Small Houston Restaurants & Food Businesses Now Selling Groceries — Updated
As coronavirus continues to spread, Houston-area restaurants are flipping the script to survive. Gone is the sit-down dining experience. What’s left are kitchens offering takeout and well-established supply lines — which leaves some restaurants in a unique position to get groceries to people quickly. That is exactly what some area eateries are doing. Some are focusing on specialty or natural products, others are just offering the basics. Many are selling at wholesale or rock-bottom prices. Meal kits and hot, family-style dinners are also popular as restaurateurs struggle to meet the needs of a quickly changing environment.
The systems in place are evolving and often informal. Ordering may involve calling the restaurant, checking social media or reading emails describing the day’s offerings. Proprietors are asking for patience as they gear up for this new reality. As Justin Turner, chef-owner of Bernie’s Burger Bus, put it, “Buckle-up, it’s the wild west y’all”. Here are some Houston-area restaurants exploring this new frontier.
Avondale Food and Wine, 240 Westheimer, (713) 360-6313: This French eatery and wine bar has several options, including wine, groceries and prepared food. Delivery can be arranged by calling ahead. The wine menu has an entire section of wines from Loire available in multiple vintages, such as the Chateau De Sancerre Rouge. Family dinners change daily, with options like Risotto with Grilled Shrimp, or choose from the Cook it Yourself Menu and try your hand at Lobster and Tarragon Tagliatelle, with housemade pasta. A Toast Tab menu is available.
Bernie’s Burger Bus, 5407 Bellaire, (713) 349-9400, extension 9: While waiting for a Class Clown Burger and Lunch Lady Fries, folks can shop Bernie’s Bodega. This pop-up store offers a name-your-price (applies only to groceries, doesn’t apply to menu items), no-gouging policy. Fresh produce, meat, eggs, housemade condiments and burger buns are also available a la carte, along with family-style meals that are made fresh daily. Bernie’s offers curbside or delivery. Call the number, skip all the messages and press nine.
Dish Society, 5740 San Felipe, (832) 538-1060, 23501 Cinco Ranch (281) 394-7555, 12525 Memorial, (713) 467-3474, 1050 Yale, (713) 861-3474: This eatery, which sources locally even during normal times, is selling an Atkinson Farms Produce Box which contains enough local fresh vegetables to last a week, Mill-King milk, toilet paper and several a la carte items, such as farm-fresh eggs and Black Hill Ranch meats. A virtual market is right on the landing page making online ordering a breeze. Folks can opt from there to either pick up or deliver for seven dollars. Don’t need anything for yourself right now? Dish Society also has a $15 option to buy a meal for a first responder. Just visit the main website, put in your zip code and select the closest location to see the online menu.
Good Dog Houston, 903 Studewood, (832) 800-3647 and 1312 West Alabama, (346) 800-3647: This hot dog shop where nearly everything is housemade has launched blakesleebodega, a mini-grocery the Instagram of which displays toiletries, beans, butter and fresh produce. Shoppers can also pick up family-sized portions of Curried Chicken Salad, Apple Horseradish Slaw or Hot Dog Packs, complete with Slow Dough Buns, condiments, butter, and Iced Cuiser Tea. Call either of the locations to place an order.
Black Hills Ranch, 13410 West Road, (713) 937-1255, This network of small Texas ranchers sells the highest quality local beef, pork, lamb and specialties such as Pecan Smoked Ham. (Until the current coronavirus issues, it was supplying a great deal of humanely raised meat to local Houston restaurants.) The menu changes depending on what local producers bring to market. E-mail the meat shop and get a price list. Black Hills Ranch is also providing Cake and Bacon baguettes and sourdough loaves. Everything sold can be picked up curbside or delivered.
Local Foods, 2424 Dunstan, (713) 521-7800: Houston residents can order ”Crunchy” Chicken Sandwiches and Truffled Egg Salad to-go from four Local Foods locations: Rice Village, Tanglewood, Upper Kirby and Heights. The Rice Village shop, specifically, is also hosting a Pop Up Market with family-sized meal kits, fresh-cut meats and cheeses, wine, beer, hot sauce and olive oil, as well as local products from Slow Dough, Blue Horizon, Katz Coffee, Black Hill Ranch, Dairymaids and 44 Farms. All wines are half off and $25 produce boxes from local farms are available while supplies last. Check out the online store or DoorDash to see the expanded menu. You can also visit the shop and browse or call to have orders brought to your car.
Monica Pope / Sparrow Cookshop, 4009 Roseland, (713) 875-7496: Farm-to-table chef Monica Pope has launched a virtual farmer’s market offering Sparrow Cookshop favorites including bone broth, “Dates with a Pig” (Medjool dates stuffed with chorizo and wrapped in bacon and sauced with chermoula.), mushroom pâté, pecan granola, sage crackers, panforté, egg custard, dressings and spices, plus Houston Dairymaids cheeses, Tim Smith’s brisket kolaches and Cultured Heat Kraut. Order online and arrange pickup curbside daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.