Photo by Lindsey Brown

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 suggests Napa Valley wineries to visit Take it away, Chris.

I try to visit Napa once or twice a year. I put together a guide for you to make the most of the Valley. This will be a two-part series.

This week, I’m only focusing on wineries. Next time, I’ll write about my favorite restaurants and bars.

Before you go, know that things have changed since 2020. More pre-planning is required, and having a good strategy is key to maximizing your experience. Gone are the days of getting on a bus going from winery to winery and just dropping in. Almost all wineries are reservation-only now and need to be booked in advance, which I believe is a good thing.

I never really understood why people would want to hit as many wineries as you could in a day — not only is that dangerous, but it’s not fair to the wineries. Let’s be honest. You probably won’t remember your sixth winery of the day.

I believe that the perfect scenario for this kind of vacation is visiting one winery in the morning, then lunch, and one winery in the afternoon. Most tastings are an hour to an hour-and-a-half, so be aware when you’re making reservations. Also, in the past, I’ve booked wineries without considering their location. Make sure you’re scheduling wineries that are in close proximity on the same day. And stay hydrated out there!

We’re lucky in Houston that we have access to a lot of wine here. But when you visit the wineries, you have access to past vintages, winery-only releases, one-offs, and other cool stuff. Make sure to ask for any special winery-only offerings.

Here's my list of favorites. What did I miss? Share your favorites with me!

Staglin Family Vineyard
What to taste: Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Why I like it: They produce a label called Salus that benefits mental health research. The Staglin family is incredibly philanthropic. Their Music Festival for Brain Health at Staglin Family Vineyard has raised over $460 million.

Fun fact: the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap was filmed at Staglin.

Robert Mondavi Winery
You can’t talk about Napa Valley without mentioning this winery. The man helped create Napa Valley.

What to taste: The Estate wines. To Kalon is one of the greatest vineyards in the world. So many of the cult wineries that people are searching for are buying fruit from this vineyard to make those wines. Respect the history. Mondavi is the OG.

Fun fact: Mondavi is about to begin a three-year renovation of the winery, so they’re moving the tasting room to downtown Napa.

Spottswood Winery
What to taste: They’re most recognized for their Cabernet Sauvignon, but their Sauv Blanc is delicious.

Corison Winery
This winery is really easy to find, because it’s right on Highway 29. Cathy Corison is an OG winemaker in the Valley, making some of the best wines out there.

What to taste: Her single vineyard wines are absolutely fantastic. The Cab Franc is a stunner, and her rosé is crisp, clean, and fantastic.

Heitz Cellar
Heitz has been in Napa since the late 1960s, but they’ve recently seen a major renaissance thanks to new ownership and a new CEO, master sommelier Carlton McCoy. They’ve instilled a new tasting room style, which is formal but relaxed in a beautiful setting. Back vintages are readily available, and they’re always doing something cool.

What to taste: Martha’s Vineyard is one of the most exceptional vineyards in Napa, and it’s a real treat to try their wine from this vineyard. The Trailside Vineyard is my favorite. You can find back vintages of both at the winery. These wines are built to age.

Chateau Montelena Winery
If Robert Mondavi is the guy who built Napa, Chateau Montelena is one of the wineries that put Napa on the map. The movie Bottle Shock (I talked about this in a previous column. Rent it! It’s great!) is based on Chateau Montelena’s Chardonnay beating out Burgundy’s top whites in a blind tasting involving only French judges in The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. This event changed everything for Napa, and you know what? It’s still delicious.

What to taste: The estate wines are great. The Cab is fantastic. But the Chardonnay is what it’s all about to me. There’s a reason it won. And it’s a beautiful estate to visit.

Dunn Vineyards
We’ve talked about Dunn a few times in this column, and I just had the opportunity to visit them at the top of Howell Mountain. In the snow!

What to taste: The Napa Cab and the Howell Mountain Cab are absolutely stunning and worth the trip, but getting to try second generation winemakers Mike and Kara Dunn’s Retro Cellars was really special.

Miner Family Winery
I’ve been a fan of Miner for as long as I can remember. They buy the majority of their fruit, so you’re not just going to taste Cab here.

What to taste: The Oracle, a Cab blend, is their flagship (and rightfully so), but they produce Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands — Rosella’s Vineyard and Gary’s Vineyard. Dave Miner is a big Rhone wine lover, so he also makes Grenache/Syrah blends and white varietals like Roussanne and Viognier. This is a good wine club to join.

ZD Wines
What to taste: Their Chardonnays are delicious, and their Pinots from Carneros are fantastic. Then there’s the elusive Abacus, which is a multi-vintage blend of Cabernet. The XXIV release is a masterful blend of 30 vintages of ZD Reserve Cab. How cool is that?

Robert Sinskey Vineyards
Arguably, they offer one of the coolest tastings in Napa. I’m a big fan of both their wines and their food. Maria Sinskey was a Food & Wine Best New Chef, so their food is some of the best at any winery I’ve visited.

What to taste: They produce a lot of really killer white wines. I’m very much in love with the Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. The rosé is out of this world. And their single vineyard Pinots and bigger reds are beautiful as well.

Fun fact: The Robert Sinskey Foundation funded Southern Smoke’s mental health program in California that allows us to provide free mental health counseling to anyone in the food and beverage industry in the state.

Chappellet is up on Pritchard Hill — we’ve talked about their Cabs before — It’s a beautiful setting.

What to taste: All the wines are fantastic, but the two you don’t want to sleep on are the Chenin Blanc and the Cab Franc.

Stag’s Leap
We talked about The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. Stag’s Leap SLV Cab was the winner in the red wine category! Spoiler alert—Napa swept France in ’76.

What to taste: The wines I truly love are Fay, SLV, and the Cask 23.

Long Meadow Ranch
I originally visited this winery back when I was at Brennan’s because of their olive oil production, and I fell in love with their wines, too.

What to taste: Located in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains, they produce some stunning Cabernet and make a delicious Sangiovese as well.

Ashes and Diamonds
Ashes and Diamonds is new to the scene with a winery in a fun, mid-century modern setting. Their food program is really interesting. I’m not currently a member of this club, but maybe I should be. The perks are cool—picnics and swimming pools!

What to taste: The Grand Vin, a blend of Merlot and Cab Franc.

Beyond Napa Valley

If you want to get out of Napa Valley for a tasting or two, head north into Alexander Valley and visit Jordan Winery. They’ve been making wine since the ‘70s, and it’s a beautiful estate.

What to taste: They only make two wines — Chardonnay and Cabernet. I hadn’t tasted these wines in quite some time, but they took me back with their sense of place. It’s a consistently delicious, consistently well-made wine. It almost surprised me a little with how delicious it was.

If you have a free afternoon on a beautiful California day, head out to Scribe. Currently, only Scribe members can visit, but trust me. This is a great club to join. When you’re a part of the wine club, they ship you wines that I didn’t even know existed.

What to taste: One of the wines we got as part of the club was an Estate Sparkling Mission. The Mission grape was the first European grape vine planted in California but has been rarely planted since Prohibition. Their Pinots are great, and their white wines are, too. Some are more on the natural side, which is fun as well.

There are so many wineries in Napa, and this doesn’t come close to scratching the surface. You wouldn’t want to read an article that long! Everyone has their favorites, and that’s the beauty of traveling. Go find yours, and then let me know.

Contact our Wine Guy via email at chris@chrisshepherdconcepts.com.

Chris Shepherd won a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2014. Last year, he parted ways with Underbelly Hospitality, a restaurant group that currently operates four Houston restaurants: Wild Oats, GJ Tavern, Underbelly Burger, and Georgia James. The Southern Smoke Foundation, a non-profit he co-founded with his wife Lindsey Brown, has distributed more than $10 million to hospitality workers in crisis through its Emergency Relief Fund.

Chris Shepherd Modavi vineyard

Photo by Lindsey Brown

Our wine guy recommends visiting Mondavi.

Photo courtesy of Carter Creek Winery Resort

First-of-its-kind Hill Country resort blends acclaimed Texas winery, brewery, and spa

Texas getaways

When he’s a beer-loving outdoor enthusiast and she’s a wine-loving spa junkie, agreeing on plans for a quick Hill Country getaway can be tricky. My husband likes to spend the day climbing hills in state parks; I’d rather climb on and off a wine tour bus. He hunts down hoppy craft beer in town; I search for lavender bath products.

So a new(ish) Hill Country resort with our vacation trifecta — winery, brewery, and spa — beckoned to us for a weekend away. Carter Creek Winery, Resort & Spa stands high on a hill overlooking U.S. Hwy. 290, just off a swerve-fast-or-you’ll-miss-it exit outside Johnson City.

Thirty miles east of Fredericksburg, it’s along a stretch of the famous “Texas wine road” between Johnson City and Stonewall that’s become an attractive destination for a slightly more laid-back oenophile experience. (Locals are quick to make Napa-Sonoma comparisons.)

Carter Creek Family Winery has been bottling wines in the area since 2016, and they come with fine Texas pedigree: Head winemaker is Jon McPherson, son of Texas wine industry pioneer "Doc" McPherson and brother of renowned winemaker Kim McPherson. Jon McPherson has teamed up with winemaker Javier Flores to turn out award-winning Carter Creek wines for several years.

In December 2019, owners Jim and Dawn Carter opened Carter Creek Winery Resort in Johnson City as a sister property to their South Coast Winery Resort & Spa in Temecula, California. Knowing how much Texans like their beer, they say, they threw in a microbrewery, too. The Hill Country resort debuted with a winery and two tasting rooms, onsite brewery, restaurant, seasonal smokehouse, outdoor events center, and 78 luxe private villas.

Then COVID-19 hit weeks later and shut it all down.

As restrictions loosened and tourists came back to the area, the owners continued with their plans, finally adding a long-anticipated spa in summer 2022.

Carter Creek now has the only spa in the eastern section of the Hill Country. It’s also the only winery resort with a brewery in the area.

Rooms and brews
After a longer-than-usual drive from Fort Worth to Johnson City (who knew Marble Falls and Burnet had rush-hour traffic?), we checked into villa #2704, our own private palace: separate living room and bedroom, two 55-inch flat screen TVs and an electric fireplace, bathroom with double vanity, and porch with seating area.

We couldn’t help but compare this $209-per-night Hill Country castle to more high-profile Texas hotel-resorts - with tiny rooms - that cost double or triple as much. We were also thankful our quiet villa was one of the farthest back from the highway.

A (recommended) dinner reservation at the resort's Old 290 Brewery Restaurant awaited, just a short walk down a well-lit path across the property. “Old 290” refers to the road that runs along the resort - the actual old 290 road to Fredericksburg from Johnson City.

Here, head brewmeister Justin Zimmerman crafts award-winning small-batch light ales, medium-bodied pale ales, and stouts. Folks were buzzing about his Hell Raiser Bourbon Brown, aged for two months in nearby Garrison Brothers Bourbon Barrels, which won a coveted gold medal in the Fredericksburg Craft Beer Festival last summer. His El Bigote Mexican Lager took home a bronze.

The brewery’s adjacent Hill Country-fine dining restaurant serves the steaks, burgers, and CFS Texas diners demand, with some cheffy twists. The Old 290 Bison Burger, for instance, is topped with brie cheese, tomato bacon jam, horseradish pickles, and crispy onions on a pretzel bun. At a breakfast buffet, “Chef Trey” cooked eggs to order for every guest.

Over housemade garlic knots with tomato garlic compound butter, my husband sampled a flight of Old 290 beers - the IPA earned a rave from the self-proclaimed "hophead" - and I tried Carter Creek wine for the first time. (Tip: Take advantage of the free samples offered before committing to a glass.)

Without evening plans, we’d considered driving 30 miles to legendary Luckenbach to enjoy some live music. No need. A local musician entertained on the restaurant’s stage for hours. Outside, guests gathered around fire pits on the patio and played cornhole on the lush lawn that doubles as a wedding venue with beautiful vistas.

Spa with panache
The next morning, I arrived far too early for my facial and had the intimate spa all to myself. The 1,500-square-foot Carter Creek Spa might be small, but it’s got a mighty name behind it. Spa director Gülçin Johnson is a well-respected aesthetician with an eponymous skincare line called Gülçin Johnson Botanicals carried at top spas across the country.

Carter Creek Spa offers a variety of massages, body treatments, facials, and foot reflexology treatments for individuals or couples. A dry sauna, outdoor pool, and hot tub are just steps away. While priority is given to resort patrons, the spa welcomes day guests for appointments, too.

My refreshing, 50-minute Carter Creek Classic Facial - featuring some Eminence Organic products I've long loved - ended with a glass of crisp Muscat Canelli wine in the relaxation area. (So what if it was not quite 11 am?)

Wine time
An afternoon wine tasting revealed that, unlike other Hill Country wineries with lists as long as a Cheesecake Factory menu, Carter Creek zeroes in on a handful and does them well - currently, four whites, four reds, a rose, a sparkling, and two dessert wines.

The winemakers lean into European varietals, producing crisp whites such the popular Gloriosa ($24), a not-too-sweet blend of Gewurztraminer, Riesling, and Muscat Canelli; and complex reds, such as the top-selling Maverick ($39), a Rhone-style blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Viognier.

Carter Creek also makes a Sparkling Peach ($35) that’s such a sensation, they have trouble keeping it in stock. It also has a fun backstory: When the Carters asked Jon McPherson - a master winemaker with special expertise in sparkling wines - to create a peach sparkler as a nod to the Hill Country, it took some arm-twisting. He wasn’t going to make some cloying hot-tub sipper, he told them; he would make it his way, as a “serious” wine.

A blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat Canelli, and Pinot Noir results in a lightly sweet, refreshingly crisp and only slightly “peachy” bubbly. It won Double Gold at the 2022 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, in fact.

We couldn’t resist purchasing a bottle, along with three other favorites. (Looking back, we should have joined the wine club on the spot and saved 25 percent; there was no pressure to do so.)

Outdoors and out-of-this-world
After spa-ing and sipping, it was time for an outdoor adventure together. Pedernales Falls State Park was just a picturesque, 30-minute drive away. We laced up our hiking boots and drove down hilly backroads to the park, where my husband’s handy Texas State Parks Pass got us in free.

On this sunny afternoon, a lot of other people had the same idea. We hiked out to the famous river rocks - mostly dry after a season with little rain. To break from the crowds, we sat for a spell in the bird blind and viewed bright red cardinals a chirpy finches darting around the trees.

At dusk, we drove up to the park’s star theater for a stargazing session led by a state park ranger. While we bundled up in a blanket and gazed up at the stars, “Ranger Steve” laser-pointed to constellations and recounted their humorous and harrowing origin stories.

Then, he paused and told us to look up at a blinking light streaking overhead. We waved hello to the International Space Station as it cruised by for four minutes, then disappeared among the million stars in the night sky.

We left the Hill Country, this time, having sampled a bit of everything we were craving - wine, beer, pampering, and nature.

Everything, that is, except bluebonnets. Now, to plan that spring wildflower excursion.


Carter Creek Winery, Resort & Spa, 4064 W. U.S. Highway 290, Johnson City. Rates start at $209, plus $19 per-night resort fees. Discounts available for AAA, AARP, and more. Family-friendly and pet-friendly. Check website for days and hours at tasting room, restaurant, and spa.

Carter Creek Winery, Resort & Spa

Photo courtesy of Carter Creek Winery Resort

Carter Creek Winery Resort will look spectacular in the spring, with the bluebonnets popping.

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Where to celebrate Pride Month in Houston: Party loud n' proud with bar bashes, pride rides, takeovers, and more

where to celebrate pride

Houston has always been a bastion of pride, and this month, venues around the city are waving their flags in unity and celebration. A local hot spot pays tribute to a legendary institution, while some local gay institutions party all month long.

Also look for food and drink specials, cultural celebrations, pride rides, and more. Here are your best bets for loud and proud parties this Pride month.

Tuesday, June 6

Trash Panda Drinking Club will pay homage to three iconic gay bars throughout the month of June, starting with New York's legendary Stonewall Inn for one night only. Chef Adriana Maldonado will curate a special, New York-themed menu featuring chopped cheese, New York-style pizza by the slice, and more, starting at 7 pm. Look for appearances by Stonewall bartenders Mel Albaladejo and Mike Salanari, DJ Chauncey D, and an appearance by Ms. Stonewall 2023. The parties continue on June 13 with an homage to New York's Cubbyhole, and on June 24 with a revival of the much missed La Strada brunch.

Thursday, June 8

Pride Chorus Houston will return to the Moody Center for the Arts for an a cappella performance of uplifting pop favorites. DJ Krazzy Kris will get the party started. 5 pm.

Friday, June 9

Hamburger Mary’swill have a Pride Month celebration/fundraiser, which will include a costume contest and door prizes. It’s free and open to healthcare professionals. 6 pm.

Saturday, June 10

Snoozewill host “Yappy Pride,” a fur-filled day of fun, love, and support for the LGBTQ+ community and their furry companions. There will be a prize wheel and merch for sale. 10 am.

Sunday, June 11

Congregation Beth Yeshurunwill host a Pride Playdate, complete with a bubble truck and a splash pad. You can also enjoy rainbow snacks and will have lots of time to play. 10 am.

Unbound Productionwill present the Drag Queen Reverse Brunch Show. This knock-your-socks-off show is the perfect mix of classy entertainment and raunchy comedy. 1 pm.

Thursday, June 16

Therapy Lounge will have a Pride celebration with live poetry, R&B music, and a drag show. There will also be food, hookah, drinks, vendors, and you can BYOB. 8:30 pm.

Saturday, June 17

Chapman & Kirbywill have a Pride Month Queen Brunch. Enjoy a delicious buffet while being entertained by some of the most talented drag performers in the city. Noon.

Houston Eaglewill host Houston’s Annual Pride Ride. There will be vendors, a drag show and raffles, followed by a bike ride through the old Pride Parade route through Montrose. Noon.

BUDDY’Swill have its 6th annual Pride Bar Crawl, with stops at Kiki, Pop Soap, and other spots. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to local Pride organizations and The Trevor Project. 4 pm.

The Montrose Centerwill celebrate Pride Month (and its 45th anniversary) with the Community Pride Celebration. There will be live entertainment, special surprises, and more. 4 pm.

Thursday, June 22

Numbers Nightclubwill welcome many drag performers for its Space City Pride 2023 party. Marcia Marcia Marcia, Salina EsTitties, Jasmine Kennedie, Landon Cider, and Jax will be in attendance. 8 pm.

Ripcordwill have a four-day, Unapologetic Pride Party, where people can celebrate and still remain aware of current events affecting the LGBTQ+ community. There will be a full lineup of acts, along with vendors, kink demos, and speakers. 9 pm.

Saturday, June 24

The Pride Run, the inclusive, synchronized 5k/10k walk and run, will go down in downtown Houston. It’s dedicated to bringing people together to have fun, be active, and support the LGBTQ+ community. 7 am.

The 45th Annual Official Houston Pride Celebration, featuring the Houston Pride Parade, will take place in downtown Houston on Smith and Milam. It’s free and everyone can register. 7 pm.

Talented Houstonian wins James Beard Award for Best Chef: Texas

Houston's newest Beard winner

A Houston chef has won one of the food world’s most prestigious awards. On Monday, June 5, the James Beard Foundation awarded Best Chef: Texas to Street to Kitchen chef Benchawan Jabthong Painter.

Considered the Oscars of the food world, the awards recognize chefs and other culinary professionals in a wide range of categories ranging from Outstanding Chef to Best New Restaurant. Winners are selected by the foundation’s Awards Committee that is made up of media members, former winners, and others. See the full list of winners here.

Painter — known as “Chef G” to friends and admirers — is the first Houston chef to win Best Chef: Texas, which was created after the 2019 James Beard Awards. She joins Robert Del Grande, Chris Shepherd, Justin Yu, and Hugo Ortega as the only Houston chefs to win a regional award in the foundation’s annual Restaurant and Chef Awards. Last night’s win means back-to-back victories for Houstonians in the awards, following Southern-inspired cocktail bar Julep’s win last year for Outstanding Bar Program.

“I always dreamed it would happen,” Painter told CultureMap shortly after her win. “It proves to me I can do it. I’m new to this country and new to this business, but if you have a belief, you can do it.”

The story of Street to Kitchen’s rise in the food world almost reads like a Hollywood movie. After growing up in Thailand where she learned to cook Thai food from her family, chef Painter and her husband Graham moved to America eight years ago. She worked for James Beard Award winner Justin Yu at Theodore Rex before starting Street to Kitchen to serve the “unapologetically Thai” flavors she couldn’t find at restaurants in Houston.

The Painters launched Street to Kitchen with a series of pop-ups and a weekly stand at the Urban Harvest farmers market. They leased a former fried chicken restaurant next to an East End gas station — far away from a prime location in a neighborhood like Montrose or the Heights — to bring Street to Kitchen to life.

Despite opening at the height of the pandemic in the summer 2020, people immediately began to discover Street to Kitchen. It won both Restaurant of the Year and Rising Star Chef of the Year in the 2022 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, paving the way for this year’s James Beard Award nomination.

“After I won, I feel like this is crazy,” she added. “No matter how hard I was working toward this day, it was worth it. I’m so proud to bring it to Houston. I’m really proud.”

While the night belonged to Chef G, it ended in disappointment for Houston’s two other finalists. Neither Nancy’s Hustle nor Tatemó took home the awards for Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program and Best New Restaurant, respectively. Overall, Texas bars and restaurants earned 13 finalist nominations, but only Street to Kitchen won its category.

While the atmosphere throughout Monday night’s ceremony was jubilant, controversy had erupted over the past few weeks over the James Beard Foundation’s decision to disqualify Best Chef: South finalist Timothy Hontzas after it investigated anonymous complaints about his behavior towards staff and customers. Judges, including New Orleans-based food writer Todd Price and chef Vishwesh Bhatt, publicly resigned from the Restaurant and Chef Awards committee to protest the decision. In a lengthy article, the New York Timesreported that the foundation also investigated Best Chef: Southeast finalist Sam Fore, but ultimately allowed her to remain a nominee.

Popular Indian restaurant adds second location offering exclusively vegetarian fine-dining experience

Delicious Dedication

Foodies in the know have been visiting Nirmanz Food Boutique in Sugar Land for the past six years, drawn by its wide variety of Indian cuisines that include Punjabi, North and South Indian, Indo-Chinese, Indian street food, and even Indian fast food.

Now, hungry Houstonians and visitors seeking bright flavors and high-end hospitality can flock to the second location in Richmond, which opened at 11143 Harlem Rd. in fall of last year. It will feature an exclusively vegetarian menu.

It's the first of many planned expansions, says chef Nirman Shah, who runs the brand with his wife, Niyati, and three daughters: Manushi, Aayushi, and Sreyanshi. “These girls of mine are my truest of assets,” he often expresses.

Shah and his family have always followed the path of vegetarianism, and it has long been a dream to have a restaurant that showcases only vegetarian cuisine.

"In the Indian culture, there’s a large population that follows vegetarianism and there is a lack of fine-dining vegetarian, Indian restaurants here in America," says Shah. "Our goal is to place a spotlight on this particular genre and spread awareness of this cuisine that's growing in popularity."

Shah revealed that all Nirmanz locations will be converting to exclusively vegetarian soon, and there will be an additional menu that features gluten-free, vegan, jain, and swaminarayan options for those with dietary restrictions. In the near future, there will also be additions to the menu featuring cultural root dishes, which are often not found outside of India

"Ultimately we want to create a dining space that is inclusive, where there is something for everyone," Shah says. "As professionals in the hospitality industry, nothing makes us happier than having loved ones dine in our restaurants, celebrating a joyous time, while leaving satisfied."

A graduate of Indian Hotel Management in Ahmedabad, Shah has more than 25 years of U.S. restaurant experience.

Before arriving in the U.S., Shah earned accolades working as a head chef at the renowned Rambagh Palace Hotel in Jaipur, now a luxury Taj Palace Hotel, and also studied food technology.

The new location in Richmond is a celebration of Shah's culinary journey throughout his time in America. Beautifully adorned with antique furniture and pieces that were brought over from the city of Rajasthan, the restaurant's ambiance helps tell the story of the chef and his family.

The authentic menu tells its own delicious tale with comforting favorites like palak, tikka masala, and koftas, plus some unexpected fusion creations.

Thanks to both its food and its family spirit, the beloved restaurant brand is a popular choice for weddings and has catered at some of the city's most stunning venues.

Shah also believes in giving back — community is extremely important to him. He has gone out of his way to deliver free meals to medical offices and clinics during the pandemic, and helped feed locals during Hurricane Harvey and the devastating ice storm.

Bringing cuisine and culture together has always been Shah's goal, and now there are twice as many opportunities for his fans to experience that.


Nirmanz Food Boutique's original location is at 16338 Kensington Dr., suite 160, in Sugar Land (832-532-0699). Its new location is at 11143 Harlem Rd. in Richmond (832-281-9990).

Nirmanz Food Boutique

Photo courtesy of Nirmanz Food Boutique

The second location in Richmond is now open.