Four Casual New Restaurants for Your Weekend

Sleek new digs at The Pearl
Sleek new digs at The Pearl Photo by Shannon O'Hara

The weekend is once again upon us, and in Houston, that means a bazillion new restaurants have just opened. Okay, maybe not a bazillion. But, anyways, here are two new eateries and two major new revamps that just debuted in the past week. Again, they're all pretty casual. Nothing that will break the bank, with food that covers a bit of ground, from 50-cent oysters to fast casual chicken sandwiches to finer Northern Italian fare. These are the hottest tickets in town this weekend.

Photo courtesy of Krisp
5922 Richmond, 713-239-0320,

Local chef Ben McPherson, formerly of Prohibition, has just opened the flagship of Krisp Bird & Batter, a new fast-casual eatery with an aim to be Houston's premiere spot for fried chicken sandwiches. The restaurant was inspired by Shake Shack, and in fact, the chicken is actually pasture-raised on Crystal Farms Ranch and the entire menu — including milkshakes, waffle ice cream sandwiches and a healthier kids menu —is GMO-free.  McPherson and company plan to expand too, with a new spot heading to the Heights by this summer and more reportedly in the works.

Weekend Hours: Daily, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Osso & Kristalla
Osso & Kristalla
1515 Texas, 713-221-6666,

This downtown trattoria is the sister restaurant to the recently opened fine-dining destination Potente. Both are new spots from Houston Astros owner Jim Crane with a doozy of industry talent on board. Michael Parker, Crane's own private chef and head of the Floridian National Golf Club,  runs the kitchen, with chef de cuisine Micah Rideout (of Tarakaan and Reef fame) and pastry chef David Berg also on board. At Osso & Kristalla, you'll find housemade pastry in the morning and wood-fired pizzas, handmade pasta and more for lunch and dinner. There's indoor/outdoor seating that turns rather loungey in the evening.

Weekend hours: Friday 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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How many dozens can you knock out in one sitting?
Photo courtesy of the Oyster Bar at Prohibition

The Oyster Bar at Prohibition
1008 Prairie, 281-940-4636,

Chef Jordan Economy, formerly of Boheme Cafe & Wine Bar and  The Slaughtered Lamb food stand, is now heading up the newly revamped food programs at Prohibition. The venue, housed in the former Isis Theater downtown, has rebranded itself with two separate eateries inside— the debut Oyster Bar at Prohibition and also Prohibition Supper Club, which will now just be a part of the performance space where the Moonlight Dolls perform burlesque (the supper club will be undergoing a renovation soon, a rep tells the Houston Press).

The Oyster Bar, however, is open with 50-cent raw Gulf and East Coast oysters and chargrilled oysters at happy hour, along with a slew of oyster specialties available, including both a garlic and fennel chargrilled version and a chimichurri roasted preparation.

There are also small plates of the potato croquette and New Orleans BBQ shrimp nature, and entrées that include lobster rolls, steak frites and smoked fried chicken, a popular holdover from Krisp founder/chef Ben McPherson's days.

Weekend hours: Friday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday, 4 p.m. until midnight. Happy hour is from 4 to 7 p.m.
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Grouper with curried corn, lentils and cilantro at The Pearl.
Photo by Shannon O'Hara
The Pearl Restaurant & Bar
1117 Prairie inside Sam Houston Hotel, 832-200-8817

If downtown oysters are your thing, maybe you can just bar hop from the Oyster Bar at Prohibition to the The Pearl, which quietly opened in February in the Sam Houston Hotel. The restaurant has been completely revamped, and with that, the bar is now an exciting new element, as the Houston Chronicle  reported last week, with a menu of bar bites, raw oysters and crudo from chef Chris Loftis, formerly of Killen's Steakhouse in Pearland. In the restaurant, the dishes offer a global take on seafood preparations from a bouillabaisse to grouper served with curried corn and lentils.

Weekend Hours: Friday, 6:30 a.m. to midnight. Saturday, 7 a.m. to midnight. Sunday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
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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.