Houston's best Final Four food and drink deals

Final Four Food & Drink Deals

Photo courtesy of Patterson Park

Sports fans across the country will be paying attention to Houston this weekend, as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four tips off at NRG Stadium. Although neither the University of Houston Cougars nor the Texas Longhorns made it to this point in the tournament, basketball fans can still look forward to some fantastic games.

Houston bars and restaurants are getting into the Final Four spirit with food and drink specials that run all weekend. Peruse the list below for food and drink specials, extended hours, and the chance to meet Youtube’s favorite pizza reviewer.

Angel Share HTX, the charitably-minded bar near Market Square, will be offering up discounted drinks whether you attend the Final Four or watch it at their spot — think $6 frozens and $2 Jell-O shots. Either way, they’ve got big pictures of Betty White and Dolly Parton in the back, for those who feel like appreciating. 4 pm.

Biggio’s, the sports bar at downtown’s Marriott Marquis hotel, will have burgers, nachos, wings, refreshing cocktails, and more than 20 beers on tap. The sleek, two-level bar/restaurant combines a lively atmosphere with more than 30 screens for catching every minute. 11 am.

8th Wonder Brewery has reinstalled the 1971 NCAA Men's Championship basketball court flooring from the Astrodome in their taproom. Fans are encouraged to have a Cougar Paw Red Ale, the unofficial beer of the University of Houston Cougars. Noon.

Feges BBQ will be showing all games during business hours on the projectors at its Spring Branch location. Come enjoy beer specials, smoked chicken wings, cracklin' nachos, and other surprise specials. 11 am.

Finn Hall, the downtown food hall, is mad for basketball, and will be extending its hours for the Final Four this weekend. At this hub, sports fans can watch the game and also enjoy a variety of culinary delights ranging from barbecue and burgers to Mexican cuisine and bento boxes. 7:30 am.

Heights & Co. has a large patio, televisions, great food and a very lengthy cocktail, beer and wine list. Enjoy a number of shareables like charcuterie and cheese selections, queso, spinach & artichoke dip and more. Noon.

Kirby Ice House will welcome sports/pop-culture empire Barstool Sports to its door. Founder Dave Portnoy and Big Cat will be broadcasting live on Friday and Saturday, leading up to the Final Four games. 5 pm (1 pm Saturday).

Patterson Park will screen games on its 40 HD TVs. Look for drink specials like Shoot for a Shot: those who make two free throws in a row score their first drink on the house. Boasting a 5,000-square-foot outdoor deck, treehouse vibes, and sweeping skyline views, this dog-friendly and bike-friendly Heights bar always offers a 10-percent discount to those who roll up on their bicycles.

The Rustic is giving fans an opportunity to watch the Final Four in a fun atmosphere. On Saturday, both Rustic locations in Houston will hold watch parties with the first game between FAU and San Diego St. 5 p.m.

The Savoy has daily happy hours, a weekend brunch, and big party plans for the Final Four. That starts with $1 wings, $5 frozens, and other specials. Expect the massive patio to be bustling all weekend. 4 pm (11 am Saturday).

Tacos a Go Go will give free queso to anyone who brings a ticket stub from a Final Four game. The offer is good at all five Houston-area locations.

Patterson Park

Photo courtesy of Patterson Park

Post up at the red-hot patio bar Patterson Park for Final Four specials and more.

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Houston's ​Masterchef champ Christine Ha opens new Spring Branch restaurant devoted to her favorite sandwiches

Christine Ha's sandwich shop

Houston’s Masterchef champion is ready to open her next restaurant. Christine Ha and her husband/business partner John Suh will begin the soft opening of Stuffed Belly this Saturday and Sunday (June 10 and 11) from 11 am - 7 pm.

Located in the same Spring Branch shopping center as the Blind Goat (8133 Long Point Rd.), Ha’s James Beard Award-nominated Vietnamese gastropub, Stuffed Belly serves the chef’s take on sandwiches the couple has enjoyed all their lives. Designed for quick service, the restaurant operates out of a drive-thru and offers only a limited amount of interior seating.

“John and I are excited to introduce Stuffed Belly to the Spring Branch neighborhood!” Ha said in a statement. “Sandwiches are some of our favorite comfort foods, and we want to share our own take on them with our beloved hometown of Houston.”

While Ha is known for the Vietnamese fare she serves at both The Blind Goat and Xin Chao, Stuffed Belly is not a banh mi shop. Instead, it serves the chef’s spin on classic American sandwiches such as egg salad, fried chicken, and grilled cheese.

For example, the Humpty Dumpty Egg’wich combines egg salad made with both Dijon and yellow mustard, lemon, and green onions and is served on crustless Texas toast. The Tuna Crunch is a tuna salad sandwich with red onion, celery, and crushed potato chips.

The three hot sandwiches start with a grilled cheese made with Cheddar, provolone, and American that’s topped with tomato confit. Stuffed Belly’s fried chicken sandwich gets some heat from a spicy, Sichuan-inspired mayo. Its smash burger follows a classic formula with caramelized onions, pickles, American cheese, and “Stuffed sauce.” The menu will grow over time with more sandwiches added in the weeks to come.

“I’ve added my own fun personal twist on some of the sandwiches and kept the others simple and straightforward,” Ha said. “I don’t believe in making everything over the top. If the classic is great, keep it that way. They’re classic for a reason.”

A kids menu features scaled down versions of the grilled cheese, fried chicken, and burger. Both kids and adults can add tater tots or chips to their meal. Desserts come from Pudgy’s Cookies, the bakery in the Heights known for its oversized, gooey treats.

To celebrate the soft opening, Stuffed Belly is offering a 50-percent discount on all sandwiches, sides, and drinks (cookies are regular price) on Saturday and Sunday from 11 am - 7 pm (or the food sells out). Expect a combo with a sandwich, side, and drink to cost between $12 and $17 at the regular price.

As a reminder, Ha has accomplished quite a bit since she won season three of Masterchef, Gordon Ramsay’s cooking competition show. Prior to launching a career as a restaurateur, she wrote the best-selling cookbook Recipes From My Home Kitchen and made numerous TV appearances. The Blind Goat's original location in downtown's Bravery Chef Hall earned a James Beard Award semifinalist nomination for Best New Restaurant in 2020. Last year, the James Beard Awards recognized Ha and co-chef Tony Nguyen as finalists for Best Chef: Texas for their work at Xin Chao. With that kind of resume, Stuffed Belly seems poised to join Houston’s growing push of better sandwiches that includes LuLoo’s Day & Night, PrimoHoagies, and Mimo.

Christine Ha Stuffed Belly

Courtesy of Stuffed Belly

Christine Ha will open Stuffed Belly this weekend.

Things to do in Houston this weekend: Duran Duran, Porsche paradise, a hysterical 'Housewife,' and more

weekend event planner

This weekend promises to get steamy, but those who venture out can check out a new live music series in the new East River area — just as temps cool — as well as an outdoor market in Memorial City.

Indoor fun promises plenty of great theater (check out all the offerings here), as well as dance and a performance by Houston's legendary DJ Sun.

As part of Sunday Funday, hysterical LA comic Becky Robinson brings her act town — entitled housewives, beware (read on).

Enjoy; here are your best bets for the weekend.

Thursday, June 8

Wine & Food Week

The week-long Wine & Food Week celebrates the creativity and passion found in the heart of the wine and food industry, featuring hundreds of wines, scores of celebrity guests, and a list of fresh culinary faces. Paying homage to the theme Wine + Food = Art, guests can expect to indulge all their senses with experiential art installations, a meet & greet with emerging artists, more. This will also support charitable organizations such as The Woodlands Arts Council, and New Danville, among others. 6 pm (11:30 Friday; 7 pm Saturday).

The Catastrophic Theatre presents A Maroon’s Guide to Time and Space

The latest work by local interdisciplinary artist Candice D’Meza is a genre-blending exploration of quantum mechanics that uses imagination to liberate oneself from the confines of linear time. A thematic continuation of D’Meza’s surreal, Afrofuturist film series 30 Ways to Get Free, this uses film, technology, performance, and audience imagination to create the perfect environment to escape into space - where a new and better world is waiting for us. Through Saturday, June 17. 7:30 pm (8 pm Friday & Saturday; 2:30 pm Sunday)

Houston Ballet presents Swan Lake

Houston Ballet’s 2022-23 season is capped off by one of ballet's greatest love stories. In this opulent production, the everlasting love between Prince Siegfried and maiden-turned-white-swan Odette is tested by evil knight Rothbart and his black-swan enchantress, Odile. Stanton Welch's production features lavish sets and costumes by Kristian Fredrikson and utilizes Tchaikovsky's full score to aplomb for this three-act production. Through Sunday, June 18. 7:30 pm (1:30 & 7;30 pm Saturday; 2 & 7:30 pm Sunday).

Friday, June 9

Duran Duran: The Future Past Tour

One of the most enduring bands in pop music hits Houston as part of the new Future Past. Duran Duran's show, as the name implies, will feature past hits like "Rio," "Save A Prayer," "Hungry Like the Wolf," "Come Undone," and their comeback smash "Ordinary World" — along with some future gems. Original members Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, and Roger Taylor have been bringing it at every stop, so expect a killer show at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion from the New Romantic icons. Tickets are available via LiveNation. 7 pm.

East River 9 and Riverhouse present Live Music Summer Series

East River 9 and Riverhouse are thrilled to announce the launch of their new summer series. All ages are invited to experience free, live musical performances, while taking in unmatched views of Buffalo Bayou and the city skyline on Riverhouse’s expansive open-air terrace every Friday and Saturday night. from June through August. Hadlie Jo Duo will kick things off on Friday, while Adrian Michael Duo will perform on Saturday night. 7 pm.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents Jazz on Film

We’re back with the annual film series, guest-curated by Peter Lucas, which celebrates the intersections of jazz and cinema. This year’s program brings three weekends of screenings that include memorable jazz scores, rare classics, a new documentary, and other films that illuminate fascinating figures in the world of jazz. FIrst up, on Friday night, is the documentary Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes. On Saturday night, Shirley Clarke’s independent drama The Cool World will be shown in 35mm. Through Saturday, June 24. 7 pm.

Alley Theatre presents The Servant of Two Masters

Identities are mistaken, engagements are broken, and lovers are reunited in a world premiere adaptation of Carlo Goldoni’s commedia dell’arte masterpiece. Set in Venice, mayhem erupts when the wily - and chronically hungry - servant Truffaldino hatches a zany scheme to double his wages (and his meals) by serving two masters at once. Through Sunday, July 2. 8 pm (2:30 pm & 7:30 pm Sunday).

ISHIDA Dance Company presents having been breathed out

having been breathed out includes the world premiere of an original ISHIDA poetic narrative titled American Gothic which explores the internal and external dynamics of the nuclear family. The program also features works by two widely respected – but rarely seen in the United States – European choreographers: Horizons by Greek choreographer Adonis Foniadakis, and the critically acclaimed Mutual Comfort by Edward Clug from Romania. 8 pm (3 pm Sunday).

Saturday, June 10

Children’s Museum Houston presents Spider-Verse Collision

Get tangled in a web of excitement as the Spider-Man multiverse collides during Children Museum Houston’s Power Up! Summer. Join Peter Parker, Miles Morales and Spider-Gwen and participate in the Spidey Web-Sling Showdown at 1 pm (admission is separate; relay is first come, first serve). Then, learn how to paint your face to look like your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. 10 am.

The Lawn at Memorial City presents Memorial Market

The Lawn at Memorial City presents bountiful, monthly artisanal markets that will feature up to 30 premium and award-winning vendors curated by Your Neighborhood Farmers Market. Farm stands offering ripe fruits and vegetables will showcase fresh produce not available at local grocery stores or the Memorial Villages Farmers Market. In June, for National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, there will be complimentary smoothies while supplies last. 10 am.

Dance Source Houston presents Barnstorm Dance Fest

Saturday will be the final day to catch this festival, which highlights the breadth and depth of dance in the Houston region and beyond, offering live performances, dance on film, public workshops, and artist talks.three unique programs, including 19 live performance works and nine dance films, which will highlight the emerging and established dancemakers working in a wide range of styles. In addition to the programs at MATCH, public classes and workshops led by festival choreographers will take place at studios across Houston. 5 and 7:30 pm.

Aperio, Music of the Americas presents Loveletter & Radio Rewrite

A grooving program of minimalist music and lo-fi jams, Loveletter & Radio Rewrite will feature a live orchestral performance of DJ Sun’s latest release, Loveletter. Maestro Marlon Chen conducts Aperio’s orchestra with guest soloists complemented by Steven Reich’s Radio Rewrite and Duet. Fat Tony, Tim Ruiz, Sam/Sin and Krystal Hardwick will be the guest performers on hand. 8:30 pm.

Sunday, June 11

Becky RobinsonThe hilarious Becky Robinson comes to town in the She Gone Tour. Becky Robinson/Facebook

Kollectiv: Festival of Porsche

This year marks the second annual celebration that pays homage to Porsche. Kollectiv will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the iconic automotive brand. More than 100 classic and contemporary beauties will be on display around City Place Plaza, courtesy of Coffee & Cars. While some streets will be closed for the festivities, complimentary garage parking will be available. Guests can get snacks and food from urban core restaurants. 10 am.

Children At Risk presents The Big Brunch: A Celebration of Texas Pediatric Advocates

Guests of Children At Risk The Big Brunch: A Celebration of Texas Pediatric Advocates will enjoy a brunch prepared by some of Houston’s best chefs, wine tastings, contests, and more. The event will highlight the great work being done by pediatrics across the state to support and advocate for the health and well-being of our most vulnerable children and families. The theme this year is “A Celebration of Texas Pediatric Advocates,” highlighting the great work being done by Dr. Hilda Loria, Dr. Karla Fredricks, and Dr. Anu Partap. 11 am.

Becky Robinson: She Gone Tour

Becky Robinson, a JFL Montreal New Face of Comedy (and Wild ‘N Out alumna), is an LGBTQ+ LA-based comedian, writer, actor, and voiceover star. Her explosively unique character antics and viral videos have racked up millions of views and fans. She is also known as “Entitled Housewife,” the outspoken, viral golf character Becky created to help spread laughter during the pandemic. 8 pm.

Duran Duran
Photo courtesy of Duran Duran
Pop icons Duran Duran play the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on Friday.

'Wicked' games, wild Italian comedy, and little lies headline June theater in Houston

best june theater

It’s getting hot out there, Houston. Perfect timing for cool new theater and dance to chill out to this June.

From tragic swans to wicked witches, devilish deals, a new take on a comic classic, and two new-play festivals, we’ve got a lot on our must-see list this month. Plus, it wouldn’t be a Houston theater summer without a new musical dancing mayhem revue from Tamarie Cooper and the Catastrophic Theatre crew.

Here are the hottest stage productions this June in Houston.

Wicked from Broadway at the Hobby Center (through July 2)

The show that defied gravity — and Broadway conventions and expectations — when it first took to broomstick in 2003 is back for a nice long stay at the Hobby Center.

Wicked still flies high, with Houston – and world-wide – audiences never getting enough of this story that redefines who’s good and who’s wicked in the land of Oz. Before Dorothy landed via tornado, two witchy legends went on a whole other adventure of sisterhood, love, family, heroism and the occasional flying monkey.

"Thank Goodness" Elphaba and Galinda have returned to bring some magic to our summer.

Swan Lake from Houston Ballet (June 8-18)

National tour of Wicked
Photo by Joan Marcus

Witch team are you: Elphaba or Galinda? Memorial Hermann Broadway at the Hobby Center presents Wicked.

The exquisite tragedy makes a soaring return as the Houston Ballet performs one of the most beloved ballets of all time. This production has quite the history, as the Tchaikovsky-set Swan Lake was the first full-length story ballet that Stanton Welch created as Houston Ballet artistic director in 2006.

With costumes and set design inspired by John William Waterhouse’s painting The Lady of Shalott by the late Kristian Fredrikson, this Swan Lake has become a favorite of Houston dance lovers. It has also earned international praise after tour to the famed Tokyo Bunka Kaikan theater in Tokyo in October 2022.

Oh, and a 150-year-old spoiler alert: there’s no happy ending for this fairytale story of a maiden-turned--swan who falls in love with a prince, but what heights she flies along the way.

The Servant of Two Masters at Alley Theatre (June 9-July 2)

Alley Theatre artistic director Rob Melrose has translated and also adapted this Carlo Goldoni classic work of Commedia dell’arte that's both a world premiere — and a 200-year-old play.

Theater lovers might be a little more familiar with the modern adaptation, One Man, Two Guvnors, which the Alley also staged several years ago. But we hear Melrose, who also directs, will take his adaptation back to its original Italian roots with actors wearing the traditional costumes and masks of the traditional comedy style.

With the entire Alley resident acting company and additional Alley regulars in on the mayhem, expect lots of mistaken identities, outrageous disguises, star-crossed lovers with wacky, not tragic, destinies — and one hungry Harlequin.

Alley All New Festival at Alley Theatre (June 16-25)

The annual new play reading fest gives us the (free) chance to discover what may be the big theatrical thing.

This year brings the freshest new work from several up and coming and award winning women playwrights. Expect tales surrounding a love letter, rural girls and their horses, a DIY séance, a May/December romance, a medical thriller, and even a modern take on The Odyssey from Penelope’s POV.

This festival brings a multitude of voices and stories to the stage for a week of theatrical discoveries.

Thunder Knocking on the Door at Stages (June 16-August 6)

Stages closes out the ’22-’23 season with a bluesy deal with the devil that heats up into a unique love story across generations.

Weaving the music three-time Grammy Award winner Keb’ Mo’ into this family story, Thunder Knocking tells the story of a mysterious blues guitar-playing stranger who arrives in a small Alabama town with a musical challenge for the offspring of his late rival.

"Thunder Knocking on the Door is one of those magical experiences in the theatre where a simple family story transforms into an epic fairy tale,” says Stages artistic director Kenn McLaughlin. "There are so many theatrical surprises and so much joy, I still hold the first time I saw this show in 1998 as one of my favorite evenings in the theatre ever.”

Fade to Black Festival at MATCH (June 22-24)

Houston’s only national short play festival to spotlight the new works of African-American playwrights returns for its 11th year.

The guiding formula for the festival is 10-10, as it features 10 plays of 10-minute length that are all new works from a dynamic selection of playwrights.

Every year, the scripts go through an impressive selection process before the shows make it to full, 10-minute productions. Quite a few of the winning plays come from Houston playwrights, but also look for new works from exciting new voices from across the country.

Tamarie’s Totally True Revue (plus lies too!) from Catastrophic Theatre (June 23-August 5)

Tamarie’s back and daring us to discover the whole truth about her weird, wonderful world. As always, Tamarie brings a cool new musical theater revue to our sweltering summers.

Somehow, she also manages to get her crew of Catastrophic regulars into some of the most outrageous costumes, and dance routines of the year. We hear rumors that everyone from Tinkerbell, Pinocchio, Ben Franklin, Kenny Rogers, and Tamarie's psychic high school attendance clerk (!) will make an appearance to tackle the nature of truth, lies, and dental hygiene.

Smoke on the Mountain at A.D. Players (June 28-July 23)

Another feel-good summer show that brings a bit of music to our nights, this production transports audiences back to a 1938 Saturday night sing-a-long in a small community in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains.

Smoke features two dozen rousing bluegrass songs played and sung by the Sanders Family, a traveling family music group making its return to Mount Pleasant Baptist Church after a five-year hiatus.

As each family member takes a turn sharing an important life event, one thing after another goes awry and they reveal their true — and hilariously imperfect — natures, endearing themselves to us and allowing us to share in their triumphs.

Phenomenal Woman at Ensemble Theatre (June 29-July 30)

Ensemble partners with North Carolina Black Repertory Theatre for a “rolling world premiere” of this biographical depiction of the life of acclaimed American poet and icon, Maya Angelou.

This Phenomenal Woman takes us on an epic journey through her astonishing life story. From the trauma that thrust her into mutism, to the awakening that inspired her to write “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” audiences will experience this monumental, poetic spirit and discover how she developed one of the most celebrated voices of all time.