Masked men: Aaron Bludorn and Chris Shepherd.

Our pick for Houston's best new restaurant in 2020, Bludorn is teaming up with the Southern Smoke Foundation this year to help get hospitality workers emergency funds.

Specifically, the restaurant will host a series of initiatives with profits going straight to Southern Smoke, founded by chef Chris Shepherd. The first is the sale of Super Bowl to-go packages, which include a dozen wings (with buffalo, Mississippi comeback, and chile-soy sauces), spinach and artichoke dip, a fried chicken sandwich, a dry-aged burger, and chocolate brownies. You can get it for two ($55) or for four ($100) and add things like a six-pack of Karbach Horseshoe Pilsner.

"We started thinking about ways that we could take some of our success, and at least our name, and help those around the country and here in Houston who have fallen on hard times," Bludorn chef-owner Aaron Bludorn says. "Chris has been amazing through this whole pandemic ... the fact that he's been able to cut through all the red tape and BS to get money to people is amazing."

Future Bludorn and Southern Smoke initiatives include chef dinners. Bludorn is inviting folks like Austin's Matthew Peters and San Francisco's Travis Swikard to Houston to show off their skills. The first chef dinner is scheduled for March 11.

"We'll get them out here and have some fun with me," says Bludorn. "We'll go fishing ... who knows."


You still have time to reserve a spot for Hops & Hot Tamales, an event with Mexican beer (or cocktails) and tamales from Hugo's that benefits the Periwinkle Foundation. This year's Hops & Hot Tamales, which takes place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and is hosted by Friends of Periwinkle, will be held on Zoom. Attendees are asked to pick up their food and drink ahead of the virtual event. Tickets are $25 for people younger than 35, $35 for individuals, $50 for couples younger than 35, and $70 for couples.

Riel is hosting its four-year anniversary celebration on Tuesday by welcoming in former sous chef EJ Miller. The menu will include some of the restaurant's greatest hits. Reserve your table for socially distant dine-in service.