5 New Houston Restaurants for the Weekend

Inside Helen in the Heights
Inside Helen in the Heights Photo by Christine Lee
click to enlarge Inside Helen in the Heights - PHOTO BY CHRISTINE LEE
Inside Helen in the Heights
Photo by Christine Lee
The weekend is here, and in Houston, that means lots of new eateries to scope out in your free time. This spring has seen no shortage of restaurant debuts ranging from high end to low key, and this weekend's newest crop reflects just that. Here are five spots to put on your to-do list now.

Heights Bier Garten, 1433 Shepherd

This highly anticipated beer mecca and outdoor drinking spot from the Kirby Group — the brains behind popular bar Wooster's Garden — just debuted on Wednesday in the Heights. While chef Brandon Silva won't roll out his food menu, including an array of sausages and even brunch items, until next week and beyond, those hoping to get a jump on the buzzy new spot will find 60 craft beers, 30 wines on tap and four ciders between the 94 taps, according to CultureMap, along with plenty of whiskey and cocktails via the attached cocktail hub Worcester's Annex. Weekend Hours: Friday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. (will be open on Easter).

click to enlarge Lamb gyro at Helen in the Heights - PHOTO BY CHRISTINE LEE
Lamb gyro at Helen in the Heights
Photo by Christine Lee
Helen in the Heights, 1111 Studewood

The new Greek taverna took over the shortlived Arthur Ave Italian American restaurant from the same owners, the team behind Helen Greek Food and Wine, just this week. The new eatery isn't just a duplicate of the flagship Helen, but features an array of meze (small plates), including moussaka and gyro from chef William Wright, a huge selection of Greek wines under $80 and Greek-inspired cocktails as well. There's both indoor and outdoor seating, but the new spot is only open for dinner until the week of April 25. Weekend Hours: Friday through Saturday, Sunday

Il Giardino, a new outdoor spot in Uptown. - PHOTO COURTESY OF HOTEL GRANDUCA
Il Giardino, a new outdoor spot in Uptown.
Photo courtesy of Hotel Granduca

Il Giardino at Hotel Granduca, 1080 Uptown Park

Hotel Granduca's new outdoor dining venue is a casual alternative to the hotel's upscale Ristorante Cavour, with a menu from chef Enrico Glaudo that includes Italian eats such as antipasti, salads, panini, shareable plates and charcuterie in the $10-to-$20 range. Weekend Hours: Daily, 11 a.m. to midnight. Open on Easter day (the hotel will also serve a reservation-only brunch from 11 to 2 p.m.) with an afternoon menu of snacks.
click to enlarge PHOTO BY KEVIN MARPLE
Photo by Kevin Marple
Tacodeli, 1902 Washington, Suite D

This newly opened Austin-based taqueria features a menu of breakfast and lunch tacos with locally sourced and organic fillers — including meaty, vegetarian and gluten-free options — to a casual eatery with indoor and outdoor dining available. Hit up the signature jalapeño garlic Salsa Doña. Weekend Hours: Weekends, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Breakfast all day and lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Upstairs, in Rice Village, has a killer happy hour. - PHOTO BY JULIE SOEFER
Upstairs, in Rice Village, has a killer happy hour.
Photo by Julie Soefer
Upstairs, 2356 Rice

This new bar atop Hungry's has a large balcony for enjoying the nice spring weather and rocks a pretty solid happy hour, along with serving up the Hungry's brunch menu on the weekends. The restaurant will be open on Easter Sunday, accepting both walk-ins and reservations. Weekend Hours: Happy hour on Friday, 4 to 7 p.m. Weekend brunch, Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bar open until 1 a.m. on Saturday and 10 p.m. on Sunday.

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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.