The Royal Family/Twitter [https://twitter.com/RoyalFamily]

The world will bid a final "goodbye and thank you, Ma'am" to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at her state funeral on Monday, September 19 at London's Westminster Abbey.

While the service for Her Majesty, who passed away September 8, will be attended by 2,000 family, friends, dignitaries, and heads of state, the event is expected to draw a record 4.1 billion viewers from around the world.

In the United States, every major network, broadcast outlet, and streaming service will provide coverage. And in Houston, viewers will need to get up before the sun to tune in live. The funeral starts at 5 am local time, with many noteworthy events happening before and after it (see schedule, below).

Here is a complete guide to the network, cable, and streaming service coverage, per the L.A. Times and Hollywood Reporter. (All times are local to Houston.)

Networks (television and streaming):

  • PBS: PBS will carry the BBC’s live coverage from London, starting at 3 am. A primetime special, The State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II: Events of the Day, will then be broadcast at 7 pm.
  • ABC: David Muir and Robin Roberts will anchor coverage, starting at 4:30 am.
  • NBC: Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Lester Holt will anchor coverage, starting at 4:30 am.
  • CBS: Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell will anchor coverage (time TBA).

Cable networks (television and streaming):

  • BBC America: Coverage from London will start at 3 am.
  • CNN: Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett will anchor coverage starting at 4 am, with additional anchors and reporters joining throughout the morning.
  • MSNBC: Chris Jansing will anchor coverage, beginning at 2 am, following with a special edition of Morning Joe from London and continuing through services.
  • C-SPAN: Live coverage will begin at 4:30 am.
  • Bloomberg TV: Live coverage will run from 4-6:30 am.
  • Fox News Channel: Martha MacCallum, Ainsley Earhardt, and Piers Morgan will anchor coverage, starting at 2 am.

Other streaming options:

  • BritBox will stream BBC live coverage, starting at 3:30 am.
  • BBC is live-streaming from London, 24 hours a day, on their news app and at www.bbc.com/news. (Click on the Queen Elizabeth II tab.)
  • ITV News offers live-streaming at www.itv.com/news and through YouTube.
  • Sky News offers live-streaming at news.sky.com, as well as through Peacock and YouTube.
  • Subscription-based streaming platforms (with free trials available) will be streaming the funeral, including: FuboTV, Sling, YouTube TV, Peacock Premium, Hulu + Live TV, and Paramount+. The service will be available to stream on regular Hulu as soon as it concludes.

Schedule of events

The funeral service itself will begin at 11 am in London (BST), which is 5 am in Houston (CDT). The service is expected to last about an hour, but it's preceded and followed by other events that also will be broadcast. Here is a schedule of events for the day, according to this handy guide from BBC. All times below are CDT.

12:30 am: The Queen's lying-in-state at Westminster Hall will end. Hundreds of thousands (including soccer legend David Beckham) have been "queueing up" and waiting in line up to 14 hours to walk by her coffin and pay their respects. The BBC is live-streaming the lying-in-state here.

2 am: The doors of Westminster Abbey will open for guests to begin arriving for the state funeral. Heads of state — including U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden — will attend, as will royal family members from across Europe (many of whom were blood relatives of the Queen). Find the guest list here.

4:44 am: About 15 minutes before the funeral, the Queen's coffin will be carried, via gun carriage, from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey. Senior members of the royal family (including King Charles and princes William and Harry) will follow the coffin in the procession.

5 am: The funeral at Westminster Abbey begins. It will be presided over by the Dean of Westminster David Hoyle and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

5:55 am: Near the end of the funeral, a bugle call called "Last Post" will be played, and two minutes of silence will be observed nationally across the UK. Then the "new" national anthem "God Save the King" will be sung and a lament will be played by the Queen's piper.

6:15 am: A walking procession — including military bands and members of the armed services — will draw the coffin from the Abbey to Wellington Arch.

7 am: The coffin will be transferred to a state hearse for its final journey to Windsor.

9 am: The state hearse will arrive in Windsor for a walking procession up Windsor Castle's Long Walk. Members of the armed forces will line the three-mile route, and members of the royal family will meet the cortege outside the castle.

10 am: The coffin will enter St. George's Chapel for a committal service attended by a congregation of 800. At the conclusion of the 45-minute service, the Queen's coffin will be lowered into the royal vault, and the royal family will leave the chapel. The service will include many traditions symbolizing the end of the Queen's reign, including the removal of the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign's orb and scepter from the top of the coffin. (Read more about what to expect here.)

1:30 pm: The Queen will be buried together with her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at the King George VI memorial chapel inside St. George's Chapel. The private ceremony is just for family, and it is unclear whether any part of it will be made public.

The Royal Family/Twitter [https://twitter.com/RoyalFamily]

Houston joins world in mourning as Queen Elizabeth II passes away at 96

farewell to the queen

Editor’s note: As the city, and the world, marks this historic passing and indeed, an end of an era, CultureMap looks back at a Houstonian’s photos (above) of the queen’s Diamond Jubilee in London in 2012, in a piece by former society editor Shelby Hodge.

The world has paused as Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch in United Kingdom’s history, passed away at the age of 96 on Thursday, September 8 at Balmoral, the Scottish castle and holiday home of the Royal Family.

The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon, read a statement from Buckingham Palace. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.

She was surrounded by family; when doctors placed her under supervision, her children traveled to Balmoral, joined by grandson Prince William. Prince Harry is en route, according to news reports.

Per ABC News, Queen Elizabeth’s funeral will take (tentatively) at Westminster Abbey 10 days after her death, following the tradition of observing a national period of mourning. Notably, she would be the first sovereign to have a funeral there since 1760.

Following the services, per ABC News, the queen is expected to be buried at St. George's Chapel in a private service on the grounds of Windsor Castle. She will be laid to rest next to her father, King George VI; her sister, Princess Margaret; and Prince Philip, her husband of 73 years.

Now, in keeping with tradition, Queen Elizabeth’s passing ushers in her son, formerly known as Prince Charles, as king; he will thus be known as King Charles III.

His Majesty The King, Charles released a the following statement after his mother’s passing:

The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.

We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.

During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.

Queen Elizabeth’s reign spanned 70 years, beginning at post-World War II recovery to a transition from empire to Commonwealth. She witnessed the end of the Cold War and watched as the UK entered, and ultimately withdrew from the European Union.

But perhaps no event, however, connected her to the world — especially those not in the Commonwealth — more than her public presence and statements following the death of Princess Diana of Wales, who lost her life 25 years ago this month.

Here in Houston, locals are stopping by cultural mainstays such as British Isles, the UK shop in Rice Village. Longtime manager and Brit Guy Streatfeild tells CultureMap the news hit him “like a sledgehammer,” especially given that the store just celebrated her Golden Jubilee.

“People aren’t quite sure what to do, how best to pay tribute,” he says of those who visited the store just after news of the Queen’s passing. “One gentleman came in just to buy flowers.” The store will also provide a guestbook for visitors to sign, which will be delivered either to the British Royal Consulate or Buckingham Palace.

A representative for the British Consulate-General, Houston was unable to comment, citing protocol, but will provide updates via social media.
Meanwhile, locals can expect official ceremonies at area venues in the days to come.

Houston last hosted the queen 31 years ago. Her trip included a private dinner at the Museum of Fine Arts, a trek to Johnson Space Center, and an endearing moment at Houston’s oldest black Baptist church, where she joyfully tapped her toes to the gleeful gospel music.

The beloved Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday, September 8.

Queen Elizabeth II
The Royal Family/Twitter [https://twitter.com/RoyalFamily]
The beloved Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday, September 8.
Photo courtesy of the Houston Texans

Top Texas sports figures react to death of pioneering Houston Texans president Jamey Rootes

remembering jamey rootes

Tributes from across the state — and nation — are pouring in as the sports world reacts to the death of former Houston Texans team president Jamey Rootes. The man credited with the Texans’ off-field success from 2002 to 2020 passed away on Sunday, August 21 in Houston after a battle with mental health issues at age 56, according to his wife Melissa Wildgen Rootes, who first shared the news via Facebook.

In the post, Melissa Rootes cited her husband’s tenure as Texans president and added that he was “best known for his devotion to his family and friends.” She also called him “a dedicated Houstonian who loved his city and touched so many lives through his professional, academic, and philanthropic work.” And in a poignant plea, she urged those “thinking about suicide or experiencing a health crisis” to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).

Well known in Houston as a charismatic, passionate innovator with a relentless commitment to the fan experience and an uncanny ability to build the business side of the team from ground up, Rootes’ reputation far transcended Bayou City borders.

From Dallas, with love
“The entire Jones Family — the Dallas Cowboys Family — all grieve the loss of Jamey,” Dallas Cowboys executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer Jerry Jones, Jr., tells CultureMap exclusively. “We send all of our love and support to his wife Melissa, their two children, and the entire Houston Texans organization. Jamey was an incredible professional and a dear friend, but most importantly, a dedicated husband and father.”

That a Jones family member stopped in the middle of a busy training camp to send a heartfelt message about Rootes speaks to his deep connections in pro football circles. Rootes worked especially closely with the Cowboys during Hurricane Harvey; the Cowboys offered aid and facilities as the Texans literally and figuratively navigated the storm. Rootes and Texans owner Robert “Bob” McNair also worked with the Cowboys in The Governor’s Cup, the highly anticipated showdown between Texas’ two biggest football teams.

“Jamey had a tremendous impact not only on the NFL as a whole,” Jones Jr. continues, “but specifically to the Dallas Cowboys through numerous meetings, events, and talks with our organization over the years. As a confidant and a colleague, he impacted many of the marketing and business ideas we, the Jones Family, implemented. He will be dearly missed.”

Texans CEO and chairman Cal McNair said he, his wife Hannah, and the Texans are “heartbroken” at the loss of their friend of two decades when they addressed the media on Tuesday, August 23:

It’s a sad day for us here at the Texans. We’re really heartbroken. The loss of our friend, Jamey Rootes, our 20-year-old friendship. Jamey led the Houston Texans’ business department at a very high level for two decades. He was also really involved with Houston and giving back and one of his favorites was United Way. So, he’ll be missed by his Texans family. He’ll be missed by the Houston community, and our sincere condolences go to his family — his wife, Melissa, his kids — as we all work through a difficult time.

A true “visionary”
When Bob McNair won the rights to an NFL franchise and founded the Texans in 1999, he tapped Rootes, a marketing hot shot, to be the team’s first president. While the Texans evaluated first-overall draft picks and hired coaching staff on the field, Rootes oversaw the fan experience, from ultra-swank suites to the endzone and parking lots on game day.

From the time the team played its inaugural game in 2002 through the end of Rootes’ tenure in 2020 (he officially retired in 2021), the Texans boasted 185 consecutive sellouts.

“One of the easiest ways that I would always categorize Jamey is as a visionary,” Kevin Cooper, the former head of communications for the Texans, tells CultureMap. “He had a vision of what he wanted. He had a vision of life and how to get there.”

That vision, Cooper notes, was pivotal in creating one of the most enduring fan experiences in team history. “Tailgating was so important to Jamey because he listened to the fans,” Cooper recalls. “He asked, ‘What do you guys want?’ Tailgating was one thing that they didn’t have, especially not with the prior organization. So Jamey said, ‘Okay, that’s going to be a priority—that’s what we're going to do.” Since then, the stadium parking lots have been jam-packed with tailgaters, some who arrive as early as 5 am.

“It’s all a credit to him,” Cooper continues. “When it came to doing big time deals, you know, stadium deals, parking lot deals, a full stadium, a commitment to traffic flows, or creating that perfect fan experience — that was all Jamey.”

Texas-sized value
Despite not ever venturing close to a Super Bowl, the Texans have been a high-value team. Cooper again cites Rootes for that success.

“One of the things that Mr. McNair used to always talk about was valuation. When these valuations of sports organizations started coming out, the Texans were always in the top five and top 10 — in the world. And it’s just like, how’s that getting done? We’re not the Cowboys — I mean, we’re not America’s team. We’re not the Patriots. We don’t have the history of the New York Giants or the Washington organization. But there we were. Mr. McNair put a lot of faith in Jamey, and Jamey delivered.”

(Most recently, Forbesranked the Texans No. 11 in its ranking of most valuable NFL teams.)

Beyond football
While certainly a pro football ops guru, Rootes also had a keen eye for the first football—soccer. Though Rootes had a short stint with the Houston Dynamo FC as CEO, Cooper notes that Rootes deserves credit for bringing the biggest sporting event in the world to our city.

“One of the biggest things that we have in the city of Houston, because of Jamey, is this love of soccer. Jamey learned what the Houston market was, he sold it, and he did a very good job of it. Now, we have the World Cup coming here, and he started that vision back in 2003. By the time that it gets here, it will be 23 years in the making. That’s 23 years of something that this guy just had a real vision around.”

Possessing a vision for charity as well, Rootes joined his favorite outside nonprofit, the United Way, in raising more than $50 million for Hurricane Harvey relief in 2017. He also directed the Houston Texans Foundation, which has raised some $36 million for various causes. He co-chaired the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund, which raised more than $17 million for those in need during and after the pandemic. “Jamey was all about the city,” says Cooper. “He worked with business leaders, city leaders, he taught classes — everything was a benefit to the city.”

Forever a Texan
“I don’t think there are any words to describe what Jamey meant to the Houston Texans,” says ESPN 97.5 FM morning host John Granato. “He was instrumental in all their successes over his 20-plus years there, but he was also a great, great person. I am deeply sorry for his family and loved ones. He will be sorely missed.”

That sentiment is echoed by David Gow, CEO of Gow Media (which also owns ESPN 97.5 FM, CultureMap, InnovationMap, and SportsMap). “Jamey was a good friend to me and to many,” says Gow. “Beyond his remarkable leadership of the Texans, Jamey cared deeply for the community. He worked tirelessly on great causes and made a mark on the lives of many. We will miss him.”

Former Houston Astros team president Reid Ryan, who was traveling when contacted by CultureMap for this story and was unable to comment, promptly pointed us to his thoughtful Twitter post honoring Rootes.

“When I came to the Astros in 2013,” Ryan wrote, “Jamey Rootes was one of the first people to welcome me. His ‘can do’ attitude was infectious. He loved Houston and worked hard to promote the city. I valued his opinion and he pushed me to be better. Prayers for Melissa and his family.”

Raise one to Jamey
Beyond vision, Cooper points to another key trait Rootes possessed: dedication. “Jamey had such an admiration for Bob McNair,” he says. “You know, he really saw him as one of the biggest male influences in his life, and he always wanted to make sure Bob’s organization was taken care of — both inside and out.”

Cooper also chuckles when imagining Rootes’ reaction to the lavish praise being heaped on him. “Jamey didn’t want attention for himself, he wanted results. It was all about getting the job done. I mean, his daughter was born during the Super Bowl. But, he made sure he dedicated himself to the Super Bowl here — and to his family.”

The often stoic and straight-talking Cooper pauses when asked how fans can best pay tribute to the man who most assuredly deserves a spot on the Texans’ Mount Rushmore — and for building Houston’s pro football infrastructure.

“You know what, Jamey was all about the fans,” says Cooper. “When you go out to the Texans tailgate, just make sure and think of him when you’re there. Have a good time as a fan— that’s what Jamey was all about.”

Photo courtesy of Houston Zoo

Beloved University of Houston cougar mascot Shasta VI passes away at 11

remembering shasta vi

The University of Houston’s mascot and school symbol has passed away. Shasta VI, UH’s live cougar mascot who was housed at the Houston Zoo, died late Thursday, August 4, according to a joint UH/zoo announcement.

The 11-year-old cougar had been suffering from a progressive spinal disease which had rapidly deteriorated over the past few days, according to a zoo treatment. As veterinary staff treated Shasta for the spinal condition, they discovered the cougar’s declining kidney function, a syndrome common in older felines.

When it was clear that Shasta would not recover after a comprehensive assessment, the animal care and health teams made “the difficult decision” to euthanize him, per a zoo statement.

“Shasta has been a cherished member of our Zoo family and an icon for the University of Houston for over a decade, said Kevin Hodge, vice president of animal programs at the Houston Zoo. “We are all deeply saddened by this loss. We are committed to ensuring the animals in our care experience the highest quality of life. That includes their day-to-day care as well as end-of-life decisions. With world-class animal keepers, incredible veterinarians, and a complete veterinary clinic, our animals receive the best possible care right up to their last days.”

The beloved UH icon was often spotted sitting atop his habitat gazing at other species, especially elephants. Zoo staff, who adored him, remember him as a a true apex predator, stalking his keepers as they walked past him. The cougar was a fan favorite, drawing large crowds who would snap pictures of him as he struck graceful poses atop the rocks in his enclosure.

Gregarious, curious, and lively, Shasta VI grew from an adorable, charming cub to a stately symbol of school pride. He was said to enjoy the attention that visitors, especially UH fans, lavished on him, especially during the annual ceremony when he would “guard” the class rings by sitting or standing atop a large red box containing the students’ jewelry.

Shasta VI’s journey to Houston
Shasta VI (his name denotes his No. 6 order in the UH cougar mascot lineage) was just a few months old when he arrived in Houston in December 2011. The young cougar and his two brothers were rescued in Washington state after their mother was illegally killed by a hunter. The cubs’ rescue was pivotal: only five weeks old at the time of their mother’s death, they stood little chance of survival in the wild.

Not long after he arrived in the city, UH and the zoo entered into a partnership on March 24, 2012, where the young cougar was officially adopted and anointed UH’s mascot. UH alum, in the official Shasta bio, note that given his challenging background, Shasta represented “the spirit and tenacity of UH’s students and alumni, and personified the resilience and strength of the university.”

Cherished UH traditions at the zoo included the aforementioned guarding of the rings, as well as Shasta’s birthday parties and his live appearances via webcam at UH football games.

The Shasta name origin story
As for the name: In 1947, the UH chapter Alpha Phi Omega fraternity purchased a cougar from a wildlife preserve, under the condition that the students could crowdfund for the cougar’s cage and habitat, per a UH historical blog.

A naming contest in The Cougar daily newspaper ensued, yielding 225 submissions. Student Joe Randol won with the following submission: “Shasta (She has to). Shasta have a cage, Shasta have a keeper, Shasta have a winning ball club, Shasta have the best.” And with that, a legend was born.

Shasta I, the first UH mascot who served from 1947-1962, was also the originator of the school’s “cougar” hand sign. According to UH lore, Shasta I was in an accident on the way to a game in 1953 and lost one of her front toes. Opposing University of Texas apparently mocked UH by imitating the injury.

The Coogs, however, responded by adopting the gesture as a symbol of pride. Since then, UH alum flash the “cougar sign” by folding the ring finger of the right hand toward the palm.

Remembering Shasta VI
For now, Shasta VI is mourned by UH alum across the nation and world, with condolences pouring in — even from opposing schools.

“With the help of the Houston Zoo, it was our honor at the UH Alumni Association to bring Shasta VI to the UH family,” said Mike Pede, associate vice president for alumni relations, in a statement. “Shasta’s service and symbolism of pride and school spirit will live on with all who went to see him, had their rings guarded by him or saw his handlers adorn his habitat with spirited notes of support. Rest easy good friend.”

Shasta VI passed away at 11 after complications from spinal and kidney disease.

Shasta VI UH university of houston Houston Zoo
Photo courtesy of Houston Zoo
Shasta VI passed away at 11 after complications from spinal and kidney disease.
© Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com

Pioneering Houston billionaire and financial titan Fayez Sarofim passes away in Houston at 93

remembering fayez sarofim

A titan of Houston finance and society has died. Fayez Sarofim, the mastermind of his eponymous investment firm and a familiar local benefactor, passed away at his River Oaks home on Friday, May 27. He was 93. Current PaperCity and former CultureMap society editor Shelby Hodge was first to report the news.

His vast fortune is currently valued by Forbes at $1.6 billion, while his firm currently manages more than $31 billion in assets.

Nicknamed “The Sphinx” for his quiet, regal demeanor, rare public comment, and elite Egyptian heritage and pedigree, Sarofim was born in 1929 in Cairo to a prominent and Coptic-American aristocratic family. He arrived in the U.S. in 1946, became a naturalized citizen in 1961, and earned degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Business School, per his bio.

After a stint at Houston firm Anderson, Clayton and Company in Houston, he founded Fayez Sarofim & Company in 1958. He quickly developed a reputation for a keen sense for soon-to-explode stocks, which he would acquire and almost never sell.

He married Louisa Stude, daughter of Brown and Root founder Herman Brown, in 1962; the couple welcomed children Christopher and Allison Sarofim. In 1990, he married Linda Hicks.

As Hodge reported for CultureMap in 2015, Sarofim — a confirmed bachelor for some 15 years — married the charismatic Susan Krohn in Hawaii. A constantly smiling, welcoming presence, Susan Sarofim was the perfect partner for the reserved, always dapper Sarofim at A-list events and functions — even when he was later bound to a wheelchair. Hodge noted that the man who was always spotted in exquisitely tailored British suits never sported a public smile — until he married Susan.

Sarofim was a noted art collector and benefactor; as CultureMap reported in 2020, he led gifting for an arts facility at Rice University, while his $70 million gift to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston created what is now the Susan and Fayez S. Sarofim Campus.

The most elegant and fashionable tennis tournament in Houston also bears his name, as does the award-winning research building at UT Health in the Med Center.

He leaves behind his wife Susan, children Christopher, Allison, Andrew, and Phillip and their families, a host of extended family, and a storied reputation as a barrier-shattering, pioneering Houston financial giant.

Country music icon and local legend Mickey Gilley passes away at 86

remembering mickey gilley

A local country music icon has passed away. Mickey Gilley, the artist whose career spanned more than 50 years, died surrounded by his family, according to Pasadena mayor Jeff Wagner. He was 86.

Born in 1936 in Natchez, Mississippi to a famed family that included iconic cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart, Gilley cut his teeth at small clubs, eventually charting some 39 Top 10 hits and 17 No. 1 singles.

He became a Houston-area fixture as he gigged at the Nesadel Club in Pasadena. In 1970, he opened his now-famed, eponymous Gilley’s honky-tonk in Pasadena, which would eventually be known as the “world’s biggest honky-tonk.”

The club — and its legendary mechanical bull — would eventually create a memorable setting in the 1980 John Travolta smash hit, Urban Cowboy. An over-the-top movie premiere at the club in 1980 saw the likes of Lynn Wyatt, Andy Warhol, and Diane von Furstenberg. Gilley not only starred in the blockbuster, but his cover of “Stand by Me” became a pop and adult contemporary hit that year, marking a resurgence for the singer. (He later recounted that magical era with local TV legend Dave Ward.)

With Urban Cowboy putting him back in the spotlight, Gilley moved to television in the 1980s, appearing in popular series such as Murder She Wrote, The Fall Guy, Fantasy Island, and Dukes of Hazzard.

His Gilley’s club no longer operates in Pasadena (a store is located nearby), as it shuttered in 1989 due to dispute between Gilley and one-time partner Sherwood Cryer. In 1990, the honky tonk burned down; the fire was ruled as arson by local investigators.

But the club brand also grew to an entertainment complex in Dallas, Las Vegas, and Durant, Oklahoma. Gilley’s retro gear has become a Texan “if you know, you know” fashion favorite.

The longtime Pasadena resident boasts a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, six Academy of Country Music Awards, and a place in the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Fittingly, a street in Pasadena is named for the star: Mickey Gilley Boulevard.

“Pasadena has lost a true legend,” Wagner said in a social media post, adding that “his talent and larger-than-life personality helped ignite a new interest in country music as he introduced the world to Pasadena through his dance hall and Urban Cowboy in 1980. We were so honored to have Mickey perform at our State of the City in February, 2020. Our prayers for comfort and peace are with Mickey’s family, his loved ones and his fans.”

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Whataburger weighs in as healthiest cheeseburger in the nation


With its love of greasy enchiladas, gluttonous fried steaks, and fat-speckled brisket, Texas isn’t always known as a healthy eating mecca. But it turns out that one locally beloved dish isn’t as unhealthy as one might think.

Inspired by February’s American Heart Month (albeit belatedly), Gambling.com decided to dig deep into which fast-food burger was best for the ticker and the body overall. What that has to do with online slots is anyone’s guess, but perhaps open-heart surgeries are not conducive to risk-taking.

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Local favorite/ food cult Whataburger took the top slot, earning honors with its standby cheeseburger. Assumably, the gambling site considered the mustard-slathered original, eschewing calorie bombs like bacon slices and creamy pepper sauce.

Where’s the fun of Whataburger if you can’t get it just like you like it?

To arrive at the rankings, Gambling.com analyzed each burger for sugar, fat, salt, and calorie content per ounce. Each metric was given a one to ten score that factored into the final report card shared with content-hungry food journalists everywhere.

Coming in a close second was In-N-Out’s cheeseburger, a comforting fact for Texans who enjoy complaining about Californians. Rounding out the top five were Checker’s Checkerburger with Cheese, Culver’s ButterBurger Cheese, and Del Taco’s del Cheese Burger.

For those trying to make better eating choices, that list should give some pause. Yes, Whataburger beats out other fast-food faves, but it was competing against a chain that literally toasts all their buns in churned cream. Health is a relative concept.

Elsewhere on the list was another Texas darling, the No. 6 ranked Dairy Queen. Apparently, all that “hungr” is being busted by a hefty dose of sodium. Yes, we will take fries with that.

Upscale new Japanese restaurant serving sushi, robata, and more docks in familiar River Oaks District space

ouzo bay replacement revealed

Baltimore-based Atlas Restaurant Group has revealed its plans for the former Ouzo Bay space in River Oaks District. The company will bring Azumi, an upscale Japanese restaurant, to the development this winter.

Named for a Japanese word that means “safe harbor,” Azumi will serve a mixture of modern and traditional Japanese dishes. Similar to its sister location at the Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore, the menu will include sushi, tempura, robata, and more.

Atlas Restaurant Group’s executive concept chef Alisher Yallaev plans to move to Houston to open Azumi, according to a press release. He’ll oversee menu development that will utilize premium ingredients such as wagyu beef, freshwater soft sell crab, and fish that’s flown in from Japan. An extensive beverage program will include cocktails, sake, and Japanese whisky.

Designer Patrick Sutton will lead the transformation of Ouzo Bay’s dining room into Azumi. Look for a 130-seat main dining room, a private room for omakase tastings, and a 78-seat dining room.

“We’re excited to bring the culinary artistry of Azumi to Houston’s vibrant dining epicenter, River Oaks District, and look forward to creating lasting memories for guests,” said Alex Smith, President and CEO of Atlas Restaurant Group. “At Azumi, our focus will be the presentation of a sophisticated and immersive Japanese dining experience that finds harmony and balance in both the traditional and innovative.”

Ouzo Bay, Atlas’s European-inspired seafood restaurant, closed April 30. The company still operates Loch Bar, an East Coast-inspired seafood tavern, and Marmo, an Italian steakhouse.

Azumi will join a dynamic mix of restaurants in River Oaks District that includes Steak 48, Spanish restaurant MAD, and Vietnamese restaurant Le Colonial. The district recently welcomed two new arrivals: Bari, an upscale Italian restaurant, and Ojo de Agua, an all-day cafe with locations throughout Mexico.

Azumi exterior rendering

Courtesy of Atlas Restaurant Group

Azumi will open this winter.

Eat a delectable dessert from this sweet Houston cafe and donate to help kids

Crepes for a Cause

This summer, Coco Crepes & Coffee wants you to indulge for a great cause.

During the entire month of June, the popular creperie/neighborhood cafe will donate a portion of its sales from the Banana Split Crepe to Texas Children’s Hospital. Eat gelato to help children? Okay!

This sweet move is in response to International Children's Day on June 1. Being a noted family-friendly eatery, Coco Crepes & Coffee decided that one day simply wasn't enough, so it's helping future generations for the entire month.

Ready for details on the featured crepe? It boasts chocolate sauce-covered banana slices nestled inside a sweet crepe, all drizzled with vanilla, chocolate, and caramel sauces, and then finished off with your favorite flavor of gelato.

But there's no rule that says you can't sample the rest of the menu while you're there. Take your pick from a wide range of dishes that includes sweet and savory crepes, gourmet coffee drinks, salads, paninis, waffles, and smoothies.

Special for summer is the dragonfruit smoothie, a mouthwatering mix of dragonfruit, banana, and mango.

All locations, including the newest one in the Greenway/Upper Kirby area which is set to open in mid-June, are participating in the featured crepe give-back.

So get ready to satisfy your sweet tooth this June while eating for a bigger cause.