Photo by Michael Anthony

Slightly chilly mornings and lower humidity means that fall has finally arrived. That means Houstonians will be filling patios at bars and restaurants across the city.

Of course, certain spaces are classics, and we understand why people will be flocking to places like Backstreet Cafe’s courtyard, Becks Prime’s live oak-shaded patio on Westheimer, or the Coltivare garden for a little outdoor dining.

At the same time, some newly opened bars and restaurants have inviting outdoor spaces of their own. Consider these as a new alternative to those old favorites.

Aya Sushi
Located in the former Bernie’s Burger Bus space in Bellaire, this upscale new sushi seats about 50 people on its fully covered patio. Even better, the restaurant will serve chef Yoshi Katsuyama’s, 19-course omakase to any seat in the restaurant, which means its possible to enjoy dishes like chu toro nigiri, scallop chawanmushi, and madai crudo while dining with the wind in your hair. It’s also possible to order a la carte for those who prefer a little more say in their dining experience. An extensive selection of wine, beer, and cocktails offers plenty of beverage choices.

Betelgeuse Betelgeuse
The former Liberty Station has been transformed into a stylish pub devoted to pizza and cocktails. While the interior features a room devoted to taxidermy, the expansive patio makes for a pleasant place to dine. Rudyard’s chef Anthony Calleo developed the pizza recipes, which feature a crispy crust topped with combinations like pepperoni, mushroom, and feta or shaved Brussels sprouts, pancetta, blue cheese, and hot honey — or keep it simple with a classic cheeseburger. The cocktail menu features sections devoted to martinis, frozens, and high balls, all of which offer plenty of refreshment.

Blue Sushi Sake Grill
Nineties nostalgia is alive and well in many facets of our culture, so perhaps it makes sense that the trend would reach restaurants, too. The menu at this Omaha-based restaurant centers around a huge selection of sushi rolls that combine different types of fish and shellfish with vegetables, fried elements, sauces, and more. More modern aspects include a huge selection of vegan options and using sustainably sourced seafood. As for the patio, it’s adjacent to a M-K-T walkway that should provide solid people watching, but the colorful dining room is clearly the focus.

Cherry Block Smokehouse
So many Houston patios only offer a view of a parking lot, but the covered patio at this new, fast casual steakhouse sits next to the green space at the Stomping Grounds, the culinary-focused development in Garden Oaks. Compared to its original location at Bravery Chef Hall, the menu offers more choices that are still rooted in classic Southern and Texas fare — everything from shrimp cocktail, hush puppies, and wedge salad to po’ boys, barbecue, and steaks. The $23, 10-ounce ribeye is one of the best steak deals in Houston, and the cheeseburger gets an umami boost from demi glace.

Davanti Ristorante
Admittedly, the outdoor seating at this River Oaks-area restaurant only consists of a few tables next to the parking lot, but chef Roberto Crescini’s pastas are so good that it doesn’t really matter. Diners have the option to build their own dishes from a range of different pastas and sauces, but the real culinary fireworks come from whatever specials the Italian native has prepared that week. A recent meal featured two standout specials: tagliolini matched with colatura (a sauce made with anchovies) and bottarga (cured fish roe) that had a delicate seafood flavor and rigatoni with a hearty lamb bolognese.

Georgia James
The new location of Underbelly Hospitality’s flagship steakhouse boasts an upstairs patio and lounge that’s one of the city’s most-exciting outdoor dining spaces — complete with fire pits, TVs, and a view of the downtown skyline. Chef Greg Peters has created a menu of snacks and lighter entrees that includes a full selection of raw bar items as well as entrees such as shrimp and grits and a strip steak. Those who want the full steakhouse experience, including the signature baller boards, will have to dine downstairs. While the food menu may be limited, the full wine, beer, and cocktail offerings are available, and the ability to order and pay via QR codes makes for a more efficient service experience.

il Bracco
Most people will opt for the stylish, midcentury-inspired dining room at this Galleria-area newcomer, but the Dallas-based Italian restaurant also offers a patio with a view of one of the city's busiest intersections. Indoors or out, diners will find well-executed Italian classics like meatballs with focaccia, cacio e pepe, Caesar salad, and chicken piccata. Other standout dishes include the fried artichoke appetizer and spicy gemelli pasta. Friendly, knowledgeable service and an extensive selection of wine and cocktails enhance the experience.

The Stand
Recently opened in The Woodlands, this Los Angeles-based restaurant puts its spin on classic American fare. Diners can make a burger using five different patties, five different buns, and more than 40 vegetables, toppings, and condiments. Alternatively, opt for a salad, hot dog, or sandwiches such as Buffalo chicken or the signature short rib grilled cheese. Will the cookie butter crunch milkshake taste better when consumed outdoors? Try it and tell us how it goes.

Photo by Michael Anthony
The expansive patio will be comfortable during the fall.
Photo by Michael Anthony

Favorite Houston watering hole opens 'longest bar in Texas' in bustling Woodlands locale

The Ice House Cometh

One of Houston's most popular patio bars has opened its third location. Kirby Ice House has arrived in The Woodlands.

First announced last year, the new Kirby Ice House occupies a prime location at 1700 Lake Robbins Dr. that's near The Woodlands Mall, Market Street, and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. With 10,000-square-feet of interior space and an 18,000-square-foot patio, the massive bar has room for 700 people.

Photo by Michael Anthony

Kirby Ice House has opened in The Woodlands.

The interior features a 141-foot-long bar, which dwarfs the 120-foot bar at the Memorial/Spring Branch location and is touted as the longest bar in Texas. Follow all the games on 61 HDTVs or a 300-inch jumbo screen. Interior details include Kirby Ice House signatures like vintage posters of actors and actresses and Texas signage. A 30-foot tall live oak tree provides shade on the patio.

Drink options start with 51 rotating beer taps along with wines by-the-glass and bottle. Cocktails include a cucumber-lime Moscow Mule, blood orange paloma, and lemonade Old Fashioned. Food trucks — including Satellite Pizza, Lupe Tortilla, Hearsay on the Go, Mr.Sizzles, and Boot Shooters BBQ — will be on-site daily.

"We’re so excited to finally be a part of the vibrant Woodlands community,” partners Danny Evans and Russ Morgan said in a statement. “This is a prime location with incredible proximity to residences, businesses, hotels, and attractions, and the casual indoor/outdoor format is a perfect match for the relaxed vibe of the area. We look forward to being a central, neighborhood-centric place to gather — whether it’s for an office happy hour, birthday, sporting event, pre-gaming for a concert, or just hanging out with friends.”

Photo by Michael Anthony

Bludorn team reveals chef and menu details on highly anticipated new Rice Village seafood restaurant

navy blue-dorn casts off in rice village

Aaron Bludorn’s next restaurant is starting to take shape. The chef, along with his wife Victoria Pappas Bludorn and partner/general manager Cherif Mbodji are ready to reveal some details about Navy Blue, the new seafood restaurant they’re opening in Rice Village.

Scheduled to open in November at the former Politan Row space (2445 Times Blvd.), Navy Blue will be, well, the Bludorn of seafood restaurants. That is, a modern fine dining restaurant with highly polished service and an eclectic menu that pulls from a wide range of influences: everything from classic Gulf coast fare like blackened snapper to East Coast favorites and French-influenced dishes.

“Here’s the thing about Bludorn. I don’t think we came down here to open a French restaurant,” Aaron Bludorn tells CultureMap. “Fried chicken and prime rib would tell you otherwise, although it’s rooted in French cuisine. At Navy Blue, we’re leaving it open. We’re calling it American seafood.”

To lead the kitchen, Bludorn and Mbjodi recruited chef Jerrod Zifchak, who worked with them at New York’s Cafe Boulud and took over as executive chef when Bludorn left for Houston. He also brings experience from Le Bernadin, New York’s legendary three-star Michelin seafood restaurant.

“Rarely in this industry do you find people you really like to work with,” Zifchak explains about his decision to team up with Bludorn and Mbodji. “We meld really well together. When I heard about this opportunity, it was really enticing. The fact that it was going to be seafood, and I wanted to get out of New York and go to a new city. That’s how it all started.”

Jerrod Zifchak Navy Blue restaurant Executive chef Jerrod Zifchak.Photo by Michael Anthony

The trio aren’t quite ready to discuss specific dishes that will be served at Navy Blue, although Bludorn acknowledges he doesn’t want any overlap between his two restaurants. Still, he shared some thoughts about the menu’s approach, which will be built around a la carte proteins that can be paired with a wide array of sides. Another detail he adds is that Bludorn’s ability to let people order oysters three ways — raw, baked, or fried — could be expanded to other ingredients such as shrimp, lobster, clams, or even fish.

“What I love to see at Bludorn are four people at a round table and it’s just covered: for the appetizers, for the main course,” Bludorn says. “It’s way more food than you need. It feels like a feast. It’s very lively. That’s the kind of dining I enjoy. I think this menu will make that even more accessible to do with seafood.”

“It’s not going to be limited to Gulf seafood, Zifchak adds. “It’s going to be heavily-inspired with whatever we can get from the Gulf Coast, but we are going to play around with a lot of different things that aren’t necessarily from the Gulf.”

In terms of service, Mbodji says he will apply the lessons he’s learned over the past two years. For example, he knows that drinks need to arrive quickly and parents who are paying babysitters don’t typically want to allocate three hours to their meal. Valet parking will be available for those who don’t want to search for an open meter or a spot in the nearby garage. Other lessons will reveal themselves once the restaurant opens — such as the best path from the kitchen to the dining room to allow for synchronized delivery.

“We know it’s going to be very hands-on. It’s going to be very detail-oriented,” Mbodji adds. “There are elements we’ll bring into play to elevate service as much as possible.”

All the eating will take place in a room with a very different layout than Bludorn. Since it’s essentially a large rectangle, the design began as a blank slate. Expect a private dining room that can also be used for regular service, a bar that’s in the middle of the dining room instead of off to the side, and an open kitchen. At 7,100-square-feet, Navy Blue is slightly smaller than Bludorn, but the shape will allow it to seat approximately the same number of people.

Having grown up in the Pappas Restaurants family, Victoria Pappas Bludorn knows a little about serving seafood to Houstonians. She sees Navy Blue as being a good fit for the city.

“Pappadeaux has their finger on Cajun, and I think they do it super well. Navy Blue has the opportunity to define what they do really well,” she says. “My dad would say he didn’t know how popular Pappadeaux was going to be. It’s left up to Houstonians to decide what’s going to be Navy Blue’s most popular item.”

Courtesy of Andiron

Talented Top Chef veteran with Michelin cred heads up sizzling new steakhouse on Allen Parkway

Andiron's hot new chef

One of this fall’s most eagerly anticipated new restaurants has found a leader for its kitchen. Andiron has named Louis Maldonado as its executive chef.

Owned by Sambrooks Management Company, the restaurant group behind barbecue favorite The Pit Room, Tex-Mex restaurant Candente, and Heights-area seafood concept 1751 Sea & Bar, Andiron will be a modern, live-fire steakhouse. Scheduled to open in December, it will be located at 3201 Allen Pkwy, which is the historic Star Engraving Company building that’s also home to BlendIn Coffee and Clarkwood, the lively bar that’s made a splash since its opening late last year.

SMC owner Michael Sambrooks tells CultureMap that the company found Maldonado after a national search. Although he had a brief run on the New Orleans season of Top Chef, what really stood out about chef Maldonado is that he earned one Michlein star in 2008 as the executive chef at Cortez restaurant in San Francisco. More recently, Maldonado has been working for Michigan’s Pulpo Group at the Dixboro Project, a three-concept venue in Ann Arbor.

“He’s got a record of building teams and achieving extremely high levels of success in the kitchen,” Sambrooks says about Maldonado. “He’s got some wood-burning experience. He likes cooking proteins . . . He’s willing to go on a deep dive into wood-burning techniques with us.”

That experience working with live fire will be essential at Andiron. As Sambrooks explains, the restaurant will serve simply prepared meat and seafood dishes with carefully-sourced, high quality ingredients.

“It’s a pretty deep dive into live fire techniques and sourcing.” he says. “It’s a very ingredient-driven concept. You’re not going to see 15 components on a plate.”

Sambrooks adds that he’ll be working with Maldonado and chef de cuisine Mario Da Silva to finalize the opening menu. He estimates they have six weeks to define the menu’s different sections, establish seasonal dishes, and develop the recipes the kitchen will use. For his part, Maldonado is ready to get started.

“Andiron’s commitment to only the best in terms of the room, service. and cuisine aligns with where I want to be,” Maldonado said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more excited to deliver Andiron to the diners of Houston. I also look forward to settling into Houston, an area where I have friends and family close by.”

Courtesy of Zanti Cucina Italiana

Favorite Woodlands Italian restaurant blooms with new River Oaks locale

Woodlands fave coming to River Oaks

A popular Woodlands restaurant is coming to River Oaks. Zanti Cucina Italiana will open its second location this November in the River Oaks Shopping Center (1958 W. Gray St).

First opened in The Woodlands in 2019 by founder Santiago Peláez, Zanti has developed a strong following for its Italian fare. The restaurant serves housemade pastas and Neapolitan style pizzas alongside a range of shareable appetizers and classic entrees. Popular dishes include beef carpaccio, truffle and cheese ravioli, and lamb osso bucco with saffron risotto. Pizzas come with a range of toppings, as illustrated by local food influencer Anthony Compofelice.

The beverage program begins with an Italian-oriented wine list that offers more than a dozen by-the-glass choices. Cocktails run the gamut from Italian classics like the negroni and Aperol spritz to kicked-up riffs on classics and zero proof options.

Chef and director of operations Stefano Ferrero, who grew up in Italy's Piedmont region, brings experience from hotels in Italy, Switzerland, and Mexico to the role. He'll work alongside executive chef Hilario Zamora and general manager Cristopher Perez to oversee the restaurant.

Overall, the expansive restaurant will occupy almost 7,800-square-feet with an approximately 1,200-square-foot patio. Plans call for it to serve dinner nightly and lunch Thursday-Sunday.

"We look forward to carrying on what we’ve created in The Woodlands and establishing ourselves in another home,” Ferrero said in a statement. “We were drawn to the River Oaks Shopping Center due to its location, unique flair, and walkability."

Houstonians have shown an almost limitless appetite for new Italian restaurants over the past year or so. In the last few months alone, the city has welcomed restaurants such as il Bracco, Davanti, and Numero 28. The months to come will see even more new options, including Underbelly Hospitality's Pastore and Tavola, a companion Italian concept to the renovated La Table.

Courtesy of Zanti Cucina Italiana

Fresh pasta Italiana.

Photo by Jody Horton

3 hot Houston food events stir up the weekend with bourbon, a Goode pop-up, and drag brunch

3 fun food events

The arrival of fall weather may be a little delayed, but the weekends are increasingly filling up with fun food events. While it might be fun to watch the Bears and Texans inch closer to a top draft pick, perhaps the time is better spent at a bar or restaurant consuming something delicious.

Kick things off Saturday, September 24 at Eight Row Flint in the Heights. The popular patio bar has invited Goode Co. to introduce its Tex-Mex restaurant Kitchen & Cantina to the neighborhood with a food and drink collaboration. Goode Co. plans to open the new restaurant in the former Down House space by the end of the October.

Inspired by the friendship between Goode Co. president Levi Goode and Eight Row co-owner Morgan Weber, the event will feature dishes such as carnitas prepared in a copper cazo, a whole roasted pig, and grilled items from the Kitchen & Cantina menu. Eight Row already serves its version of Goode Co.’s watermelon mezcal margarita — “It’s not easy for me to get over to east San Antonio or wherever that place is,” Weber quips — which it will serve alongside its other margaritas and ranch waters.

Eight Row Flint watermelon mezcal margarita Eight Row serves a version of Goode Co.'s watermelon mezcal margarita.Courtesy of Agricole Hospitality.

“We’ve been looking at the Heights for the last five years, maybe longer,” Goode Co. president Levi Goode tells CultureMap. “Really like how its developed. It definitely still has the history and charm of what the Heights has always been. Lot of quality [restaurants] in the neighborhood, with Morgan and his group Agricole being the pioneers.”

“I’ve always appreciated there’s this genuine border culture nature to the menus that you don’t see at your normal enchilada, rice, and beans Tex-Mex joint,” Weber adds about Kitchen & Cantina. “I think the synergy of having Goode Co. and the ethos they have will be really fun. I think it will resonate with the neighborhood well.”

The event takes place from 2-6 pm. In addition to food and drinks, expect giveaways and music by Bo Bramble.

Turning to Sunday, Julep, Alba Huerta’s James Beard Award-winning cocktail bar on Washington Avenue, will observe national bourbon heritage month with its first ever Bourbon Fest. Held from 4-7 pm, the event will feature tastings, cocktail lessons, light bites, and live music.

Brands such as Old Forester, Bulleit, Dickel, and Wild Turkey will sample some of their signature sips. In addition, bartender Westin Galleymore will teach attendees how to make classic bourbon cocktails, and musician John Egan will perform.

Tickets, $20, are available here.

Midtown bar and sandwich shop Winnie’s will celebrate its first anniversary this Sunday with a drag brunch, 11 am-3 pm, followed by a kitchen and bar takeover from 5-10 pm with food by chef Chris Shepherd and former Underbelly Hospitality pastry director Victoria Dearmond and drinks by Reserve 101.

The drag brunch will feature performances by Queen Persephone and friends along with a raffle for a vintage 1971 Honda dirt bike customized by local artist Mac the Sign Painter. The bike features “hand-welded electrical conduit muffler, extensive black spray paint, and plenty of baling wire and electrical tape,” according to a release. Winnie’s co-owner Graham Laborde tells CultureMap that it’s a blast to ride.

Winnie's dirt bike motorcycle We're told the winner will have to sign a liability waiver.Courtesy of Winnie's

Proceeds from the raffle tickets, $25, will benefit the Southern Smoke Foundation.

Shepherd and Dearmond will be making their first public appearances since their departures from Underbelly Hospitality earlier this summer. The menu includes a Smoked Bologna Sandwich with pickled onions, BBQ, and cheddar mayo on white bread; a Cha Ca “Taco” Salad with turmeric yogurt fish, herbs, and pickled onions in a sesame cracker bowl; and a Carrot Cake Fried Pie with carrot cake and cream cheese icing, wrapped in dough and fried.

“I’ve loved Winnie’s since they first opened and I’ve loved sandwiches my whole life,” Shepherd said in a statement. “When they approached me about doing their birthday as a benefit for Southern Smoke, of course I said HELL YEAH.”

The Reserve 101 team — bar manager Josh Alden, general manager Justin Ware, and co-owner Sean Fitzmaurice — will be serving a range of drinks that include a frozen penicillin and, for whiskey lovers, an ice luge for shooting high end, allocated bourbons.

“Winnie’s has always been about having fun with friends, so we couldn’t think of a better way to mark our first birthday than by inviting some of them in to help us celebrate,” Laborde added. “Not to mention that we have always been a huge supporter of Southern Smoke and everything they do, so it just made sense to tie the event into that.”

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

'Ridiculously' big Houston freeways drive comedian crazy in viral TikTok video

"It's got spurs!'

Try as we might to explain to Newstonians how ridiculously large the Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Land region is (our fave: it’s literally larger than the state of New Jersey in square miles), few truly understand until they navigate our highways and freeways.

Comedian/actor/filmmaker Kevin Fredericks, known professionally as KevOnStage, has taken to social media to announce what we already know: Houston is ridiculously big.

In a TikTok video boasting more than 55,000 likes and more than 3,000 comments, Kev (who lives in equally sprawling Los Angeles) hilariously sums up our freeway system with declarations like, “Houston has interstates. Four of them!”

He goes: “It’s got toll roads, it’s got loops, it’s got spuuuuurs!”

Perhaps our favorite:

"Houston is so big….that its freeways have a Wikipedia page. Look. At. This!"

Kev then marvels at our farm to market roads: “That means you live on a farm, this road take you to the market!”

He just can’t stop on the Wikipedia page, as he bellows: “It’s got: Planned. Future. Freeways! More. Freeways!”

Sheesh, Kev, no need to shout.

Scratch that: Kev should absolutely shout (as many of us do daily) when his rant turns to our traffic and construction. “It’s too much. If you wanna drive across Houston, you might as fly to Dallas — it’s the same amount of time.”

We’re having trouble spotting any lies told here. Bravo, Kev. We can’t wait for your next rant when you navigate the ongoing and always fun 610/69 construction closures.

Homey new art installation moves into Discovery Green this fall

Welcome Home

Remember the playful, larger-than-life spinning tops that took over Discovery Green in 2015? The team behind that public art installation is back with another unique, interactive exhibit.

Called Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0, it features 16 glowing, house-like play structures on the Sarofim Lawn that create a space for Houstonians to sit, swing, relax, and come together as a community.

The installation from Mexican designers Esrawe + Cadena is inspired by the mercados of Latin America — lively street markets where human connections are made every day.

The goal is for visitors to make new friends, try new activities, dance to music, and enjoy the city’s diverse cultural and art experiences for the duration of the exhibit, which runs October 8-November 14, 2022.

But that's not all. To help bring Houstonians together, there will be public art programming inspired by the installation and sponsored by Houston Association of Realtors, starting with a big opening night celebration.

On October 8 from 6-10 pm, get ready for:

  • Two evening performances of Lifted by Mimbre, an all-woman acrobatic dance group from the United Kingdom on their first U.S. tour.
  • Houston artist Ange Hillz live-painting the newest President's Mural: Discovery Green from A to Z. Hillz will paint accompanied by DJ Monstaa and pianist DJ Pee Wee from The Too Laid Back Band. The painting will be on view through January 29, 2023.

"During the past two years, many Houstonians have felt isolated in their homes and have missed the opportunity to be part of a community," says Jennifer Wauhob, chair of the Houston Association of Realtors, which is sponsoring the public art programming. "Our 49,000 Realtors know how important community connection is and Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0 creates a space where strangers can become friends in the comfort of an exhibit that feels like home."

Here's what else you can enjoy throughout the installation's six-week run:

  • Listen to a “Houston Strong” playlist courtesy of ROCO while enjoying the Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0 art installation.
  • Catch two more performances of Lifted on October 9 at noon and 2:30 pm.
  • Watch the Houston Pride Band’s SaxWorx and Brass Tax quartet perform on October 14 from 7-9 pm.
  • Enjoy traditional Indonesian music from Gamelan of the New Moon performed live on October 21 from 7-9 pm.

And especially for children:

  • On Saturday, October 8, from 1:30-3 pm, kids can create a mini casa using toothpicks and gumdrops with the help of Girlstart STEM.
  • On Saturday, October 15, from 1:30-3 pm, kids can sing and dance along with Encanto characters Isabela, Mirabel, and Dolores.
  • On Saturday, October 29 from 1:30-3 pm, they can enjoy cultural crafts created by exhibitors visiting from different parts of Mexico.

Discovery Green is a 12-acre park that features sprawling lawns, a one-acre lake, an interactive fountain, a playground, public art installations, gardens, and an allée of century-old live oaks. Since opening in April 2008, the park has welcomed more than 20 million visitors.

As Discovery Green prepares to celebrate its 15th birthday party, Houstonians are invited to “discover themselves” at the park with free concerts, entertainment, relaxation, and more. More info at

Photo courtesy of Creos

Esrawe + Cadena's Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0 is on display October 8-November 14, 2022.

Conroe-born country star Parker McCollum headlines RodeoHouston 2023 Opening Day celebrations

parker saddles up for rodeo

A familiar face will headline the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s wildly popular Opening Day performance. Conroe native and country star Parker McCollum will take the NRG Stadium stage on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, the rodeo announced.

Individual tickets for McCollum’s Opening Days show start at $25, plus a $4 convenience fee and are on sale at 10 am on Thursday, October 6 via As always, an Online Waiting Room will open at 9:30 am; customers who join the Waiting Room from 9:30 to 9:59 am will be randomly selected to purchase tickets at 10 am. (A place in the Waiting Room does not guarantee tickets.) Customers can purchase a maximum of eight tickets.

McCollum, who boasts more than 3.3 million followers on Spotify with favorites such as “Pretty Heart,” “To Be Loved by You,” and “Hell of a Year,” has won fans with his mix of Americana and country, infused with a bit of blues, soul, and folk rock. Currently touring with country crooner Thomas Rhett, McCollum is a natural choice to open the 2023 RodeoHouston concert series, as the singer-songwriter drew a crowd of 73,243 at last year’s rodeo, marking the fourth-highest paid rodeo/concert attendance in 2022.

Fittingly, custom-designed caps commemorating Opening Day and McCollum’s return to RodeoHouston will be available for purchase online.

New for 2023, a special Opening Day celebration will feature a performance by a local band on the Stars Over Texas Stage before McCollum’s show. Special giveaways will include 10,000 custom-made Howdy bobbleheads for early arrivers that morning (starting at 10 am). Visitors can expect a host of activities including an Opening Day Parade at NRG Park.

As for the highly anticipated 2023 RodeoHouston entertainer will be announced at a later date, plus more Opening Day details, per the rodeo.

“Everyone looks forward to the upcoming Rodeo season all year long, and we hope all Rodeo fans will circle Opening Day on their 2023 calendars, as this will be a day you won’t want to miss,” Chris Boleman, rodeo president and CEO, noted in a statement. “February 28 will truly be a Houston-themed celebration, as we kick off the 2023 Rodeo season with Houston’s-own country music star Parker McCollum closing out the day with another unforgettable RodeoHouston performance.”

The 2023 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and all RodeoHouston performances are scheduled for February 28–March 19, 2023 at NRG Park.