The Early Bird Gets to Perch on a Stool at the Bar at The Grove

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We walked in to The Grove restaurant at Discovery Green at the corner of Lamar and Crawford for an early lunch this Friday only to be told that all the tables were taken, but we could sit at the bar. Slightly dumbfounded, we moved on over, put in our orders and tried to imagine what great event had brought in so many people.

Figuring asking is better than musing, I walked back over to the hostess and asked did we really need to make reservations for lunch and was told only if we want a table. They start taking lunch reservations around 10 a.m. and are topped out by 10:30 or 11 a.m. every day. Wow. Who are these people? Convention goers, visitors, downtown workers, she really doesn’t know the who-all, just that they show up in fairly good numbers all the time. Looks like the gamble by the Schiller Del Grande Restaurant Group (chef Robert Del Grande and wife Mimi and Lonnie and Candice Schiller) is really paying off.

The Caesar salad with rotisserie chicken I ordered was a lot of food and tasty. My friend got the better of me, though, with a tuna Nicoise salad that she said was great. The service was just right: it wasn’t intrusive but we were never left hanging.

Prices are a little stiff, the lunch with non-alcoholic drinks came to about $40, so with a tip and the $5 parking garage fee it was about a $50 experience. Another friend told me later that two of her friends went for brunch there and clocked in at around $100. The place is clearly keeping out the riffraff. The second floor bar opens after 4 p.m. each day.

Outside, all manner of people were hanging around, enjoying the park. Toddlers were running through sprinklers with the occasional full body smacko-basho.

Next week we plan to try the lower-priced Lake House with its burgers and hot dogs. Grab your lunch and stay inside with the air conditioning or go outside on the lawns, look at the water and reflect on how downtown Houston seems to be getting more and more things right these days. – Margaret Downing

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