Favorite Houston Food & Drink Experiences of 2020

Peruvian flounder ceviche at Hanan's Cafe

Thankfully, 2020 is history. It was a tumultuous year, especially for Houston-area bars and restaurants. As we closed out the year, we wanted to honor and celebrate the hospitality establishments that brought us joy during the ongoing pandemic. The usual “best” new bar and restaurants lists didn’t seem quite right. Instead, we collaborated with Houston Press to document our favorite food and drink experiences of 2020 in a 12-part series that covered everything from our favorite bar transformations to our favorite new restaurants that dared to open in 2020. In case you missed it, here are the links to all 12 parts of this collaborative series.

Mico’s Hot Chicken Nashville-inspired hot chicken sandwich. Photo by Phaedra Cook.
  1. We kicked off the series with a thoughtful introduction by Houston Food Finder Publisher and Editor Phaedra Cook and an exploration of how 2020 impacted Houston bars.
  2. In part two, we cover tasty treats and trends, everything from Couch Potato Cookies to Smoked Birria De Res Queso Tacos.

    ROMA virtual wine dinner
    A recent Roma virtual wine dinner hosted over Zoom. Photo by Jeremy Parzen.
  3. The third installment covers the wonderful world of wine, everything from curbside sommeliers to virtual wine dinners.
  4. Despite quarantines and lock downs, beer lovers found plenty to enjoy in 2020.
  5. Part five examines how chefs navigated the difficulties of 2020, from launching new businesses to creating new dishes such as Lobster and Crab Ramen.
  6. At the halfway point, we delve into our favorite pick-me-up: coffee.

    BOH Pasta + Pizza’s pepperoni pizza. Photo by Olivia Flores Alvarez.
  7. Last year many, if not most, Houston-area restaurants — from fine-dining establishments to casual eateries — added takeout and delivery. In part seven, we showcase some of our favorite delivery and to-go experiences.
  8. In our eighth installment, we cover cocktails and spirits, from virtual tastings to favorite spirits.
  9. Due to the pandemic, many restaurant and bar staff found themselves un- or underemployed. In part nine, we highlight organizations that helped struggling hospitality professions survive 2020.

    Grocery selection at Local Foods Rice Village’s Pop Up Market. Photo by Lisa Gochman.
  10. In 2020, restaurateurs had to get creative. On day ten, we featured our favorite restaurant innovations, from shower curtains to taking a sledgehammer to a bar to opening a mini-grocery store.
  11. From heirloom-corn tortillas to distillery-made hand sanitizer, part 11 focuses on our top stores and products.
  12. In the final installment, we showcase our favorite restaurants of 2020, from classics to newcomers.

As we kick off the first full week of 2021, we raise one last glass to what brought us joy in 2020 and we wish you a happy and healthy New Year!

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