BB's on Montrose and DiVino on West Alabama

When Brooks Bassler graduated from the University of Houston Entrepreneurship program in 2002, he wanted to open his own restaurant serving food made from family recipes. But his dad gave him some good advice — to first work in the restaurant field and learn on someone else's nickel. So he did. Five years and a lot of experience later, at the beginning of December, Bassler opened BB's (2710 Montrose), which he calls a taste of the Cajun Gulf Coast. And the place is already making a name for itself. Bassler reports that after a slow start, business has been steadily increasing every week. He also says the best thing on the menu is any of the 13 poor boys, but a friend of Dish raves about the bread pudding. And our fave? The "morning glory" poor boy, which comes with scrambled egg, queso and country sausage.

Patrick McCray, who owns delectable neighborhood Italian spot DiVino (1830 W. Alabama) with his father Jim, says that since they opened the place in 2000, they've never done any advertising. "We like to think of ourselves as one of Houston's best-kept secrets," he says. "We're full all the time, so I guess that means we've hit the spot." Actually, DiVino is so full, the McCrays have had to expand, adding another dining room and more parking. And the menu is getting a little facelift, too. "There are a lot of new appetizers like a locally raised quail, and, of course, we're featuring a lot more fresh pasta dishes like our homemade ravioli."

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Paul Galvani