Casual Companion to Houston Restaurant Weeks Returns
The sister event to Houston Restaurant Weeks (HRW), produced by The Cleverly Stone Foundation, is back for its second year. Eat Drink HTX was launched as a companion fundraiser to spotlight more-casual dining options in Houston during February, which is typically a slower time of the year for most businesses. This year, the event will not only continue benefiting the Houston Food Bank, but will contribute some proceeds to Children at Risk, a nonprofit established in 1989 dedicated to understanding and addressing the root causes of child poverty and inequality in Texas.
Eat Drink HTX will take place from February 15 through February 28 and follows the same format as HRW, but at lower price points. Participating restaurants will offer $15 prix fixe brunch and lunch menus and $20 or $25 dinner menus. Donations are based on sales: $1 per meal sold at lunch or brunch, $2 per $20 dinner and $3 per $25 dinner.
Diners can view a partial list of participants and menus online. More are expected to be added as February 15 approaches. It is a great list, with participants from all over the city and surrounding areas. Xin Chao, from recently announced James Beard semifinalists Christine Ha and Tony Nguyen, is offering a $25, two-course dinner menu that includes Smoked Beef Cheek Dumplings and Sizzle & Shake steak with rice. Harold’s Tap Room’s $20 dinner menu includes Texas caviar and chips (black eyed peas, black bean and corn salsa served with house tortilla chips) and 44 Farms cheeseburger sliders. Da Gama’s lunch menu includes butter chicken curry and pastel de nata (portuguese egg custard tart) for dessert. Low Tide Kitchen & Bar has options for brunch, lunch and dinner, including chicken and sausage gumbo and fried or blackened catfish. Other restaurants participating include Kin Dee Thai Cuisine, NoPo Café Market & Bar, Adair Kitchen, Dak N Bop and B.B. Lemon.
Food journalist, television personality and radio show host Cleverley Stone founded Houston Restaurant Weeks in 2003, and the demanding, time-consuming work she did was on a volunteer basis. After her passing from cancer, her daughter, Katie Stone, created the Cleverley Stone Foundation, and runs it with the help of a board of directors. After HRW 2021’s donation total of $933,820 was announced — the lowest in a decade and certainly a side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic — Stone told the Houston Chronicle that the “foundation will report its financial accounting on its website in mid-2022.” While it’s taken longer than expected, Stone told Houston Food Finder editor and publisher Phaedra Cook that a copy of the nonprofit’s tax return for 2021 will be published on the Houston Restaurant Weeks website within the next two weeks.
In 2022, the donation amount started climbing again. HRW raised $1,240,811 million for the Houston Food Bank. (The total raised by Eat Drink HTX 2022 during its debut two week event was $28,281.) Diners were clearly ready to go out to restaurants again after a tumultuous couple of years, which bodes well for the potential success of both Eat Drink HTX and HRW in 2023.
As we wait for the big HRW event in August, Eat Drink HTX is a great way to patronize some of the outstanding casual dining options while doing good.
Minh Truong is an avid lover of the Houston food scene and has written about it since 2011, starting as a freelance contributor for the Houston Press. She never stopped exploring all that Houston has to offer, and after a seven-year hiatus returned to writing about it, this time with Houston Food Finder.