5 Affordable New Spots for the Weekend

Do you even poke, bro?
Do you even poke, bro? Photo courtesy of Pokeworks
The weekend is here, and unless you already have a reservation for the hottest seat in town, Justin Yu's new eatery Theodore Rex, you won't be getting in. Or maybe don't have the dough to shell out a place like that right. Well, here are a few great options for snacking and dining around town that won't cost a fortune. From health food to ice cream, these are five affordable newcomers for the weekend.

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Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp

Juiceland, 1340 Westheimer

I wanted to hate this hipster juice emporium, with its photos of humans in ironic fanny packs on the wall, but gosh darnit, I just can't. Quite the contrary. The juice and smoothie menu runs deep, with numerous options for getting your nutrients in tasty liquid form (there are some grab-and-go salads and wraps as well). The Peachy Green is a pleasing starter smoothie that goes down sweet and easy despite the fact that it contains kale, and the fact that there is actual vinyl — you know, albums — that you can peruse or potentially purchase for just $1 adds to the appeal of this casual and welcoming new Montrose juice dive. 

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How many times do I have to tell you not to touch that bike? Do not touch it again or there will be no ice cream.
Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp
Cloud 10 Creamery, 711 Heights

Know what's better than getting an ice cream when you're a kid? Getting an ice cream and then getting to cross the street to one of the coolest parks ever. Yes, Cloud 10 has pretty much hit a home run with its new location, tucked as it is betwixt the rather Yuppie shopping zone that houses expensive surf wear on one side and expensive yoga wear on the other. But the shop itself offers cool scoops — from Vietnamese coffee to toasted rice flavors, not too mention crisp and delicious waffle cones — that aren't entirely too expensive. The close proximity to Donovan Park, with its super playground, makes this a major destination for families who live in the Heights or are just dropping in for a visit.

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Only the unhealthy toppings, please.
Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp

Snappy Salads, 1920 Fountain View

Located across the street from a bustling H-E-B and shopping corridor, this fast casual salad eatery features build your own options and a wealth of house salads. The BAM BAM is a good salad to go with greens, shredded chicken, red cabbage, quinoa, red onion, dried cherries and almonds, all of it dressed but not at the mercy of wilting anytime fast. The Warm Riced Cauliflower bowl is great when you want a heartier fix, comforting and strangely addictive with riced cauliflower that's sauteed before you, tossed with roasted sweet potato and broccoli hash, arugula, and red onion and dredged in an oil and vinegar that makes the dish come off as rather sinful. There are wraps, bread and spreads, and lots more roughage to choose from.

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Grab a poke bowl at Pokéworks.
Photo courtesy of Pokeworks
Pokéworks, 213 Heights

This is the first Texas location from the New York poke empire. The menu features eight signature combinations, including a spicy ponzu albacore with albacore tuna, green and sweet onion, mango, spicy furikake, sesame seeds and ponzu, and a sweet chili tofu with organic tofu, blanched kale, green and sweet onion, cucumber, edamame, sesame seeds and sweet chili gochujang sauce.

The build-your-own options go a touch deeper than at other spots in town, with proteins that also include scallops, sous vide chicken and organic tofu. You can also turn your creation into a sushi burrito.

The Ranch Hand taco at Evo.
Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp
Evo Taco, 12637 Westheimer, Suite 140

Crazy taco options include BLT, banana split, banh mi and chickpea fritter versions at this no-frills taqueria and flatbread restaurant that opened just a few weeks ago in an area pretty heavily affected by Harvey. A full bar, outdoor seating and counter service are in store, and the chicken-fried steak taco won our hearts with its added bonus of mashed potatoes and ranch dressing served on a taut and perfectly delicious flour tortilla (made with pork, y'all). Prices are similar to those at Tacodeli or Torchy's, but you won't find anything really hipster about the joint.
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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.