A rapidly growing Houston restaurant and bar group will soon arrive in Rice Village. ALife Hospitality is opening FRNDS Restaurant & Lounge on April 1.
Located in the former Mi Luna space at 2442 University Blvd., FRNDS (pronounced “friends”), aims to be a gathering spot for groups. Although ALife is well established with concepts such as Kamp, Lost & Found, and the recently-opened Bungalow Downtown Dining, the new establishment will be its first in Rice Village.
“The space sort of picked us,” ALife partner Junior Martin tells CultureMap. “While looking for new opportunities, we viewed several locations in different areas of the city. After touring the property during the day and at night, it gave us a vision of what was missing from the Rice Village area and from our hospitality offerings to the city of Houston.”
Those offerings begin with a menu of tapas-style shareable plates created by ALife culinary director Mark Holley. Best known for his time at seafood restaurant Pesce and his current role at Davis Street at Hermann Park, Holley’s menu includes Coconut Curry Shrimp Skewers, Crab Avocado Dip, and Red Curry Fried Calamari. Diners will also find truffle pasta, shrimp cocktail, and baby back ribs. For his part, Martin recommends the wagyu dumplings and chicken satay.
“Several of the menu choices are shareable items to enjoy with your friends,” Martin adds. “This fosters a vibe of fellowship with your group and allows [everyone] to explore multiple menu items together.”
FRNDS pairs its dishes with a range of craft cocktails. Highlights include the Pineapple Patron and a popcorn cocktail that comes with a sidecar of kernels.
Behold the Pineapple Patron.Courtesy of ALife Hospitality Group
Renovations to the space include adding royal blue and purple booths, marble bar and table tops, and wood accents.
Rice Village has seen a number of new openings in the past few months, including Navy Blue, the new seafood restaurant from the Bludorn team; Sushi by Hidden, an omakase restaurant from the owners of Hidden Omakase; a new location of Chinese American restaurant the Rice Box; Australian-inspired coffee shop Bluestone Lane; and Eau Tour, a French restaurant from Local Foods owner Benjy Levit.