Allergy-friendly, healthy eating Austin restaurant closes Houston locale
A Montrose mixed-use development has lost one of its high profile tenants.Picnik closed after service on Sunday, January 21.
In response to CultureMap's request for comment about the closure, a representative provided the following statement on behalf of the restaurant.
The energy around the opening, our passion during service, and support from the community somehow did not equate to more longevity in the Houston market. We want to thank our incredible team at Montrose and our wonderful guests for spending time with us.
Looking ahead, we will focus on continued growth at our Burnet and South 1st locations as Picnik lives its mission to provide Real Food + Good Vibes! We hope to be back in Houston in the future and see some familiar Houston faces at our other locations if your road ever takes you to Austin.
Part of the Montrose Collective project near the intersection of Westheimer and Montrose, the Austin-based restaurant opened to considerable acclaim in April 2022. Picnik distinguishes itself with a menu where every item is gluten-free, refined sugar-free, peanut-free, and seed oil-free.
In an appearance on CultureMap’s “What’s Eric Eating” podcast, Picnik CEO Dan Mesches explained the restaurant’s appeal extended beyond the allergy-friendly menu.
"Sometimes people talk about Picnik as 'well, I have a special diet.' Really, what we are is great food that happens to be good for you. You'll want to come there no matter how you eat," he said. "Yes, it's healthy comfort food. We will tell you we're refined sugar free . . . We'll tell you we're seed oil free . . . We happen to be gluten-free . . . All those to me are below the line. It's really about being thoughtful, sourced really well, and just enjoying the food."
Despite Picnik’s closure, the Montrose Collective remains a popular dining destination. Its roster includes Uchi and its companion omakase concept Oheya, California-inspired restaurant Graffiti Raw, stylish neighborhood concept The Chelsea, Italian steakhouse Marmo, and wine bar Fiora’s Bottle Shop. A new Houston Public Library branch will open there later this year.
The Houston Chronicle was first to report the restaurant had closed.