The main dining room at benjy's in The Village now (20 years after it initially opened).EXPAND
The main dining room at benjy's in The Village now (20 years after it initially opened).
Photo by Julie Soefer

Benjy’s in The Village Goes Retro for 20-Year Anniversary Celebration

Think back to 1995. The year when Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” topped the Billboard Hot 100; Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” played in all the clubs; Hootie and the Blowfish were a thing; and Shania Twain was one of People magazine’s 25 Most Intriguing People of the year. Bare midriffs were at the height of fashion thanks to Gwen Stefani. Clueless was the summer’s breakout movie. Cell phones and digital cameras were practically nonexistent.

In other words, it was an entirely different era. And for the next two weeks — from December 1 to December 15, 2015 — benjy’s in The Village will be bringing it all back in commemoration of the restaurant's December 1995 opening two decades ago. 

Patrons who visit benjy’s in The Village during these dates will be welcomed by staffers sporting 1990s-themed fashion, from fanny packs and flannel shirts to ’90s-inspired dos. On the sound system, you’ll hear songs from the restaurant’s original playlist, among them “Body Rock” by Moby (1999), “Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)” by US3 (1993), “Around the World” by Daft Punk (1997) and “Groove Is in the Heart” by Deee-lite (1990) on rotation.

benjy's in the village in 1995.
benjy's in the village in 1995.
Photo courtesy of benjy's

On the food front, benjy’s will be bringing back original dishes and prices from the restaurant’s inaugural menu. Making the comeback are:
- ahi tuna spring rolls + Asian slaw + soy bean sprouts+ tres chiles sauce ($8)
- roasted chicken tortilla soup + diced avocado + cottage cheese ($5)
- wild mushroom and barley risotto + broccoli rabe + porcini cream ($12)
- surf 'n' turf + Szechuan crusted steak + miso marinated scallops + wasabi mashed potatoes + lime/ginger sauce ($16)
- chocolate seduction + dark chocolate grand manier truffle + white chocolate ganache + milk chocolate sauce ($6)

And what would a celebration be without fabulous libations? Let yourself be swept up in the '90s spirit by ordering cocktails inspired by, and named after, movies released in 1995. The Gangsta’s Paradise (from Dangerous Minds) is made of Dripping Springs Texas gin, Bar Keep saffron bitters, lemon/lime juice, cucumber, tonic. The Keyser Söze (from The Usual Suspects) employs Swift Single Malt Texas whiskey, house ginger-infused honey, fresh lemon, ginger ale. There’s even a Houston-themed cocktail called Houston, We Have A Problem (from Apollo 13), made of house-made pumpkin spice liqueur, Katz Coffee simple and vanilla vodka.

In addition to the 1990s-themed offerings, benjy’s is also debuting a new dinner menu from co-executive chefs Geoff Hundt and Spencer Serrette, which will have an emphasis on seafood and vegetables.

benjy’s in the Village is open seven days a week for brunch from 10:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and dinner on Sunday-Monday from 4 to 9 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. The Lounge upstairs is open for happy hour daily from 4 to 7 p.m., with a full menu available on Monday until 10 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday until midnight and Friday-Saturday until 2 a.m. For more information, call 713-522-7602 or visit benjys.com.

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