Local Spotlight

The Restaurant Gentrification of Lower Westheimer: A Long Time Coming

Houstonians have blissfully short memories. Blame it on our lack of investment in our city's history, as we constantly tear down and rebuild. Blame it on the petrochemicals. Blame it on Twitter. Regardless of the reason, we tend to forget things as soon as another shiny new toy comes along -- and the ongoing gentrification of Montrose and Lower Westheimer is no exception.

Ever since news of newcomers such as Uchi, Underbelly, Hay Merchant and El Real Tex-Mex was announced, Lower Westheimer has been spotlighted as a new "restaurant row" in Houston (and not just by CultureMap and the lovely Marene Gustin, who also writes for the Press). Only problem is, it's been a restaurant row for many years now.

And while some people may hail folks like Bobby Heugel and the Caswell-Floyd team as the harbingers of this new restaurant row, the truth is that -- as hardworking and talented as those men are -- it's restaurateurs like Mark Cox, Marco Wiles, Anita Jaisinghani, Tracy Vaught and Hugo Ortega who are really behind this "gentrification," which has been in the works for quite a long time.

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Katharine Shilcutt