Hit List: New Houston Restaurants for March 2020, COVID-19 Edition

This article is brought to you by our supporting readers and Christie’s Seafood & Steaks at 6029 Westheimer, which has served Houston for over 100 years. Did you know there’s a convenient drive-through window? Right now, a free dessert is added every to-go order just to thank diners for their patronage. Enjoy burgers, salads, seafood and sandwiches, all available for pickup or delivery through DoorDash. Call (713) 978-6563 to order!

As usual, we’d planned on publishing a Hit List this month to let diners know about new, interesting Houston restaurant openings. Of course, as the events related to the coronavirus concerns unfolded, we found ourselves in uncharted waters. With our restaurant community in dire need of assistance, Houston’s restaurants — new, old and everything in between — need us to hit them right now, more than ever.

While we can’t dine in at these recently opened spots, we can dine at home for them. (Just imagine opening your brand-new restaurant and then having to face a statewide mandate to close your dining room.) We’ve kept the original description of each restaurant and added an update on their curbside/take out and delivery options with operating hours.

Thanks to a temporary waiver by Governor Greg Abbott, alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, mixed drinks and small bottles of spirits, are available for delivery. There are a few rules: these must accompany a food order and must be delivered. Alcoholic beverages may not be picked up.

We wish all our readers the best during these unprecedented times and hope you will stand with us from home to support our restaurant community. We’re going to get through this together.

Cocktails at the new Adair Downtown
Cocktails at the new Adair Downtown restaurant. From left to right: Vieux Carré Fashioned, Bayou City Margarita, Southside Swing. Photo by Kerry Kirk. 

Adair Kitchen Downtown, 1000 Louisiana:  Adair (both locations) has updated the curbside and to-go menus online, offering options for breakfast, lunch and dinner and including new family dinners to go. Each family dinner feeds up to five with two side options. The main dishes include pesto salmon and turkey meatloaf. There’s also a list of bottled wines to go at extremely reasonable prices. 

The “normal circumstances” overview: 

The team behind Eloise Nichols Grill & Liquors, Bebidas, Skeeters and Los Tios has opened their second location of Adair Kitchen. This impressive, 4,628-square-foot, indoor-and-outdoor space is situated in the downtown tunnel system underneath the Wells Fargo Plaza office building. The bistro-style restaurant offers favorites from existing Adair establishments, such as Joe’s Hot Chicken, alongside brand-new menu items, prepackaged hot and cold foods and gourmet gifts. Chef Roberto Ozaeta, a longtime employee of Adair Concepts, leads the kitchen team. As reported in our full article on the opening, the menu also “includes a variety of all-in-one bowls such as the Super Foods BowlKale + Quinoa Bowl and Tuna Poke Bowl.” Cocktail enthusiasts can enjoy sipping refreshing craft cocktails like the Vieux Carré Fashioned made with bourbon, rye, cognac, vermouth, Benedictine and bitters, while sampling bar bites such as Beef Tenderloin Crostini.

Ceviche at Alma. Photo by Chris Morris.

Alma, 3974 Westheimer: Alma is currently closed for all business, but chef and owner David Guerrero plans to reopen as soon as they are able to once this crisis has passed.

The “normal circumstances” overview: 

Chef David Guerrero recently had to close his east-of-downtown restaurant, Andes Café. But, good news, he’s already back on the scene. His latest venture, Alma, recently opened in Highland Village in the former Drexel House space. With his new restaurant, he hopes to bring authentic South American flavor to the neighborhood with small and large shareable dishes, including Guerrero’s signature fresh fish creations. The menu includes raw and cooked dishes that reflect a range of tastes and textures. The must-haves are the Ceviche de Pescado, an ample, well-executed dish showcasing cured grouper with leche de tigre, crispy Peruvian corn, onions and a dollop of sweet potato mousse; Cachapas de Cochinito, pork belly with nata and queso de mano served over sweet potato corn pancakes; and lobster Anticucho de Langosta with yucca bread and a poached egg drizzled with yellow chili hollandaise and teriyaki.

Chris Morris (formerly of Hunky Dory and MAD) and Rob Lares (of FM Kitchen and Bar) head up the drink program. The cocktail list includes Alma’s signature Pisco Sour, a meticulous blend of Acholado and Italia piscos, gomme syrup, lime and lemon with egg white adorned by Amargo Chuncho (Peruvian bitters designed specifically for sours), and the La Yapa Old Fashioned in which Maker’s Mark whisky meets Singani 63 (a brandy from Bolivia), roasted carob syrup and coffee-ginger bitters for a unique spin on the classic cocktail.

The Smokehaus Burger and the Buttermilk Bird at Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.
The Smokehaus Burger and the Buttermilk Bird at Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. Photo By David Leftwich.

Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co., 2101 Summer Street: Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. has published a pick-up menu of select items brought directly to your car on its website. Order by calling (713) 714-3335 — and yes you can get beer to go. At this time, the operating hours are 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

The “normal circumstances” overview: 

Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co.’s new brewery, taproom and restaurant opened its doors in November. The impressive, three-level facility on Summer Street offers an indoor-outdoor taproom on the first level, a second-level restaurant run by former Beaver’s chef Arash Kharat and a rooftop beer garden complete with televisions, picnic tables, fire pits and stunning views of the downtown skyline. Currently on Kharat’s menu of innovative pub fare are dishes such as veggie pakoras — kale, cauliflower, onions, jalapenos, garlic, pickles and potatoes breaded in a chickpea batter and fried — the BBQ Chicken Sammie with smoked and shredded chicken, cole slaw, pickles and crispy fried onions smothered with Figaro BBQ sauce; and Smoke On The Bayou Pizza with slow-smoked 44 Farms short ribs, red onions, pickled jalapeños and smoked gouda. For more, check out David Leftwich’s full article.

Dak & Bop’s Korean-inspired fried cauliflower. Courtesy photo.

Dak & Bop Timbergrove, 1805 West 18th: Dak & Bop’s curbside and to-go menu is listed on its Instagram site and can directly from the “Shop” function on the Facebook page. The owners are also currently working on rolling out alcoholic beverages to go. The operating hours for now are 11 am to 8 p.m. daily.

The “normal circumstances” overview: 

Dak & Bop’s second location in Timbergrove has amped-up the Korean fried chicken game in town. While diners can still indulge in twice-fried chicken, Dak’s new executive chef and culinary director Jordan Economy, chef de cuisine Geoff Kimbro and sous chef Matt Wommack worked together to bring some new, creative fare to this outpost. Flagship dishes include Korean Garlic Bread made with torta bolillo bread stuffed with herb cream cheese and covered in garlic herb butter; carbonara with soy-glazed pork belly, cold-smoked kimchi, soju butter reduction, and yakisoba noodles; and fried cauliflower. Lunch options include Bulgogi French Dip and the Dak Sandwich made with Bop’s signature chicken. To sip alongside the new items, guests can try unique cocktails such as the Charlie Brown (word is it tastes like a spring roll) as well as beer from local craft brewery Under The Radar.

Eighteen36 Bar. Courtesy photo.

Eighteen36 Bar, 2221 West Alabama: Eighteen36 Bar’s curbside and delivery menu can be found online. Customers can pull up and order to-go food directly from the parking lot from a staff member or can call ahead and drive through for pick-up. Delivery is available through Favor. Alcohol is now available for delivery. Customers can order beer, bottles of wine, small bottles of liquor and mixed drinks to enjoy at home.

The “normal circumstances” overview: 

Recently, Eighteen36 Bar opened its doors in the former Owl Bar space on West Alabama. During the soft opening phase, which ran throughout the month of February, the bar was offering a limited selection of housemade cocktails such as The Mr., a spicy twist on a Paloma made with Cazadores Blanco, Ancho Reyes, lime, grapefruit, nopalitos and jalapeno honey, and Black Gold made with Buffalo Trace, fresh lemon, activated charcoal and honey. Currently, the final menu is still in the rolling out phase. In addition to select cocktails, there is also a selection of local craft beers like 7-Iron Session from 11 Below Brewing and, of course, 1836 from Buffalo Bayou. The wine list offers a small-by-the glass selection that includes Sonoma Bench Chardonnay and the Zio Baffa Pinot Noir. Eighteen36 is currently serving Roadster Grill’s menu, with tasty bar bites such as Greek Potatoes and hummus with pita bread.


Duck Confit Poutine at Local Group Brewing. Photo by Carla Gomez.

Local Group Brewing, 1504 Chapman: Local Group Brewing is offering food and beer takeout orders online. Ordering can be done on the website or by calling (713) 429-1884. Place your order at least 30 minutes before the desired pickup time and visit the takeout window upon arrival. The operating hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The “normal circumstances” overview: 

From brewmaster James “Huggy Bear” Wolfe (formerly of Southern Star and No Label), Michael Steeves and Todd Donewar, Local Group Brewing opened at the end of February with over seven thousand square feet of space for beer enthusiasts. Plus, executive chef Jeff Samoska’s team is also cooking fare for food lovers. “You could call us a brewery that has its own restaurant, or a restaurant that brews its own beer,” said co-owner and general manager Steeves. “We’re looking to expand the brewpub experience; elevate it. Nothing takes a backseat here.”  Highlights on the menu include the crispy chicken sandwich, brined with house-made pickle juice and house-brewed beer, the duck confit poutine, and the L.G. Burger. To make sure beer aficionados were well satisfied, over 100 beers were tested before settling on the final selections featuring new brews such as the Li’l Star Stout, the Sparkle Motion — an American sparkling ale — and a very hop friendly Double Vertigo, a New England Imperial IPA.

Mutiny Wine Room. Photo courtesy of Mutiny Wine Room.

Mutiny Wine Room, 1124 Usener: Mutiny Wine Room is offering to-go wine and food; the lists for both are on the website. Orders can be made daily Monday through Saturday with new business hours of 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mutiny is also offering disposable menus for those placing their orders onsite and wait in their vehicle for their food to be prepared. As a bonus, there are retail wine discounts: 15% off one to five bottles; 20% off one to five bottles with a food order over $20; 20% off 6-11 bottles and 25% off of a case or more.

The “normal circumstances” overview: 

The new wine venture from the husband and wife team of Mark Ellenberger and Emily Trout (producers of Kagan Cellars‘ wines), Mutiny Wine Room, hopes to bring Sonoma and Napa delights to The Heights. The space offers two distinctly different experiences: a tasting room for flights and a full sit-down restaurant known as the “farmhouse.” The menu from Ari Weiswasser draws inspiration from his stint at the French Laundry. Daily meat and cheese selections come with housemade roasted nuts, seasonal fresh and dried fruits, house-baked bread and marmalade. Mutiny also offers a selection of “Quick Bites” such as Heirloom Popcorn and Gulf Snapper Ceviche served with purple sweet potato chips, and larger sized “Rations” like the Steamed PEI Mussels with saffron-pernod emulsion and housemade focaccia and the Buttermilk-Fried Texas Quail served with sweet onion fondue. The impressive wine list offers over 40 wines by the glass, which, thanks to a Coravin wine system in the tasting room, can be poured while keeping the bottle intact.

Tangier at Zoa Moroccan Kitchen

The Tangier, one of the sandwiches at fast-casual Zoa Moroccan Kitchen. Courtesy photo.

ZOA Moroccan Kitchen, 4710 Lillian:  ZOA is currently offering its full regular menu daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. using delivery through Uber Eats, Grubhub and DoorDash.

The “normal circumstances” overview: 

Houston-based Bella Restaurant Group has launched a new venture called ZOA Moroccan Kitchen. Aimed at offering Moroccan street food in a fast but casual space, ZOA is a long-time dream for owner and CEO Youssef Nafaa. Featuring counter and takeout service, there is a small dining area where guests can enjoy breakfast sandwiches such as the Yalla, made with eggs, cheese and harissa on Moroccan pita bread. (Upgrade by adding freshly made lamb or beef sausage.) As described in our full article on the opening, there are also create-your-own bowl options. Dinners can chose Moroccan pita, couscous, gluten-friendly Saffron Jasmine Rice, lentils, white beans or mixed greens as the base, before picking from a variety of meaty or meatless toppings: beef tagine, lamb meshwi (skewer-roasted lamb), shrimp, kefta (spicy beef meatballs) or a potato cake.

About the author: Beth Levine writes about food, drinks, lifestyle and travel for local and national publications including My Red Glasses, Houstonia, Local Houston Magazine, Charlotte’s Book and Houston Food Finder. An executive assistant by day and freelance writer by night, Beth is originally from both New Jersey and California, but currently calls Houston home. You can follow her on IG @Yogaspots.

Can you sponsor our next article? Email us for details.

Comments (0)

Share Your Thoughts on This Article