Summer is the slow time for openings in the restaurant industry, though you might not get that impression if you focus on Houston. Eateries are opening all the time now, constantly shuffling concepts and menus, and that won't be slowing down any time soon. In fact, fall is the busy time for openings, which means we're about to be pretty busy trying all the new menus and talking to all the new and changing faces throughout Space City.
With September just days away, let's get you ready for what's to come. Here are some of the expected openings coming up over the next several weeks:
One Fifth Mediterranean: September 1
Chris Shepherd's team at Underbelly Hospitality has been busy flooding Instagram with teaser photos and videos for the third part of the five-part "Houston in five years" concept, and we're certainly excited. To prepare for this restaurant, which will focus primarily on Middle Eastern cuisine, Shepherd visited acclaimed Israeli chef Michael Solomonov in Philadelphia, spending time in his kitchen at Zahav. Reservations are being taken for Mediterranean, which is set to open Saturday, September 1, as is custom for the concept.
Flower Child: September 12
With Vibrant opening last week, and now this Fox Restaurant Concepts eatery coming to Uptown Park, Houston is seeing a small spurt of health-forward restaurants stake their claim. Flower Child already has locations in Texas (two in Austin and soon-to-be two in Dallas), so this'll be the first time Bayou City residents will get the opportunity to dig into Sam Fox's fast-casual offerings, which include plenty of vegan, organic, and gluten-free dishes.
Superica and La Lucha: September 17
We found out this week that the opening of both La Lucha and Superica, the Ford Fry concepts launching on the same patch of land in the Heights, were pushed back to September 17. No big change here, so expect full dining rooms as fall sets in on Shepherd Street. Superica is an established brand, starting in Atlanta and highlighting Fry's vision of Tex-Mex (tacos, enchiladas and fajitas, natch, but also short rib and carne asada with an ancho chili rub). La Lucha, meanwhile, pays homage to the Gulf Coast with fried chicken, oysters, and crawfish bread, among other delights. Expect a slightly more casual dress and vibe at Superica.
Georgia James: Late-September
Shepherd's ambitious September includes the One Fifth re-open, his Southern Smoke festival, and this highly anticipated opening. The first One Fifth spin-off, Georgia James will be a steakhouse, proving that honestly anyone who opens a restaurant in Houston is only years away from opening a temple of beef, too. Shepherd promises a vibe closer to home than ultra-formal, though expensive cuts are likely to fill the menu, and the famous Baller Board from One Fifth Steak will also show up. The launch date has been pushed back a few times, but Shepherd last told us that he's eyeing a late-September start.
The arrival of this Cajun-Creole concept from Drake Leonards, in partnership with BRG Hospitality, has been talked about for about three years. It's finally seeing the light of day at Greenway Plaza, focusing on dishes inspired by Leonards' childhood in Eunice, La.: think crispy quail, shellfish-stuffed oysters, and seafood gumbo.
BRG was Besh Restaurant Group, founded by chef John Besh, who in October 2017 was accused by 25 former and current employees of sexual harassment and fostering a culture of harassment and toxic, aggressive behavior. Leonards spent years at Besh Restaurant Group, most notably helming the New Orleans' location of Besh's Luke as executive chef. Besh stepped down after the allegations surfaced, and the group since rebranded to BRG, completely wiped Besh from its restaurant descriptions, added a human relations department, and "hired an outside investigator to look into unreported claims of sexual misconduct," according to a 2017 Houston Press report.
Vinny's, Indianola, and Miss Carousel: September
We haven't heard much lately about the Agricole Hospitality concepts scheduled to open in a big lot in EaDo. "Opening September" was the last update, so we're sticking to it. For those needing a refresher, Vinny's is set to be a throwback pizza place with slices; Indianola is going for modern American food, which means food from all over the world (shakshukah, Chinese rice porridge, Santa Maria steak with tomatillo escabeche); and Miss Carousel is a 5,000-square-foot cocktail bar.
Truth BBQ: September/October
Truth BBQ couldn't ask for better press in the lead-up to the opening of its second location at Heights Boulevard and Washington Avenue: Its Brenham owner and pitmaster Leonard Botello IV won an all-Texas round of Chopped: Grill Masters on Food Network, in an episode that aired last week. Truth is quickly becoming a top-level name in the Texas barbecue game, making its inside-the-Loop debut one of the more anticipated openings of 2018. Greg Morago of the Chronicle reported opening is set for anywhere between late September and early October; either way, get ready for lines, folks.
Opening in the former Taverna space in River Oaks, Bisou marks the return of French chef Frederic Perrier to the Houston culinary scene. The owner of the now-shuttered Aura Brasserie in Sugar Land will bring contemporary French cuisine (quail egg, grilled tomahawk ribeye, pork belly with fig and pomegranate molasses) to this swanky restaurant in collaboration with the Clé Group. Get ready for buttery meat, tasty small plates, and a lively brunch with a DJ and more than a few bottles of champagne.
Cuc Lam and Jerry Lasco have teamed up for this casual, social-media friendly Singaporian restaurant in the Heights. Houston Food Finder reported it's due for an October opening, and the restaurant's website is standing by that. Sing also has been raising money on NextSeed; it's up to $107,000, more than twice its original target of $50,000.