James Beard Semifinalist Restaurant in Houston Celebrates with Events in February 2024
The timing couldn’t have been better for chefs Evelyn Garcia and Henry Lu. On January 24, the James Beard Foundation announced its 2024 award semifinalists and JŪN, Garcia and Lu’s Heights restaurant, is in the running for Best New Restaurant. On the heels of this honor, JŪN is celebrating its 1st birthday on February 7. Before JŪN’s opening, Garcia did Houston proud, coming in second place as the only local competitor on season 19 of Bravo’s Top Chef: Houston. Her time on the show, pop-up events and KIN HTX, her product line developed with Lu, all grew anticipation among Houston diners for Jūn. Since opening a year ago, the self-described “New Asian American” restaurant has garnered praise both locally (we named them one of our Best New Restaurants of 2023) and nationally.
Jūn’s second year is certainly starting out busy with special events and celebrations throughout February. The first is its 1st birthday bash on Wednesday, February 7 from 5 to 9 p.m. Garcia and Lu are inviting friends from Houston’s culinary community to take over the menu for the evening. Guest chefs include Top Chef alum Sasha Kate Grumman, MasterChef: Legends runner-up Suu Khin, and Gabriel Medina of Click Virtual Food Hall — who is roasting a whole pig. The festive night will also feature a live mariachi band, a DJ set by Stephen Chavez and performances by drag artists Hannah Santana and Petty Brooks. There will be photo opportunities, and artist Taylor Darling will do live sketches of the event throughout the night. Tickets to JŪN’s Birthday Bash are $45 and can be purchased on OpenTable.
Following the birthday bash, JŪN will ring in the Lunar New Year with a one-day à la carte dim sum menu on Saturday, February 10 from 5 to 10:30 p.m. The menu includes crystal dumplings, steamed bao, spring rolls and shumai. The regular dinner menu will also be available. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made on OpenTable.
You’ll also be able to set up your Super Bowl party this year with snacks from JŪN. The restaurant is offering to-go packs of all the big-game essentials such as sweet and spicy glazed wings (one dozen for $15, two dozen for $28), a charcuterie board with three types of cured meats, housemade jam, seasonal fruit, house pickles and crackers ($60); crudité boxes with vegetables, spicy hummus, whipped cheese dip and mint chutney ($45); and Buffalo wing chicken dip served with fresh tortilla chips ($25 for 16 ozs). It would not be a party without drinks, and JŪN’s excellent version of a michelada will be a hit. A six-pack of Modelo beer, a 16-ounce container of JŪN michelada mix and chili for the rim costs $66. Pre-orders are being taken on the KIN HTX website.
Rounding out the month’s events is a special Valentine’s Day four-course dinner menu curated by Garcia and Lu, with an optional wine pairing. There will be two seating times for the dinner, one at 5:30 p.m. and one at 8:00 p.m. The four-course dinner with four wine pairings is $145 per person and the four-course dinner without pairings is $95 per person. Reservations are required and can be made on OpenTable.
With JŪN, Garcia and Lu have managed to capture the essence of Houston’s diverse culinary landscape. In a statement, Lu reflected on the past year, saying “We are in disbelief it’s already been a year but are very excited for this milestone. Evelyn and I decided a long time ago that we wanted to open a restaurant that was true to who we are, even if it wasn’t for everyone. The way we teach our cooks, train our team (front and back) and create an experience is uniquely us.”
JŪN is open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 5 to 10:30 p.m.
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 stops exploring all that Houston has to offer.