11 Houston Restaurants Serving Locally Raised Meats
“People just trust local meats more than the big brands,” says BJ McElroy of 44 Farms. “They want to know who they are buying from.” One reason for this: the meat-packing industry has taken several hits over the last few years as Texas Monthly pointed out in its September issue. The most recent setback were plants having to close due to large numbers of workers contracting COVID-19. While that’s bad for the overall meat packing industry, it’s good for local ranchers, at it renewed public interest in buying meats closer to home.
However, it’s not always easy for restaurants to source local meats. It can be costly, slow to arrive and subject to seasonal unavailability. Restaurant owners who source locally raised meat despite these potential inconveniences go the extra mile because they sincerely believe in supporting local food systems and ranchers.
Permaculture Research Institute, an organization that advocates consuming locally grown food, states that ingredients close to home are higher quality, build communities, increase commerce and strengthen the supply chain. Small producers also tend to raise rare breeds of animals such as elk, antelope, pheasant, buffalo and heritage hogs and cattle.
Restaurants menus won’t always reveal the provenance of ingredients. Its common that not every local meat purveyor has all the cuts all the time, which means multiple sources are needed. However, some restaurants do disclose meat suppliers on the menus. Here is a list of some Houston-area restaurants with chefs and owners who put their trust in Texas meats.
Blood Bros. BBQ, 5425 Bellaire, (713) 664-7776: This strip center joint exclusively uses meat from 44 Farms to create Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage, smoked brisket and more. While these are classic offerings, uniquely crafted dishes such as Reuben Links, Tomatillo Sausage and Barbecue Brisket Bao are frequent specials on the constantly changing, seasonal menu. Blood Bros. BBQ is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. until sold out.
Cherry Block, 409 Travis, (281) 940-2219: Felix Florez — formerly of Black Hills Meats and now with Falcon Lake Farms — and Jess DeSham Timmons are the proprietors of this craft butcher and kitchen located in Bravery Chef Hall. All of the meats come from Florez’s new company, which sources from small Gulf Coast ranchers who raise grass-fed cattle and other livestock. The menu is quintessentially southern and south-Texan, with dishes such as gumbo with smoked ham hock, andouille and deviled potatoes, and the Southern Smokehouse burger made with pimento cheese and fried green tomatoes. You can also pick up dishes “from the shop” to prepare at home. Try the Chicken Stuffed Chicken with bacon marmalade or the Falcon Lake Farms Heritage Pork Chop.
Craft Pita, 1920 Fountain View, (832) 804-9056: This is a great place to eat locally raised meat without breaking the bank. You will find Heartbrand certified Akaushi beef in the Lebanese Rice, a mix of beef, seven herbs and spices and slivered almonds. The Kafta Patties are also made with Heartland beef, which is mixed with spices and onions before being formed into slider patties. Locally sourced lamb from Texas Craft is frequently featured on the specials menu, where diners might find lamb shoulder, shank or chops. Orders can be made through Toast, Doordash, UberEats, GrubHub, Postmates or Favor. If you order from the website, you can donate to the Lebanese Red Cross, which is helping the survivors of the massive chemical explosion at the Port of Beirut.
Dish Society, multiple locations: This Houston chain is dedicated to using meats and vegetables from local farms and ranches. Some of the dishes that showcase local meats include 44 Farms Chimichurri Steak Tacos with cabbage slaw, house roasted corn pico de gallo and cotija cheese and Spicy Lettuce Wraps with Texas Craft pork, cabbage, mushrooms, green onions and spicy Yellowbird serrano sauce. Dish Society also has meats available for home-cooking such as Texas Craft ground beef, hickory smoked bacon and Kiolbassa brand sausages. To order for pick-up or delivery, go to the online menu.
Frank’s Americana Revival, 3736 Westheimer, (713) 572-8600: The menu changes seasonally at this Irish- and American-inspired spot. For Texas-raised poultry, try the buttermilk fried chicken, chicken pot pie or smoked turkey club, which feature birds from Holmes Foods. Frank’s burgers are made with Heartbrand Akaushi beef, which is ground to the restaurant’s specification. Other beef dishes, such as meatloaf and fettuccine bolognese, feature ground beef from 44 Farms. The shrimp found in the NOLA BBQ Shrimp & Grits and shrimp cocktail comes from Lil Emma’s Seafood in Palacios. Order through Uber Eats or call for carryout.
Henderson & Kane General Store, 715 Henderson Street, (281) 974-3557: Barbecue lovers would do well to put this tiny Sixth Ward grocery store on their radar. Henderson & Kane offers local products such as pasta and sauces from Fabio’s, Mill-King milk, Kraftsmen baked goods, Sweet Cup Gelato and 44 Farms meats. The barbecue comes in familiar forms: chopped brisket sandwich, Texas red chili and sausages made by Burt’s Meat Market in the Denver Harbor neighborhood near the Port of Houston (which uses local grass fed beef from Glen’s Packing). Choose Beef and Garlic, Jalapeno Cheddar or boudin. Order direct or through Grubhub and Chownow.
Lucille’s, 5512 La Branch, (713) 568-2505: Chef Chris Williams frequently visits farmers markets, where you can find him shopping for bone-in pork chops from Harrison Hog Farms, as well as other locally raised ingredients. Williams serves the chops with creamed collard green kimchi, cheddar grits, tobacco onions and an herb salad. For a local seafood dish, try the Gulf shrimp and grits made with stone mill grits, andouille sausage and sherry tomato broth. Williams’ chicken fried steak is a flat iron steak from 44 Farms that is served with fingerling potato hash and asparagus. Make a reservation to dine-in or call for take out.
Pondicheri, 2800 Kirby, (713) 522-2022: This Indian eatery from multiple-time James Beard Award nominee Anita Jaisinghani sources eggs and chicken from Sealy-based Renaissance Chicken. These ingredients can be found in dishes such as Egg Dosa Crêpe with spinach purée, egg, cheese and tomato masala and Tuk Tuk Chicken Kebabs. Pondicheri delivers within nine miles and delivery is available via Favor.
Revival Market, 550 Heights, (713) 880-8463: This restaurant and craft butcher, which helped generate enthusiasm for the local meat movement in Houston, carries 44 Farms beef and Yonder Way Farms pork. The deli case offers a variety of cuts, some of which come pre-marinated in vacuum-sealed bags. Bacon is smoked onsite and much of the charcuterie is made in-house, including headcheese and Whiskey Pâté. From the kitchen, try the Revival Hot Pastrami Sandwich with house-cured 44 Farms beef belly or the Revival Breakfast Burrito, which is made with Yonder Way chorizo and is available until 4 p.m. — as is everything else on the menu. There is also a coffee bar, coffee beans, wine, beer, Mill-King dairy products and housemade pickles and olives. You can order in advance for pick up.
Rainbow Lodge, 2011 Ella, (713) 861-8666: This picturesque restaurant specializes in wild game and local meats. At lunch, try the Grilled Seven Ounce 44 Farms Beef Tenderloin Filet with creamy smoked gouda and black pepper orzo and wild mushroom sauté. For dinner, dig into the South Texas Nilgai Antelope Loin with smoked whole-grain mustard glacé over jalapeño and bacon-studded cheddar grits. You can also order steaks to grill at home such as a 16-ounce 44 Farms Beef Ribeye Steak. The Lodge offers delivery through Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates and Grubhub and the curved driveway right in front makes for easy curbside pickup.
Seasons Harvest Cafe / Seed Sowers, 17303 Shaw, Cypress, (832) 534-8686: Located on seven acres in Cypress, the owners of this restaurant and adjacent store raise some of their own meat and locally source the rest. The menu changes frequently due to seasonality and the Facebook page is the best source for updates. Some favorites are the Mediterranean Wagyu Burger with tzatziki sauce, stacked chicken enchilada casserole and Southwestern Grilled Wrap. The adjacent store, Seed Sowers, sells Rocking 711 Ranch beef, Jolly Farms poultry, and Whitehurst Heritage Farms beef, chicken, turkey, pork and eggs to take home.
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