Times are tough for everyone, including the hospitality industry. But that doesn't mean all hope is lost, as Houston's food community has proven to be a strong one, with restaurants pivoting to takeout and some returning to in-house dining as Texas slowly reopens. Here's a look at what's going on in the food world right now:
Underbelly Hospitality is getting creative this Fourth of July, offering virtual classes including a “Drinkin’ with Dusty” offering from Hay Merchant's newly promoted general manager Dusty Brittain on Friday, July 3 ($75, order and pick up beers from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 2) and a “Grillin’ with Greg with Georgia James chef de cuisine Greg Peters on Saturday, July 4 at 1 p.m. ($175 feeds four, order and pick up the grilling kit on July 3 between 4 and 8 p.m.).
On Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 5, Hay Merchant, 100 Westheimer, will offer a shaved porchetta sandwich with sweet mustard remoulade slaw and tomato on Breadman cornmeal challah bun with fries for $13, available to-go with online ordering (the fan-favorite beer bar and kitchen is also now open for dine-in service). And also available for pickup Friday, July 3 and Saturday, 4, Georgia James, 1100 Westheimer, will offer half briskets for $65, smoked short ribs for $50, each served with a pint of bbq sauce and pickled peppers, plus one quart sides including coleslaw ($10), baked beans ($12) and potato salad ($12) for online ordering and pick-up.
One Fifth Mediterranean, 1658 Westheimer, will be offering a July 4 grill kit featuring one pint of hummus, four pita, one pint of each salatim (coffee roasted beets, torshi, barberry onion salad), one large watermelon, fatoush, four uncooked flat iron kebabs, four merguez kebabs and one large piece of Mishmash cake. The meal feeds four people for $160. Order online for Friday or Saturday pickup.
UB Preserv, 1609 Westheimer, will offer a July 4 menu available for pick up or dine in, featuring char siu pork rib, pork belly kimchi fried rice, wok-fried collard green egg rolls, eggplant and summer squash curry, crispy rice salad and red bean parfait. To order online, choose Saturday as your pickup date and drop down to the July 4 menu.
Central Market, 3815 Westheimer, has kicked off its “Food-cation” series, featuring specialty foods from various vacation locations starting with the foods of New York City (now through July 7), followed by France (July 8 – July 14), a Tropical Paradise (July 15 – July 28) and finally, Charc Week (July 29 – August 4). Shop for Brooklyn-style hot dogs and bagels and lox; French boules, cheeses and pastries; tropical fruits, Hawaiian seafood and jerk-style rotisserie chicken; and all things charcuterie.
Chefs Dawn Burrell (Kulture) and Dominick Lee (who recently closed Poitín) are teaming up for a three-part dinner series, the “Sweet Tea Supper Club,” paying careful attention to current social distancing and safety concerns. The series begins with a grab-and-go 4th of July BBQ-themed dinner—think sweet tea-brined BBQ chicken, confit pork ribs, Creole mac and cheese and plum hand cobbler—at Restaurant Indigo, 517 Berry, with pickup from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 4; and moves into two seated dinners held in outdoor spaces—an All Vegetarian Dinner showcasing a farm canvas and paired wines at Sweetwater Farms on Saturday, July 18 ($75, 4 to 9 p.m.) and a Seafood and Beer Dinner paying homage to the Gulf Coast on Friday, July 31 ($95, 4 to 9 p.m.) at a private farm in Pearland.
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Frank's Americana Revival, 3736 Westheimer, will celebrate National Fried Chicken Day (Monday, July 6) by pairing its Buttermilk Fried Chicken with a glass of Bollinger Brut "Special Cuvee" for $41.
On Monday, July 6, Cleburne Cafeteria, 3606 Bissonnet, is offering guests three pieces of the cafeteria's beloved, free-range fried chicken and mashed potatoes (with choice of brown or cream gravy) for $9.25.
Though it’s closed on National Fried Chicken Day (as the restaurant is closed Mondays), Relish Restaurant & Bar, 2810 Westheimer, is honoring the holiday with a week-long special (Tuesday, July 7 through Saturday, July 11) of its fried chicken plate paired with a mini bottle of Moet & Chandon Brut Rose or Champagne for $30, plus adding its fried chicken to the lunch menu indefinitely.
Black Restaurant Weeks — with its mission is to feed and fuel the cultural famine (especially with an emphasis on reviving and saving the black restaurant industry during the COVID-19 pandemic) and educate consumers on the abundance of cultural cuisines — is coming to Houston, celebrating the flavors of African American, African and Caribbean cuisine in Houston from Friday, July, 10 through Sunday, July 19. Guests are invited to dine at one of the participating restaurants offering a special Black Restaurant Week menu, and the Black Restaurant Week website also serves as a national database and registry for black-owned culinary businesses.