Photo by Julie Soefer

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 Julie Soefer

Where to eat now: Houston's 12 best new restaurants serving stellar sandwiches

where to eat sandwiches now

One of the most tired tropes in the discourse around Houston restaurants is that the city doesn’t have any good sandwiches. The claim has long been easily refuted — consider Local Foods, Kenny & Ziggy’s, or any number of restaurants that serve banh mi.

When confronted with that reality, these critics usually assert that they’re missing the kind of cold cut sandwiches served primarily by Italian delis on the East Coast. Previously, the response to this sort of petty griping has been to encourage these displaced Yankees to embrace what Houston’s restaurants do well by eating more tacos or barbecue.

Recently, a group of restaurants have embraced sandwiches. Some are serving classic hoagies, while others have embraced the power of mortadella — a fancy, more flavorful kind of bologna — to create the sort of multi-layered sandwiches that even the most skeptical New Yorker could get behind.

In addition, restaurants are dipping into Houston’s multicultural culinary universe to put fresh spins on fried chicken sandwiches. Most of these new school sandwiches are served on breads that are baked in-house or sourced from high quality purveyors.

Broadly, these restaurants understand that a sandwich should eat like a composed entree with savory meats complimented by creamy or spicy spreads, crisp vegetables, and salty, melty cheeses. Taken together, these restaurants demonstrate that Houston’s sandwiches can hold their own.

Notably, most of these restaurants (and a couple of sandwich-obsessed wine bars) have opened since the end of 2022. This list also include an established restaurant that’s embraced the trend and a pop-up from a Tastemaker Awards nominee that’s worth seeking out.

Sandwiches are at the heart of the lunch menu at this East End Italian restaurant. Picking a single favorite is tricky, as so many of chef Fernando Rios’s creations deserve attention. Still, give us the Italian Beef; made with slow roasted beef shoulder and topped with pickled vegetables, it’s the kicked up pot roast sandwich that’s pure comfort on a plate. Grilled mortadella with melty mozzarella and a credible East Coast-style hoagie are also worth considering, especially when paired with a selection from co-owner Mike Sammons’s affordable wine list.

LuLoo’s Day + Night
This restaurant in Garden Oaks unites the minds behind Blood Bros. BBQ with veteran pastry chef Alyssa Dole. The result are sandwiches that utilize meats smoked or cured by Blood Bros with breads that are freshly made on site. A classic BLT gets served on fresh milk bread, while another riffs on the muffaletta by combining mortadella, two kinds of salami, prosciutto, provolone, peppers, and olive spread on focaccia. Craft beer and cocktails keep patrons hydrated, and a selection of freshly baked desserts and pastries provide plenty of options to bring home.

Rado Market
Lucille’s chef-owner Chris Williams channels his love for Local Foods at this new restaurant that’s part of the Third Ward’s historic Eldorado Ballroom complex. Williams and his team have put their spin on a number of sandwich classics, such as a grilled cheese made with poblano pimento cheese, cheddar, and provolone that comes with a small cup of gumbo for dipping. Similarly, braised beef cheek shines in a Southern dip sandwich that also includes caramelized onions, pesto, and provolone. At breakfast, look for sandwiches made on the hot rolls created by Williams’s great-grandmother, noted culinary pioneer Lucille B. Smith.

Stuffed Belly
James Beard Award finalist Christine Ha shares her love for classic American sandwiches at this Spring Branch spot. Primarily designed for takeout via its drive-thru window, the restaurant offers selections such as a smash burger, patty melt, egg salad, and a gooey grilled cheese made with a combination of cheddar, provolone, and American. The real standout is a Sichuan-spiced fried chicken sandwich that matches a crispy, juicy piece of chicken thigh with a spicy Sichuan mayo that delivers a jolt of heat.

Fiora’s Bottle Shop
This newly opened wine bar in the Montrose Collective mixed-use development offers sandwiches alongside the more familiar snacks. Built around breads from Houston’s acclaimed Slow Dough Bread Co., the menu feature options such as deli-style turkey with tomato and Swiss; a veggie sandwich with tabbouleh, avocado spread, harissa, and artichoke hearts; and a funky boquerones with burrata and lemon aioli. Those with hearty appetites should consider The Goat, a 14-inch long baguette loaded with salami, mortadella, smoked ham, bacon, capocolla, two kinds of cheese, vegetables, and more. An extensive wine list will cater to almost any taste.

Narwhal Jousting Club
Ninja Ramen owner Christopher Huang and chef David Ramos (Better Luck Tomorrow) have teamed up to open this sandwich shop in the former Click Virtual Food Hall near Washington Ave. With essentially no seating (a patio is coming once the weather cools down), diners have the option of picking up to go or ordering via third party delivery apps. Narwhal’s take on a mortadella sandwich comes topped with American cheese, tomato, cole slaw, and fried chicken skin for extra crunch. Its fried chicken sandwich gets dunked in mole, which gives it a compelling sweet-savory balance. Currently, its only open for lunch, but dinner and late night hours could be coming soon.

ElRo Pizza and Crudo
Chef Terrence Gallivan’s new restaurant only has one sandwich on the menu, but it’s worthy of attention. ElRo’s Italian-style hoagie combines mortadella and coppa with provolone and a spicy giardinera on a housemade, sesame-seeded roll. While not technically a sandwich, the spicy tuna toast is a keto-friendly umami bomb.

“I think if you’re a pizza place you’ve got to have a sandwich on the menu,” Gallivan said on CultureMap’s “What’s Eric Eating” podcast. “We have all these delicious meats. We’re making our own breads. Why not have a hoagie?”

Josephine’s Gulf Coast Tradition
Sandwiches are a core component of the offerings at this Midtown restaurant. That starts with a classic po’ boy — choose fried shrimp or fried oyster — served on French bread sourced from New Orleans’s Leidenheimer Baking Co. Chef Lucas McKinney pays homage to his Mississippi roots with the Biloxi Vancleave Special — essentially a crab cake sandwich that’s topped with American cheese and dressed like a po’ boy.

Padre’s Wine Shop + Bar
This spot in the Heights serves sandwiches alongside its extensive wine selection. Initially intended to be a daily panini special, the menu has expanded to include fried bologna with white balsamic aioli, a BLT made with pancetta, and a crab roll. Of course, the staff is ready to suggest pairing options for each sandwich.

The Washington Avenue location of this Philadelphia favorite has been a destination for sandwich lovers since it opened in February. While the menu includes cheesesteaks and hot sandwiches, the menu’s strength is grounded in its hoagies that are served on a sesame seed roll such as the Italian (prosciutto, provolone, capicola, and salami) or the Diablos that are kicked up with extra spices. Those looking for a true taste of Philly may opt for sandwiches made with roast pork.

Leaf & Grain
This salad restaurant recently added sandwiches to its offerings. Served on either housemade sour dough or ciabatta from Slow Dough, they utilize the proteins and vegetables that power the restaurant’s salads. Options include an avocado turkey club dressed with a sun-dried tomato and black pepper aioli, a chicken pesto topped with mozzarella, and a chicken salad that gets kicked up with candied jalapenos.

B’Tween Sandwich Co.
Former Gatlin’s BBQ chef Michelle Wallace has been drawing crowds with her sandwich pop-up. Typically found at the Rice Village Farmers Market, Wallace’s menu varies, but it typically includes a fried chicken sandwich served on her signature biscuits, smoked meats on sourdough, and more. Earlier this summer, she put a Texas twist on an East Coast favorite with a smoked lobster roll topped with corn butter.

ElRo Pizza hoagie sandwich

Photo by Julie Soefer

ElRo serves a classic hoagie on bread it bakes in-house.

Photo by CKO Digital

Where to eat in Houston: Father's Day feasts and specials from Korean BBQ, 'Manmosa' brunches, and more

where to eat on father's day

Whereas Mother’s Day is usually celebrated with brunch, a meal on Father’s Day conjures an image of dad in the backyard, tending to a grill or smoker, and taking pride in serving a meal to his family.

Of course, not every dad wants to stand outside sweating next to a live fire cooking apparatus. Some dads want to be pampered on their special day. That’s where Houston restaurants come in.

We’ve rounded up some of the more intriguing options for Father’s Day specials — everything from a $33 all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ feast to a $200 tasting menu with whiskey pairings. The list has a few traditional options, too, for a dad who just wants a steak and eggs for breakfast.

As of Tuesday, June 13, all of the restaurants in this list that take reservations still had tables available, but they might go quickly. Act fast to secure a spot.

Arnaldo Richards’ Picos
The Upper Kirby Restaurant’s Father’s Day Sunday Brunch Buffet (10 am - 3 pm) will feature selections such as a carving station with pork belly porchetta, prime rib, and picanha; an antojito platter featuring gorditas, picadas, and quesadillas; a raw bar with oyster shooters, ceviches, and Gulf shrimp; as well as classic brunch favorites and a full dessert price. The buffet is priced at $54 for adults, $42 for seniors, $30 for children over eight, and free for children under age eight.

Federal American Grill
All four Houston-area locations of the comfort food restaurant and whiskey bar will offer specials including a flight of three Horse Soldier bourbons and a surf and turf with an 8-ounce filet paired with two blackened shrimp.

Feges BBQ
Expect a big crowd at this barbecue joint in Spring Branch. Their combination second anniversary and Father's Day celebration includes drink specials, swag from Lone Star beer, snoballs, activities for kids, and plenty of smoked meat.

Chef Billy Kin will be joined by Gary Clark, author of the Japanese Whisky Handbook, for a special omakase menu that will feature pairings such as Hakata 12yr and Ikikko 8yr from Japan, Indri Trini from the Caribbean, and Isle of Raasay Hebridean from Scotland. Reservations are required for the $200 per person meal.

Fluff Bake Bar
Pastry chef Rebecca Masson is still accepting orders for her two Father's Day specials — The Golden Goose (6-inch layered devils food cake with salted caramel ganache, salted caramel buttercream, and pretzel crunch that's topped with gooey salted caramel and chocolate crunchy pearls, $49) and a Bourbon, Chocolate & Pecan Pie (chocolate pie dough filled with Texas pecans, chocolate chips, and a Maker’s Mark bourbon filling, $40). Pick up available Saturday or Sunday.

Four Seasons Hotel Houston
Bayou & Bottle, the hotel's lobby bar, will feature its signature Bayou Burger for $6. At the hotel's spa, dads may opt for a Southern Scrub & Sip, a signature treatment that finishes with a glass of Maker's Mark single barrel bourbon.

Heights & Co.
The casual bar will feature a Manmosa — made with orange juice and Montucky — for $4. Pair it with items from the brunch menu such as steak and eggs or a brunch burger that’s topped with cheddar, guacamole, bacon, a fried egg, chorizo, and aioli.

The all-day brunch spot in the Heights MKT development will feature a huarache special that’s topped with a 5-ounce filet mignon, refried black beans, vegetables, queso fresco, and salsa verde. Of course, the full menu will also be available.

Hongdae 33
Chinatown’s new, all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant will give dads a free lobster tail upgrade. Walk-in diners welcome. Open 11 am - 12 am.

J-Bar-M Barbecue
The EaDo barbecue joint will supplement its regular menu with a beef rib special that includes a whole rib (weighing between 1-1.5 pounds) and two sides for $45.

Molina’s Cantina
The Houston Tex-Mex staple will feature its house margarita for just $6.50 all weekend (Friday-Sunday).

Morton’s the Steakhouse
The Landry’s-owned luxury steakhouse will feature a prime rib special and an Old Fashioned riff made with Texas-distilled Garrison Bros. Small Batch Bourbon.

New York Deli & Bakery
Dads get a free bagel with cream cheese at this Meyerland staple. Choose from sweet (cinnamon raisin, blueberry, etc.) or savory (everything, poppy, sesame, etc) varieties.

The Upper Kirby staple may be known for its vegetarian-friendly menu, but they’re making an exception for Father’s Day with a ribeye biryani that’s made with chunks of marinated prime ribeye that’s braised with rice, almonds, and fried onions.

The Raven Grill
The Museum District-area favorite will take half off its well-regarded chicken fried steak on Father's Day. Pair it with $1 Lone Star longnecks. For reservations, call 713-521-2027.

State Fare
All three locations of the comfort food restaurant are a Steak & Eggs special to their usual brunch offerings. It includes a half-pound, Cajun-spiced ribeye with potatoes, blistered tomatoes, and two eggs for $28.

Sushi by Hidden
The Rice Village restaurant that serves a 12-piece sushi progression in just 30 minutes will supplement its regular menu with a special wagyu hand roll that will only be served on Father’s Day.

The Bunker Hill location of the Creole institution is offering $2 draft beers for dads (limit three per customer). Pair them with staples such as red beans and rice, shrimp etouffee, or BBQ shrimp and grits.

Wild Oats
The Texas comfort food restaurant will supplement its usual brunch offerings with specials that include smoked prime rib; grilled mahi mahi fish tacos; an omelet with chorizo, mushrooms, and spinach; and Dr Pepper cake.

Heights & Co. Father's Day brunch

Photo by CKO Digital

Get a brunch burger and a Manmosa at Heights & Co.

Photo by Jenn Duncan

14 last-minute Mother's Day restaurant specials in Houston serve up decadent and diverse dining

where to eat on mother's day

Those still recovering from the one-two party punch of Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day may not realize that Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 14. (Need a last-minute gift? We're here to help.)

While many of the city’s most prominent brunch destinations are either completely booked or have very limited tables, other restaurants can still accommodate more people.

Those still planning should start their search with the list below. All of these restaurants had availability as of Tuesday, May 9.

Aya Sushi
The Bellaire sushi restaurant will feature a special, $75 Mama-kase menu that includes both raw items and hot dishes from the kitchen. It will be served from open to close (11 am - 9 pm).

El Topo
The Mexican-inspired restaurant in West U. will supplement its usual brunch offerings with champagne specials, housemade desserts desserts, and a barbacoa benedict that uses the meat as its award-winning Houston taco. Those looking to feed a crowd should consider the family-style taco platter.

Feges BBQ
In addition to its usual smoked meats, the Spring Branch barbecue joint will feature specials such as crawfish frittata, crawfish cornbread with cinnamon-honey butter, bottomless mimosas, peach daiquiris, and more.

Frank’s Americana Revival
The River Oaks favorite’s brunch menu offers a diverse mix of dishes including tenderloin kebabs, gazpacho, smoked salmon benedict, and lemon ricotta pancakes. Sandwich options include the River Oaks Club and a burger topped with bacon and pimento cheese.

Hibachi Bros
The Third Ward food truck is offering a free shrimp or chicken burrito with the purchase of an entree. Options include filet mignon, lobster, shrimp, chicken, and more served with fried rice and grilled vegetables.

As has become a tradition on major holidays, Agricole Hospitality’s Texas-inspired restaurant in EaDo will serve a buffet-style menu that’s brought to people at their tables. The extensive offerings include shrimp cocktail, chicken and pistachio meatballs, watermelon salad, pancakes, tomato and spinach quiche, beef tenderloin, cedar plank salmon, and desserts. It’s priced at $65 per adult and $25 for kids aged 3-12.

J Bar M Barbecue
The EaDo restaurant recently introduced weekend brunch that includes dishes such as a smoked turkey salad and pulled pork benedict. They’re paired with drinks such as mimosas, sangria, and Bloody Marys. Moms will received a complimentary glass of bubbles and a rose.

Loch Bar
River Oaks District’s East Coast-style seafood tavern will celebrate Mother’s Day with new dishes such as a prosciutto benedict for brunch and a duck with pistachio mole and fresh figs for dinner.

As a preview of its future Sunday service, the East End Italian restaurant will serve a four-course, family-style menu. Priced at $65 per person, it includes an arugula salad, lemon risotto, roasted pork loin marsala with Brussels sprouts and polenta, and tiramisu.

Chef Mayank Istwal has created a six-course menu inspired by moms. Priced at $95 for lunch or $125 for dinner, it has both an omnivore and a vegetarian option.

The Menu:

  • Joy: Aaamras shots, compressed puri, mango pate de fruit, aampapad
  • Love: Aloo googni chaat, tamarind water, sev
  • Fear: Choice of lobster polichettu or paneer and mushroom polichettu
  • Grace: Truffle malai tikka, spiced onion rings, daikon
  • Strength: Choice of lamb kofta or Malai kofta
  • Guilt: Baked walnut sheera, saffron mawa crème, lonavala chikki

Both locations of this Italian restaurant from the owners of The Union Kitchen will supplement their regular menus with selections such as the Rose Timbale, spinach and ricotta cheese baked in lasagna sheets to resemble a bouquet of flowers, and the family-style Taste of Italy platter that comes with spaghetti and meatballs, shrimp scampi, and chicken alfredo. Wine specials and a range of desserts round out the experience.

Spoil mom at Ben Berg's decadent, Galleria-area supper club. The restaurant's "Ultimate Mother's Day Brunch" consists of a three-course, $250 per person menu that starts with caviar before moving on to one of four starters — including duck confit salad and lobster stracciatella — a choice of entree such as branzino, king crab benedict, and braised short rib, and choice of dessert. Each diner will also receive a glass of Champagne, Kir Royale, mimosa, or bellini. Live music will be featured at both seatings, 11 am and 2 pm.

Executive pastry chef Ariana Quant and her team have prepared a Mother’s Day Sweet Box that’s available for pick up. Priced at $80, it includes six entremet-style desserts — Paris brest with apricot, almond, and creme fraiche; Milk chocolate bar with blueberry and hazelnuts; Coconut mango bar with frangipane, coconut mousse, and mango compote; Flourless chocolate cake with cream cheese and dark chocolate mousse; Tonka bean bar with raspberry and pistachio; and a Cashew, coffee, and caramel bar. Only 50 boxes are available for pickup either May 13 or 14.

Wild Oats
Underbelly Hospitality’s family-friendly, Texas comfort food restaurant will serve specials such as tuna tostada, roasted beet salad, smoked salmon benedict, and smoked prime rib. Staples such as chicken fried steak and Haven-style shrimp corn dogs will also be available.

Turner's king crab benedict

Photo by Jenn Duncan

Splurge on a King Crab Benedict at Turner's.

Courtesy of Hugo's

Where to eat: More than 20 Houston restaurants serving Easter brunch

Where to eat on Easter

From multi-course dinners to extravagant brunches, take-home family feasts to meals perfect for two, Houston restaurants have something for every diner's need this Easter.

Easter brunch in-person

Arnaldo Richards' Picos
The Upper Kirby favorite offers a special brunch buffet on Sunday, April 9, with a carving station, omelets and waffles to order, paella grande, charcuterie selections, an antojito platter, and more. The cost is $54 for adults, $42 for seniors, $30 for children over eight years old, and free for those under eight. Brunch is available from 10 am to 4 pm. Use Resy to make reservations.

Backstreet Cafe
This classic River Oaks restaurant offers a three-course brunch on Easter Sunday, with menu options such as a chilled creamy artichoke soup, Gulf Coast seafood beignets, braised lamb shank with creamy mashed potatoes and mushroom pan jus, pan-roasted striped bass with spring vegetables, pan-seared scallops with asparagus risotto, Nutella chocolate banana bread pudding, and more. Bob Chadwick offers live jazz. The cost is $56 for adults and $15 for children. Brunch is available from 10 am to 3:30 pm, and reservations are highly recommended.

Brennan's of Houston
On Saturday, April 8, diners can get into the Easter spirit with visits from live bunnies from Boiling Bunny Farms. The restaurant's classic dishes are available, and this family-friendly experience is sure to delight diners young and old. This special brunch is available from 10 am to 2 pm. Reservations required. On Easter Sunday, brunch is available from 10 am to 4 pm. Reservations can be made online.

Georgia James
Executive chef Greg Peters has a special in the works at this luxe Montrose spot, which will open for a one-day-only brunch from 11 am to 3 pm. In addition to the brunch specials, favorites such as Viet-Cajun roasted oysters and fried Holmes chicken will also be available. Note: the restaurant will not be open for dinner on Easter Sunday.

Guard & Grace
Usually closed on Sundays, the luxurious downtown steakhouse will feature a special brunch menu. Starters include smoked salmon rillette, wagyu beef dumplings, crab and avocado toast, and heirloom blue corn hush puppies. In addition to steaks, entree choices include lobster benedict, a giant buttermilk biscuit with brisket, huevos rancheros, loco moco, and more. Reservations recommended.

In addition to the restaurant's popular buffet brunch offerings, diners can look for seasonal specialties, a carving station, and specialty Easter desserts. The buffet is available from 10 am to 3 pm on Easter Sunday and costs $55 for adults and $15 for children. Reservations are highly recommended.

Hull & Oak
Head downtown to this restaurant in The Laura hotel for an a la carte menu with specials just for Easter. Look for duck confit salad with quail eggs for $18, rack of lamb with spring vegetables and potato gratin for $42, stuffed pork loin with apple cranberry chutney for $38, creme brulee for $15, and more. A DJ adds to the vibe.

Dine in on Easter Sunday and enjoy a modern Texas take on classic dishes. The four-course, pre-fixe bottomless brunch menu includes options such as crawfish deviled eggs, herb-crusted leg of lamb with mint jus, cedar plank smoked salmon, duck-fat roasted potatoes with lemon and herbs, and chocolate ice box pie. Best of all, it combines a buffet-style ability to try everything with the convenience of table service. The cost is $65 for adults and and $20 for children 12 and under. View the full menu and make reservations online.

The Savoy
Known for its massive patio and lively vibe, this bar and restaurant in the heart of Houston's Third Ward offers a family-style brunch on Easter Sunday with special offerings such as an Easter egg mimosa flight along with infused French toast and pancake flights, 11 am to 5 pm.

This Woodlands restaurant offers a special brunch buffet on Easter Sunday. Selections include housemade pastries, stracciatella bruschetta, omelets made to order, fresh campanelle pasta served in a wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano, carved porchetta, and other sweet and savory options. The cost is $60 for adults and $21 for children. Brunch is available from 10 am to 3 pm.

Southside Sporting Club
The chic sports bar offers an Easter brunch of casual comfort favorites, along with photo opps with the Easter Bunny, an Easter egg hunt, and an Easter basket giveaway. Brunch is available from 11 am to 3 pm.

State of Grace
At this River Oaks favorite, diners will find a brunch menu with dishes such as butter biscuits and ham for $10, deviled eggs for $8, crawfish eggs Benedict $27, and other classic selections. On Easter Sunday, the Easter Bunny will put in an appearance and is available for photo ops.

NBA star James Harden's posh Midtown restaurant will feature brunch specials such as shrimp and grits, deep fried strawberry cheesecake French toast, and Churro Chicken & Waffle. A DJ adds to the atmosphere. Brunch is served from 11 am to 3 pm.

Toro Toro
This pan-Latin steakhouse in the Four Seasons continue's the hotel's tradition of over-the-top holiday brunches. For $155 per adult and $65 per child 12 and under, diners can feast on an omelet station, Texas cheese display, pasta station, seafood station with cold shellfish and sushi, carving station with beef tenderloin and smoked brisket, and so much more. Reservations required.

Traveler's Table
Diners can get an Easter Sunday three-course brunch for $50. Selections from the amuse-bouche, second, and third courses include Japanese kakii fry oysters, watermelon and avocado salad, breakfast bread pudding, Japanese ube pancakes, custard lava French toast, Louisiana fried chicken, and more. All the menu options are available for dine-in and take-out from 10 am to 2:30 pm on April 9.

Both the Galleria and Woodlands locations of this steak and seafood restaurant will open for Easter Sunday with special hours of 12 to 9 pm. In addition to menu favorites like miso-glazed sea bass and king crab, the bar will feature a special Spring Fling cocktail (vodka, Ramazotti Rosato, Cava, raspberries, fresh lime, almond syrup, mint).

The Union Kitchen
All five locations of the comfort food favorite will supplement their regular brunch menu with Easter specials such as crispy crab deviled eggs, Fruity Pebble pancakes, coffee crusted short rib, and herb-crusted lamb lollipops. Cocktail and wine specials will also be available.

Warehouse 72
The live jazz brunch includes items like steak and eggs, chicken and waffles, eggs Benedict, $3 mimosas, and other classic offerings. Kids can participate in an Easter egg hunt. Brunch is available from 11 am to 3 pm.

The Warwick
The Galleria-area restaurant augments its weekend brunch for Easter Sunday, with specials such as smoked ribeye and garlic mashed potatoes for $42 and cedar plank redfish for $39. Known as a great place to bring a crowd, those who love to share can also check out the board room brunch platter with butter pecan waffles, candied bacon, four eggs cooked to order, sausage, and more for $100. Brunch is available from 11 am to 4 pm.

Photo of a table with many dessert platters on it, with items such as cheesecake, brownie bites, cookies and fruit.

Courtesy of Hugo's

There will be special Easter-themed desserts on the brunch buffet at Hugo's.

Easter brunch to-go

The Butcher Shop at B&B Butchers
The to-go side of the popular steakhouse has both ready-to-roast and pre-cooked entrees, starters, sides, and desserts available for Easter dining. Choices include Caesar salad, mini beef Wellington, mini crab cakes, whole rack of lamb, prime rib, mac and cheese and New York cheesecake (24-hour notice required). Orders may be picked up April 7-9. All items subject to availability. Call 832-767-4828 or use link above for more information.

Common Bond
For the holiday, the bakery and cafe is offering fluffernut macrons, with fluffernutter buttercream and a speckled blue shell; carrot cake entermet made with layers of cream cheese icing and candied walnuts; and an Easter case cake, a lemon-soaked vanilla cake with lemon buttercream and blueberry curd. The goodies are available for in-store purchases through April 9, although the cake is only available at bistro and bakery locations.

Craft Pita
The Mediterranean spot teams up with Truth BBQ for the holiday, offering a take-and-bake Easter meal special that includes 1.5 lbs of smoked lamb, rice pilaf, fattoush salad, cucumber yogurt, and maamoul cookies. Items must be pre-ordered and will be available for pickup on April 8. Call the West University location at (832) 767-1265 or the Briargrove location at (832) 804-9056 for information and ordering.

Feges BBQ
Give Easter a Texas twist with Feges' to-go items that are enough to feed a crowd. Get a whole turkey breast for $60 or a whole brisket for $150. Need sides? Moroccan-glazed carrots, loaded potato mash, hog fat cornbread and more are all available for $40. Pick up is available at the Greenway Plaza location on April 6 between 9 am and 3 pm. The Spring Branch location has pickup on April 6 through 8 from 11 am to 9 pm. Full the full menu and order online.

Goode Company
The Easter meal kit includes a choice of either Texas honey-glazed, pit-smoked ham or mesquite-smoked turkey breast, along with a variety of sides and a dessert. Additional items are available to purchase as well. The cost for the kit is $195 and each kit feeds between four and six people. Pre order online by April 1 with pickup on Friday, April 7 or Saturday, April 8.

R-C Ranch
The butcher shop at the Houston Farmers Market will feature a few Easter specials, including smoked ham ($4.95/lb), smoked brisket ($18.75/lb), bacon green beans ($16.95), and beef tallow mashed potatoes ($13.95). Order at the shop or by calling 979-864-3540.

Photo by Ajna Jai

Where to eat in Houston right now: The most swoon-worthy restaurants with open tables on Valentine's Day

where to eat on valentine's day

Valentine’s Day is two weeks away. Couples who wish to celebrate at a Houston restaurant need to make their plans now.

Instead of listing every establishment with a prix fixe, this list offers suggestions of newer or more offbeat options. All of the restaurants listed below show at least some reservations available online as of Monday, January 30.

Of course, those who want to avoid the Valentine’s Day crowds may want to consider going out the weekend before. People who aren’t football fans will find plentiful options on Super Bowl Sunday.

Couples looking for a more casual celebration should consider the popular Midtown bar, which will host a market curated by Shop Local Market. The evening also includes a screening of the cult classic movie True Romance, tacos by Boombox Tacos, and cocktail specials.

El Topo
Chef-owner Tony Luhrman will collaborate with former Top Chef contestant Sasha Grumman (Sasha’s Focaccia) on a five-course, $140 per person menu that explores the intersection of Texan and Italian flavors. Dishes include cherries and chicories salad, ricotta cavatelli with guanciale, and smoked tenderloin with masa polenta. Beverage pairings ($25 for non-alcoholic, $50 for alcoholic) are also available.

George’s Bistro & Bar
This neighborhood restaurant in West U. will supplement its regular menu with a three-course, $100 per person prix fixe. Choose lobster bisque or fried mozzarella to start, followed by either a 10-ounce filet mignon or pan-seared sea bass. Finish with chocolate covered strawberries and lemon meringue pie.

GJ Tavern
Chef Tim Reading will serve a six-course, $135 per person menu at this intimate downtown restaurant. Dishes include East Coast oysters, fried asparagus with crispy prosciutto, octopus, roasted flounder, and New York strip. Two seatings available.

Hidden Omakase
Chef Niki Vongthong will serve a special, Valentine’s themed version of her $175 tasting menu from February 9-12. Look for dishes such as oysters with ikura and yuzu, wagyu udon, and sour cream panna cotta.

Agricole Hospitality’s Texan-inspired restaurant in EaDo will supplement its regular menu with a few Valentine’s Day specials, including three different shared entrees — mesquite-grilled veal chop, snapper with lemongrass butter, and chicken fried piccata — as well as Mexican hot chocolate lava cake. Miss Carousel, its companion cocktail bar, makes for a worthy pre or post-dinner destination.

Louie’s Italian American
This East End newcomer will supplement its regular a la carte with a four-course, $60 prix fixe that includes shared starters, lemon and ricotta ravioli, redfish with salsa verde, and olive oil cake.

The Lymbar
Chef David Cordua’s new restaurant in Midtown will offer a three-course, $85 per person menu. Start with choices such as snapper ceviche or chicken chicharrones before picking an entree such as chicken ballotine, gemelli pasta, or beef tenderloin tacos arabes. A few dessert choices are available, but people should get the tres leches.

Navy Blue
The Bludorn team’s newly opened Rice Village seafood restaurant will serve a three-course, $145 per person prix fixe. Start with one of six appetizers, including oysters, seafood gumbo, or crab cake. The six entree choices include blackened snapper, lobster ravioli, and dry-aged striploin. Finish with any dessert from the menu.

Passerella Ristorante & Wine Bar

This Italian restaurant in Cypress from the owners of The Union Kitchen will offers its Valentine’s menu from February 10-19. Choices include wild mushroom tart, lobster ravioli, veal osso bucco, and bone-in pork milanese.

Chef Anita Jaisinghani’s Lover’s Thali is a two person, $50 dinner that includes Potato Cake Chaat, Vegetable Korma (carrots, cauliflower, snap peas), and sides such as citrus pilaf, grilled zucchini, and avocado herb salad. Add chicken for $10 or shrimp or scallops for $15. Available Saturday, February 11 through Valentine’s.

Roma Ristorante
Rice Village’s homey Italian restaurant will serve a three-course, $59 per person prix fixe. Starters include Caesar salad, octopus, and arancini. Risotto, chicken cacciatore, veal scallopini, and crispy skin salmon are the entree choices. Finish with one of three desserts.

Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Houston’s oldest craft brewery will host a six-course dinner that includes beer pairings. Even better, the $100 per person price includes tax and gratuity. Look for dishes such as French onion soup paired with Spring Bock; oysters Rockefeller paired with Bishop’s Barrel No. 11; and lamb chops paired with Bishop’s Barrel No. 20.

State of Grace
The luxurious steak and seafood restaurant in River Oaks will serve a five-course, $145 per person menu on Valentine’s. Everyone starts with caviar and and oysters before selecting from four appetizers, three pastas, and six entrees. Choices include roasted bone marrow, grilled strawberry salad, blue crab risotto, braised lamb shank, and a surf and turf of filet and lobster ($15 supplement).

Chef Hugo Ortega’s street food concept in Uptown Park will serve a three-course, $95 menu that’s designed to feed two people. Available on February 10, 11, 13, and 14, choices include chicken taquitos, ceviche, braised pork shank, huitlacoche quesadilla, and skirt steak. Drink specials will provide pairing options.

Pondicheri Valentine's thai

Photo by Ajna Jai

Share a Valentine's thali at Pondicheri.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Houston Hot Girl Megan Thee Stallion seizes the awkward with mental health campaign

hot take

We all know Megan Thee Stallion is the baddest you-know-what of them all. She can share the stage with a fellow Houston queen (and still get choked up about it), make an ex-porn star quote her lyrics on social media, and even play a cartoon version of herself on a Netflix show.

But America’s favorite Hot Girl Coach also wants you and your friends to take care of each other mentally.

She recently joined the Seize the Awkward campaign to encourage young adults to reach out to their “strong” friends in a new PSA. In the video, Megan gets real about the pressures to be strong and the importance of peer-to-peer support. “No matter who you are,” she says in the video, “being vulnerable is what makes us whole.”

Seize the Awkward is a national campaign (first launched in 2018) that encourages young adults to start the conversation with friends about mental health. The campaign was developed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and The Jed Foundation in collaboration with the Ad Council.

With 76 percent of young adults turning to a peer for support in a time of crisis, how can more young adults join Megan and Seize the Awkward to get the conversation started?.

As Megan says in the PSA, you can visit SeizeTheAwkward.org and Megan’s website BadBitchesHaveBadDaysToo.com for more resources to check in on a friend. You can also follow @SeizeTheAwkward on Instagram.

Score free Shake Shack for one day only at juicy collab with charming Rice Village jeweler


Popular ear piercing barStuds made a name for itself by offering a customized piercing experience for those who aged out of places like Claire's but wanted an alternative to a tattoo parlor for piercings. With 19 locations nationwide, Studs offers a wide assortment of earrings that range from classic shapes, to huggies, flatbacks, and dangling charms.

Studs has once again added to their earring selection with their latest collaboration with Shake Shack. They created an adorably beefy earring to add to any burger lover's Earscape.

Studs and Shake Shack created a limited-edition Burger huggie earring and Earscape set. Photo by Studs

Retailing for $32, the limited edition Shake Shack burger huggie comes as a 14K gold-plated hoop with a loaded hamburger charm. Shoppers can opt for the $64 pair, but Studs is also currently offering a discount on the Shake Shack x Studs set. For $78, earring enthusiasts can get the two Shake Shack burger huggies, the 14K-gold Smiley Stud and the 14K-gold Micro CZ Stud.

What's even better than cute earrings? Free Shake Shack! On Thursday, September 28th customers can enjoy free bites from Shake Shack while they shop the new Shake Shack Charm Huggie collection at Stud's Rice Village location.

For $78, earring enthusiasts can get the two Shake Shack burger huggies, the 14K-gold Smiley Stud and the 14K-gold Micro CZ Stud.Photo by Studs

Shake Shack is known for their always made-to-order fare including ShackBurger, crinkle-cut fries, hand-spun shakes and their new Veggie Burger and non-dairy offerings.

Interested shoppers can RSVP here.

Studs Rice Village, 2567 Amherst St.; (832) 981-2869. RSVP here.

Pink-powered Barbie merch truck cruises into Houston on 'Dreamhouse Living Tour'

This Barbie Sells Merch

Hot on the heels — or wheels — of the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck comes another timely pink rolling shop for two Saturdays in October.

The Barbie Truck will stop in Friendswood and The Woodlands on its 2023 "Dreamhouse Living Tour," which celebrates the 60th anniversary of Barbie's ever more popular property, and will give visitors a chance to spice up their own homes.

Although this is all about the house, there are only a few homewares: things like coasters, glass tumblers, a glass mug, a throw blanket, and an "accessories cup." Visiting Barbies have more opportunities to take home wearable and on-the-go items like graphic tees, hoodies, and denim; a baseball cap; embroidered patches; and keychains.

Barbie Truck Dreamhouse Living TourIt's a Barbie world in Houston.Photo courtesy of the Barbie Truck Dreamhouse Living Tour

Most people who have been awake and on social media in the past year have learned that Barbie's Dreamhouse has a more empowering history than many girls realized while orchestrating drama between the dolls.

A release announcing the arrival of the truck reminds fans (and detractors) that when the Dreamhouse came out, only a tenth of a percent of young women were independent homeowners, and states that someone buys a Dreamhouse every minute.

This year's Barbie truck tour should be in very high demand following the success of the 2023 movie.

Barbie Truck Dreamhouse Living Tour

Photo courtesy of the Barbie Truck Dreamhouse Living Tour

Dreamhouse aside, this is a dream ride.

The Barbie Truck will be in Friendswood on Saturday, October 21st, from 10 am to 7 pm at Baybrook Mall at the lawn near Gloria's. Arrive early in case of long lines.

The truck will then cruise to The Woodlands on Saturday, October 28th at The Woodlands Mall near Shake Shack from 10 am to 7 pm.

These Barbies will hit five other Texas cities on the tour:

  • September 30 – San Antonio
  • October 7 — Austin
  • October 14 — Laredo
  • November 4 — Plano (Dallas)
  • November 11 — Fort Worth

Follow along to see more stops on Instagram or Facebook.