Street To Kitchen Reopens Soon in a Bigger Space With New Drinks & Dishes
The new, larger Street To Kitchen, helmed by 2023 James Beard Foundation “Best Chef: Texas” award winner Benchawan “Chef G” Painter and her husband, wine professional Graham Painter, will start accepting reservations on November 11. (The website currently says November 8, but that’s in need of an update.) The couple recently shuttered their original space, a 40-seat restaurant next to a gas station at 6501 Harrisburg, to make the move two miles up the street to 3401 Harrisburg. The new location was formerly Louie’s Italian American (previously Café Louie) and is in The Plant mixed-use development in Second Ward. The center, just east of downtown Houston, is conveniently located near the Harrisburg at York MetroRail station.
“Street to Kitchen celebrates authenticity in how they approach Thai cuisine and embodies the types of creatives we’re looking to attract to The Plant in Second Ward,” said Jeff Kaplan, managing partner of Concept Neighborhood, which developed and manages The Plant. “Graham and Chef G are young but already storied hospitality leaders who are highly respected in Houston. Their decision to operate in The Plant in Second Ward will accelerate the vibrancy and achieve our goal of creating Houston’s first inclusive, walkable corridor.”
To make the former Louie’s space fit Street To Kitchen’s Thai aesthetic, Houston designer Gin Braverman of Gin Design Group and Jack and Vy Collett of renovation firm Limitless Solutions took inspiration from Bangkok hip-hop culture. Pink LEDs light up the bar, and the dining room is adorned in shades of green and vintage Thai movie posters.
To further take advantage of the bar area (where “some of the most comfortable bar stools in town” are being promised — these things are important), Graham is creating a cocktail menu to broaden the scope of the drink selection, which to date has always included an intriguing, eclectic wine list. He also just became a Court of Masters Certified Sommelier.
“I have a very specific approach to the wine program,” Graham explained. “There are two things to know about it. One is that G’s food is so complex and layered that I source simple, natural, low-intervention wines. These are usually single-varietals with focused flavors. I also don’t serve any bottle that I would not crush myself. One wine that absolutely typifies this food is Champagne. I think it’s the greatest pairing possible. We’re about to add Veuve Clicquot, which we drank when I asked G to marry me. I do always have one Riesling ‘fire blanket’ for when someone really wants to temper the heat, but Thai food is meant to be spicy and you should lean into it.”
The fun, new cocktails include Graham’s Naughty Red Light Martini, a dry, slightly dirty martini made with Meticulous Vodka and Frozen Thai Tea Toki-yo. “It’s like our Thai tea, only frozen and with Toki Japanese Whisky in it,” Graham said.
Also expect a few new dishes when the Street To Kitchen reopens in its larger space, such as Thai-style deep-fried whole Gulf fish.
“We are more than excited to have the opportunity for more people to experience Chef G’s ‘Thai Taste’ secrets, but we honestly couldn’t have pulled off the additions without Gin of Gin Designs and Jack and Vy Collett of Limitless Solutions who are not only outstanding professionals but hardcore fans. They not only shared but enhanced and helped us accomplish our vision for the new surroundings,” said Graham via a press release.
Once November 11 rolls around, visit Open Table for reservations to check out the new digs.
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.