Courtesy of Fat Boy's Pizza

A Louisiana-based pizzeria has brought the “World’s Biggest Pizza Slice” to Katy. Fat Boy’s Pizza's second Houston-area location will open on December 5.

Located in the Katy Grand development near the intersection of I-10 and the Grand Parkway, the new Fat Boy’s will occupy approximately 3,800-square-feet with an 1,100-square-foot patio (23333 Grand Circle Blvd.). It joins an existing location in Richmond that opened in January.

The restaurant’s giant slices come from its signature 30-inch pies. More conventional 10 and 16-inch pizzas are also available. They’re joined on the menu by appetizers such as meatballs, mozzarella sticks, and wings.

Beverage options include a full selection of beer, wine, and cocktails, including to-go daiquiris by the gallon.

At time when many pizzerias are focused on to-go, Fat Boy’s makes dine-in more appealing. Each location also includes an arcade for children of all ages. As founder Gabe Corchiani explained on an episode of CultureMap’s “What’s Eric Eating” podcast, the restaurant prides itself on offering a higher level of service than typical casual restaurants.

"We're very service-oriented. We greet guests when they come in the door," he said. "You order from a menu board. We bring the food out to you. We make sure you get touched at least once out there to see if you need anything. We're friendly. That's what we bank on."

Fat Boy’s plans to open several locations throughout Houston. Next will be a restaurant in Sienna that’s scheduled for next summer, according to a release.

“We are thrilled to continue our expansion into the Houston market and plan to become a staple in the Katy community,” Fat Boy’s directior of Texas operations George Malek said in a statement. “Fat Boy’s Pizza is a fun, family-oriented concept that is thriving in Richmond, and we believe will have similar growth in Katy and the Houston area.”

Photo by Julie Soefer

Where to eat in Houston right now: 9 best new restaurants proving our pizza town cred

where to eat right now

By any standard, pizza is having a moment in Houston. Not that pizza ever goes out of style, but when a wave of new pizzerias open — some led by the city’s top chefs — the time has come for a closer look.

Notably, we found options in a range of styles ranging from classic New York, to on-trend Detroit, a grilled pizza that may be unique to its restaurant. Anyone who thinks Houston isn’t a pizza town simply hasn’t eaten enough slices here.

While this list focuses exclusively on restaurants and bars that have opened in the last year or so, it is not meant to disrespect those tried-and-true places Houstonians have been patronizing for years. Fans of places like Star, Brothers, and Romano’s can save their emails. We like them, too, but they aren’t a fit for this roundup.

As always, Where to Eat columns are based on actual visits to the included restaurants (sometimes more than once) and are ordered by what we’d go to first. They all have something to offer, even if a visit requires a jaunt down the Westpark Tollway.

ElRo Pizza & Crudo
Chef Terrence Gallivan has made his return to the dining scene with this intimate restaurant on the border of Montrose and Midtown. With their high crown and creative toppings, ElRo’s personal-sized, Italian-style pizzas recall the pies Gallivan served at The Pass & Provisions. Highlights include the mushroom pie with smoked maitakes and mortadella with pistachio pesto. Round out the meal with a crudo or two — the spicy tuna on toast is a particular favorite. An affordable wine list and creative cocktails (all named after Bruce Springsteen songs) complete the experience.

ElRo restaurant pizza
Photo by Julie Soefer
ElRo serves a variety of pizzas.

Nonno’s Family Pizza Tavern
Nobie’s owners Sara and Martin Stayer channel Gen X nostalgia at this pizzeria that’s located next to The Toasted Coconut, their tiki-inspired restaurant and bar. Nonno’s serves the Midwest tavern-style pies that Sara grew up eating in Chicago; the thin, crispy pies are cut into squares — known as a party cut — to make them easier to share. Appetizers like chicken wings and mozzarella sticks complete the classic pizzeria experience.

Nonno’s takes the “family” part of its name seriously. A recent visit found at least half the tables occupied by families with children, many of whom entertained themselves at the restaurant’s arcade that features pinball machines and vintage video games.

Pastore Italian Kitchen
This restaurant's menu may describe its round, dough-based items as “flatbreads,” but we know a pizza when we see one. Available with traditional toppings like margherita, an East Coast-style clam pie, or seasonal ingredients like fig with lemon ricotta, Pastore's wood-fired pizzas blend Italian flavors with a slice that’s sturdy enough to be eaten by hand. The restaurant’s new brunch service offers a breakfast pizza topped with pancetta, poached eggs, hashbrowns, and more, which makes it the perfect hangover cure — especially when paired with some hair of the dog from the cocktail program overseen by former CultureMap Tastemaker Awards Bartender of the Year winner Sarah Troxell.

Gold Tooth Tony’s
Chef Anthony Calleo has been serving Detroit-style pizzas at Rudyard’s for awhile now, but his new restaurant in the Heights dives in more deeply with a greater selection of pies and a more diverse set of toppings. The square-shaped, deep dish pizzas feature a crispy edge and a pleasant chew. Calleo channels his Pi Pizza days with selections like the Only5 (venison sausage, port wine cherries) and the Grizz (chicken, bacon, ranch, charred pineapple, grizzly sauce). New to the Gold Tooth Tony’s menu are selections such as the Hunger Force (meatballs, whipped ricotta) and the Sebastian’s Big Idea — a spam musubi-inspired pie with toasted pineapple and furikake.

Betelgeuse Betelgeuse
The self-described “bar with good pizza” recently added a Montrose location to its roster. Having access to a full kitchen instead of a food truck allows Betelgeuse to serve both 10 and 14-inch versions of its signature “ironclad pizzas,” named for the round, cast iron pans that give the pies a crispy crust. Compelling vegetarian pies — think the Three Sauce (pizza sauce, pesto, and vodka sauce) or the Fresh de Frays (ricotta, strawberries, chevre, basil) — might make even the most devoted carnivore skip the pepperoni. An extensive cocktail selection and fun bar snacks round out the menu.

Cup N’ Char Buffalo Pizza Cafe
This favorite of the Katy/Fort Bend Foodies Facebook group serves a Buffalo-style deep dish that’s similar to Detroit-style. The thick, chewy crust provides a sturdy platform for robust toppings like chicken fingers, a classic Hawaiian, and the Italian Mob (pepperoni, sausage, onion, and banana peppers). Even better, the convenient “half medium” size makes for a hearty single serving. Of course, Cup N’ Char’s Buffalo roots mean their chicken wings are first-rate — crispy, meaty, and available in a range of toppings, including the must-order Italian (garlic-parmesan) that can also be tossed in spicy Buffalo sauce.

Coastline Artisan Pizzeria
Newly opened in First Ward by childhood friends Armando Dimeo and Jordan Kone, Coastline serves two styles of pizza — a grilled pizza Dimeo first developed while working for his family’s restaurant in the Hill Country and a classic Neapolitan that’s baked in a wood-burning oven. The grilled pizza has an oblong shape and a crispy crust that supports more elaborate toppings like The O.G. (mozzarella, Italian sausage, ricotta, habanero honey, basil, and tomato sauce). Since the wood-burning oven takes three hours to reach a full 900 degrees, the Neapolitan pies are only available at dinner.

Formerly known as How to Survive on Land and Sea, this casual bar has rebranded itself as a low-key gathering spot for beer, wine, cocktails, and pizza. The classic New York-style pies utilize a recipe developed by Angelo Emiliani, the chef who burst into Houston’s collective restaurant consciousness with his Angie’s Pizzas pop-up. Sold either by-the-slice or as whole pies, the pizzas have a pleasantly chewy crust that’s easy to fold. Even better, slices are free with the purchase of a cocktail on Monday nights.

Home Slice Pizza
This Austin-based pizzeria debuted in Midtown last December with its classic New York-style pizzas and Sicilian, “grandma-style” pies. Sold as whole pies or slices, Home Slice pizzas have a toothsome, foldable crust that serves as the basis for everything from a classic pepperoni and mushroom to a white clam pizza with garlic and oregano that wouldn’t be out of place in New Haven, CT. Very credible meatballs subs and Italian-style hoagie (ask for light mayo) complete the East Coast experience. Once the weather cools off, the expansive patio will be a pleasant place to linger over selections from the well-chosen beverage list.

Photo by Eric Sandler

New artisanal pizzeria opens in First Ward with authentic, Neapolitan wood-fired pies

First Ward's new pizzeria

Armando Dimeo and Jordan Kone really like pizza. That passion has fueled the opening of a new pizzeria in First Ward.

Meet Coastline Artisan Pizzeria. Located in the former Cafeza space at the corner of Houston Avenue and Crockett Street, the new restaurant fulfills a goal the childhood friends have been planning for years.

“One of the questions that came up between the two of us was, where do you get pizza in Houston? We could never really answer the question,” Dimeo tells CultureMap. “The style of pizza we liked to eat, which is thin and crispy and Neapolitan. We could never answer the question, so we brought this place together.”

Dimeo, whose family owns Antonio’s Italian Grill in Deer Park and Gennaro's Trattoria in Canyon Lake, developed a grilled pizza to satisfy his craving for a thin and crispy pizza. Each of the oblong-shaped pies start on the restaurant’s grill before being finished in an oven. The sturdy crust allows for more toppings, as in The O.G. that’s topped with mozzarella, Italian sausage, ricotta, habanero honey, basil, and tomato sauce.

To learn to make a proper Neapolitan, Dimeo trained with master pizzaiolo Tony Gemignani in San Francisco. Coastline ferments its dough for between 36 and 48 hours to let it develop additional flavor. With a thinner, looser crust, the pies get minimal toppings, including a traditional margherita with buffalo mozzarella or another with soppressata and hot relish.

Since the Neapolitan pies are baked in a wood-burning oven, they’re only available at dinner. That the oven is purely wood-burning is a point of pride for both owners.

“One of my biggest pet peeves is pizzerias saying they’re wood-fired then there’s this gas jet shooting up,” Dimeo says. “This oven takes about three hours to get up to temperature. It’s about as traditional as you can get.”

The dinner menu also includes small plates such as meatballs, salmon cakes, bruschetta, and marinated olives. At lunch, focaccia sandwiches provide an alternative to the grilled pizzas.

Coastline Artisan Pizzeria interior

Photo by Eric Sandler

Coastline Artisan Pizzeria is now open for lunch and dinner.

In addition to serving both of its signature pizza styles, the restaurant plans to add a rotating monthly special to its menu. “We’re going to do a different style of pizza every month,” Kone says. “We’ll do Detroit, Sicilian — we can put different toppings on it.”

Bartender Jason Garcia brings experience from Two Headed Dog to Coastline’s cocktail menu. His offerings include eight house originals, including three that pack a dose of spicy heat.

To transform Cafeza into Coastline, Dimeo and Kone shortened the bar — to make room for the wood-burning oven — and added wood beams to brighten the room. With its brick walls and long, narrow layout, the space recalls the feel of typical New York City restaurants. After a few days of soft opening and a week of lunch and dinner service, the early feedback has been positive.

In the coming weeks, Coastline plans to deepen that relationship with neighborhood specials and a bicycle-powered delivery option. For now, they’re meeting their new neighborhoods and focusing on the food.

“They’ve treated us well,” Dimeo says about the area. “We’re just happy to be here.”

Photo by Eric Sandler

Houston pizza maestro retools his wildly successful new Heights restaurant after overwhelming response

that's a lot of pizza

Pizza-loving Houstonians have accomplished something that once seemed impossible. They’ve left chef Anthony Calleo speechless — sort of.

The first week of service at Gold Tooth Tony’s, Calleo’s new Detroit-style pizzeria in the Heights, has so vastly exceeded his expectations that he’s had to rethink his plans for operating the restaurant. Even with limited hours of 4-10 pm, it’s been selling out of pizza. As a reminder, Calleo has sold Houstonians a lot of pizza between the Pi Pizza food truck, the Pi Pizza restaurant, and in his current role as executive chef and co-owner of Montrose favorite Rudyard’s.

“I’ve done this before. I’ve sold a bunch of pizza. We know how to do that. The fact that we’re running out of food, we didn't really expect,” Calleo tells CultureMap. “What we thought we’d do in a 14-hour day after a couple months of practice is what we’re doing in a three-and-a-half hour day.”

He adds that on Sunday Gold Tooth Tony’s sold more pizza in a single hour than in any hour he can remember from the Pi days. That’s a lot of pizza for a restaurant that occupies a 1,000-square-foot former doughnut shop.

Having survived a hectic weekend, Calleo closed on Monday and Tuesday to give its cooks a well-deserved break. The restaurant reopened for dinner today (Wednesday, September 20) with dough that he and chef Adam Bitner made for the restaurant.

In the meantime, he’s ordered more pizza pans and is looking into adding a larger walk-in cooler to deal with the unexpected demand. Whatever he decides, it will be done with his staff in mind.

“I’m not going to grind those dudes into dust. They deserve a break. They busted their ass for us at a brand new job,” he says. “They did great, period.”

Part of meeting the demand for pizza means temporarily slimming down the menu by cutting dishes such as queso and mac and cheese. Although Calleo had planned to roll out lunch as soon as this week, the restaurant will remain dinner only for now.

“I didn’t get into this business to tell people no, but it’s mathematics and physics. If I could argue with those, I wouldn’t be a chef — I’d be a super villain,” he says.

Meanwhile, the search has already begun for a second location. Calleo aims to strike while the iron is hot — and Houstonians are eating him out of pizza.

Photo by Eric Sandler

Houston pizza maestro brings life of Pi to the Heights with his must-try new restaurant

New pizzeria in the heights

One of Houston’s pizza masterminds is opening his first new pizzeria since 2016. Gold Tooth Tony’s has begun a soft opening in the Heights.

Gold Tooth Tony's pepperoni pizza

Photo by Eric Sandler

Gold Tooth Tony's pepperoni pizza.

Located in the former Hugs & Donuts space at 1901 N. Shepherd Dr., Gold Tooth Tony’s marks chef Anthony Calleo’s return to operating a pizzeria for the first time since 2018, when he left Pi Pizza, the food truck-turned-restaurant where he earned acclaim for his creative pies. While the chef has been selling Detroit-style pizza at Rudyard’s, the iconic Montrose pub where he is executive chef and co-owner, the overall experience at Gold Tooth Tony’s is a little different.

“At Rudyard’s, aside from pizza, we have 34 other menu items. We’re not a pizza place,” Calleo tells CultureMap. “It doesn’t make sense to put time and energy into those eight or nine menu items when we have the entire rest of the building to run. I thought, what could we do if we just put all of our attention to it.”

Calleo is also aware of the restaurant’s timing. Via 313, the Austin-based pizzeria that has set the gold standard for Detroit-style pizza in Texas, is preparing to open its first Houston-area location near Memorial City Mall. A native Houstonian, Calleo sees opening Gold Tooth Tony’s as a locally-owned restaurant dedicated to Detroit-style pizza to be a matter of civic pride, even though he credits Via 313 for introducing him to the style.

“I decided I really wanted to try my hand at Detroit pizza after eating it at Via 313 in Austin 13 years ago, but I’m still from here,” he says. “I’d like to take a shot at it. I think it’s good. I think it’s maybe some of the best pizza I’ve made when it hits right.”

Making sure the pizza at Gold Tooth Tony’s hits right has involved revisited some of Calleo’s signature pizzas from the Pi days. Menu items such as the Outy5, the Grizz, and the 181 Heights all reference ingredients from the Pi menu that have been reworked to fit the deep dish crust and crispy edges that define Detroit-style pizza.

Of course, he’s developed some new pizzas as well. The Hunger Force starts with meatballs — a recipe Calleo has been refining since he operated Sandy Witch Sandwich Company at Grand Prize — along with whipped ricotta, because it takes a study dough to match the meatballs’ heft. Sebastian’s Big Idea — a Spam and pineapple pizza — is named for the child who suggested the combination to the chef. Of course, Calleo had to put his spin on the idea.

“We take Spam, sear it, cube it. Take fresh pineapple, throw it in a pizza oven until it caramelizes and chars. Toss it in togarashi. Cut it up into cubes. That goes onto pizza. It’s a Spam musubi Hawaiian pizza. I think it’s fun,” he explains.

The menu also includes three sandwiches: a meatball, an Italian-style hero, and a vegetarian sandwich made with tomatoes, arugula, feta, and a garlic-basil spread that Calleo calls “the sleeper on the menu.” A classic lasagna, wings in four flavors, and a couple of other snacks round out the menu.

For now, Gold Tooth Tony’s is only open for dinner and only serving the smaller, 8x10-inch version of its pizza. Over the next couple of weeks, the restaurant will add lunch and late night service — operating from 11 am until 1 am — and a larger, 10x14-inch pizza. Opening slowly reflects some of the lessons Calleo learned from Pi’s frantic early days.

“We’re in a position where we can do this right,” he says. “I know what busy feels like in a pizza place. I don’t think it’s helpful. You burn through staff. It’s okay to open slowly and figure it out.”

Photo by Sergio Trevino

Spacey WashAve cocktail bar-pizzeria opens in Montrose with must-try 'ironclad' pies

say it 3 times

Montrose’s mini boom of new pizzerias has added another establishment to its roster. Betelgeuse Betelgeuse officially opens to the public Friday, September 1.

Betelgeuse Betelgeuse Montrose interior

Photo by Sergio Trevino

Betelgeuse Betelgeuse has opened its Montrose location with a karaoke-ready back room.

Located in the former Bamboo/Kam’s Wok space at 4500 Montrose Blvd., the Montrose location of Betelgeuse Betelgeuse builds on the success of its original Washington Avenue outpost that opened last year. Whereas the first location utilizes a food truck to prepare its pizzas and bar snacks, the Montrose location has a full kitchen.

That means owner Chris Cusack has been able to expand the menu a bit with additions such as Spaghetti Squares (deep fried spaghetti balls with cheese and tomato sauce) and more wings flavors. The Montrose location also offers a personal-sized, 10-inch version of the bar’s signature “ironclad pizzas” that are baked on cast iron pans to give each slice a crispy edge. Dishes such as loaded fries, Space Balls (pizza dough that’s brushed with garlic butter), and a cheeseburger carry over from the original location.

Also making the trip south is Betelgeuse’s extensive cocktail offerings. The menu includes an Appletini, the “Mommy, What’s a Funkadelic?” (tepache, mezcal, lime, pineapple, and vanilla), an espresso martini, and the Watermelon Fresca that’s been a staple of La Grange’s menu since it opened.

All that eating and drinking happens in a space-themed environment that fits an establishment named for a red supergiant star in the Orion constellation. A 900-square-foot back room has been wired for karaoke and will also serve as a venue for private events.

“Betelgeuse Betelgeuse Montrose has been a labor of love and is my tribute to this amazing neighborhood,” Cusack said in a statement. “I can’t wait to welcome customers through our doors for great cocktails, amazing food, and weird vibes.”

While Cusack is opening the Montrose location, he’s also in the process of sourcing a replacement for the original location’s food truck that was damaged in a fire. The proprietor tells CultureMap he could have a solution in place as soon as next week. In the meantime, guest food trucks are filling the gap.

This summer has been a busy time for new pizzerias in Montrose. In addition to Betelgeuse, the neighborhood has welcomed ElRo Pizza & Crudo, a new concept from chef Terrence Gallivan (The Pass & Provisions), and Nonno's Family Pizza Tavern, the latest project from Nobie's owners Sara and Martin Stayer.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

CultureMap Wine Guy Chris Shepherd reveals his ultimate holiday gift guide

wine guy's gifts ftw

Editor's note: Long before Chris Shepherd became a James Beard Award-winning chef, he developed enough of a passion for wine to work at Brennan's of Houston as a sommelier. He maintains that interest to this day. When Chris expressed interest in writing about wine-related topics for CultureMap, we said yes.

In this week's column, he shares his ultimate Wine Guy gift guide. Take it away, Chris.

I love a good gift guide because it helps me to find gifts for people that I love and respect. So, I wanted to put together a wine-focused guide for you to be able to share amazing things with the ones that are close to you and maybe — justmaybe — they’ll share them with you as well.

Some of these items are for long-term enjoyment, some of these items are for big groups of friends or clients, and some of these items are just useful to have on an everyday existence of life.

Also, I’m also putting together a general gift guide for my newsletter, so if you want to get that one too, sign up here!

Wine memberships with legs

First out of the gate is the gift that keeps on giving. The recipient will be reminded of you monthly with a good wine club membership. Here are a few of my favorites with different price points.

Montrose Cheese and Wine has two wine club options for you to choose from: the “Scooby Snack” ($75 monthly) that has 3 selected bottles and 1/2 pound of seasonal cheese and the “Advanced Course” ($175 monthly) which has 6 bottles and 2 1/2 pound selections of Artisan Cheese. It’s a party pack, if you will.

Montrose Cheese and WinesGift wine and cheese with Montrose Cheese and Wines' club options. Photo by Zach Horst

We were just in Ojai, California last week and stopped into Ojai Vineyardswhich produces a stellar line up of wines. The club that caught my eye (yes, I joined because they are delicious) offers something really amazing. It’s a Case Club, where you choose one or two cases a year (I went with one), and it’s totally customizable.

Ojai Vineyards winesScore the toast of Central California with Ojai Vineyards' Case Club. Photo via\u00a0Ojai Vineyards

Don’t get me wrong: I like when shops and wineries pick stuff for me, but I also like the ability to pick what I want. Feeling like Syrah? Order extra. Sitting on too much Syrah from that last order? Get some Grenache, Pinot, or whatever floats your boat.

One more for you. Robert Sinskey Vineyards has an awesome club called the “Glutton & Gourmand,” which is 2-3 bottles per shipment, about once a month. You never really know what you are going to get so it’s literally an awesome present every month. In addition to the bottles, you’ll always get tasting notes from Rob and snacks or ingredients from Maria, who is a fantastic chef. Food and wine are both important for this incredible team.

Haute hardware

Cool wine openers are always a good idea. The practical double hinged waiters corkscrew is a classic. There should be multiple in every household so that one is always in reach.

waiters corkscrew wine openers Wine Guy gift guide 2023Pop bottles open like a pro with waiters corkscrew openers.Photo by Zach Horst

The Durand wine opener is an impressive gift for those you know that love to age their wine. It’s a corkscrew that has two prongs that go down the side of the cork to help keep them intact. It’s a beautiful gift.

Durand corkscrew wine openerThe Durand corkscrew wine opener is just a gorgeous wine gift.Image courtesy of Durand

Let’s talk decanters for a second. I love them and use them quite often, but not all decanters are the same. Some decanters look like works of art which are, yes, pretty — but sometimes not the most efficient.

I like a good durable decanter that is 1) easy to pour from 2) easy to clean and 3) easy to store. See where I’m going with this? Just a good, old-school decanter like a Riedel Cabernet decanter works perfectly for all the points I just made.

Riedel cabernet decanterRiedel's cabernet decanter is all functional, no fuss.Image via Riedel

Glassware is up next. For the day to day, I like a good white wine glass and a good red wine glass. Both need to be similar to the decanter — easy to clean and store. Schott Zwieselis a good bet. If you are really into beautiful glassware and don’t mind hand washing and polishing, purchase Riedel or Zalto. They are beautiful but very delicate.

If you really love that person and they are starting a collection, I suggest giving them a wine refrigerator. Wine Enthusiast has a great selection of chillers in all sizes for any collector, and their service is great.

For the bookish oenophile

For those that want to know more about wine, there are so many books out there, but three I’ve gotten lately are just great. Wine Folly, by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack, is just an all-around great encyclopedia of general and advanced knowledge, easy and fun to read.

Wine Folly bookWine Follow is a great guide and fun to read.Photo via WineFolly.com

Ray Isle, the Food & Wine magazine wine editor, takes us around the globe to find new artisanal, environmentally friendly and delicious wines with his book The World in a Wineglass.

One that’s totally out there is The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert by Richard Betts which is just, well…fun. Oh, and an important note: Even though I linked to Amazon above, I encourage you to visit a local bookstore like Kindred Stories in the Third Ward first. Shop local whenever you can!

The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert bookTake a whiff of the wine world with The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert.Image courtesy of Richard Betts

Speaking of shopping local, visit your local wine shops and ask about the perfect bottles for gifting. We have so many great shops in Houston with incredibly knowledgeable staff. Talk to them, get to know them, and they’ll get to know you and your wine preferences — and everyone wins.

Some of the places I’ll be visiting this season — Lees Den, Camerata, AOC Selections, 13 Celsius, Montrose Cheese & Wine, Light Years, Dodie’s, Stella’s, Houston Wine Merchant, and Total Wine. A few places I haven’t been yet or recently that I’ve been meaning to visit are Vinology, Padre’s Wine Bar, The Heights Grocer, and Sonoma Wine Bar.

Padre's Wine Bar Houston HeightsOur Wine Guy plans to hit Padre's Wine Bar in the Heights.Image via Padre's Wine Bar/Instagram

Alright! Now, get out there and get those gifts for the people you love ...or, just love yourself and get something for you. (Editor’s note: Well played, Chris. Adding to cart now.) You deserve it and I’m proud of you!

Remember to take care of each other— not just this holiday season, but every single day. We all live on one planet that is going in the same direction, and we need to remember that with love and respect for each other, we can make this a better place.

Take care of your neighbors, the staff you see at your favorite restaurants and wine shops, the people that need a smile. One thing to remember, smiling is way easier than frowning. Happy Holidays, team!

Lindsey Brown Chris Shepherd parentsLindsey Brown, our Wine Guy's wife/better half, and his parents make him smile the most.Photo by Emily Jaschke


Got a hot holiday wine deal tip? Wanna wish the Wine Guy Happy Holidays? Contact Chris Shepherd via email at chris@chrisshepherd.is.

Chris Shepherd won a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2014. The Southern Smoke Foundation, a nonprofit he co-founded with his wife Lindsey Brown, has distributed more than $11 million to hospitality workers in crisis through its Emergency Relief Fund. Catch his TV show, Eat Like a Local, every Saturday at 10 am on KPRC Channel 2.

Huge College Football Championship food fundraiser stars 30+ Houston restaurants

CFP's foodie fundraiser

The recent announcement of the four teams competing in this season’s College Football Playoff serves as an important reminder than this year’s championship game will be played in Houston on Monday, January 8, 2024.

A number of events will surround the game, including a fan experience at the George R. Brown Convention Center and concerts at Shell Energy Stadium. Of course, it wouldn’t be Houston if the city’s restaurant scene didn’t participate in the festivities — and raise a bunch of money for a worthy cause.

Towards that end, the game’s host committee has organized Taste of the Championship, which will be held at Minute Maid Park on Sunday, January 7. The event will feature a roster of more than 30 local restaurants selected in concert with James Beard Award winning chef, media personality, and CultureMap Wine Guy Chris Shepherd along with music by Louisiana-based party band The Phunky Monkeys.

Participating restaurants include a number of Houston classics as well as newcomers and cover a wide range of cuisines. They include CultureMap Tastemaker Award winners such as Blood Bros. BBQ, Burger Bodega, Coltivare, Craft Pita, Fluff Bake Bar, State of Grace, and Street 2 Kitchen. Other notable names include Cali Sandwich & Pho, ChòpnBlok, Crawfish & Noodles, Frenchy’s Chicken, Fung’s Kitchen, Navy Blue, Pondicheri, Riel, and more.

Diners will even spot some of the restaurants featured on Eat Like a Local, Shepherd’s TV show on KPRC 2, such as Josephine’s Gulf Coast Kitchen, Little’s Oyster Bar, Phat Eatery, Saigon Pagolac, and Truth BBQ.

In addition to the professionals, teams from four Houston-area high schools will participate as part of the Texas Restaurant Association’s ProStart campaign.

"It's so cool to bring all of our restaurant friends together for this great event," said Shepherd. "It's the first time that Houston will host the national championship game, so let's show up and show off our hometown. Our city is special because our community always bands together for great causes, and we're all thrilled to support teachers and education. My advice: come early and come hungry!"

Tickets, priced at $350 for general admission and $500 for VIP, include all food and drinks served at the event. Proceeds from Taste of the Championship will benefit the Houston Loves Teachers campaign and Extra Yard for Teachers, a program that aims to inspire and empower quality teachers.

Mike Tyson jumps in ring with Houston celeb dealer to launch exclusive collectible coins

forget bitcoin; this is badcoin

Boxing legend and pop-culture icon Mike Tyson may not want to hand over $450,000 to that drunk dude he had to check in an airplane last year. But Iron Mike is ready to give people his own line of signative coins (and they're not made of iron, natch).

Tyon has joined forces with Houston’s Celebrity Mint to launch a limited edition series of gold and silver collectibles, just in time for the holiday shopping season. Crafted from .9999 gold and .999 silver, the pioneering, legal tender trading coins are now available on CelebrityMint.com and eBay.

Thousands of viewers tuned in to eBay Live last week as Iron Mike joined Celebrity Mint to unveil his exclusive line of products. “This is legendary,” Tyson said on the eBay Live broadcast. “This is humbling me. I’m very proud of this... This is the baddest coin on the planet.”

Celebrity Mint – founded by the Duncan Group of Houston’s U.S. Coins and Jewelry – is fusing the timeless thrill of sports memorabilia collecting with the prestige of coin collecting to invite a new generation of collectors into the fold.

Tyson’s Celebrity Mint collectibles include Iron Mike Signature Series Coins, including 1,499 coins at 2 oz. silver and 491 pieces at 5 oz. silver. Each item is autographed by Tyson and certified by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).

Mike Tyson Celebrity Mint HoustonTyson authorized a full line of coins and cards. Photo courtesy of Celebrity Mint Houston

Fans can also check out the 0.5 Gram Gold Legends Series cards, authenticated and certified by Numismatic Guaranty Co. (NGC) through its coin grading arm NGCX. Only 1,000 were made, including 100 chase cards with a vibrant green colorway.

More hardware includes 2-oz. Silver Chibi Coins and 24k Gilded 2 oz. Silver Chibi Coins, both graded by PCGS Proof Ultra Cam 69 or 70. Only 500 were made, including 50 of the 24k Gilded Silver, per press materials.

Mike Tyson Celebrity Mint Houston

Photo courtesy of Celebrity Mint Houston

Celebrity Mint's Kenny Duncan Jr. with Mike Tyson.

“We are unveiling the ultimate sports collectible piece,” said Celebrity Mint co-founder Kenny Duncan Jr. in a press statement. “When we founded Celebrity Mint, we wanted to work with icons – the best of the best. It is an honor and pleasure to work with Iron Mike to create these new collectibles that celebrate his legendary career.”

This isn’t the first time sports icons are getting their mint on. The worlds of sports memorabilia and rare coins collided in October as Celebrity Mint debuted its first ever legal tender trading coins with wrestling icon Ric Flair (wooo!) at New York Comic Con.

Upcoming launches for its inaugural Legends Series will include boxing boss Floyd Mayweather, all-time baseball hit leader and cultural lightning rod Pete Rose, and more to be announced soon.