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Courtesy of Vibrant

A staple Montrose restaurant has reopened its doors after a yearlong closure. Vibrant has resumed service with a number of changes designed to give people more of what they love about the restaurant.

First opened in 2018 by owner Kelly Barnhart, Vibrant serves food that is designed to be both nutritious and eye-catching. All of its dishes are gluten-free, dairy-free, white sugar-free, and non-GMO. The restaurant closed for renovations last year to upgrade its kitchen and create a retail section for grab-and-go items.

“The way we had our kitchen designed originally ended up not being efficient enough for the way our operation ended up evolving and the volume we ended up putting out,” Barnhart tells CultureMap. “Now we have the perfect kitchen for our offerings. We’re able to expand on our mission more broadly as far as what we wanted to offer.”

The biggest change is an expanded selection of breads and pastries that are available for both dine-in and to-go. Working with a nutritionist, Barnhart, general manager Angel Atherley, and executive chef Patti Delgado created a new line of breads that are both gluten-free and vegan, as they do not use eggs.

“I would say we’ve doubled the offering of baked goods,” Barnhart says. “That’s something we’re really excited to lean into. Chef Patty found a passion with our criteria of food in a baked goods format.”

Those new breads will be available as loaves for to-go. Vibrant will also sell other staples such as nut cheese, cookie dough, and mole. A retail section will offer totes, candles, t-shirts, and wellness items like supplements.

As for the rest of the menu, new items include Sorghum Waffles with Coconut Yogurt Probiotic Cream and Elderberry Syrup, Braised Beef Tacos on a Sweet Potato Cassava Tortilla, and Activated Pecan Amaranth Granola with Blue Spirulina Milk. The kitchen upgrade allows Vibrant to make all of each dish's components in house. While adding new dishes means that some old favorites have rotated off the menu, the team feels confident that diners will embrace the changes.

“Angel, Patty and I would be at my house every day. We had so much fun experimenting and figuring out who we are now,” Barnhart says. “We weren’t trying to accomplish anything other than what excites us the most and what is the most nutritionally beneficial things we could put in the most exciting ways possible.”

In addition to the kitchen upgrades and menu changes, Vibrant has also made some additions to its coffee program. The restaurant still brews organic beans from Panther Coffee but has added an all new, housemade cashew-pecan milk and a line of adaptogenic lattes.

Finally, the restaurant has new hours of operation, 8 am-4 pm daily. Previously, Vibrant had been open for dinner, but the change reflects the way most diners used the restaurant. Customers can still pick up items to eat for dinner at home. Not serving dinner also opens up the possibility of special evening events such as guest chef dinners or lectures.

“We’re just so excited,” Barnhart says. “We’ve been incubating this for so long. We’re ready to birth this out into the world and see what people think.”

Photo courtesy of Vibrant

Vibrant's salmon lox toast.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

2 local booming 'burbs rank as top destination for movers, plus, why Houston isn't a great place to visit

this week's hot headlines

Editor's note: It's time to recap the top stories on CultureMap from this past week.

1. 2 Houston suburbs roll onto top-15 spots on U-Haul’s list of growing cities. They're the 13th and 19th most popular destinations for movers.

2. 2 smokin' Houston-area barbecue names fire up new restaurants in bustling 'burbs. Both restaurants are ranked among the state's 50 best barbecue joints by Texas Monthly.

3. Ken Hoffman chides New York Times' Houston travel guide and explains why our city isn't a great place to visit. Our columnist explains why 36 hours doesn't do Houston justice.

4. 10 Houston restaurants score coveted James Beard Award nominations. Perhaps one of them will follow up Julep's big win last year.

5. Houston Olympic superstar Simone Biles shares new Wheaties box cover with her legion of fans. It's the second time Biles has been featured on the cereal box.

Wildly popular Nashville hot chicken chain cancels plans for first Houston location

No Hattie B's for now

Looks like Houstonians will have to wait a little longer than expected to try one of the most famous suppliers of Nashville hot chicken. Hattie B’s has canceled its plans to open a location in the Heights, a representative tells CultureMap.

The representative cited “construction costs for the ground-up build and other issues with this particular site” as reasons for the decision not to move forward. An eagle-eyed user on the Houston Architecture Info forum spotted a leasing notice for the property at 1808 N. Shepherd Dr. that had been scheduled for Hattie B’s.

In response to CultureMap’s request for comment about the property being for lease, Hattie B’s supplied a statement from co-founder Nick Bishop, Jr.

“While we have made the very difficult decision not to move forward with the project in the Heights, our commitment to finding a home in Houston remains strong. We love this city and have always imagined a Hattie B's here.”

First announced in 2021, Hattie B’s intended to open a 3,800-square-foot restaurant designed by Texas’s acclaimed Michael Hsu Office of Architecture that would have had seating for 175 people. Potentially, the design could be utilized for a new location.

Founded in Nashville in 2012, Hattie B’s serves tenders, sandwiches, and bone-in chicken at five different spice levels: Southern (no heat), mild, medium, hot, and the signature Shut the Cluck Up. The restaurant has four locations in Nashville along with locations in Atlanta, Birmingham, Dallas, Las Vegas, and Memphis. It has plans to open in Austin next year.

Texas-based Cinemark theater chain hosts Oscars-themed movie marathon

big-screen moves

The Cinemark movie chain is giving movie buffs an opportunity to brush up on the Oscars.

Plano-based Cinemark Holdings, Inc. will host its annual Oscar Movie Week festival, this year running from Monday, March 6 through Sunday, March 12, in anticipation of the 95th Oscars ceremony, which airs on March 12 on ABC.

The theater chain will air all of this year’s Best Picture and Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees, at more than 120 participating Cinemark theaters nationwide.

According to a release, passes are now on sale now at Cinemark.com/movieweek.

A full Digital Festival Pass is $40 and includes showings for all Best Picture and Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees. There's a perk! If you purchase a festival pass, you get 50 percent off any size popcorn during Oscar Movie Week.

Individual showtime tickets will be available starting January 27 at standard pricing, with showtimes beginning March 6.

All Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees are bundled into one viewing for just $10 from March 10-12.

For other brushing up, take a look back at what CultureMap’s film critic, Alex Bentley, had to say about each of the nominees (listed in alphabetical order) when they were originally released.

Cinemark has been hosting other similar marathon events such its collaboration with ESPN to bring college football games to the big screen.

The event takes place at these theaters across the U.S., including the following locations in Texas:

  • Houston: Cinemark Memorial City
  • The Woodlands: Cinemark 17
  • Austin: Cinemark Southpark Meadows
  • Denton: Cinemark 14
  • Fort Worth: Ridgmar Mall
  • Grapevine: Cinemark Tinseltown
  • Plano: Cinemark Legacy
  • Plano: Cinemark West Plano
  • San Antonio: Cinemark San Antonio 16