June 13, 2024


World's finest Food

Railway Heights Softly Opens, Hungry’s Heartbeet Soon

click to enlarge The Peaky Grinders crew is busy at Railway Heights Market. - PHOTO BY LEO SPIN PHOTOS

The Peaky Grinders crew is busy at Railway Heights Market.

Photo by Leo Spin Photos

Railway Heights Market, 8200 Washington, began its soft opening August 4. The new market hall comes from Nomad’s Hospitality, the creators behind Conservatory Food Hall, the first food hall in Texas and Bravery Chef Hall, the first chef hall in the United States, according to a press release.

The new market hall is located on three and a half acres in an area that intersects with a number of fast-growing communities, in keeping with the mission of Nomad’s Hospitality to tailor its retail and dining concepts with the needs of the community. Railway Heights Market is expected to draw in locals and visitors alike with its dining, shopping and entertainment offerings. It also gives small businesses an incubator by providing an affordable platform for start-up concepts.

The dining options include Drunken Pho, Greedy Chicken, Samosa Haus, Peaky Grinders, Heads n Tails, Fresh Sandos, Mac and Twist and Pierogi Queen among its current food vendors. BOH Slice from Ben McPherson is under construction and expected to open in September. For adult libations there’s Shephard Ross’s Puncheon Wine Bar. Ross is a partner at Nomad’s Hospitality along with Anh Mai and Lian Nguyen.  A dog-friendly beer garden is expected to open in the next two months along with an in-house coffee roaster.

click to enlarge Art Curio is still finishing the mural at Railway Heights. - PHOTO BY LEO SPIN PHOTOS

Art Curio is still finishing the mural at Railway Heights.

Photo by Leo Spin Photos

Besides a bounty of dining and drinking vendors, the market also has its Art Curio market with works from exclusive local artists, including objets d’art, handcrafted goods and even antiques. Other stalls will offer goods and foodstuffs as well.

As part of its eco-friendly ethos, the restaurant vendors at the market will use compostable packaging materials and participate in an active recycling and composting program. Railway Heights Market is also on a mission to connect with local farmers, ranchers, bakers, fishermen and artisans befitting its hyper-local focus.

click to enlarge The Heartbeet Burger is plant-based. - PHOTO BY JENN DUNCAN

The Heartbeet Burger is plant-based.

Photo by Jenn Duncan

Heartbeet, 14714 Memorial, is slated to open in September. The plant-based eatery by Hungry’s Concepts will be next to its restaurant Hungry’s in Memorial. Over the years, vegan items have been added to the Hungry’s menu and the the family-owned restaurant group realized the demand was there to  expand upon on their popular plant-based offerings.

The Sharifi and Nowamooz families have embraced a plant-based diet over the last several years and the new concept ushers in a new era for the Hungry’s family. After 45 years, owners Fred Sharifi and Ashkan Nowamooz have brought in the next generation for a fresh perspective.  They’ve appointed Nousha Nowamooz as the Vice President of Development for Hungry’s Concepts. Nowamooz has already worked for several years on menu development and management at Hungry’s Concepts. She recently graduated with a master’s degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Houston and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California in San Diego, where she first became passionate about a plant-based diet.

click to enlarge Sue Nowamooz, Ashkan Nowamooz and Nousha Nowamooz are answering the demand for plant-based dining. - PHOTO BY JENN DUNCAN

Sue Nowamooz, Ashkan Nowamooz and Nousha Nowamooz are answering the demand for plant-based dining.

Photo by Jenn Duncan

Sharifi said in a press release,” We are very excited about this next generation of leadership and collectively refreshed our perspective on the direction of our beloved restaurant group.”

Hungry’s executive chef Sue Nowamooz began creating plant-based dishes for the restaurant in 2016. First, there were daily specials, then brunch items and eventually kid-friendly dishes as the demand for plant-based options grew. The plant-based offerings began to take up a significant portion of the menu leading the family to take advantage of the backyard of Hungry’s and create a unique plant-based concept.

click to enlarge A plate of gyros is made with seitan. - PHOTO BY JENN DUNCAN

A plate of gyros is made with seitan.

Photo by Jenn Duncan

Guests can look forward to dishes such as the Seitan Gyros Plate. Seitan is a popular meat substitute made from vital wheat gluten. There’s also a plant-based Citrus-Marinated Ceviche, Chickpea Penne and Wild Mushroom Pasta, Roasted Beet “Poke” Bowl and a Soba Noodle Salad.  For families, there will be a children’s menu offering Penne Mac-n-Cheese with homemade cashew cheese and Falafel Fingers.

On the beverage side will be freshly pressed juices and cocktails like the Cucumber Martini and the Spicy Pineapple Margarita.

Erin Hicks is in charge of the design at the new restaurant which will reflect the fresh and vibrant feel of the concept. The space will also include a mural by local Houston artist Shelbi Nicole.

click to enlarge J.D Valdez and wife Kristine recently launched a new food business. - PHOTO BY THE VALDEZ FAMILY

J.D Valdez and wife Kristine recently launched a new food business.

Photo by the Valdez family

Aurelian Culinary Co. launched its catering and food truck business July 1 with a soft opening and a limited menu. It serves fusion cuisine which blends familiar Mexican dishes with touches of Middle Eastern and Southeast  Asian flavors. Unfortunately, chef and co-owner J.D.Valdez was the victim of a parking lot shooting this past Sunday August 8.

The shooting occurred at Kroger, located in the 9100 block of W. Sam Houston Parkway, as Valdez was loading his grocery supplies for a catering event into his vehicle. A man and woman were apparently having a domestic altercation in the parking lot near Valdez’s vehicle when the man turned his focus to Valdez, according to abc13.com.  The suspect fired eight shots with six of them hitting Valdez. So far, there have been no arrests in the case.

click to enlarge J.D. Valdez and baby Mateo before the senseless shooting. - PHOTO BY THE VALDEZ FAMILY

J.D. Valdez and baby Mateo before the senseless shooting.

Photo by the Valdez family

Meanwhile, Valdez is in the hospital awaiting surgery to remove the bullets and repair his left arm which was severely broken due to three gunshots. He told the Houston Press that he was also hit in the forearm, chin and neck. Fortunately, the bullets missed major arteries and nerves but recovery will take some time. Valdez says he hopes to recover within two to three months. For the newly-launched business, however, he is unsure when it will reopen.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Valdez who, with his wife Kristine, just recently launched a family as well with the birth of their now four month-old son. The violent shooting has put Aurelian’s chef out of commission temporarily and the business on hold as he recovers. For those who wish to help out a fellow chef and small business owner, donations can be made at gofundme.com The Valdez family said with a newborn baby at home, they are grateful for any and all donations at this time.

click to enlarge Hugo Ortega is bringing the street foods of Mexico to Uptown Houston. - PHOTO BY LORRETTA RUGGIERO

Hugo Ortega is bringing the street foods of Mexico to Uptown Houston.

Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero

URBE, 1101 Uptown Park Boulevard, is currently hiring for the newest concept from James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega and the H-Town Restaurant Group. The restaurant’s Facebook page has a video post with a smiling Ortega in front of the building telling applicants they can apply in person at the restaurant or online. Behind him, the restaurant’s full name is URBE Street Foods of Mexico, a hint at the fare that will be offered at the newest concept from Ortega and wife Tracy Vaught, a James Beard Award-nominated restaurateur. Ortega released a cookbook in 2012 titled Hugo Ortega’s Street Food of Mexico

We reached out for a possible opening date and were told that the restaurant is still in the midst of final permits and the hiring process. But it looks to be pretty soon.

H-Town Restaurant Group is also hiring for its others concepts: Hugo’s, Caracol, Xochi and Backstreet Cafe.

click to enlarge Shubhangi Musale holds a photo of her late brother Mahesh along with her husband Neelesh Musale. - PHOTO BY MICHAEL ANTHONY

Shubhangi Musale holds a photo of her late brother Mahesh along with her husband Neelesh Musale.

Photo by Michael Anthony

Mahesh’s Kitchen, 16019 City Walk, is planned to open late summer in Sugar Land Town Square. The restaurant is owned by husband and wife Neelesh and Shubhangi Musale and is a tribute to Shubhangi’s late brother Mahesh, who died unexpectedly. His passing came shortly after his admittance to culinary school at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.  Th couple feel that their dream of owning a restaurant focused on elevated and authentic Indian cuisine will in some way keep Mahesh’s spirit alive.

The new restaurant will serve classic and fusion dishes with spices at the heart of the experience. Its robust masala program will complement its seasonally changing food and drink menu. Every three months, the restaurant will receive a shipment of over 300 pounds of spices from India. Food has always been an integral part in both partners’ lives and they believe passing down recipes and cooking techniques is important to their shared heritage.

click to enlarge Neelesh and Shubhangi Musale will offer Sugar Land elevated Indian cuisine. - PHOTO BY MICHAEL ANTHONY

Neelesh and Shubhangi Musale will offer Sugar Land elevated Indian cuisine.

Photo by Michael Anthony

Sugar Land Town Square is currently undergoing a major renovation and the Musales plan to to offer guests a chic interior at their restaurant in keeping with the upscale feel of the gathering place. An exhibition kitchen will be a focal point in the 2,000 square-foot space which will be decorated in old-world motifs, warm finishes and contemporary lines. There will be seating for 85 plus eight seats at the bar, eight in the semi-private dining room and another six seats at the intimate chef’s table. There will also be a patio with seating for 26.

Shubanghi and her culinary  team have created a menu with homestyle dishes like Palak Paneer and Goan Prawn Shrimp. Its Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken) is made with free-range chicken, fresh tomato, butter, garam masala and cashew nut. Along with authentic Indian fare, there will be fusion items like Chinese Noodle Chat and Mango Habanero Salmon. Fresh breads, dal and rice platters round out the menu along with intricate desserts like Mo’dak made with roasted coconut, shredded jaggery and poppy seeds covered in a steamed rice flour dough and served with ghee.

There will also be cocktails like the Cardamom Mojito and Tamarind Infused Margarita.

Tony Mandola’s, 1017 Houston Avenue, is expected to open in October, according to a spokesperson for Laurenzo’s Restaurant Group. The lease for the new location was first reported by EaterHouston. The Waugh location closed July 26.

click to enlarge Hotel Granduca will debut its new restaurant next month. - PHOTO BY HOTEL GRANDUCA

Hotel Granduca will debut its new restaurant next month.

Photo by Hotel Granduca

Alba Ristorante,1080 Uptown Park, is expected to open the first week of September at Hotel Granduca, the luxury boutique hotel from developer Giorgio Borlenghi which opened in 2006. Chef Maurizio Ferrarese, who has been with Hotel Granduca since 2018, will showcase his risotto and truffle talents at the hotel’s new restaurant. Ferrarese has been a top competitor at food festivals in Houston including the Risotto Festival and The Truffle Masters. Guests can expect his signature Black Truffle and Scallops and Piemontese Beef Tartare to be on Alba’s menu along with a variety of Mediterranean and  Gulf seafood dishes.

click to enlarge Chef Maurizio Ferrarese is a truffle and risotto maestro. - PHOTO BY HOTEL GRANDUCA

Chef Maurizio Ferrarese is a truffle and risotto maestro.

Photo by Hotel Granduca

Borlenghi has worked with designer Kara Childress to create the ambiance of a cozy European restaurant where guests find a champagne bar at the entrance. There will be snacks like Italian prosciutto and salami, olives and caviar. The bar will be anchored by an 18th-century bibliotheque (bookcase) and an antique painted Italian ceiling will add to the luxe feel of the space.

Miami Grill, 11626 TC Jester, opened June 29. This is the second location to open in Houston in the past few months, after making its return to the city with the opening of Miami Grill at 16344 Wallisville. The  fast-casual concept is popular for its cheesesteaks but it also offers burgers, gyros, wings, subs and chicken sandwiches. Armando Christian Perez, better known as Pitbull, has been a key equity partner in the brand since 2012.

Lyric Market Food Hall, 411 Smith, is expected to open in winter 2021, as reported by Houston Business Journal. In the meantime, the food hall is currently seeking vendors for its culinary collective. Chefs and restaurateurs looking to expand or open their own brick and mortar can choose between vented and non-vented stalls in the 14,000 square-foot culinary marketplace which will be part of Lyric Market’s city block-long development which will also feature a communal plaza, street-side terrace and a 7,500 square-foot deck.

click to enlarge The pho is king at Pho King Noodle. - PHOTO BY ELVIS NGUYEN

The pho is king at Pho King Noodle.

Photo by Elvis Nguyen

Pho King Noodle Bar, 4720 Washington, is currently under construction and the updated opening time has been set for October according to its post on the investment site NextSeed, where it is seeking investors. With a name that sounds very much like a curse word, if one pronounces pho correctly, the new concept considers itself a little irreverent and diners can expect noodle soups like Pho King Special (combination), Pho King Chicken and the meatball soup, Pho King Ballsy, all of which sound like insults or compliments. The restaurant will also serve Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches and spring rolls. In addition, beer and wine will be offered and the space includes patio seating and ample parking.

click to enlarge Spring rolls make a great late night snack after partying on Washington. - PHOTO BY ELVIS NGUYEN

Spring rolls make a great late night snack after partying on Washington.

Photo by Elvis Nguyen

The new concept is a partnership (along with investors) between Phu Nguyen and Elvis Nguyen. Phu, who will serve as managing partner, has been in the pho business since 2003 working with his family to open six locations of the local pho chain, Pho Danh over the years. Elvis is a young entrepreneur who founded Ham Choi Productions and Sing Karaoke Bar and Lounge. He is also a franchisee with Beard Papa’s, operating a location in Bellaire.

click to enlarge The Shrimp Boil can be ordered in two sizes. - PHOTO BY TRACI LING

The Shrimp Boil can be ordered in two sizes.

Photo by Traci Ling

Homestead Kitchen, 600 N. Shepherd, began its dinner service August 10. It first opened in M-K-T Heights this past June serving breakfast and lunch. Now with its dinner service, it will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. for breakfast, lunch and later.

The all day restaurant comes from first-time restaurateur Jeff Svenfold with chef Fernandez Alamilla creating Tex-Mex, Cajun and Southern favorites like enchiladas, fajitas, crawfish etouffee and chicken fried steak. Breakfast is served all day if dinner isn’t your jam.