Special Events

Houston Restaurant Weeks 2022 Launches Today

Katie Stone continues her mother's legacy as president of The Cleverley Stone Foundation.
Katie Stone continues her mother's legacy as president of The Cleverley Stone Foundation. Photo by Michelle Watson

August in Houston is hot. The first day of the eighth month in the calendar reminds us that the dog days of summer are about to really hit their stride. For we Houstonians, however, there is more to August than potential hurricanes and record heat waves. For nearly two decades, the beginning of August signals the return of Houston Restaurant Weeks, a now five-week long citywide dining event that helps to give restaurants a boost during one of the slowest times of the year while raising funds for Houston Food Bank, an organization that provides food for underserved communities in Houston and the surrounding area.
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Houston Restaurant Weeks hosted a pre-launch fete at The Annie Cafe & Bar.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
Houston Restaurant Weeks was founded by local radio and television personality, Cleverley Stone, in 2003. Under her guidance, and with a lot of hard work, the event became the largest annual fundraiser of its kind for the city of Houston. To date, over 17 million dollars has been raised. This year, the 2022 event runs from August 1 to September 5, Labor Day.

Unfortunately, Stone passed away from ovarian cancer in May 2020 at the age of 68. In her stead, daughter Katie Stone has taken on the Herculean task of leading Houston Restaurant Weeks, including establishing The Cleverley Stone Foundation. Like her mother, Katie Stone has taken up the mantle of dining diva, often appearing with Fox 26 Houston reporter and host Ruben Dominguez at many of Houston's eateries and foodie joints to showcase local restaurants and to offer a guide to some of the businesses that are participating in Houston Restaurant Weeks.
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Katie Stone receives the proclamation from City Council member Mary Nan Huffman.
Photo by Michelle Watson
To launch HRW 2022, the team at The Cleverley Stone Foundation invited food writers, news reporters, television hosts and restaurant owners, as well as several local politicians, to its pre-launch party at The Annie Cafe & Bar, owned by restaurateur and businessman, Benjamin Berg, of Berg Hospitality. Berg is also a board member at the foundation.

Hors d'oeuvres were passed, cocktails were poured and speeches were given as Stone received the proclamation from the Mayor's Office of Houston declaring July 25 Houston Restaurant Weeks Day. Houston Restaurant Weeks also received a proclamation from Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo honoring the non-profit's work helping food insecure people in Houston. 
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Orlando Romero and Courtney Zavala celebrate the launch of Houston Restaurant Weeks with Brandon Borque and Derek Shore.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero

Needless to say, the energy is high for this year's event and so is inflation. The prix-fixe menu prices have gone up a bit, but so has everything else. This year, participating restaurants will offer $25 lunch and brunch menus, with a minimum of two courses, with $2 going to the food bank. For dinner menus, restaurants have the option of a $39 menu, with $4 being donated or a $55 dinner with a $6 donation. The dinners will be a minimum of three courses and diners should expect that the $55 option will probably be showing up at Houston's fine dining establishments. Some restaurants will also be offering HRW menus for take out.

The list of available menus and restaurants taking part in the event is extensive and readers can find the entire list at houstonrestaurantweeks.com. However, we have a sample of some of the ones where diners can find some fabulous food and great ambiance. Please remember that some restaurants only run the HRW menus Monday through Friday. Others only have brunch on weekends. Please call ahead to make sure they are serving the special menu before visiting. Also, while some restaurants are offering the menus to go, others are for dine-in only.

Cleverley Stone's mantra for Houston Restaurant Weeks was "Dine Out & Do Good." And we all need a little good right now.

Posh Dining:

B&B Butchers & Restaurant
1814 Washington
$25 lunch, two courses
$55 dinner, three courses

Benjamin Berg's highly regarded restaurant will offer guests an opportunity to try out its food with a well-priced prix-fixe menu for both lunch and dinner. The first course lunch choices include B&B Beef & Barley Soup, Iceberg Wedge, Brisket Ravioli or B&B Meatballs in marinara. For the second lunch course, diners have a number of options including The Butcher Shop Burger, Pan-Seared Salmon, The Washington, Rigatoni a la Vodka and more. There's the B&B "Veg" House Salad with a portabella filet and the B&B Italian Special is an Italian hero. Patrons can also add a dessert for $5 including New York Cheesecake, chocolate cake, carrot cake and creme brulee.

For dinner, the three-course menu begins with Sizzling Cut Bacon, San Daniele Prosciutto & Burrata, and B&B "Steak" House Salad plus several premium options that can be added for an additional cost such as Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail (+$8) or Bacon Wrapped Shrimp (+$18).

The second course offers items such as Chicken Shank, Snake River Farms Pork Chop, Surf & Turf and an 8-ounce Filet. There are two prime steak options for guests willing to dish out a bit more dough.

The dinner prix-fixe includes a choice of three desserts. The HRW menus are available for dine-in only.
The Mesquite Grilled Filet is a temptation worth giving into.
Photo by Debora Smail

Brennan's of Houston
3300 Smith
$25 brunch/lunch, two courses
$55 dinner, three courses

Brennan's is always a sure-fire way to impress a date or prospective in-laws. The elegant decor blends with a fun vibe due to the restaurant's Louisiana roots. The restaurant is closed on Monday, so the prix-fixe meals will be available Tuesday through Sunday. The HRW menus are not available for parties over 12 persons and there is limited seating for tables of 8 guests.

The brunch and lunch menus include a first course choice of its famous Snapping Turtle Soup, Chicken & Andouille Gumbo Ya Ya, Soup de Jour, Fried Green Tomatoes, Brennan's Boudin, Fried Okra Salad, Brennan's Salad or Creole Campechana. If that weren't a dizzying array of dishes to choose from, the entree options include Creole Fried Chicken Sandwich, Beef Tips Diane, Eggplant Pecan, Sweet Tea Smoked Chicken & Spinach Salad, Eggs Benedict or Pan-Seared Salmon. There's also an option for adding dessert for $6 and guests will definitely be tempted by Bayou City Beignets, Creole Bread Pudding or Praline Parfait.
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Brennan's Bananas Foster is a spectacular end of dinner treat.
Photo by Kimberley Park
The $55 dinner is served from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is three courses, including dessert. Many of the same lunch items are available on the dinner menu as well but additional premium choices such as Mesquite Grilled Filet Mignon, Texas Shrimp & Grits and Mesquite Grilled Pork Chop have been added, as well as the dessert option of its Brennan's Bananas Foster, flambeed tableside.
That's a mighty big pork chop.
Photo by Becca Wright
Dario's Steakhouse & Seafood
14315 Cypress Rosehill
$25 lunch, three courses
$55 dinner, three courses

The HRW reach extends way beyond Houston proper and folks in Cypress have a number of participating restaurants to choose from. Dario's is doing a three course lunch, a fact that always thrills the hearts of diners looking for a little bonus. For starters, there's a choice of Prime Meatballs, Pear & Apple salad, Fried Calamari, soup of the day or Boston Salad. The second course options include Spinach Salmon Salad, Mahi Mahi, Pork Chop, Beef Tenderloin Tips or Pasta Primavera.

The bonus third course offers chocolate cake, fresh mango and strawberry sorbet, creme brulee or NY-style cheesecake.

For dinner, the first course gets fancier with options such as lobster bisque, shrimp scampi and beef short ribs ravioli. The entree course includes filet mignon, prime rib, grilled Gulf red snapper or David's Chicken. The dessert choices are the same as lunch, with the addition of Key lime pie.
Guests can choose Marvino's Chicken Parmesan as an entree.
Photo by Al Torres Photography
Marvino's Italian Steakhouse
24002 Northwest Freeway
$25 lunch, three courses
$55 dinner, three courses

Marvino's and Dario's are both owned by the family-owned Herrera Group and both are located in the Cypress area. Marvino's leans a little more Italian and its lunch appetizer choices for HRW include dishes such as minestrone, fried calamari, tomato Caprese and agnolotti pasta with braised short ribs. Second course offerings include Pepper Steak Pasta, Grilled Norwegian Salmon, Rainbow Trout, a grilled pork chop or Marvino's Pasta with lump crab and jumbo shrimp. For dessert, there's Key lime pie, cannoli, bread pudding or the Sorbet Trio.

The dinner prix-fixe includes first course items like crab bisque, potato leek soup, Akaushi meatball and Marvino's Mango Salad. Decadent entree choices like the 14-ounce Ribeye, Salmon Oscar Style, Cypress Filet Mignon or Lamb Shank with parmesan risotto justify the dinner price.

Roma, An Italian Eatery
2347 University Boulevard
$39 Dinner, three courses

Kevin Bryant leads the kitchen at ROMA and his menu for HRW is a three-course dinner beginning with a choice of antipasto that includes a Caesar salad, Polpette di Manzo (meatballs), arancini or burrata with heirloom tomatoes and crispy prosciutto. Then, guests may choose a pasta course such as pappardelle Bolognese, gnocchi, rigatoni with garlic-butter shrimp and pesto or ravioli with chicken and mushroom.

The secondi is the final prix-fixe course and there are options such as bone-in chicken breast sous vide, salmon with artichoke hearts, Tonno all Griglia (grilled rare tuna with cannellinin bean salad), a veal scallop with spaghetti or a vegetable risotto. 

Satisfying Seafood:

Acme Oyster House
1201 Westheimer
$25 lunch or dinner, three courses

This New Orleans import has an all day HRW menu with starters like Mrs. Wheat's Natchitoches Meat Pies, fried alligator, seafood gumbo and red beans and rice. For the second course, there's the Fried Shrimp & Fish Platter, Grilled Marinated Chicken Platter, Acme "10 Napkin" Roast Beef Po-Boy, Seafood Etoufee or Boom Boom Tacos. The included dessert course of New Orleans Bread Pudding, Chocolate Caramel Pie or a root beer float makes this lunch and dinner deal one of the best we've seen.

BB's Tex-Orleans
10 Houston area locations
$25 lunch, three courses
$39 dinner, three courses

There are plenty of locations around town of this Cajun-inspired local chain, so there's bound to be one near most of our readers. The lunch menu starts with a choice of chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, shrimp gumbo or red beans and rice. For the second course, it's all about greens with a choice of  the Madhatter Salad, house salad, or Chipotle Caesar Salad. The entree course offers a Half Bedtime in the Bayou ( a half fried Gulf shrimp po-boy with fries), Da' Cheeseburger (with fries), Fish Tacos or the Fried Shrimp Plate.

The dinner menu offers some of the same starters and salads for the first course plus second course entrees such as Rockdale Redfish, Boudin Flautas, Bedtime in the Bayou (full fried shrimp po-boy) and also the Fried Shrimp Plate. The third course is a choice of Maw Maw's Bread Pudding, Pecan Royale Cheesecake or butter Cake.

Casual, but Still Classy Dining:

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The Bourbon Honey Mousse is available on the dinner menu.
Photo by Bosscat Kitchen & Libations
Bosscat Kitchen and Libations
4310 Westheimer
$25 lunch, two courses
$55 dinner, three courses

Bosscat is offering starters like Crawfish Boudin Empanada, Sweet Tomato Confit & Ricotta Dip or Bacon Ranch Buffalo Chicken Sliders, then a choice of Grilled Steak Chimichurri, Blackened Catfish, Crispy Braised Chicken for lunch or diners can try the 2022 Houston Restaurant Weeks Burger + Bosscat Fries.

For dinner, the three course menu options are the same as lunch plus guests will receive a third course with a choice of Apple Bread Pudding, Bourbon Honey Mousse Tart or Chocolate Strawberry Brownie Sundae.

All Around Asia:
Soft shell crab is on the HRW menu at Phat Eatery.
Photo by Alex Au-Yeung
Phat Eatery
23119 Colonial Parkway
$55 dinner, three courses

Alex Au-Yeung's Malaysian restaurant is offering three courses for dinner with starters like Kerabu Prawn Salad, Soft Shell Crab Salad or the vegan Malay Green Leaf Salad. The second course offerings include Chili Lobster Tail, Chilean Sea Bass, 48 Hour Curry Braised Short Rib or Sizzling Cauliflower Steak. The final dessert course offers a choice of Kaya French Toast, Ube Ice cream or, for the brave, Durian Pandan Ice Cream.

Songkran Thai Kitchen
1101 Uptown Park
$25 lunch, two courses
$39 dinner, three courses

Lunch at Songkran begins with an entree choice of Wagyu Braised Short Ribs in yellow curry, Thai Sesame Chicken, Shrimp Drunken Noodles or Bangkok Turnip Cakes. The second course is a sweet decision of Fried Vanilla Ice Cream, Fried Banana Rolls or Lychee and Jackfruit Creme Brulee. And, awesomely, veggie soup and a house salad are included along with a soft drink or iced tea. Diners can add a wine pairing at $5 a glass.

Its HRW dinner menu is the same as the lunch menu with the addition of a first course that offers items such as Thai Sausage, Veggie Dumplings, Crispy Phuket Prawns and Golden Tofu. To make the three course dinner extra special, guests can add the wine pairing menu for $29 or bottomless lychee martinis for $15.

Xin Chao
2310 Decatur
$39 Dinner, three courses

Chefs Christine Ha and Tony Nguyen are offering a three-course dinner at their Vietnamese restaurant. The first course offers three choices: Xin Chao Egg Rolls, Wagyu Meatballs (we can verify the deliciousness of this item) or a Vegan Green Mango Salad. For the second course, guests can go for the Sizzle & Shake Steak with Rice, Grilled Pork Chop with Rice or the vegan Tofu Crispy Noodles. The third course offers Che Thai Sundae, the Everything Fun Bar or Ha's Rubbish Apple Pie, which earned her praise from celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay when Ha competed (and won) on Master Chef season 3. The version at Xin Chao gets a twist from star anise, ginger, lemongrass and a fish sauce caramel.

Xin Chao is also offering a wine pairing to go along with the HRW menu for $24. Guests can also add a Canh Chua & Caviar Oyster for $7.

Brunch Bunch:

Many of these restaurants are also offering lunch and dinner prix-fixe menus as well.
Karaage Chicken a l'Orange is served at Ambrosia.
Photo by Dragana Harris
2003 Lexington

The first course for Ambrosia's brunch offering is a choice of croissants, Scotch Fried Deviled Eggs, Japanesian Brussels (can be made vegan), Donut Holes or Samosas with beef, chicken or vegetables. The second course offers options like Mix Mushroom Flatbread, Spicy Chicken and Waffle, Thai-Italian Risotto or Karaage a l'Orange. There's also its Ambrosia Classic Breakfast or Spicy Chicken Strip Sandwich.

Each HRW brunch order comes with a complimentary mimosa.

Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company
2101 Summer Street

For a casual brunch with a great view, Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company is offering a two-course deal with deviled eggs, Mini Bananas Foster French Toast Bites or Crawfish Flautas for starters with second course options such as Chicken Fried Steak Sammie, Fried Catfish & Grits or Cornmeal & Chicharrones Chicken & Waffles.

Buff Brew also offers $4 mimosas in a variety of flavors and $6 micheladas.

51Fifteen Cuisine & Cocktails

5175 Westheimer

The Saturday and Sunday  brunch at this spot in the Galleria is actually three courses, available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Guests may start with a choice of Potato Leek Soup, Caesar Salad or Lobster Bisque then choose from a second course menu of Mahi Mahi Tacos, Baby Kale and Brussels Sprouts Chicken Salad, 6-ounce Sliced New York Strip & Eggs, Blackened Shrimp Omelet Avocado Toast and Braised Short Ribs Egg Benedict. The third course choices include chocolate bread pudding, Key lime pie or mango sorbet. 
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Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.