The Longest-Participating Restaurants of Houston Restaurant Weeks
One of the most fun aspects of Houston Restaurant Weeks — the annual fundraiser for the Houston Food Bank founded by radio and television show host Cleverley Stone — is that it’s a great time to try newly opened eateries. The reasonably priced prix fixe menus act like a guided tour through the offerings, from appetizers through desserts. However, Houston Restaurant Weeks is also the perfect time to revisit old favorites.
Reviewing an archive of the participating restaurants from 2010 was a sobering experience and a stark reminder of how risky and transient the industry really is. Out of over 100 Greater Houston area restaurants that were part of the program in 2010, nine years later only 45 remain. Despite that, new restaurants join Houston Restaurant Weeks every year and it’s grown bigger. This year, there are over 250 participants.
In a business with so much “churn and burn,” it’s not only remarkable that each has been involved with the annual fund for so long — it’s also testament to the owners’ survival skills. For our readers’ convenience, this list of the 44 from 2010 that are still part of Houston Restaurant Weeks is organized by neighborhood. There are also some notes on particular entries as well as honorable mentions for restaurants with the same owners that closed, rebranded and still carried on with the tradition.
- III Forks Prime Steakhouse, 1201 Fannin
- Brennan’s of Houston, 3300 Smith
- Damian’s Cucina Italiana, 3011 Smith
- Downtown Aquarium, 410 Bagby
- Foundation Room at House of Blues, 1204 Caroline
- The Grove, 1611 Lamar
- Quattro at Four Seasons Houston, 1300 Lamar
- Sambuca, 909 Texas
- Vic & Anthony’s, 1510 Texas: Houston diners secure a coveted reservation at this singular steakhouse to score not just a steak deal but also one of Houston’s finest crab cakes. Take note: this year, the crab cake is only on the HRW lunch menu.
- 51Fifteen Cuisine & Cocktails, 5115 Westheimer: Despite closing and rebranding, this chic restaurant on the top floor of Saks Fifth Avenue still participates in Houston Restaurant Weeks.
- Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, 5061 Westheimer: Interestingly, a private equity firm is in the process of acquiring this steakhouse chain. Still, the Galleria location is continuing to participate in Houston Restaurant Weeks. In 2015, a Del Frisco’s Grille opened in The Woodlands.
- Joyce’s Seafood & Steaks, 6415 San Felipe
- Masraff’s, 1753 Post Oak Boulevard
- The Melting Pot, 6100 Westheimer Road, Ste. 146
- Post Oak Grill Uptown, 1415 South Post Oak Lane
- The Oceanaire Seafood Room, 5061 Westheimer
- Willie G’s, 1640 West Loop South
- The Palm Restaurant, 6100 Westheimer
- Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, 5839 Westheimer: The budget-friendly $45 dinner menu during Houston Restaurant Weeks means that just about anyone can afford to dine at this traditionally pricey steakhouse. In 2018 and 2019, it was a James Beard Award semifinalist for its outstanding wine program.
- Honorable Mention: TRIBUTE at The Houstonian, 111 North Post Oak Lane: HRW started in this location back when it was previously Olivette. Now it’s home to a menu inspired by Texan, Louisianan and Mexican culinary cultures by executive chef Neal Cox.
- Tony’s, 3755 Richmond: Among HRW restaurants, Tony’s is a hot ticket. It’s not only because it’s a two-time James Beard Award semifinalist for service. It’s also because of the luxurious add-ons available on its HRW menu, such as freshly shaved truffles and being able to upgrade the entrée to a prime filet of beef for only an additional $12.
- Honorable Mention: B.B. Italia, 14795 Memorial: The Houston Restaurant Weeks menus have been offered ever since this location was home to Carmelo’s. Now B.B. Italia — with a new menu and concept — it is owned by restaurateur Benjamin Berg, and his brother Daniel is the chef. Benjamin has long participated in Houston restaurant weeks at his original steakhouse, B&B Butchers, which is also usually one of the top HRW fundraisers of the year.
- Hugo’s, 1600 Westheimer: This is the first establishment that James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega was involved in developing from scratch alongside his wife, Tracy Vaught, who has developed several other Houston restaurants.
- Monarch Bistro at Hotel ZaZa, 5701 Main
- Prego, 2520 Amherst
- Honorable mention: ROMA, 2347 University: Houston Restaurant Weeks was hosted in this charming home-turned-restaurant back when it was French restaurant Bistro de Amis. Later, under ever-present restaurateur Shanon Scott, it became Sud Italia, which he recently renamed to ROMA. Through it all, HRW has been a fixture every August.
- Américas, 2040 West Gray: This is the last of the Américas, as the second one in The Woodlands closed a few years ago. It’s the upscale “sister” restaurant to the many Churrascos across Houston.
- Backstreet Café, 1103 South Shepherd: One of the many HRW participants owned by Houston restaurant power couple Tracy Vaught and James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega, Backstreet Cafe is known for its stately old-home setting and gorgeous, fountain-appointed back patio.
- Brenner’s on the Bayou, 1 Birdsall: This entry is perhaps especially remarkable because the property has flooded and reopened more than once in recent years. As you might guess, the last time was thanks to Hurricane Harvey.
- La Griglia, 2002 West Gray
- Ouisie’s Table, 3939 San Felipe: Don’t be fooled by the fact that this elegant restaurant has been a River Oaks staple of Southern food and hospitality for many years. The 2019 Houston Restaurant Weeks menu exemplifies outstanding execution. Don’t miss the thick, seven-ounce Grilled Wagyu Sirloin with wild mushrooms and scalloped potatoes broiled for delightful surface crispiness. Under the careful stewardship of former general manager and now owner Wafi Dinari, the vision of founder Elouise Adams Jones is still alive and well.
- Merlion, 1205 Main
- Cavatore, 2120 Ella
- Rainbow Lodge, 2011 Ella: Featuring one of Houston’s most beautiful settings, Rainbow Lodge is offering lunch, dinner and brunch, as well as add-on wine pairings by beverage director Marc Borel at price points ranging from budget-conscious to decadent.
- Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, 2800 Kirby
- Fleming’s, 2405 West Alabama
- Frank’s Americana Revival, (formerly known as Frank’s Chop House) 3736 Westheimer: For only $25, diners can add wine pairings to the HRW dinner menu from France, Spain, Italy and California. View all the pairing options online.
- Brenner’s Steakhouse, 10911 Katy Freeway
- Le Mistral, 1400 Eldridge
- Rattan Pan-Asian Bistro & Wine Bar, 1396 Eldridge
- Max’s Wine Dive, 4720 Washington: In 2014, a second location was opened on Fairview in Montrose and both now participate in Houston Restaurant Weeks.
- Honorable Mention: The Classic, 5922 Washington: This restaurant originally offered HRW menus as Benjy’s on Washington. It’s under the same ownership and still offers HRW menus. (The original Benjy’s on Dunstan does not appear to be participating this year.)
- Amerigo’s Grille, 25250 Grogan’s Park Drive
- The Capital Grille, 5365 Westheimer: The original Galleria location has long participated in Houston Restaurant Weeks. In 2013, the company added a CityCentre outpost in West Houston.
- Churrascos: Despite the fact that founder Michael Cordúa and son and executive chef David Cordúa are no longer with the company, the six Churrasco’s locations have continued with the HRW tradition.
- Grotto, 4715 Westheimer and 1001 Avenida De Las Americas
- McCormick & Schmick’s: The restaurant just went through a revamp, now sporting a big “M&S Seafood, Steaks & Oysters” logo. There are three locations throughout Houston.
- Morton’s the Steakhouse: Both the downtown and Galleria locations have consistently served HRW menus. There is also a Morton’s Grill in The Woodlands.
- Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille: These days, Perry’s now has seven participating locations thanks to the addition of one in River Oaks. The Houston Restaurant Weeks menu is only offered at dinner, when diners can opt to upgrade to a big, honkin’ 22-ounce prime cowboy bone-in ribeye or a 20-ounce New York strip for only $15 extra.
Disclosure: ROMA and Rainbow Lodge are current sponsors of this publication. If you are equally as awesome and want to support more useful articles like this one, shoot us an e-mail. We’d love to have you!
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.