Restaurant News

Well, That Was Fast...Helen In The Heights Opens Tuesday, April 11

Feta-brined lamb and chicken gyro
Feta-brined lamb and chicken gyro Photo by Crhistine Lee

After a quick renovation and rebranding following the shutter of its shortlived restaurant Arthur Ave Italian American, the masterminds behind Helen Greek Food and Wine are opening the doors to a casual and potentially more welcome Greek taverna Helen in the Heights on Tuesday, April 11.

Sommelier/Oenophile Evan Turner and partners Tim Faiola, chef William Wright, and chef de cuisine Mercedes Gomez will offer classic Greek dishes from a menu twice the size as the original Helen including pastitsio, souvlaki, gyro, and moussaka along with a few flagship favorites including the Green-n-Cheese Pie.

Chef Wright, a James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year semifinalist in 2016, promises a concept different than the original Helen, according to a press release:“I think a lot of guests are expecting a duplication of that project, but Helen in the Heights will be creative and unique on its own, offering dishes and other elements that can’t be found at the original," including more meze (small plates).

On the booze side, an all- Greek wine list will feature selections at $80 and under with an emphasis on rare finds, and you'll also find thelargest selection of Greek spirits in the state.
click to enlarge
Photo by Erin Hicks
The 3,500-square-foot eatery, complete with a 400-square-foot covered patio, has been renovated by the restaurant group's go-to designer Erin Hicks, with "a traditional taverna feel" with deep blues, brick, whitewashed wood, and replicas of Minoan frescoes in mind, along with not so traditional but highly necessary sound-absorbing panels, so the opas will lay low after grandma and friends hit the Greek-inspired cocktails at the bar, wondering what happened to the place before that served the crispy lasagna.

Helen will have its own space for private parties and catering, a  3,000-square-foot space can accommodate 120 guests, with indoor and outdoor seating on the building's seventh story.

For the first two weeks, Helen in the Heights will be open for dinner service only.

Helen In the Heights
1111 Studewood, 832-582-7146,
Hours to come: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday brunch, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday supper, 4 to 9 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.