Restaurant News

Shade Revamp Alice Blue Opens in the Heights

Grilled eggplant with seeded lavash.
Grilled eggplant with seeded lavash. Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

Alice Blue is now open at 250 West 19th in The Heights. The restaurant has debuted not even one full month after owner Claire Smith announced that her flagship Shade — a longtime hub for Southern food and shrimp and grits in the area — would rebrand itself as the new eatery. This is one of a succession of Houston restaurant rebrandings heading into the summer. In the Heights alone, revamps include the recent reopening of Arthur Ave as Helen In The Heights and Harold's Taproom expanding with a new breakfast and coffee shop appeal.

The restaurant is now a bistro with steak tartare, tuna crudo, pastas, salads, roast chicken, NY strip and the ilk. This is how a press release describes Alice Blue:

Alice Blue brings modern bistro fare and a lively, energetic bar providing a comfortable community gathering place for regulars and destination diners who visit the popular Heights locale.

The name “Alice Blue” is apparently inspired by a pale azure blue that was favored by prominent socialite Alice Roosevelt Longworth, the daughter of Theodore Roosevelt.
click to enlarge Inside Alice Blue. - PHOTOS BY  KIRSTEN GILLIAM
Inside Alice Blue.
Photos by Kirsten Gilliam

The team at Alice Blue includes chef Kent Domas, formerly of financially wracked Treadsackian eateries Down House and Bernadine’s, whose menu of contemporary bistro eats was co-created alongside Jason Vaughan, a native Houstonian who most recently worked at Hogsalt Hospitality Group in Chicago. Particularly interesting is a morcilla, or blood sausage, fondue among the appetizers.

click to enlarge The bar at Alice Blue. - PHOTO BY  KIRSTEN GILLIAM
The bar at Alice Blue.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

In the front of the house, Summer Sepeda of One/Fifth Houston and Pass & Provisions comes aboard as general manager, and Sean Jensen, formerly of Public Services Wine & Whiskey and Hay Merchant, has consulted on the beverage program, which includes cocktails and wines. Jensen, along with partner Jason Vaughan, will also open a chef-driven neighborhood wine bar, Nancy's Hustle, at 2704 Polk in EaDo this fall. 

Alice Blue, 250 W 19th, (713) 864-2050
Hours:  Monday through Wednesday, 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.. Weekend launches June 17, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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.