NoPo Cafe, Market and Bar, 1244 N. Post Oak, opened June 10. NoPo is an acronym for the North Post Oak area encompassing the neighborhood east of Spring Branch, north of the Galleria and west of Timbergrove. Berg Hospitality's culinary director, Jose Hernandez, has created a classic American menu for the all-day restaurant that also features a market offering staples and baked goods, handy for nearby residents. Ruth Messele, who has spent the past 25 years managing the Center Court at The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa, will take on the role of general manager at NoPo.
Benjamin Berg, founder of Berg Hospitality Group, said in a press release, "I’m excited to create a fresh neighborhood dining experience for a rapidly growing area that is really underserved by restaurants and bars. Jose and our culinary team really took their time creating these menus while Ruth visited every Houston farmers market and met with several local retailers to handpick each item for the market, and I am proud of the end result."
Other Berg concepts include B&B Butchers & Restaurant in Houston and Fort Worth, B.B. Italia Kitchen & Bar, B.B. Lemon, The Annie Café & Bar and Turner’s. A new Italian-inspired restaurant from Berg Hospitality, Trattoria Sofia, is set to open in the Houston Heights in August 2021. And even more concepts are on the horizon for the restaurant group.
The market at the front lets guests peruse a selection of local provisions. Display cases are filled with freshly baked pastries and desserts plus grab and go premade meals. Breakfast and lunch are counter service and the breakfast menu includes avocado toast, egg dishes, breakfast tacos and quinoa bowls along with fresh juices and coffee drinks. For lunch and dinner, there's a menu of sandwiches, salads and pizza plus entree dishes like Red Snapper, Chicken Paillard and Pork Ribs. Guests can enjoy table service at dinner.
The wine and cocktail menu was created by Berg Hospitality Group’s Director of Wine and Spirits, Renato Bringas. It too is simple and straight forward with five classic cocktails and a wine list that ranges from $36 to $115 per bottle.
When the restaurant opens in the fall, guests can expect some of the more popular items from the Dallas menu like the Crispy Artichokes with olive aioli and the Meatballs made with a blend of ground beef, lamb and pork. Standout pasta offerings include Spicy Gemelli in a vodka sauce. The gemelli pasta is made in-house. The Bolognese is made with six-hour slow-cooked beef, lamb and pork ragu served over malfaldine noodles. Entrees like the Mediterranean Sea Bass with mint gremolata and the Center Cut Filet are classic and elegant dishes and are accompanied by seasonal vegetables. Whole fish is filleted in-house and the steaks are butchered daily at the restaurant as well. There will also be new items unique to the Houston menu.
For her third wine bar, Cauley is doing things a bit differently. While there is a comfortable and contemporary space in which to enjoy a tasting flight and build-your-own cheese and charcuterie boards, the new Sonoma will also offer wine and cheese for retail as well. To-go wines will be offered at 30 percent off. Sonoma is looking to add delivery options in the future.
The Katy location will not have a full menu but guests can enjoy cheese and charcuterie sourced from local purveyor Houston Dairymaids. Guests can order a curated board or opt for the build-your-own which ranges from $8 for one choice to $21 for three. Add-on accoutrements include Slowdough ciabatta, housemade pickles, Marcona almonds and marinated olives. The small menu also offers a Slowdough pretzel served with locally made pimento cheese.
The space was created by contractor Jacob White with white oak woodwork and furnishings from Fyrn, Restoration Hardware and Crate and Barrel. Cauley said of the contracting firm, "They did an amazing job. They were able to bring my vision to life."
Ragin' Cajun, 1725 Wirt, is shooting to open in February/March 2022, just in time for crawfish season. A reader's tip led us to reach out for more information and the new Spring Branch location was confirmed by owner and president, Dominic B. Mandola.
In an email Mandola said, "As a resident of Spring Branch, I am excited to bring the Ragin' Cajun brand to the community. Ragin' Cajun Spring Branch will offer the same fresh Louisiana seafood and Cajun specialties, crawfish, po'boys and gumbo as our long-established Richmond Avenue location." That location has been around since 1974. The Westheimer location closed in May 2020, after 20 years, leaving many residents in the Westchase neighborhood very disappointed.
But for the folks in Spring Branch, ca c'est bon.
Shokku Ramen, 933 Studewood, softly opened June 5. Its grand opening is June 10 and June 11. The restaurant is offering dishes 50 percent off for both grand opening days.
This is the third location for the ramen concept which also operates a restaurant in Las Vegas and one in Nashville. It takes over the space recently vacated by BCK which closed April 30.
Its menu allows diners to create their own ramen by beginning with a broth. Options include miso, tonkatsu, niku, tori (chicken), shiso and vegan. From there guests can choose their proteins, toppings, noodles and spice levels. There are also signature ramen to choose from including Da Oxtail, a combo of tonkatsu and housemade oxtail broths filled with shredded oxtail, steak, yellow noodles and topped with two shrimp tempura, Honshimenji mushrooms, soy-cured egg, bok choy, red ginger, crispy garlic, ginger butter and a hit of Togarashi. The Shinigami is for extreme spice lovers. It's a spicy black garlic aioli with shinigami spice, yellow noodles, pork, kara-age, soy cured egg, woodear mushrooms, corn and scallions.
Shinigami is also known as the Japanese Reaper or Bringer of Death, so be aware of its kick.
here in the Houston Press. It seems things were moving quicker than anticipated. The all day breakfast eatery joins Rakkan Ramen, which opened May 3, and Da Gama Canteen, which opened May 15, at the mixed-use development in the Heights.
Owner Jeff Svenvold's vision for the restaurant is a blending of the cuisines he grew up with. The Houston native spent many summers in Montana on his family's ranch so there's a bit of Southern, Western, Tex-Mex and Cajun influences on the menu. Originally conceived as a breakfast and lunch only restaurant, Svenvold will soon add dinner service to meet the dining demands of the Heights neighborhood. The name Homestead is an homage to the family's homestead roots.
Brunch cocktails such as mimosas and Bloody Marys will be available along with frozen beverages and craft cocktails.
Chef Fernanda Alamilla, a native of Tabasco, Mexico will be in charge of the kitchen. Rafael Rizo will serve as general manager.
Currently the restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner service will be announced soon.
Sweetgreen, 600 N. Shepherd, will open at M-K-T Heights June 15. This is the fifth Houston area location for the healthy-minded concept. It was founded in 2007 in a tiny tavern in Georgetown, Washington D.C. by Jonathan Neman, Nicolas Jammet and Nathaniel Ru. and now has over 100 locations. The first Texas store opened in Houston's Rice Village in July 2019.
The company is hyper-focused on sustainability and the farm to table philosophy, partnering with small and mid-sized growers for produce and ingredients. They have a variety of salads and bowls with vegan, vegetarian and meat options like the Kale Caesar, Guacamole Greens and Chicken Pesto Parm. Most recently the company brought in tennis star Naomi Osaka as their first national athlete ambassador. She is also their youngest investor at 23 years old.
Osaka has her own creation on the menu as well. The Naomi Osaka bowl contains warm quinoa, baby spinach, avocado, cilantro, tomato, tortilla chips, raw carrots goat cheese, lime-cilantro jalapeno vinaigrette with blackened chicken further kicked-up by the addition of Sweetgreen's hot sauce. It's the bowl of a champion.
Lopez is a well-known comedian and actor known for his stand-up comedy and ABC sitcom George Lopez. he has appeared in a number of films as well as penning a couple of autobiographies. Now, he's wanting to help small restaurants bring in more business by selling his "bad-ass" tacos.
The menu features slow-cooked meats, flavorful toppings and salsas available as street taco combos and family packs in two styles of tacos, La Chingona and La Mas Cabrona. The meat options are pork carnitas, chicken tinga and beef ranchero verde. The tacos are served deconstructed so that customers can do self-assembly at home, keeping the food from getting soggy and allowing each diner to created their own taco experience.
Chips, salsa and guacamole are available along with a personal dessert favorite of Lopez's, churro bites. Check out the George Lopez Tacos website to see if delivery is available in your area. The closest we found was off South Wayside.
Abuelita's Gourmet Kitchen, 5700 Highway 6 N., celebrated its grand opening May 7. The Salvadoran chef in charge, has 25 years of experience. A chef by trade, Nelly Amaya lost her job at Martin Foods due to the pandemic. A good friend and former customer, knowing her love of cooking, asked her to help him open the Salvadoran restaurant.
Appetizers include Tostadas de Platano made with deep-fried plantain wedges and Pastelitos de Carne, pastry filled with ground sirloin and potatoes. There are traditional soups such as Sopa de Res, a Salvadorean beef stew. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the restaurant offers Sopa de Puya made with beef feet, tripe and yuca.
There are a variety of pupusas including one that uses loroco, a unique plant from Central America. Its blossoms and buds are commonly used in Salvadoran and Guatamalan cuisines. Entree choices like Pollo Guisado, Bistec Encebollado and Mojarra Frita are just some of the authentic dishes of the region offered on the menu.
There are soft drinks and frescos such as horchata, tamarindo and pepinada plus a selection of beer and wine.
The first steak night was led by Underbelly Hospitality's Nick Fine, followed by Matt "Tally" Coburn of the upcoming Georgia James Tavern and Greg Peters, the executive chef at Georgia James Steakhouse. Next up will be Chase Volez, chef de cuisine at Bludorn. He will take over steak night June 14 from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tony Luhrman, chef/owner at El Topo will be the featured chef June 21. The final steak night event will take place June 28 with Hay Merchant's sous chef Lucas McKinney in the kitchen.