar dishes from continental Asia that includes Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, and Korean cuisines. A grab-and-go "mini mart" offers a range of snacks, candy, and sauces from different Asian countries.
Uchi Omakase Counter
The Montrose outpost of the Austin-based Japanese restaurant has claimed the former Southside Espresso space for an intimate, 12-seat omakase room. Described as a space for experimenting beyond the larger restaurant’s standard tasting menu, its design will feature counter seating without visible sushi cases to create a more intimate environment.
The Austin-based pizzeria will bring its Detroit-style pies to the Memorial City area this spring. Via 313’s rectangular-shaped, deep dish pizzas feature a rim of a crispy cheese along the crust.
Wild Oats and Underbelly Burger - Spring Branch
Underbelly Hospitality’s Texas-inspired restaurant and companion burger joint will open second locations on Witte Rd. Wild Oats’ menu will feature signatures such as chicken fried steak, chili, and Medina County steak tartare. Underbelly Burger uses Texas beef from 44 Farms and R-C Ranch.
17 more locally owned restaurants opening in 2023
Coming this January to the River Oaks Shopping Center, this upscale Mediterranean restaurant — named after the Arabic word for “my heart” — will feature seafood and charcoal-grilled kabobs inspired by Lebanese, Turkish, and Greek cuisines.
Having successfully opened EaDough Pastries and Provisions last fall, husband-and-wife duo Kirthan and Kripa Shenoy will turn their attention to this vegetable-forward, globally-inspired restaurant in the Autry Park mixed-use development. Scheduled to open in the summer, the menu will utilize seasonal and sustainable ingredients in dishes that pay homage to Houston’s immigrant culinary traditions.
Bayou Heights Bier Garten
The Kirby Group, owners of bars such as Holman Draft Hall and Heights Bier Garten, will apply their winning formula to this new establishment on Washington Avenue that’s expected to open in January. Like HBG, Bayou Heights will offer both a cocktail bar and a beer and wine bar in separate buildings that are united by a spacious, fully landscaped patio. Teddy Lopez, a veteran of Ronnie Killen’s restaurants, will oversee a menu that includes smoked meats.
Local Foods owner Benjy Levit will open this French bistro in the former Thai Spice space in Rice Village. Led by executive chef Kent Domas (Alice Blue, Down House), the restaurant will serve seafood and other dishes prepared in a wood-burning oven. Look for a January opening.
FRNDS Restaurant and Lounge
From Alife Hospitality, the company behind Lost & Found, Prospect Park, and Kamp, comes this new restaurant in the former Mi Luna space in Rice Village. Expected to open this month, it will serve tapas-style small plates and cocktails in a stylish setting.
Kata Robata's Manabu Horiuchi (better known as Hori-san) will open this sushi-forward restaurant in the former Vincent's space. Billed as the chef's take on the future of Japanese cuisine in America, Katami's menu will be more focused on sushi than its Upper Kirby sibling. It will also serve luxurious ingredients like foie gras, truffles, caviar, and three to five dishes that utilize A5 wagyu from Japan.
Former Pondicheri chef Mary Cuclis will serve dishes inspired by her Greek heritage at this new restaurant in West U. Expected to open this month, meals at Kriti will be centered around mezze boards that combine multiple dishes and are designed to be shared. In addition, a Heat & Eat menu will offer a range of to-go options.
Opening this spring, this new restaurant from State Fare owner Culinary Khancepts will open in the River Oaks Shopping Center this spring. Led by executive chef Justin Yoakum, the menu will feature seafood, pasta, steaks, and more for lunch, brunch, and dinner.
Kin Dee co-owner Lukkaew Srasrisuwan is opening this upscale Thai concept in Upper Kirby’s Hanover River Oaks high-rise. Scheduled to open in the spring, the restaurant will serve dishes that pay homage to Thailand and its royal family.
Admittedly, the team behind this new restaurant coming to the former Emmaline space hasn’t said much about their plans, but the choice of chef E.J. Miller makes it a place worth keeping an eye on. A veteran of SaltAir Seafood Kitchen, Riel, and International Smoke, Miller will bring considerable skill to Muse’s menu when it opens in February or March.
This hand roll concept from chef Cong Nguyen and the owners of Hidden Omakase will make the leap from pop-up to restaurant this January. Located near Rice Village at 2715 Bissonnet St., the menu will feature all the usual combinations as well as signature items such as the Menage Foie Gras, a roll that combines uni, toro, wagyu, caviar, and foie gras.
Coming this February to the Heights, this wine shop and bar will feature an extensive selection of South American wines.
Chef Philippe Schmit, Houston’s French Cowboy, rides again at this new restaurant that’s opening in the next couple months. Known for his time at Bistro Moderne and Philippe, he’ll serve his modern take on French fare. Joining him will be Sebastien Laval, the long time sommelier and manager who has worked at La Table, MAD, and Le Colonial.
Rockhouse Southern Kitchen
The former Billy Blues space on Richmond will get new life as this Southern-inspired restaurant, bar, and live music venue from the owners of The Warwick. Expect a February opening.
Inspired by restaurants in Miami such as Bâoli and Sexy Fish, this restaurant in the Kirby Collection mixed-use development aspires to be Houston’s premier destination that combines food and entertainment. Chef Erhan Özkaya’s menu will blend French-Mediterranean and Japanese influences to create eye-popping dishes that match the high energy atmosphere. Some nights might feature performances by belly dancers or other entertainers.
Coming to the Harlow District — the new dining-oriented project at the former location of Nino’s and Vincent’s — this new bar from The Kirby Group will put a Tex-Mex twist on Heights Bier Garten’s successful formula. Killen’s veteran Teddy Lopez will oversee the food menu.
Williams Smokehouse BBQ & Blues
This new barbecue restaurant — which, to be clear, is not connected to the historic Acres Homes restaurant Williams Smokehouse — will open in early 2023 in the former Stadia Grill space in Sugar Land Town Square (2105 Lone Star Dr.). Inspired by both Texas barbecue and Creole cuisine, look for dishes such as smoked turkey legs stuffed with dirty rice and topped with shrimp and sausage alfredo sauce; homemade armadillo eggs; and "Creole candy" smoked wings. True to its name, the restaurant will have a small stage that will host live blues music.