Restaurant News

15 New Houston Restaurants and Bars We're Looking Forward to This Spring and Beyond

Jasmine spare rib at Yauatcha.
Jasmine spare rib at Yauatcha. Photo by Amanda Calderon
click to enlarge Jasmine spare rib at Yauatcha. - PHOTO BY AMANDA CALDERON
Jasmine spare rib at Yauatcha.
Photo by Amanda Calderon
Today, March 20, is the start of spring, and that means the busy season for restaurant openings. Here are 11 upcoming Houston eateries and bars we'll be looking forward to opening over the next few months and a few to also watch out for down the line.

Located in a standalone building at The Galleria, the ninth location of the Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant is the first to hit mainland America (there's one in Hawaii) and it's going to be pretty incredible. Chef Ho Chee Boon brings a menu of Cantonese and Houston-inspired dishes alongside gorgeous, signature pastries from chef Graham Hornigold. The restaurant will have its own signature black tea from Organic Blue Mountain, among an extensive tea and cocktail program. But getting a reservation when the doors open on March 29 will be far more impossible than finding a parking spot at the Galleria, so godspeed.

Peli Deli
The team behind South African eatery Peli Peli will open a new nine-month pop-up in the former Murphy's Deli space at 808 Travis downtown on March 27. Expect naan nachos, banh-ninis (banh mi paninis) and more insane street food with breakfast and lunch service, and a potential to extend the stay.

If you're expecting a full bar at this new Korean dive/gastropub in Bellaire from chef Mike Tran, think again. The booze offered will focus on soju, a filtered rice wine similar to sake, and makgeolli, unfiltered rice wine as well. There will be soju-based cocktails and some beers (including draft) and the food won't be what you're getting at a sit-down Korean restaurant, but similar to what you'd find at a bar in L.A.'s Koreatown, with a vibe that's much the same — the feeling of old, worn wood and a lived-in space — in the same strip mall as Tran's restaurants Mein and Night Market. Ohn will be open in the evenings only, and while the bar is still awaiting its booze permit, expect an opening around mid to late April.

click to enlarge Owner Sam Governale and executive chef Dmitri Voutsinas. - PHOTO COURTESY OF EMMALINE
Owner Sam Governale and executive chef Dmitri Voutsinas.
Photo courtesy of Emmaline

The former Teala’s restaurant at 3210 West Dallas will become a new neighborhood restaurant from owner Sam Governale, formerly of Fleming's River Oaks, along with creative director Ashley Putman and chef Dimitri Voutsinas, a recent NY transplant who has worked at Bar Boulud, Motorino Pizza and La Gamelle.  Putman is creating an inviting “botanical thread” tying an outdoor space in with the two-story interior. Menu-wise, expect seasonal dining from morning to night, including late-night eats, plus coffee and cocktails. A projected opening date hasn't been announced yet.

Heights Bier Garden
With chef Brandon Silva at the helm, this new mecca for all things beer and sausage will bring the signature casual vibes that people love about Wooster's Garden (its sister bar and eatery in Midtown) to a 40,000-square-foot location at Shepherd and 15th, with ample outdoor seating and a projected opening date by end of spring.

Unnamed Justin Yu & Bobby Heugel Restaurant
"Everything is still pending, but the trigger could be pulled at any minute," says a rep for this new mystery restaurant/bar from two of Houston's biggest industry names. The Heights destination is certain to draw crowds, but the menu and full concept at 544 Yale remain unknown.

FM Kitchen

Despite the shocking shutter of his restaurant Triniti in February, chef Ryan Hildebrand still plans to debut his new restaurant at 1112 Shepherd this spring with a menu of burgers that have garnered a lot of hype among Houston's food obsessives, and some items potentially brought over from Triniti. The Press has reached out to reps for FM Kitchen, but no exact opening date has been confirmed.

click to enlarge How many flavors will you obsess over? - PHOTO COURTESY OF DOLCE NEVE
How many flavors will you obsess over?
Photo courtesy of Dolce Neve
Dolce Neve
This gelato hub has a reputation as being one of the best spots for a frozen treat in all of Austin. A new Heights location at 4721 North Main will feature the best this gelateria has to offer, including salted caramel, stracciatella, Crema Dolce Neve (custard with lemon zest) flavors and more majorly “sweet snow,” which is what Dolce Neve happens to translate to. Expect an opening by the end of March.

Gus' Fried Chicken
This hot fried chicken empire with locations in Memphis, Austin and elsewhere is finally heading to Houston at 1815 Washington Avenue across the street from B&B Butchers. If you've never had the chance to eat at one of the mom-and-pop-style locations, you'll be in for a treat — delectable bird and all the great sides, including baked beans, fried okra, collard greens and mac and cheese. Wash it all down with a sweet tea and call it a day.

This new eatery from Cherry Pie Hospitality, the much-lauded group behind Houston heavyweights State Fare and Lee's Chicken & Donuts, will land near sister eatery Pi Pizzeria at 191 Heights this spring with a seafood menu from chef Jim Mills.

Known for its awesome rooftop, Austin's beloved downtown hub Handlebar also rocks giant-size Jenga games and a laid-back style, serving both beer and cocktails in a non-fussy environment. It's a great place for drinking during the day or night, and it will land a location on Washington Ave by next month.

Looking Ahead to Summer/Fall 2017

Oxheart Revamp
Beard Award winner Justin Yu just closed his beloved eatery Oxheart on March 15, but the plan is to flip the restaurant into a casual spot with chef de cuisine Jason White heading the kitchen and a menu that's geared toward à la carte items, though anything other than that — including a projected opening date — remains a mystery.

New Orleans-based celebrity chef John Besh brings his empire to Houston with a new Louisiana-inspired brasserie in River Oaks at 3737 Buffalo Speedway, next to Kiran's on the edge of the newly revamped Levy Park. The restaurant will be helmed by the chef of Besh's Luke, Drake Leonards — also a partner in the new restaurant — and If Eunice ends up being anything like his Nola spot, expect an insane oyster happy hour, lots of meaty, seasonal dishes, and big, frothy French 75s. A rep for the restaurant says that a fall 2017 opening is still anticipated.

Helen in the Heights
The team behind Helen Green Food and Wine recently came to terms with the fact that Arthur Ave, its six-month-old Italian restaurant, wasn't going to make it at 1111 Studewood, so the spot just shuttered on March 19. In its place, a revamped space will house a new Greek taverna, Helen in the Heights, turning back to what the team does best, but with a slight twist: The new restaurant won't feature regional cuisine but Greece's “greatest hits” instead.

Pop + Pan
Former Garden Oaks/Oak Forest hubs Houston Panini & Provisions will open its new location for paninis, gourmet popcorn, open-faced sandwiches and toast (and booze) this fall in the new ReVive Development at Ella and 34th. Expect chef David Colby to add to his already popular menu of sandwiches and popcorn, and sleek new digs with outdoor seating and, of course, a happy hour.

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Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.