Summer tends to be a slow season for Houston food news, but we’ve managed to put together a little dispatch from Houston’s culinary scene for you this week that includes information on things happening in the city’s foodie scene that are absolutely worth checking your phone poolside for.
We’re continuing our coverage this week by dishing on a new dive bar soon to open in the Heights, giving you all the details about some upscale food pop-ups happening this week at two of the city’s top restaurants, and bringing you the fantastic news that Katy-based Phat Eatery is expanding into The Woodlands. Read on to learn more.
EZ does it
The Heights is getting a new dive bar, or at least a bar with dive-y sensibilities. Agricole Hospitality, the group behind buzzy concepts Eight Row Flint, Indianola, Miss Carousel, Revival Market, and Vinny’s, has partnered with Anvil veteran Matt Tanner on forthcoming concept EZ’s Liquor Lounge, which will be opening late this summer in the White Oak Drive building formerly home to Blue Line Bike Lab. The bar, which will be located next door to Agricole’s beloved Gulf Coast Italian eatery Coltivare, will sport a playful, laid-back vibe with a vintage feel to it—as all dive bar–adjacent concepts should.
Inspired by co-owners Matt Tanner, Morgan Weber, Ryan Pera, and Vincent Huynh’s collective love for a good neighborhood dive, EZ’s Liquor Lounge will feature a menu stacked will well-made cocktails (including frozen and on-tap), beers on tap and in the bottle, and a thoughtful selection of wine. For eats, the bar will have what Agricole refers to as “no-frills” bar snacks, including Frito pies, chips and dips, and Wagyu hot dogs—because nothing says no-frills quite like Wagyu. (Not that we’re complaining.)
When EZ’s Liquor Lounge opens late this summer, it will add further bar diversity to the rapidly developing Heights area, which in recent months has played host to a string of new bar openings, including haute patio bar Heights & Co. and leviathan patio bar Patterson Park.
Houston is home to many food pop-ups, and this week the city is getting two more—one at acclaimed Fourth Ward restaurant Bludorn and another at Norwegian-inspired Downtown seafood restaurant Golfstrømmen. For the Bludorn pop-up, happening for one day only on Saturday, June 25, chef Aaron Bludorn will be partnering with Houston food influencer Abbas Dhanani to bring Dhanani’s hit smash burger concept, Burger Bodega, to Bludorn’s backyard. During the event, happening from noon to 3 p.m., Dhanani will be firing up his grill in order to cook up his wildly popular smash burgers, which come with double patties, grilled onions, pickles, and a bodega sauce on a Martin’s potato bun. Marie Riddle, Bludorn’s executive pastry chef, will be providing sweet complements to the burgers through cookies and cream and peaches and cheesecake ice creams. The restaurant’s bar will be open so customers can enjoy their pop-up fare alongside boozy refreshments.
Meanwhile, the Golfstrømmen pop-up will see the restaurant’s executive chef, Norwegian celebrity chef Christopher Haatuft, flying in from Norway to bring his acclaimed Bergen-based seafood restaurant Lysverket to POST Houston for a one-week gastronomic takeover of Golfstrømmen. Haatuft, who cofounded Golfstrømmen with James Beard Award and Top Chef winner Paul Qui, is considered the godfather of “neo-fjordic” cuisine, a rather ambiguous riff on the New Nordic food movement focused on sustainability and hyper-local sourcing that started out as a joke.
Ranging in price from $75 to $175 per person, the special dining sessions will take place across eight days from Sunday, June 26, to Sunday, July 3. Qui and Biggie Cruz, Golfstrømmen’s chef de cuisine, will be supporting Haatuft during his takeover, which will include a vegetable-centric dinner with Urban Harvest as well as an omakase experience and several seafood-centric dinners and brunches. Reservations for the pop-up can be made on Resy.
Cloudy with a chance of beef rendang
Although some inner loopers may disagree, many of the Houston area’s best meals can be found outside the confines of the 610 Loop. And if you’re looking to make the trek, there’s no better place to end up than Katy-based Malaysian restaurant Phat Eatery, which was opened in 2018 by James Beard semifinalist Alex Au-Yeung. The restaurant, known for its freshly prepared Malaysian street food and for having one of the best beef rendangs to be found in the Houston area, just announced that it’s going to be opening its second location in early 2023—this time in The Woodlands, much, much farther outside the 610 Loop.
The second Phat Eatery, which will open at Grogan Mills Village, will have room for nearly twice as many guests as the restaurant’s Katy Asian Town location, in addition to having private dining rooms. With all of that extra space, Au-Yeung will be expanding the restaurant’s selection of house dim sum, adding in steamed rice rolls and xiao long baos alongside the restaurant’s already popular har gow, siu mai, pork buns, and lotus leaf–wrapped sticky rice. Au-Yeung also plans on introducing a new passion project to the menu: Chinese-style barbecue, a craft he learned while training in Cantonese kitchens in his native Hong Kong. As such, he will be serving his long-awaited take on Chinese barbecue pork and Peking duck at the new Woodlands location.
When it opens early next year, Phat Eatery at The Woodlands will serve lunch and dinner daily to both Woodlands locals and pilgrimage-making inner loopers—time to save up that gas money!