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VOL. 4, NO. 4
freewheeling / p.14
SCAN Downtown Happenings
downtown Managing Editor/ Creative Director Angie Bertinot, Downtown District Copy Editor Barbara Linkin Mendel, Mendel Creative Solutions
14 ON A ROLL
Design ph Design Shop
Houstonians are finding it easier to embrace different modes of transportation, and downtown has been at the forefront. Building new bike trails, creating a bike share program and simply changing policies to allow bikes on buses and rail, has helped change attitudes about two-wheeled options.
Photography Katya Horner, Slight Clutter Photography
by MELISSA FITZGERALD
Contributing Writers Holly Beretto, Lauren Covington, Sandra Cook, Melissa Fitzgerald, Melissa Seuffert, Barbara Linkin Mendel
22 TAKING CARE
It’s had a variety of names and owners, but one thing hasn’t changed for St. Joseph Medical Center. It remains headquarters for outstanding medical care downtown. Since their founding 125 years ago, the hospital has seen a lot of firsts and is looking ahead for many more.
Advertising Information Angie Bertinot, 713.650.3022/ firstname.lastname@example.org
by SANDRA COOK
Questions or comments? Drop us a line at dtmagazine@ downtowndistrict.org
Downtown magazine is published quarterly and is free of charge. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Downtown District, 909 Fannin, Suite 1650, Houston, Texas 77010.
In the seven years since they moved to Houston, the Dynamo have managed to win a lot of games and a lot of hearts. The city has embraced the Major League Soccer team from the start and with their new downtown home, the team looks forward to taking play to the next level. by HOLLY BERETTO
hot companies The legal eagles at Jackson Walker find their downtown perch suits them just fine. by SANDRA COOK
backstage It’s been 25 years since the Wortham Theater Center first opened its doors and brought a whole new world of entertainment to downtown audiences. We remember how it all started.
Alternative transportation, an exciting new sports venue and a look back at a downtown institution fill this issue’s pages.
by MELISSA SEUFFERT
Niko Niko’s has grown from its humble beginnings into an iconic food destination for generations of Houstonians.
THE MUST LIST Our roundup of downtown happy hours will put a smile on your face.
datebook Theater, concerts, tours, festivals, special events and much more.
destination downtown map
Get up and go When St. Joseph Medical Center opened its doors 125 years ago as St. Joseph Infirmary, Houston was still in its infancy. The muddy roads and horse-drawn carriages that greeted the hospital’s founders upon their arrival gave little clue to the thriving metropolis we know today. But a spirit of innovation was ingrained in the city even then, and can be seen today in our vibrant, ever-changing downtown. One example that has us especially excited is our city’s growing commitment to alternative modes of transportation – in particular bicycling. Whether they are peddling down the leafy trails along Buffalo Bayou or using the fledgling B-cycle bike share program, Houstonians are finding they can get where they need to go on just two wheels. Learn a spirit of innovation all about it, complete with was ingrained in the a trail map, starting on page 14. city even then, and We’re thrilled that can be seen today in Houston sports fanatics have another reason to love our vibrant, everdowntown now that the changing downtown. Houston Dynamo have moved into their new home at BBVA Compass Stadium. Soccer joins baseball, basketball and hockey as part of the fabric of today’s Houston’s center, and as you’ll see starting on page 28, both fans and the Dynamo organization couldn’t be happier about their fantastic new turf. Be sure you flip to our roundup of great summer happenings, starting on page 39. From outdoor cinema to July 4 festivities, you’ll find something to do almost any night of the week. And don’t forget Plate, where you can learn a little bit about one classic foodie institution, Niko Niko’s. Just keep this issue handy for whatever leisure activity you might be planning. Or check us out online at downtownhouston.org. And keep sending your comments and suggestions our way.
Houston Downtown Alliance
ON THE COVER Dynamo fans rocked the house at the team's home opener in their new downtown digs. Great views, airy interiors and a modern exterior make BBVA Compass Stadium the envy of Major League Soccer. Cover Photo by Kennon Evett
2 summer 2012
isnâ€™t it tiMe you Paid MoM and PoP a Visit?
METRO is building new light-rail lines all over town. Mom-and-pop businesses in construction zones are working hard to stay open for you. Rally aRound the Rails and show your support by patronizing these establishments. You might make a great new Houston connection.
FOR A LIST OF BUSINESSES, VISIT
d o w n to w n's m o v e r s a n d s h a ke r s
by sandra cook
For law firm Jackson Walker, downtown means business Easy access to mass transit, entertainment, great restaurants and Houston's best sport venues are all part of central location's appeal.
urt Nondorf, managing partner for the Houston branch of Jackson Walker, beams with pride about his law firm’s recently renovated and expanded offices in 5 Houston Center. Jackson Walker recently extended their lease for approximately 70,000 square feet through June of 2020, with future expansion and renewal options. Tim Relyea of Cushman & Wakefield and Steve Biegel of Studley brokered the lease with the building owners, Wells REIT II. Gensler redesigned the space, and Harvey Construction was tasked to handle the renovation. The redesign of their space yielded seven additional attorney offices, two more paralegal offices and a conference room without adding to their footprint. The project also allowed for an employee lunchroom/ lounge on the 18th floor that Nondorf and other staffers sometimes refer to as Club 18. The improvements were much needed by the Houston firm, which has grown to 80 attorneys and 146 employees overall. The firm officed on the west side of downtown back in the 1990s at 1100 Louisiana and moved in 2002 after their client, Crescent Real Estate, approached them about moving to their new high-rise project, 5 Houston Center. The 27-story postmodern skyscraper sits adjacent to Discovery Green (and is coincidentally less than two blocks away from the would-be intersection of Jackson and Walker streets if the two streets actually crossed each other). Now, with 10 years at their present location, the move to 5 Houston Center has been very good for business. “For some of us it was a bit of a leap of faith back then to think of moving to the other side of Main Street, because it wasn’t as vibrant as it is today,” says Nondorf. “As it
turns out, we represented Crescent in all the equity, finance, leasing, refinance, even the sale of the building to Wells REIT II. And then Wells became a client as well. That’s just one example of why being downtown is good for our business.” Nondorf, who specializes in real estate law, adds that downtown business relations have brought them other major real estate clients, such as JP Morgan, Metropolis and Skanska. Stockholm-based Skanska, the construction giant whose development arm is redeveloping the Houston Club Building, also recently purchased from the First United Methodist Church the block bounded by Main, Bell, Clay and Fannin. A portion of the block will soon feature a 10,000-square-foot day care facility for Chase, whose existing facility will relocate there from the Houston Club Building. “Being downtown helps us serve our clients, knowing the areas on the real estate side and being able to counsel them,” says Nondorf. “And downtown offers advantages from the legal perspective, too. Many of our clients are here and, of course, the courthouses.” Of the firm’s 80 attorneys, about half are litigators and about half are transactional lawyers. “Litigation has actually expanded for us over the past three years, which is unusual compared to most firms,” says Nondorf. Energy and Excitement
Nondorf is enthusiastic about the energy of the revitalized portion of downtown that borders Discovery Green. “I love being in this part of downtown. Discovery Green is a great amenity, and the whole area offers so much within walking distance. The park and downtown together are a great amenity for all of Houston, but it’s particularly great to have that available to employees, who can walk to dinner at The Grove or The Four Seasons.” Beyond the culture and entertainment, Nondorf says Jackson Walker employees value the access to mass transit. “If I were speaking with George Greanias today I’d tell him our employees would love to see even more bus service on the east side of downtown. We have many employees who take the bus, park & ride, or even bike to work.” According to Nondorf, one of the firm’s partners lives in One Park
4 summer 2012
Place just across the street. Nondorf says other employees live nearby, too. One attorney is also a classical musician; she lives at the Post Rice Lofts so she can play gigs downtown. Another attorney lives at The Four Seasons, while many employees live in Midtown and the Heights. “There’s something about downtown, that excitement – that sizzle – helps retain employees,” says Nondorf. “It’s where things are always happening. Our clients from other areas often want to come downtown because they enjoy the atmosphere.” Nondorf says beautification and community improvement projects have made Houston what it is of note: today. “Houston is a great place Top l awyers (and because people who have succeeded actually give of their time couple) Chip Baband talents,” says Nondorf, who cock and Nancy collaborated with Tom Bacon at Hamilton handled The Lionstone Group to facilitate the Texas Beef case complex land acquisitions for the for Oprah/HARPO. Buffalo Bayou Partnership. “Projects like this help attract other During that case businesses to Houston, because Babcock used Dr. they see our environment is both Phil as a jury conworkable and livable. That type sultant, introducof thing makes a big difference.” ing Dr. Phil to “If you look at the various Oprah. The firm office building owners now – and we represent a lot of them still represents – there are many who are very both of them. proud of their space and their Caption goes here.
stats: : houston office 5 houston center 1401 mckinney st. suite 1900 : other locations austin dall as fort worth san angelo san antonio : employees 330 statewide 146 houston
position downtown, and rightly so,” says Nondorf. “We know it goes through cycles, but if you look at the numbers and all of the factors, they point to increased employment, more population growth, good support from the energy industry, more diversification of our city and better transportation.” Nondorf also praises the value of the diversity of people downtown who not only originate from the region, but have moved from other states, Canada, Mexico, Central America and beyond. “In Houston, if you work hard and have a good idea, you can succeed,” says Nondorf. “That’s more true today that it’s ever been. Whether you’re a woman, minority, whatever your background, it’s not about gender or race, it’s about what you can bring to the table.”
: known for bankrupTcy energy health care intellectual propert y international l abor and employment litigation real estate securities : managing partner in houston kurt nondorf : web site jw.com
above: Caption goes here.
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arts & entertainment
b a c k s ta g e .
by Melissa Seuffert
Tia FullerBallet's dazzles with Da in Camera. Houston Made America with Christopher Coomer and Nao Kusuzaki.
Wortham Theater under construction in 1985.
The year was 1987 – the world’s population had reached 5 billion; gasoline cost just under $0.90 per gallon; Margaret Thatcher was elected prime minister of the United Kingdom; and it was the year nobody put baby in the corner. It also was the year that Houstonians stood together to show their support for the performing arts, as the project to build the Wortham Theater Center came to fruition. In the coming months, the Wortham Center will celebrate 25 years of memorable performances, commemorating the past, and looking towards the future.
photo courtesy of houston first
Celebrating 25 years of the Wortham Theater Center
Kathy Whitmire, mayor of Houston from 1982-1992, recalls that early in her administration supporters of the Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera drew her attention to the need for a better performance space for the groups. “The vision of a new home for the opera and ballet on the banks of Buffalo Bayou was shared by many supporters of the arts in both the private and public sector, so it was an easy decision to make it a public/private partnership. The city provided the land, and major local foundations and corporations made leadership gifts to start the fundraising campaign,” Whitmire wrote from her home base in Hawaii. Those initial leadership gifts were provided by the building’s namesake, Gus S. Wortham, as well as the Brown and Cullen Foundations. Current president and CEO of Houston First Corporation Dawn Ullrich wasn’t in the driver’s seat when the Wortham was being built, but she was a part of the process from her position in the city’s legal department. Ullrich emphasized that following the Oil Bust of the 1980s, building the Wortham really became a community-driven project. In addition to the leadership gifts, it was the 3,500 small donors who really made the project possible. More than 2,000 donors gave $100 or less. The Wortham is among the many buildings Houston First, a quasipublic entity that represents a consolidation of the City of Houston Convention & Entertainment Facilities Department and the Houston Convention Center Hotel Corporation, manages. “We’re very proud of (the Wortham),” Ullrich said. “We like to think of ourselves as holding that building and our others in a trust for the people that donated money to make it happen. In one of the darkest times economically for the city,” she adds, “it was really a miracle.” Whitmire agrees.
8 summer 2012
Two arts groups in need of a good home
Houston Ballet artistic director Ben Stevenson and board trustee Harriet Bath.
“I felt the community's willingness to raise private money and complete a project of this magnitude in the middle of a major recession made a tremendous statement about Houston's resilience,” Whitmire wrote.
at a glance
Wortham Theater Center
From Marie to Don Carlos, it’s amazing to think of all the beautiful performances that have graced the stage of the Wortham over the years. The two resident companies – Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera – have spent the last 25 years working together to put on the very best for their faithful arts patrons. Houston Ballet opened the center with a run of Romeo and Juliet, and Houston Grand Opera followed with ravishing performances of Aida. Both groups have had to work together over these years to make the space work for each other, and have collaborated to maintain the building, as well as make some changes – such as the orchestra pit renovation in 2005. Ullrich calls both groups “great tenants” and looks forward to continued collaboration for years to come. The feeling is mutual, according to former Houston Ballet executive director C.C. Conner. Houston First is attuned to the needs of the two organizations, knowing that the building is their home, he said. Conner said the relationship with Houston Grand Opera has always been one of collaboration and respect. “(The relationship) works well, because we went to the patron community to build a building as co-partners, giving us equal authority,” Conner said. “From the beginning, it has always been a joint venture to manage all the backstage operations together, so we’ve always managed to do that." Hasn’t aged a bit
Over the years, the building itself hasn’t changed much. With the exception of new furniture in the green room and Founder’s Salon, touch-ups on paint and the carpet, the Wortham has stood the test of time. Improvements that have stood out in patrons’ minds are the addition of more women’s restrooms, additional wheelchair seating, extra beverage bars as well as monitors in the alcoves for
gary barchfield photography
Houstonians celebrate Wortham's grand opening.
Placido Domingo and Mirella Freni in Aida, Houston Grand Opera's first performance at Wortham in 1987.
The Wortham Theater Center cost $66 million to build - $5 million under budget. The 437,000-square-foot building was completed four months ahead of schedule.
late patrons. Ullrich said that Houston First is mindful when making any changes, consulting with the administrations of the ballet and opera when a renovation comes up. Most of the work happens behind the scenes, such as new lighting boards or sound equipment. When the Wortham was built, it was at the forefront of technology, and according to Ullrich, it’s a huge priority for them to make sure the building remains on the cutting edge. Long term, Ullrich said it’s most important to keep the Wortham a place Houston arts lovers enjoy visiting. “Our plans are mostly to maintain what’s there,” Ullrich said. “It’s important that it continue to be fresh and some place that the arts groups as well as the folks who attend are proud of.”
The building is the legacy of the late Gus S. Wortham, the founder of American General Insurance Company.
Celebrations being pl anned
The Brown Theater boasts 2,405 seats, yet no seat is more than 138 feet from the stage.
Last month at the opening night of Houston Ballet’s performance of Made in America, Mayor Annise Parker made a curtain speech commemorating the 25th anniversary. It was a watershed moment in Houston’s cultural life, she said, helping to establish Houston as an international arts center and greatly raising the visibility of the city’s performing and visual arts scene. Her comments kicked off the celebration honoring the center and all that it has done for our city. Plans are still underway to celebrate the Wortham Center’s 25th anniversary, so stay up-to-date on all the festivities by visiting houstonfirsttheaters.com.
Since its opening in 1987, the Wortham has had more than 5 million visitors. The Wortham is versatile. In addition to the Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera, it hosts social galas, civic meetings, corporate and group events and even weddings. Eugene Aubry of Morris Architects (formerly Morris Aubry Architects) designed the building. The facility features two theaters, the Alice and George Brown Theater and the Roy and Lillie Cullen Theater.
The smaller of the two houses is the 1,100seat Cullen Theater. Other arts groups such as Society for the Performing Arts, Da Camera of Houston and Mercury Baroque often perform there. Celebrities and political figures alike have graced the stage at Wortham Center. Some notables include Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush; Barbara Bush; Oprah Winfrey; Robert Redford; Roger Moore; John Lithgow and George Clooney.
House lights are going down … What do two star-crossed lovers, a yellow brick road, a warthog and a meerkat all have in common? Absolutely nothing – except they’ll all be a part of the summer 2012 Houston Theater District season. From Oz to Verona and back again, check out what’s in store and start planning how you’ll get your arts fix in the coming months.
Act 1 This May marked the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Wortham Theater Center, home to the Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera. In the spirit of celebrating the homes of our arts groups, here’s what you can enjoy this summer. Wortham Theater Center Houston Ballet is presenting its spring mixed repertory program Made in America, through June 3. Consisting of a world premiere work by Nicolo Fonte, a company premiere by Mark Morris and a revival of George Balanchine’s tribute to the Imperial Russian Ballet, this performance will showcase everything there is to love about ballet – from the classic to the modern. What’s even more interesting is that all three of these choreographers have created works all over the world – but the three on this program were, as the title says, made in America. If that isn’t enough to pique your interest, what about the classic story of two star-crossed lovers forced to make the ultimate sacrifice to be together? Houston Ballet will close out its season June 7-17 with a revival of Ben Stevenson’s spectacular staging of Romeo and Juliet, the performance that inaugurated the Wortham Theater Center back in 1987. Jones Hall Society for the Performing Arts brings the three-time Tony Awardwinning musical FELA!, to the Jones Hall stage for a limited engagement June 5-10. FELA!, a provocative hybrid of dance, theater
10 summer 2012
and music, explores the extravagant and rebellious life of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, a Nigerian musician and human rights activist. Kuti’s story is one of courage and passion. Inspired by his mother, he defied a corrupt and oppressive military government, devoting his life and music to the struggle for freedom and human dignity. The Houston Symphony is back with its Summer in the City concert series, kicking off with a doubleheader of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses on July 6-7. For all the gamers and fanatics of The Legend of Zelda series out there, this is the place for you. Featuring dynamic and compelling video on a large screen, this performance will bring 25 years of the world’s most popular video game series to life. Legendary music icons Three Dog Night celebrate their fourth decade in popular music by bringing classic songs like Joy to the World, Mama Told Me (Not To Come) and One to the symphony on July 13. And on July 21, relive the classic tale of Dorothy and her journey to Oz. With the backing of a live orchestra and the digitally re-mastered Warner Bros. film The Wizard of Oz showing on the big screen, children and adults alike can experience everything from Munchkinland to the Wicked Witch of the West like never before. The Houston Symphony’s summer series concludes July 28 with an encore performance of Orbit – An HD Odyssey plus the music of Star Wars and more. Don’t miss this astounding combination of high-resolution images of our planet taken from NASA missions into Earth’s orbit, accompanied by Richard Strauss’ epic tone poem, Also Sprach Zarathustra, and John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
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at the Hobby Center, as Gexa Energy Broadway at the Hobby Center is bringing back Disney’s The Lion King for a five-week run, from July 10-Aug. 12. Featuring music from the film’s score, as well as three new songs, you’ll witness more than 40 actors bring the animals of Pride Rock to life on the stage. The Lion King has won six Tony Awards, and is one of Broadway’s longest-running musicals. Theatre Under The Stars brings back summer favorite The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas from June 5-15. In addition to enjoying the spirited musical about a real-life brothel in Texas, TUTS is offering special events such as the Texas Size VIP Experience, with stageside, cabaret-style seating, artisan beer and gourmet snacks. An exciting collaboration with the New York Baroque Dance Company brings the 400-year-old music of Claudio Monteverdi to Ars Lyrica. Monteverdi’s music is known for marking the transition between Renaissance and Baroque, and was considered revolutionary for his time. Heaven and Hell will be performed on June 8 and 10. joan marcus
The Tree of Life from The Lion King National Tour.
Houston and artistic director and CEO Sarah Rothenberg are embarking on a recording of Music for Rothko: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Rothko Chapel. The recording will reflect the unique contemplative environment of the chapel, defined by the artwork of Mark Rothko, and also marks a collaboration with the Houston Chamber Choir. This recording will kick off a yearlong celebration for DaCamera, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in the upcoming 2012-2013 season. After successful spring showings of Don Carlos and Mary Stuart, Houston Grand Opera opens its season in October with Puccini’s La Boheme. In addition, HGO hosts opera camps in June, where children from 3rd-12th grade can tweak their singing and acting skills. For more information on the camps, visit hgoco.org/operacamp.
Curtain call While you’re looking for a fun way to beat the heat, don’t let the Houston Theater District leave your mind. From dance to plays, and even film combined with live music, there’s something for everyone downtown this summer. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 19th Annual Theater District Open House on Sunday, Aug. 26 from noon-4 p.m. It’s your chance to get to know the performing arts in Houston, snag some awesome ticket deals and get a sneak peek of the 2012-2013 season. For more information or to purchase tickets to any of these performances, visit houstontheaterdistrict.org.
12 summer 2012
Intermission While many of our arts organizations are on hiatus from performing this summer, it doesn’t mean they’re any less busy. DaCamera of
claire m cadams
Robert Simpson and Sarah Rothenberg review the score of Music for Rothko.
pin lim/forest photography
The second play in the Alley Theatre’s New Play Initiative Program runs through June 10. What We’re Up Against is being called a brilliant black comedy that deals with sexism in the workplace. Parents, find a babysitter, because this one is recommended for mature audiences only. Later in the summer, the Alley Theater’s Annual ExxonMobil Summer Chills presents Agatha Christie’s Black Coffee from July 6-Aug. 5 on the Hubbard Stage. Black Coffee was Christie’s first play, a murder-mystery centered on Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
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88958 / HALF PAGE HORIZ / DOWNTOWN MAGAZINE RUN DATE: FRIDAY, JUNE 1
houston on two wheels
From new trails to an urban bike share program, Houston is finally making inroads to becoming a bike-friendly city.
By Melissa Fitzgerald
In an age of thickening waistlines, a depleting ozone layer and sky-high gas prices, people are seeking alternatives when it comes to transportation, exercise and saving money. A remarkably simple answer addressing all three lies in an invention that’s been around for nearly 200 years: the bicycle. To date, Houston boasts 302 miles of bikeways built and maintained by the City of Houston and an additional 200 more built by TxDOT, Harris County precincts, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the Energy Corridor, Houston Parks Board and many others. And it’s no secret that the recent surge of cycling popularity is due in part to the creation and renovation of numerous hikeand-bike trails along Buffalo Bayou. According to Anne Olson, president of Buffalo Bayou Partnership, these
connective trails leading from downtown’s surrounding neighborhoods to the bayou, are key to making Houston a more bike-friendly city. “In the car culture of Houston, people want to see more bicycling and walking options to their places of work,” Olson says. The new trails and pedestrian bridges stretch from the neighborhoods to the bayou creating a seamless path into the downtown area. Trails currently under construction or newly opened can be found on Buffalo Bayou, White Oak Bayou, Keegan’s Bayou and Sims Bayou reaching north, south, east and west of the downtown area. Additionally, a primary focus of Buffalo Bayou Partnership and the City of Houston is to connect the gaps in trails that are currently in existence on the East End and from the Heights. The future of biking on the bayou can be visualized in BBP’s -continued page 18
the b ay o u by bike
t h e i n i t i at i v e
b-c yc l e Getting around downtown is about to get a whole lot easier
top right: Mayor Annise Parker launched B-cycle on May 2nd. middle right:
B-cyclists check out City Hall Farmers Market.
With grant monies from the City of Houston and sponsorship dollars from Bike Houston, the Downtown District and Houston First, Houston will become one of 15 U.S. cities to launch B-cycle, a bike share program that works by allowing riders to check out a bicycle from an outdoor station for a set amount of time and money. The nationally popular bike sharing initiative, B-cycle, is managed by a non-profit organization, Houston Bike Share. Local cycling store favorite, Bike Barn, has donated their services to keep the bikes maintained throughout the first year of B-cycle’s operation. The program launched May 2 with three B-stations located at Market Square Park, the George R. Brown Convention Center and City Hall, with 18 bikes available for use. While Houston B-cycle in its early stages will primarily be functional for the downtown area and surrounding trails, the future is bright as $1 million in federal stimulus funds from the Department of Energy will expand the number of available bikes from 18 to approximately 200 by the end of 2012. “New station locations will be targeted for densely populated parts of the city, including downtown, the Museum District and the Texas Medical Center with a goal of connecting those areas.,” said Laura Spanjian, sustainability director for the City of Houston. “Bike share is a great initiative for those who may not want to own a bike all the time but still enjoy biking. This [program] creates a way for them to expand their options for transportation and recreation.” The signature B-cycle bike was uniquely designed for an urban bike share environment. The bikes feature graffiti resistant paint, lights and a basket in front for personal items. Riders can choose from three affordable rental options: a $5 day pass, a $7 weekly pass or a $50 annual membership complete with membership card. Bikes can be checked out for as long as 90 minutes before they must be returned to any of the three kiosks around downtown. Every bike comes equipped with a GPS tracking device and RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) system that records the accumulated mileage and calories burned by the rider during its rented time. Annual membership holders need only swipe their card upon check out and their personal riding statistics are saved and can be viewed on the B-cycle website, houston.bcycle.com.
_H o u s to n's
_ If 10 p e r c e n t
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-k e yhouston on two wheels
hike + bike trails entry to buffalo bayou
See Houston from a whole new angle! Meet BBP’s boat captain at the Sabine Promenade boat launch for a relaxing and informative 30-minute bayou cruise. Every second Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark, the 30,000-square-foot facility, draws skaters of all levels from around the city, where they can work on their kick flips and their ollies or just learn the basics. It’s all free, but don’t forget to bring your helmet – it's required gear.
canoe launches wheelchair accessibility b-station
Have relatives in town looking for exclusive H-town items? The Houston Visitors Center, located at City Hall, will not disappoint.
The City’s first park, the 19-acre Sam Houston Park is home to eight beautifully preserved historic homes dating back as far as 1823. Where is the best place to celebrate the 4th of July? Eleanor Tinsley Park of course. The City throws it down with the largest land-based fireworks in the U.S. plus, this year, rockin’ entertainment from Sara Evans and Billy Currington.
A theater for “grown-ups,” Sundance Cinemas offers reserved seating, a variety of craft beer, intheater dining and super comfy seating. Cool boat sculptures, created by Houston’s own John Runnels, welcome visitors at the bayou’s major entryways.
Often described as “Houston’s heart,” Allen’s Landing is the spot where in 1836 August C. and John K. Allen stepped ashore and claimed Houston as their own.
Rising dramatically above Buffalo Bayou, Sesquicentennial Park is home to Mel Chin’s seven 70-foot-tall pillars Seven Wonders. Each column is constructed of 150 individual children’s drawings, etched in stainless steel plate. The Ferris wheel at the Downtown Aquarium resembles a diving bell and offers outstanding views of downtown Houston’s skyline.
off the map
Whether you’re in the mood for a fresh, all-organic salad buffet or just want to chill with a “cup of Joe” in the book nook, you’ll love Georgia’s Market at Main and Prairie.
Home to four City Halls, Market Square Park is now a pretty and authentic spot in the heart of the Historic District neighborhood. You’ll find tasty temptations by Niko Niko’s, shady walkways, dog runs and lively entertainment.
Their bike rack may be beat up, but that is only a testament that the Flying Saucer is a supremely popular place for bike riders. With more than 200 beers, it’s a great place to meet up with friends or stop before a game.
914 Main Street
Bombay Pizza specializes in a nacho-thin crust pizza, topped with fresh Indian ingredients that will transport your taste buds to the Arabian Coast. Vegetarians flock to Bombay for its meatless selections, but carnivores crave the Slumdog!
Jumping fountains, lakeside dining, free yoga classes, concerts, movies, art exhibits, flea markets and more can be found at Discovery Green. There is something for everyone, a wonderful green space that is a Houston favorite.
1001 Austin Street
Phoenicia is a triple threat. A traditional grocery store; amazing grab-and-go schwarma wraps, pita-bread pizzas and killer salad bar and; the MKT Bar, complete with beer, wine, tasting menu and gelato to wind down the day (open late).
houston on two wheels
Houston saw a
62% increase in
the number of people commuting via bicycle between 2005
-continued from page 15
Critical Mass monthly ride at Market Square Park. above right:
Bike Houston's Darren Sabom test drives Houston B-cycle.
rolling with your homies
massive Shepherd to Sabine project, which has already begun and will be finished in 2015. When planning for the renovation, BBP reached out to members of the bicycling community in order to better incorporate biking needs into the plans. Houstonians can expect wider sidewalks, lush landscaping free of invasive plant species and more pedestrian bridges. But biking in Houston extends beyond the trails and onto the streets as more and more Houstonians are considering it as an alternative to driving. Houston saw a 62 percent increase in the number of people commuting via bicycle between 2005 and 2010, according to a survey done by the League of American Bicyclists. This percentage is likely to climb, with millions of dollars in private and federal funding directed toward renovating and creating bikeways for the city. “We have developed the nation’s first free online bicyclist education course (bikeed.org) and are continuously working with METRO to improve and expand bicyclist access to bus
and light rail transit.” said Dan Raine, bicyclist-pedestrian coordinator for the City of Houston. Thanks to this collaborative effort, METRO allows bike boarding on the front of their buses and on its trains, enabling people to use the public transit system to carry them to the desired general area with their bicycle taking them the last leg of their journey. In March 2012, METRO reported 11,425 bike boardings, up 13 percent from the previous year. Total boardings since METRO initiated the program exceed 364,000. The hope is that more Houstonians will find convenience in this kind of a dual transportation option as the green movement of bike sharing is established in Houston. “Most people make short trips,” says Neil Bremner, co-owner of Bike Barn. “If people can start to use the bicycle for these short trips, it will make a difference environmentally.” These small changes can have a big impact in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions attributed to automobile usage.
T r y i n g a n y t h i n g n e w a lway s f e e l s a l i t t l e s a f e r w i t h f r i e n d s. W h i l e H o u s to n h a s m o r e b i k e g r o u p s a n d r i d e s t h a n yo u c a n c o u n t, h e r e a r e a f e w g r o u p s t h at o f f e r o p t i o n s f o r a l l l e v e l s o f b i k i n g e n t h u s i a s t s:
_t h e h o u s t o n b i c yc l e c lu b
Houston’s largest recreational cycling club is geared to all riders regardless of age or experience. Started in 1964, the group has a long history of promoting healthy living and bicycle safety. Visit their website for upcoming rides and events around Houston and beyond.
what's the right bike?
c h o o s i n g yo u r r i d e
Designed for easy pedaling, great for riding around the neighborhood. This bike is comfortable, easy to ride, has a comfortable saddle and will produce limited stress on your body.
i n f o r m at i o n f o r t h e s m a r t c o n s u m e r So you’ve decided that biking might be your cup of tea. But when faced with the challenge of actually selecting a bike that’s your style and speed, the plethora of choices can be overwhelming. Whether you’re a cycling novice or a two-wheeling expert, keep the following things in mind when you shop:
Target your objective
Before ever stepping foot in a bike store, answer the following questions: • How do you plan to use the bike? Will it be for transportation, recreation or both? • Will you be taking your bike off road? • Do you plan to train for a triathlon or competitive event? • Do you plan to use the bike to improve your fitness with longer, aerobically beneficial rides? • Do you plan to join a biking group and ride with others? get real with yourself
Consider your purchase history with other items of importance. Is all that glitters gold despite a high price tag? Or do you prefer trading less glitter for fewer dollars and cents? Bicycles come with all kinds of bells, whistles and high-tech gadgets.Your purchase habits will play a factor in what level of bike you ultimately choose, so you should be familiar with what level of sophistication will make you happy. be budget conscious
Going in with a spending ceiling in mind will help the salesperson direct you to the bike that best fits your needs and wallet restrictions. It’s important to remember that while upgrading bike components is a possibility, it’s much more cost efficient when they are included as standard equipment on your initial purchase. select your bike t ype
According to Neil Bremner, co-owner of Bike Barn, these are the four bikes best suited for city riding: comfort, hybrid, mountain and cyclocross. (see sidebar on right) accessorize
You didn’t think you were done after buying your bike, did you? This is the fun part. The most commonly purchased biking accessories include helmets, tool kits, locks, pumps, cycling shorts and shoes. You’ll need to make room in your budget for these cycling essentials. It’s an undeniable truth that biking is on the rise in Houston, and you’re going to want to be a part of it. Whether you’re looking to make a lifestyle change, or simply want to give biking a whirl, Houston has an option for you. So go! Explore the bayou, bike to the park for a picnic, make some new friends in a cycling club. No matter how you spin it, biking will open your eyes to a new way of living and enhance your city experience. There are many adventures to be had that simply can’t be explored from the confines of your car.
Originally designed for cyclocross racing, this bike has some great urban features and can work well for a commuter. The bike looks like a road bike but features wider tires, stronger wheels and a durable frame. Great for the cycling enthusiast heading out for urban commuting and getting around town. Mountain
Go everywhere, do everything. While designed for riding trails, this bike’s durability is ideal for an urban environment. Should be used for recreation rather than commuting. Hybrid
Best of both worlds. This bike is designed for a fitness rider or commuter. It can carry you to work on the city streets and allow you to chase adventure on rougher terrain. It combines the stability and durability of mountain bikes but maintains its light weight and speed.
_c r i t i c a l m a s s
_b ayo u b i k e r s
_b ayo u c i t y o u t d o o r s
A national event that occurs monthly in cities across the globe. The Houston chapter meets on the last Friday of the month at Market Square Park in downtown’s Historic District. Rides begin around 7 p.m., lasting an average of two to three hours and covering approximately 20 miles. houstoncriticalmass.com
This informal group of bikers gathers on the first Sunday of the month at Market Square Park. Rides typically traverse 25 – 40 miles exploring the bayous and beauty of Houston. Riders of all abilities are welcome, but a mountain bike or hybrid is necessary in order to handle the terrain.
This multi-interest active group has an enthusiastic community of cyclists. Some of their most popular events include their Farmer’s Market Tour Ride and Houston’s Too Cool Tour Ride. bayoucityoutdoors.com
h c at c
de a ri
. m . a 0 6:3 to . m . p 0 6:3
m 7 - 10
Through a partnership with the Downtown District, BG Group and Houston First, the downtown community now can enjoy FREE and quick service to popular downtown destinations beginning June 11. The Greenlink fleet runs on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), making them a cleaner transportation alternative. With more than 50 percent of downtown workers without their personal car during the day, Greenlink is a handy connector to restaurants, shopping, entertainment and METRORail and bus service. The route also conveniently connects the George R. Brown Convention Center to most of downtownâ€™s major hotels. downtownhouston.org
Greenlink stops and points of interest
A free and easy way to get around
Smith & McKinney City Hall Houston Visitors Center B-cycle Station Tranquillity Park Central Library & Julia Ideson Library Theater District Bayou Place Sundance Cinemas Buffalo Bayou access
Smith & dallas Sam Houston Park Heritage Society Museum
Smith & polk Doubletree Hotel
Smith & bell
Smith & pease Crowne Plaza Hotel
louisiana & pease Tellepsen Family YMCA METRO Transit Center
louisiana & bell
louisiana & dallas Hyatt Regency Hotel
dallas & main Macyâ€™s Main Street Square & METRORail Station Courtyard by Marriott & Marriott Residence Inn
dallas & san jacinto Houston Pavilions The Shops at Houston Center South Texas College of Law
dallas & labranch Phoenicia Specialty Foods Grocery Store Discovery Green Toyota Center Root Memorial Square Four Seasons Hotel Embassy Suites Hotel
Avenida de las Americas | Hall D George R. Brown Convention Center Discovery Green B-cycle Station Hilton Americas Holiday Inn Express
Avenida de las Americas | Hall b George R. Brown Convention Center Minute Maid Park
walker & labranch Phoenicia Specialty Foods Grocery Store Incarnate Word Academy Inn at the Ballpark
Walker & Caroline
Walker & San Jacinto The Shops at Houston Center Magnolia Hotel Alden Hotel
Walker & main METRORail Station Club Quarters Hotel
Walker & milam Theater District JPMorgan Chase Observation Deck The Lancaster Hotel
C o m pa s s i o n at e C a r e St. Joseph Medical Center is retooled and ready for the next 125
By Sandra Cook
22 summer 2012
he venerable St. Joseph Medical Center marks its 125th birthday this June. We could say “anniversary,” but the word “birthday” seems more appropriate for the downtown hospital known as Houston’s birthplace. According to the hospital, there was a time when approximately one in three Houstonians was born at St. Joseph Women’s Medical Center. The hospital has documented families with three and four generations born there. Maternity facilities have been a cornerstone of the comprehensive medical complex since 1938, although babies were born at St. Joseph’s Infirmary in 1887, the institution’s first year. As early as 1943, St. Joseph established Houston’s first premature nursery, and was the first hospital in the city to use an incubator. The Bloxom Air Lock Incubator was developed by St. Joseph staff member Dr. Allen Bloxom. His invention is credited with saving thousands of premature babies. For Houstonians whose knowledge of St. Joseph may be just that St. Joseph Parkway is the off ramp to downtown destinations, fasten your seatbelts. The hospital’s improbable tale continues with remarkable triumphs in the face of adversity. The hospital was started by a small, but determined group of hearty souls who overcame daunting hurdles and hardships with faith and determination and along the way set new standards for medical care long before the Texas Medical Center geared up in the 1940s. Sisters paved the way The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Ward extended their mission of kindness to Houston 125 years ago. It was just 50 years after Houston was founded and a mere 11 years after the Sisters of Charity had been established in Galveston. The St. Joseph Medical Center archives offer the following early account of the hospital we know today. “March 1887: Mother St. Louis Monteillier, Sister M. Teresa O’Gara and Mother M. Augustine stepped off the train at Houston’s Grand Central Station and were greeted by Father Tom Hennessy, who showed them via Houston’s muddy streets to an abandoned, pre-Civil War frame structure and two small cottages at Franklin Avenue and Caroline Street. The group stood in silence – perhaps in shock at the buildings’ disrepair – until Mother Augustine asked, ‘Would Father Tom say a prayer to bless the new mission?’ Then they rolled up their sleeves and got to work.” Three months later, in June 1887, George Bingham, a railroad employee with a knee injury, was St. Joseph’s Infirmary’s first patient.
That same month the infirmary registered its first birth.
St. Joseph established Houston’s first premature nursery, and was the first hospital in the city to use an incubator.
Refused to shut their doors Changing times brought new affiliations and name changes. In 1952, St. Joseph’s Infirmary became St. Joseph’s Hospital. In 1964, the apostrophe and s were dropped from St. Joseph. In 1999, the name was changed to CHRISTUS St. Joseph Hospital. In 2006, when CHRISTUS put the hospital up for sale, the hospital’s physicians joined together to form the SJH Physician Purchasing Group LLC, and with Hospital Partners of America (HPA), purchased the hospital, which was renamed St. Joseph Medical Center. Today, the name remains the same under the new partnership with IASIS Healthcare, which began in May 2011. St. Joseph is the largest physician-owned hospital in the nation, with the approximate 100 doctors maintaining a 22 percent ownership in St. Joseph Medical Center. IASIS, located in Franklin, Tennessee, owns and operates medium-sized acute care hospitals in high-growth urban and suburban markets. The company operates its hospitals with a strong community focus by offering and developing health care services targeted to the needs of the markets it serves, promoting strong relationships with physicians and working with local managed care plans. “IASIS is a great partner for St. Joseph – not only is the company an industry thoughtleader, it holds the experience that will help the hospital meet its hopes and dreams,” says Pat Mathews, CEO of St. Joseph Medical Center. Mathews joined St. Joseph management in 2006, as HPA transitioned into the facility and served as the hospital’s CFO and as one of 10 board members who guided the hospital through its immensely challenging financial times over the next five years. Mathews was named CEO in 2009. The fiscal woes were well known, but the true heart of the institution’s medical staff didn’t make as many headlines. Rather than walk away from the earnest, but troubled hospital, the physicians worked together to continue its mission and formed the SJH Physician Purchasing Group LLC so that the doctors could participate in the sale process and share a collective voice in regard to the hospital’s future. “The fact that we are 22 percent physicianowned shows how much the doctors believe in this hospital,” says Mathews. “They invested not to save their jobs, but to save the hospital.” The institution and its caretakers survived fires, epidemics and economic hardships. The infirmary grew into a full-fledged medical
St. Joseph housed the nationâ€™s first private maternity hospital.
24 summer 2012
St. Joseph currently offers medical care in 32 specialties.
institution that housed the nation’s first private maternity hospital. Today the entire St. Joseph Medical Center complex covers 10 city blocks of downtown Houston, near the intersection of U.S. Highway 59 and Interstate 45. St. Joseph offers treatment and preventative care for more than 20 medical specialties, including cardiology, cancer care, behavioral health, intensive care/critical care, emergency care, neurosurgery, orthopedics and pediatrics. This vital health care center employs more than 650 board-certified physicians and more than 1,680 medical professionals and staff.
The staff is as culturally diverse as the downtown population and workforce.
Attitude is everything St. Joseph Medical Center is much more than its recently renovated buildings and directory of constantly improving medical facilities. This historical institution boasts a legacy of compassionate care established by the Sisters of Charity more than 100 years ago. The staff is as culturally diverse as the downtown population and workforce and is well known for their courtesy and kindness. This culture of caring is a big reason St. Joseph Medical Center was named at or near the top of Houston Business Journal’s Best Places to Work list (companies with more than 500 employees category) for 2009, 2010 and 2011. “At the time when we (HPA and SJH Physician Purchasing Group) bought the hospital from CHRISTUS, there was a solid wall dividing executive offices from rest of the floor,” says Mathews. “First thing we did was tear down that wall.” Opening up communication and committing to transparency proved to be the salvation of St. Joseph Medical Center. After dealing with the fallout of HPA’s bankruptcy – drastically shrunken credit, extreme fees – every penny was scrutinized, but the hospital emerged leaner and stronger. “We did all of that and we’re one of the best places to work in Houston,” say Mathews.
“That’s because we engage our employees. They know what’s going on.” Since partnering with lASIS Healthcare, St. Joseph Medical Center has transitioned to a new approach to accreditation called DNV Healthcare Accreditation, which focuses on quality, innovation and continual improvement, rather than pursuing a fault-finding or “gotcha” approach. Mathews praises the DNV accreditation process, explaining that the surveys target improvements in process and lead to constructive analysis and tools to make systems better. DNV materials describe their accreditation process as an engine for continuous quality improvement driven by the needs of each hospital, as opposed to a one-size-fitsall inspection. IASIS Healthcare has made tremendous capital investments since becoming the hospital’s majority owner in May 2011. Renovations and technology upgrades are apparent in every sector of the hospital complex. The recent IT revolution brought 900 new computers to the hospital complex. “People are blown away by the facilities and quality they see,” says Mathews, although he admits that amidst the rebuilding process, St. Joseph hasn’t done enough to let the public know they are not only still around, but stronger than ever.
Collaborations in excellence In Mathews’ words, St. Joseph Medical Center is “the Switzerland of medical schools.” The hospital takes an equal opportunity approach to collaborating with experts and institutions in Houston. “Sometimes there are some town-and-gown issues between the medical schools and the non-teaching physicians at hospitals,” says Mathews. “That doesn’t exist here. A Baylor faculty member could be in the operating room alongside a UTMB anesthesiologist, and that’s just fine.” With no turf wars to impede technology advancements and patient care, Mathews says St. Joseph gains a huge advantage. “It gives us the best of the best to work with – we give all the institutions the opportunity to participate in our programs. This yields tremendous benefits for the staff and patients. Being a teaching hospital keeps everyone striving to be at the highest level, academically minded to be at the forefront.” This approach opens doors for groundbreaking partnerships and facilities. St. Joseph Medical Center’s long-standing relationship with the University of Texas Health Science Center made it possible for St. Joseph to partner with staff member and world-renowned thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Hazim J. Safi to develop a leading-edge cardiovascular program. Dr. Safi recruited his colleague Dr. Eyal Porat, who recently joined the staff, to help grow this important specialization for the hospital. Also growing is a dedicated neurology and stroke program led by several neurologists and a top neurosurgeon on staff at St. Joseph.. St. Joseph Medical Center, a full-service
hospital, has worked to move beyond the ordinary specialties, offering specialized care that other hospitals may not. St. Joseph currently offers medical care in 32 specialties. One example is The Center for Sleep Disorders which opened in 2009. The facility, which offers luxury furnishings donated by Jim McIngvale of Gallery Furniture, provides diagnostic testing for sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome and other sleep disorders. St. Joseph also is working to develop an epilepsy center within its sleep center facility. The Women’s Behavioral Program at St. Joseph was created to meet the needs of today’s multi-tasking women. A serene and holistic environment has been created for women hospitalized for mood disorders. The facility has 19 private rooms and offers treatment through process and cognitive groups, therapeutic recreation, nursing education, relaxation group, dance/movement therapy as well as individual and family therapy. Last May, St. Joseph announced its partnership with Boston-based Joslin Diabetes Center, a global leader in diabetes research, education and care and an affiliated institution of the Harvard Medical School. The Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at St. Joseph Medical Center offers some of the latest advances for treating diabetes and its complications as well as patient education and support services. Diabetes patients work with a dedicated, highly experienced team including a board certified endocrinologist, registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and other medical and support professionals. Just north of downtown, St. Joseph Medical Center plans to open two floors of the Heights Hospital by fall 2012. St. Joseph also is working to open a separate outpatient clinic in the Heights that will include outpatient imaging, emergency care and a Joslin Diabetes care center. A similar outpatient facility is planned for the Space Center area in Deer Park. Older, wiser “It’s a remarkable place,” says Mathews. “To survive what we went through, we really emerged unscathed. Our recruitment efforts slowed down for a while, but we are gearing up on that.” St. Joseph Medical Center is proud to deliver exceptional care in a wide range of areas, and for downtowners, it’s more convenient than other hospitals. “St. Joseph Medical Center is an incredible place with an incredible medical staff and loyal, talented employees,” says Mathews. “The opportunity to work at a large urban teaching facility in conjunction with an innovative, strong, capital partner in IASIS is very appealing. The future is very bright for St. Joseph Medical Center.”
26 summer 2012
You’ve got connections t. Joseph Medical Center extends an open invitation to downtown workers and residents to use the full-service hospital whenever a health care need arises. Through a program St. Joseph calls Corporate Healthcare Connection, downtowners can receive prompt medical attention. With a phone call, a few questions and a brief registration process, a Town Car will be dispatched to your address to pick up anyone who’s not feeling well. Hospital staff members walk these patients through every step of their care, returning them to their pick-up address via Town Car at the end of their appointments. Emergency care, family practice and internal medicine physicians are available almost immediately, with specialists generally available within 48 -72 hours. Call 713.756.8600 to schedule services, Monday through Friday: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Proudly serving the Houston community for 125 years
Caring for Houston is our specialty.
For the past 125 years St. Joseph Medical Center has lovingly cared for the Houston community with dedication and excellent service. We continue to add new healthcare services to improve the lives of our patients and our community.
1401 St. Joseph Parkway | Houston, Texas | 77002 | 713.757.1000 | www.sjmctx.com
GAME DOWNTOWN F E AT U R E
PLAN Houston Dynamo move into new downtown home
ouston Dynamo president of business operations Chris Canetti is a little disheveled. It’s a bright, sunny April day – a perfect day for soccer, actually. He apologizes for his shirtsleeves and casual dress. “I was just at the stadium site.” The stadium is BBVA Compass Stadium, the brand new facility just down the street from the Dynamo’s George R. Brown Convention Center headquarters, the Major League Soccer (MLS) team’s new home turf. 30
away. Going to a live soccer match is all about the game and the people around you.”
The state-of-the-art facility has been a long time coming; since the team landed in Houston in 2005, they’ve been playing at Robertson Stadium on the University of Houston campus, sharing space with the UH Cougars football team. While that never made any difference in the quality of play by the team, Dynamo executives and fans knew the squad needed its own space. “We want people to leave our games being wowed by what they’ve just been a part of,” says Canetti, himself a longtime soccer fan. “The game, the players, the space, all of it.” In fact, Canetti says, the fans are an integral part of the Dynamo’s soccer story and feature heavily into the blueprint for how the team expands.
“We have a huge fan base,” says Canetti. “They’re educated and knowledgeable about the sport. They know how special soccer really is.” Make no mistake: Soccer is unique among professional sports. For one thing, its action is nonstop – no timeouts, no interruptions. It’s 90 minutes of pure action, something to which the uninitiated might not be accustomed. Canetti says he’s heard story after story of people who come to the games, not quite knowing what to expect. “And they’re blown away,” he marvels. “Going to a live soccer match is all about the game and the people around you.” Making that experience a great one is a huge part of why everyone associated with the team – from the front office to the players to the fans – are so stoked over BBVA Compass Stadium. “It’s a real game-changer for us,” says Canetti. “Our ticket base practically doubled
once we announced the stadium, and we’ve had incredible support and participation from the community over this venture.” That’s true of the Dynamo’s history here in H-town. The team moved from San Jose, Calif. in 2005, in part because they couldn’t get a stadium there. From their first appearance here, Houstonians fell in love with the team, and the Dynamo’s diverse fan base mirrors Houston’s own diversity as an international city. It didn’t hurt that the team came out of the gate with powerhouse players like Forward Brian Ching, who’s the team’s all-time leading scorer, and Midfielder Brad Davis, who led in MLS assists last season. If that wasn’t enough, their very first season in Houston, the Dynamo finished 11-8-13 in regular play, enough to place them second in the Western Conference and gain a spot in the conference semifinals, where they beat Chivas USA and then took care of the Colorado Rapids 3-1 in a game that would send them to the 2006 MLS Cup – which they won, defeating the New England Revolution. Not bad at all for the new kids in town. They followed it up with a 2007 MLS Cup win, and went back to the Cup last year, losing to the Los Angeles Galaxy, home team for soccer legend David Beckham, who’s expected to play when the Galaxy meets the Dynamo in the new stadium. This kind of momentum has helped the team earn a spot in the hearts of Houston sports fans. “They made us feel so at home,” says Ching, who compares Houston’s welcoming attitude to the famed aloha spirit of his native Hawaii. “They just welcomed us with open arms and made us feel special from the start.” The team isn’t about to forget that warm welcome, and Canetti emphasizes that the new stadium is a kind of celebration of the fans. In fact, 3,000 of them showed up for the February 2011 groundbreaking to watch construction get underway. What might have been a typical photo op with a bunch of suits in hard hats holding shovels turned into a street party that Canetti says was a tribute to the supporters who have been behind the team all the way. “Our fans have been with us for six and a half years,” he says. “And now, we have this great new facility in a great location that’s really a standout in our league.” Designed by Populous, the same firm that conceived the new Yankee Stadium in New York, BBVA Compass Stadium’s downtown location makes it unique among soccer facilities. No other soccer team has a downtown location like the Dynamo. And with its vibrant orange walls and concourses, not to mention
soaring vistas of the downtown skyline, it’s a first-class facility for a team that’s well on its way to its goal of being an elite brand in North American soccer. Located on six blocks near Minute Maid Park, the new stadium will be a part of a growing area of downtown that includes Minute Maid Park and the Toyota Center, as well
as the George R. Brown Convention Center, Discovery Green and Houston Pavilions. BBVA Compass Stadium is also set to be an anchor for east downtown. Former Populous architect Loren Supp told the Dynamo’s Jonathan Yardley that he not only loved how the team was willing to think outside the box on the stadium design, but also that he spent a lot of time wandering the streets, trying to get a feel for the space and how the stadium would fit in. He was struck by the area’s industrial feel, something that became a touchstone for the facility’s design. “We said, ‘Hey, let’s play that up,’ and we got this idea for a geometric object made of something in simple industrial fashion,” Supp said. The result is a sprawling orange concrete and gray steel construction that sports a wide concourse and airy interior, but still manages to feel entirely intimate. The 33 suites are all only about 10 rows from the field, and the east and west end party suites have open decks where fans can cheer and dance. On the southeast corner, in the lower bowl, is the
site reserved for the Dynamo’s main supporter groups, including the Texian Army, El Batallon, La Bateria and Brickwall, all known for their boisterous cheers, chants and music. Keeping with the team’s tradition of listening to its fans, the section doesn’t have any seats, so the supporter group members can jump and dance and otherwise rally the rest of the fans to support the team. BBVA Compass Stadium is about more than just great seating, though. On another bright April day, 25 days from the Dynamo home opener, operations coordinator Sam Longoria showed off the space, which features five locker rooms, one exclusively for the Dynamo. There’s a boot room, where players can hang their soccer shoes and have them cleaned and conditioned. There’s a sports medicine room and a whirlpool for the players, along with coaches’ offices and both English and Spanish media suites. “Each one of these seats has a great view of the action,” Longoria says, his own excitement evident. “We were influenced by the shape and design of European soccer stadiums.” The open-air BBVA Compass Stadium has two 75-foot canopies that provide shade for fans on the east and west sidelines. And the open grating in the aluminum panels surrounding the outside of the stadium will help keep the concourse cool on Houston’s hot summer nights. The facility also can handle rugby and lacrosse matches and Texas Southern University will use it for six of the school’s home games this season. In addition, look for concert and boxing match lineups (one of the Dynamo’s major owners is Anschutz Entertainment Group, or AEG, which has already booked country sensation Sugar Land for a performance. Another owner is champion boxer Oscar De Le Hoya). It’s already seen an international soccer match-up between El Salvador and New Zealand in May and will host the USA Rugby Men’s National Team against Italy in June, the only international rugby match on U.S. soil this year, and the first international event for BBVA Compass Stadium. “We are pleased to be able to announce
S u p erfan
Taking the show on the road
On Dynamo game day, it’s easy to spot Jose Trejo. First, there’s his bright orange Mohawk. If you miss that, just look for the big yellow school bus. “It’s a 1978 international school bus,” he laughs. “My buddy and I ripped out the seats and turned it into a tailgate space.” The inside is tricked out with couches and TVs, and a stereo system Trejo says you can hear “a block away.” It also boasts Dynamo logos, a four-foot longhorn on the front grill and a train horn the pair sound when the Dynamo score. “We keep the bus local,” Trejo says. “But we did take it up to Dallas for the FC Dallas game.” A season ticket holder for the last four years, Trejo became a soccer fan as a kid, playing the
game in junior high and high school. He says his best friend introduced him to Dynamo games when the team began playing, and he’s been cheering for them ever since. “I’m so excited we have our own stadium now,” he says. “And I love how we’re working with the city to have permissions and spaces for tailgates.” He’s also looking forward to his frontrow seats in the new facility. Pre-game, he’ll be whipping up excitement in the big yellow bus. Anyone is welcome to drop by and party, he says. The first time is complimentary; after that, bring something to share with fellow fans. “It’s a family tailgate,” he says. “No drama, no fights. Come see us in Lot C. And wear orange!”
S u p erfan
Erin Dutka Rallying the crowd
During the week, she teaches third grade in Katy. But come the weekend, Erin Dutka is a proud member of the Texian Army, the Houston Dynamo fan group that energizes the crowd on game day. “It’s just nonstop passion,” she says enthusiastically of
her involvement. “We’re standing, cheering, dancing, singing the entire 90 minutes.” Dutka has been a Dynamo season ticket holder since 2008 and says her love of soccer happened later in life. She’d see her students playing
soccer at recess, and she became friends with a man from South America, who took her to a couple of games. She was hooked. “Now, I have four seats in the Texian Army section of BBVA Compass Stadium,” she marvels. “You really have to
experience soccer live, you can’t get the same feeling on TV.” For Dutka and her fellow comrades in the Texian Army, the mission is to make sure the team knows the fans are behind them and to help the crowd at the stadium have a good time. Their repertoire
includes about 10 regular songs – some of them in Spanish – as well as cheers and chants. From their new area in BBVA Compass Stadium, they’ll have the space to stand up and unleash their Dynamo passion, something Dutka says she really loves
about being a Texian Army member. “Some days I’ll find I have bruises on my arms and legs from jumping up and down so much,” she laughs. “But I love it. I love being there in the excitement and supporting the team.”
“Each one of these seats has a great view of the action. We were influenced by the shape and design of European soccer stadiums.” the USA Rugby match between the U.S. men’s team and Italy as our first non-soccer event at BBVA Compass Stadium,” said BBVA Compass Stadium general manager Doug Hall. “Our stadium will provide fans with a unique downtown backdrop to this exciting sporting event, and we look forward to incorporating rugby events such as this into our calendar for years to come.” Clearly, this is a stadium that can do it all. The feeling you get from the facility is one that Houstonians can easily understand: the fulfillment of the city’s famous can-do spirit. It’s easy to be excited coming up from the concourse and looking at the wide, green expanse, even easier to imagine 22,000 fans cheering on the home team. “There are such incredible sight lines,” says Canetti. “Our fans are right on top of the action here. Plus, it’s beautiful and modern looking on the outside, and then it feels like an arena inside.” Canetti is proud of the facility’s downtown location, loving that the Dynamo make their home one block from Minute Maid Park,
home of the Astros, and just a short walk to Toyota Center, where the Rockets play. He says it lends a high-end cache to the team, which increases its standing as a pro team, both in the league and in the minds of supporters. “Being downtown gives us a hip, urban environment,” he says. “And our location trumps any other in American soccer.” “This stadium is a completely different experience (from watching soccer at a high school stadium or at Robertson),” Hall told the
Dynamo’s Jonathan Kaplan. “You’re closer to the action, there’s natural grass, great video displays, great proximity. I think that’s one thing the fans will be blown away with.” “You’re only 30 feet away from the field when you’re in some of the upper sections,” adds Supp. “That doesn’t exist anywhere else. And when you come up into the bowl, it’s the intense, atmospheric zone. It’s going to be a surprise moment. That’s going to be pretty amazing.” The Dynamo knows that the Houston com-
munity is behind them, and has been from the start. With their home turf in downtown, Canetti says the team will be able to expand the outreach they’ve been lauded for since their inception. The team has plans to work with schools in the east downtown area to help kids understand the game of soccer and to encourage them to work and study hard. They also have planted trees and helped raise funds for East End organizations. Plus, the team partnered with Waste Management to recycle in the stadium, which is applying for LEED certification. During the construction process, all steel, glass, concrete, masonry, drywall, cardboard and wood was recycled. Being a part of the neighborhood, both literally in their EaDo location and figuratively throughout Houston, is an important consider-
ation for the team. Ching is looking at moving into the area around the new stadium and says the support he’s received from Houstonians over the years has been simply incredible. “Houston is a soccer city,” he raves. “And Houstonians share their emotions and opinions about our team and the sport. That’s what you want to see as a player – that kind of involvement.” “We’ve become great friends with a lot of people in the East End,” says Canetti, who hopes the stadium’s location will help serve as a catalyst for further area development. “We’re still a young team and we know that growing requires us to connect with the community from all angles.” In the meantime, the team is set to continue providing an exceptional experience for its
“Houstonians share their emotions and opinions about our team and the sport. That’s what you want to see as a player.”
fans and spectators. Eagerly anticipated games this season include matches with the Galaxy, Texas rival FC Dallas and the home opener against D.C. United. Dynamo regulars know that going to a game is filled with energy and excitement. And both Canetti and Ching say that even if you aren’t a soccer fan now, going to a game will make you one. “You see how quickly everything moves and how much passion all the fan groups bring to the atmosphere,” says Ching. “It’s organic,” says Canetti. “There’s a direct relationship between what’s happening on the field and what’s happening in the seats. That’s a natural part of soccer you don’t see with any other sport.” By all indications, that passion and revelry will be ratcheted up several notches in BBVA
S u p erfan
Dimitri Georgantas Carrying on a tradition
Maritime attorney Dimitri Georgantas grew up in Athens and has loved soccer his whole life, playing as a child and in college in San Diego. A Dynamo season ticket holder since day one, he even convinced his friend Steve Mouzarakiz to get tickets and bring his son Niko, who Georgantas describes as a huge fan, along. “Niko’s a great kid,” he says. They all went to Frisco in 2006 to watch the team win
Compass Stadium. The Dynamo believe that their new home will allow them to attract even more soccer talent to their ranks, which will allow them to grow as a franchise. Their current season ticket holder base is twice what it was last season, and the team is on track to sell out every game in their new space. In addition to the state-of-the-art set-up inside BBVA Compass Stadium, the Dynamo are making sure the outside offers plenty of places to party and be part of the action. Orange Alley, the Dynamo’s family-friendly party zone will have its own spot amid lush landscaping designed by Houston-based Clark Condon, and there are plans to offer an adult-only space as well. The team worked with various city and county entities to provide space in Minute Maid parking lots B and C for tailgating, meaning fans can gather as much as four hours prior to a game to grill and socialize (but only in this designated area). All of it adds up to the kind of “wow moments” the team so loves giving their fans. Canetti believes great things are ahead for the Dynamo. And the new BBVA Compass Stadium is a huge part of that. “We cannot overstate the value of being downtown,” he says.
Game day tips Cheer on the Houston Dynamo in their new home at BBVA Compass Stadium. Full season information can be found at houstondynamo.com General information Stadium address: 2200 Texas Street, Houston, TX 77003 Gates open 90 minutes before start of game. No outside food or beverage permitted. Cameras with non-detachable lenses or with lenses no longer than four inches allowed. Dynamo merchandise located in the Team Store across from Section 114. Umbrellas prohibited.
the MLS Cup against the New England Revolution, and Steve promised his son he’d take him the next time the team was in the finals. But in 2008, Steve was killed in a motorcycle accident. “We did all kinds of things together,” Georgantas says of his friend. “We were riding buddies. We took our families on ski trips.” Georgantas started taking Niko to games after that and, even though it would
take the Dynamo until last year to be back in the run for the MLS Cup, when they did, Georgantas took Niko to a game, keeping the promise his dad had made. The team lost to the Los Angeles Galaxy, but Georgantas says it was thrilling for him to be there with Niko, carrying on what he calls a family tradition. Today, he has four seats, and brings his own son or daughter, along with Niko, to games. He loves knowing he’s supporting a team that has such great promise, pointing out their appearance in MLS finals and their two wins. “It’s good to have a champion.”
Tailgating Permitted only in Lots B and C starting four hours before each game. Tailgaters must have a valid hangtag parking pass, purchased in advance and entitling the tailgater to one 8’ x 18’ space per hangtag. Patrons may purchase multiple spots, but each vehicle, tent, etc. must have its own hangtag prominently displayed. No saving spots. No glass containers, liquid charcoal starter or flammable liquids. Alcoholic beverages not permitted outside designated tailgate lots. More details and information available at: bbvacompassstadium.com/ tailgating-policies-procedures Parking Privately operated lots and street parking are available in the blocks surrounding the stadium. Handicapped-accessible parking is available for pre-purchase in the south portion of Lots B and C. Parking map available at bbvacompassstadium.com/parking
Performing Arts 40 Festivals & Special Events 41 Market Square Park 45 Discovery Green 46 and more
Edited by Angie Bertinot
ArCH Film Festival Unique film festival focusing on urban development. Shorts by Houston architecture students will be screened before the feature presentations. Aug 16-18. AIAHOUSTON.ORG
choreographed specifically for Houston Ballet. Tickets $18-$175. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org
WHAT WE’RE UP AGAINST May 11-Jun 10 Eliza, a female architect, slams into her firm’s glass ceiling yet again in this brilliant black comedy. Tickets start at $25. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
BEHIND THE PULPIT Jun 1-3 A gospel comedy musical for the whole family. Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas. 800.745.3000. livenation.com
NOISES OFF May 25-Jun 24 The funniest of modern comedies and a farce within a farce, Noises Off takes the clichés of the genre and shakes them up in a wild comic blender into a hilarious melee of compromising situations and eccentric characters. Tickets start at $25. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
FELA! Jun 5-10 With nonstop energy from beginning to end, FELA!, Broadway’s joyous dance, theater, music spectacle has had audiences dancing in their seats across three continents. The Tony Award winner, directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones, explores the extravagant world of Afrobeat legend, Fela Kuti. Tickets $37-$81. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.227.4SPA. spahouston.org
AGATHA CHRISTIE’S BLACK COFFEE Jul 6-Aug 5 In Agatha Christie’s Black Coffee, the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot cunningly absorbs clues to solve the murder of Sir Claude Amory, an eccentric inventor of a new weapons formula. Tickets $25. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org
THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS Jun 5-17 “Romp and stomp and whoop it up” at the most famous “chicken ranch” in Texas. Tickets start at $24. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.558.TUTS. tuts.com
ROMEO AND JULIET Jun 7-17 Set in 16th-century Verona, Romeo and Juliet chronicles Shakespeare’s tale of two beautiful teenagers from families on opposing sides of a bitter feud. Tickets $18-$175. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org
VIVA LAWS VEGAS Jun 13-16 Lawyers, show girls, prizefighters and cirque come together Vegas-style for the Houston Bar Association’s 2012 fundraising musical, Viva Laws Vegas! Enjoy the music of the Rat Pack, Katy Perry and Elvis while joining in the laughs as Reno 911 cops and CSI Rimkus investigate a heist, bridesmaids plan a celebrity wedding and a parade of newlyweds learn about family law. It all benefits the charities of the Houston Bar Foundation. Tickets $24-$34. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.222.5400. explorehouston.org/ticketing COMEDIANS OF CHELSEA LATELY Jun 15 Often seen on the panel of Chelsea Lately, Josh Wolf, Jen Kirkman and Brad Wollack bring their comedic talents to the stage. Tickets $27.50. House of Blues, Houston Pavilions, 1204 Caroline. 888.402.5837. hob.com LOCO COMEDY JAM HOUSE PARTY Jun 16 A comedy showcase hosted by Mike Robles, featuring Joey Medina, Christopher ‘Kid’ Reid and Rene Garcia. Tickets start at $18. House of Blues, Houston Pavilions, 1204 Caroline. 888.402.5837. hob.com I’M BEAUTIFUL DAMN IT – A BETTE MIDLER BASH Jun 16 What BETTE-r way to celebrate Pride than with a tribute to the Divine Miss M! From the bathhouse to Vegas, Miss Midler has been a vocal AMITARA SARKAR
MADE IN AMERICA May 24-Jun 3 Balanchine, Morris, Fonte – all three have created ballets for companies around the world. This program, however, was made entirely in America – featuring Mark Morris’s breezy Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, and Nicolo Fonte’s new work,
GILLIAN WELCH Jun 6 Gill and Dave’s new record The Harrow & The Harvest, is the product of two people who have become so entwined in one another that the songs and the singing and the playing seem to exude from a single voice. Tickets $34. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.222.5400. explorehouston.org/ticketing
HEAVEN AND HELL Jun 8-10 This exciting collaboration with the New York Baroque Dance Company is a fully staged program of some of Monteverdi’s most imaginative scores. It takes the audience from heaven to hell and back again, with musical imagery that still surprises, even after 400 years. Tickets $31.25-$41.25. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. arslyricahouston.org
Joseph Walsh and Karina Gonzalez
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THREE DOG NIGHT Jul 13 Legendary music icons and Grammynominated band, Three Dog Night, celebrates its fourth decade in popular music. Hear founding members Cory Wells and Danny Hutton on lead vocals. Original keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon and guitarist Michael Allsup perform their greatest hits. Tickets $29-$115. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org THE WIZARD OF OZ Jul 21 Travel down the yellow brick road and see one of the most beloved films of all time, stunningly re-mastered by Warner Bros., on a giant screen above the orchestra. The vibrant restored images are accompanied by a full symphony orchestra playing Harold Arlen’s brilliant original score. Tickets $20-$89. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
FREE PRESS SUMMER FEST Jun 2-3 This music and arts festival will feature more than 50 local and national acts, including The Avett Brothers, Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, The Flaming Lips and Best Coast. Tickets start at $40. 10 am-10 pm. Eleanor Tinsley Park. freepresssummerfest.com ally to the greater gay community, and now the Gay Men’s Chorus of Houston presents a tribute the only way they know how: through song. Tickets $30-$50. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.521.7464. bayoucityperformingarts.org THE LEGEND OF ZELDA Jul 6-7 Featuring dynamic and compelling video on a large screen accompanied by a live symphony orchestra, The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses brings the world’s most popular video game series to life. Enjoy original music spanning 25 years of adventure from the celebrated Zelda franchise, uniting music and visuals in a way never before realized. Tickets $20-$105. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org DISNEY’S THE LION KING Jul 10-Aug 12 Experience the phenomenon of the Tony Award-winning The Lion King. Marvel at the breathtaking spectacle of animals brought to life by award-winning director Julie Taymor. Tickets start at $27.50. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org ADAM CAROLLA & DENNIS PRAGER Jul 12 Veteran broadcaster Dennis Prager sits down with comedian and podcast pioneer Adam Carolla for a thought-provoking conversation that knows no boundaries and will entertain audiences. Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas. 800.745.3000. livenation.com
an array of locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as a variety of prepared lunch items made from local ingredients. Free. 11 am-2 pm. City Hall, 901 Bagby. 832.393.1010. houstonspecialevents.org HERITAGE FAMILY DAY Jun 16 Enjoy free family fun along with meeting author Andrea White and illustrator Bill Megenhardt, creators of a new children’s book, The Very Long Life of Alice’s Playhouse: A Survivor’s Story about the 1893 Baker Family Playhouse. Free. 1-4 pm. The Heritage Society Museum and the Julia Ideson Library, 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
ORBIT PLUS STAR WARS Jul 28 This must-see multimedia event combines the latest HD images of the Earth projected on a giant screen. Tickets $22$85. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org WWE SMACKDOWN Aug 7 All of the WWE superstars like Sheamus, Randy Orton, Kane, The Divas and more will be performing live for Smackdown. Tickets $20-$95. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.4HOUTIX. toyotacentertix.com THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS Aug 10-12 C.S. Lewis’ brilliant novel The Screwtape Letters, reveals spiritual warfare from a demon’s point of view. A soldout hit in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. this funny, provocative and wickedly witty theatrical adaptation starring Max McLean as Screwtape will change the way you think about how demons influence your everyday life. Tickets $44$94. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.222.5400. explorehouston.org/ticketing BILL MAHER Aug 19 Known for his HBO show, Real Time, Bill Maher brings takes on today’s political conventions just in time for election season with CrazyStupidPolitics. Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas. 800.745.3000. livenation.com
FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS
CITY HALL FARMERS MARKET Wednesdays in Jun The market hosts more than 40 vendors around the City Hall Reflection Pool with
BINGO AT BCBGMAXAZRIA Jun 27, Jul 25, Aug 29 Bingo is a great combination of the classic game mixed with current style and fashion. There will be complimentary wine and light bites while you shop and socialize. Join three games of bingo for a chance at some amazing prizes from BCBG’s latest collection. Free parking in the Houston Pavilions Garage and free valet on San Jacinto for the event. Houston Pavilions, 1201 Fannin. 832.320.1201. houstonpavilions.com FREEDOM OVER TEXAS Jul 4 Mayor Annise Parker’s official Fourth of July party brings together more than 100,000 families to celebrate the holiday all Americans share. This patriotic celebration is jam-packed with entertainment, educational opportunities, activities, rides, food, beverages and a firework spectacular. 4-10 pm. Eleanor Tinsley Park, 500 Allen Parkway. 832.393.0863. houstonspecialevents.org
datebook. 2012 ArCH FILM FESTIVAL Aug 16-18 Architecture Center Houston hosts its second film festival focusing on urban development and its effect on communities. Student and local artists’ short films will precede each feature film. $10 - $20; Free for ArCH Members. Architecture Center Houston, 315 Capitol, Suite 120. 7 pm. 713.250.0155. aiahouston.org/arch.cfm THEATER DISTRICT OPEN HOUSE Aug 26 Visit the Alley Theatre, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Jones Hall and the Wortham Theater Center for backstage tours, lively performances and delicious eats from downtown restaurants. There also will be an opportunity to purchase season subscriptions to member performing arts organizations. Free. 713.658.8938. houstontheaterdistrict.org
JERRY & MARVEY FINGER LECTURE SERIES: JESSE JONES Jun 21 Steven Fenberg tells the story of Jesse Holman Jones, who wielded power comparable to that of FDR, saving a crippled U.S. economy during the Great Depression. Members are free, $5 for non-members. Noon. The Heritage Society Tea Room, 1100 Bagby Street. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
DON ED HARDY OPENING RECEPTION Jun 9 DiverseWorks presents Don Ed Hardy’s 2000 Dragons, a 500-footlong scroll painting of 2,000 dragons, created in 2000 to commemorate not only The Year of the Dragon, but the dawning of a new millennium. Also on view will be a series of 12 new dragon paintings – one for each month
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of 2012. Free. 3-6 pm. DiverseWorks ArtSpace, 1117 E. Freeway. 713.223.8346. DON ED HARDY EXHIBIT Jun 9-Jul 7 Wed-Sat, noon-6 pm. DiverseWorks ArtSpace, 1117 E. Freeway. 713.223.8346. diverseworks.org
GAIL COLLINS Jun 26 The New York Times columnist will discuss her book, As Texas Goes ... How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda. Tickets $14 - $74. Wortham Center, 501 Texas Avenue. 832.251.0706. progressiveforumhouston.org. JERRY & MARVEY FINGER LECTURE SERIES: WILLIAM MARCH RICE Aug 16 William Marsh Rice arrived in Houston in 1838, and he played a prominent role in the business life of Houston for the rest of the century. He was murdered in New York City in 1900, but his legacy to Houston lives on in the form of Rice University. Members are free, $5 for nonmembers. Noon-1 pm. The Heritage Society Tea Room, 1100 Bagby Street. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org BUILDING ARTS DISTINGUISHED LECTURE: THE ARCHITECTURE OF RICE UNIVERSITY Aug 29 Architectural historian
Stephen Fox will discuss the original design and ongoing development of the Rice University campus. Members are free, $5 for non-members. 7 pm. The Heritage Society Tea Room, 1100 Bagby Street. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
EXHIBITS & VISUAL ARTS
BLUES IN ALL ITS COLORS Through Aug 5 Collaborative exhibit with the Houston Blues Museum. The exhibit will include a collection of posters by contemporary artist Martin Miglioretti of blues musicians with a connection to Houston along with personal collections of blues artists like Sam “Lightnin” Hopkins and “T99” Nelson. Free. The Heritage Society Museum, 1100 Bagby Street. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org 2011 ARTIST OF THE YEAR AND 2012 AIA HOUSTON DESIGN AWARDS OPENING RECEPTION Jun 14 Celebrate the exhibition featuring the work of AIA Houston Artist of the Year 2011, MetaLab, and the winners of the 2012 AIA Houston Design Awards. 5:30-7 pm. Architecture Center Houston; 315 Capitol, Suite 120. 713.250.0155. aiahouston.org 2011 ARTIST OF THE YEAR AND 2012 AIA HOUSTON DESIGN AWARDS EXHIBITION Jun 14-Jul 13 Exhibition featuring the work of AIA Houston Artist of the Year 2011, MetaLab, and the winners of the 2012 AIA Houston Design Awards. Mon-Thu 9 am-5 pm and Fri 9 am-3 pm.Architecture Center Houston, 315 Capitol, Suite 120. 713.250.0155. aiahouston.org STUDENT BIENNIAL Jul 26-Sep 7 Juried exhibition of recent student work from university architecture programs in the region. Mon - Thu 9 am-5 pm and Fri 9 am-3 pm. Architecture Center Houston, 315 Capitol, Suite 120. 713.250.0155. aiahouston.org
HOUSE OF BLUES Jun 1 Collective Soul Jun 6 Santigold Jun 8 Kenny Wayne Shepherd Jun 22 The Dan Band Jun 27 Thunder From Down Under Jul 13 Cinderella
HOUSTON Summer PUBLIC LIBRARY Calendar All events free and open to the public. Central Library, 500 McKinney. 832.393.1313. houstonlibrary.org HOB’s concert calendar is regularly updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. House of Blues, Houston Pavilions, 1204 Caroline. 888.402.5837. hob.com TOYOTA CENTER Jun 2 Nickelback Jun 12 LMFAO Jun 24 Van Halen Jun 25 and 26 Coldplay Jul 14 Joan Sebastian and Pepe Aguilar Jul 30 Aerosmith Aug 9 Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks Aug 26 Enrique Englesias, Jennifer Lopez and Wisin Y Yandel Toyota Center’s concert calendar is regularly updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.4HOUTIX. toyotacentertix.com BAYOU MUSIC CENTER Jun 13 Robert Carlos Jun 22 Wonderland Houston Jun 27 Puscifer Jun 30 Jaheim w/Urban Mystic Jul 14 The Jacksons Jul 20 Kaskade Bayou Music Center’s calendar is regularly updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas. 800.745.3000. livenation.com
EXPOS & CONVENTIONS
TEXAS DEMOCRATIC PARTY STATE CONVENTION Jun 7-9 George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. txdemocrats.org HIGH CALIBER GUN & KNIFE SHOW Jun 16, 17, Jul 14, 15 See hundreds of displays of new and old guns, ammo, gun parts, books, knives, sharpening tools, coins, camouflage and related items at discount prices. Tickets $8. George R. Brown Convention Center,
EXPRESS CHILDREN’S THEATRE Jun 12 Houston’s oldest and largest performing and arts education organization dedicated specifically to children and families presents Pinocchio. Pinocchio’s dream is to become a real boy, and he’ll do anything to make his dream come true. What will it cost him and what will he learn before his dream comes true? 10:30 am. TUNES AT NOON Jun 12 Ira Perez, a native Houstonian, works hard to ensure that her music is heard and felt in the hearts of all those who listen. She has mastered multiple instruments, possesses a captivating voice, and has ingenious songwriting skills. Noon-2 pm. MAD SCIENCE OF HOUSTON Jun 14 Fun and entertaining activities instill a clearer understanding of what science is really about and how it affects the world around us. The show may include experiments featuring static electricity, bubbling potions, chemical reactions and more. 10:30 am.
RINGLING BROS. AND BARNUM & BAILEY CIRCUS CLOWNS Jun 16 Clown around with two of the Ringling Bros. circus clowns. 2 pm.
NON-TOXIC BAND Jun 28 Non-Toxic Band plays lively, original music about who we are, where we live, and how things work: guitar, singing, harmonica and percussion. 10:30 am.
HOUSTON AUDUBON SOCIETY Jun 19 An amazing variety of birds soar over our city parks and nest in our backyards. Discover why Houston is one of the best birding cities in the country. Meet live birds of prey and others. 10:30 am.
AUNT CINDY VENTRILOQUIST Jul 10 Aunt Cindy is a master ventriloquist whose programs promote character education for children. 10:30 am.
STEVE BURTON’S MAGICAL ENTERTAINMENT Jun 21 Children of all ages enjoy watching, and most of all helping, a magician do his tricks and Steve Burton’s family show includes lots of audience participation along with live animals, comedy, music and special treats for all his helpers. 10:30 am. AMANDLA PRODUCTIONS: UNDER THE GRIOT TREE Jun 26 Enjoy African storytelling, music and song. 10:30 am.
CLAUDE SIMS Jul 17 Enjoy a thrilling show of juggling, costumes, stunts, antics and audience interaction. 10:30 am. JUNGLE JIM’S WILD ENCOUNTERS Jul 24 Jungle Jim brings bugs and small animals from all over the world for this exciting program: a learning experience you will never forget. 10:30 am. CAREER CENTER - WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS AT HPL Jun, Jul, Aug Looking for a job? Need help writing a résumé? Seeking advice on your career? Houston Public Library and Workforce Solutions are here to help!
BABY TIME Mondays in Jun, Jul and Aug Stories, songs and playtime for babies 6-18 months and their caregivers. 10:30 am. TODDLER TIME Mondays in Jun, Jul and Aug Stories, songs, crafts, and playtime for toddlers 18-36 months and their caregivers. 11:30 am. LEGOS AT THE LIBRARY Tuesdays in Jun and Jul Do you like to build? Join the block party and show off your creations! LEGOS and DUPLOS provided. 2 pm. ART THING! Wednesdays in Jun and Jul Learn about art and artists and make your own creation to take home. Supplies provided. 2 pm. PAJAMA TIME Thursdays in Jun and Jul Kids are invited bring their teddy bear and pajamas to a bedtime story time of snuggly stories and songs. 7 pm. BABY YOGA Thursdays in Jun, Jul and Aug Baby Yoga is about communicating with your baby through touch, stretching, cradling, massage and movement. It’s a practice you can learn to do at home every day with your baby. This program is designed for babies who are prewalkers. Participants should bring folding blanket, pillow or carrier. 2 pm.
WILLIAM MARSH RICE & HIS INSTITUTE: 1912-2012 CELEBRATING 100 YEARS Aug 14-Nov 4 This exhibit focuses on William Marsh Rice’s life from his business relationship with Ebenezer Nichols, to building his home, to his vision for Rice Institute and ultimately his murder. The exhibit is on view in the museum gallery Tue-Sat 10 am-4 pm, Sun 1-4 pm. Free. The Heritage Society Museum, 1100 Bagby Street. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
1001 Avenida de las Americas. 281.331.5969. highcalibergunshow.com BRIDAL EXTRAVAGANZA Jul 21, 22 Meet Houston’s top wedding professionals without driving all over town. See spectacular fashion shows, get new ideas and take advantage of expert advice. Tickets $15; Children under 5 are free. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. bridalextravaganzashow.com
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JUNIOR OLYMPICS Jul 22 The AAU Junior Olympic is the largest national multi-sport event for youth in the United States. This year, Houston will host more than 16,000 Olympians who will compete in more than a dozen disciplines. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. aaujrgames.org PREMIER GUN SHOW Aug 4, 5 Enjoy a huge selection of firearms,
ammunition, shooting supplies and knives. Dealers will have new guns as well as pre-owned and collectibles. Buy, trade and sell. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. fwgunshow.com HOUSTON WEDDING SHOWCASE Aug 25 Meet Houston’s top wedding professionals without driving all over town. See spectacular fashion shows, get new ideas and take advantage of expert advice. Tickets $10 (cash only); 12 and under free. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 713.952.5252. houstonweddingshowcase.com
LOOKING BACK TOURS WITH LOUIS AULBACH Jun 2 Learn about Houston’s rich history from local historian Louis Aulbach while cruising down the bayou. Reservations required. 10 am-noon. Tickets $40. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org BAT TOURS BY PONTOON BOAT Jun 8, 22, July 13, 27, Aug 10, 24 You’ll enjoy an amazing view of the bats’ dusk emergence and learn more about these magnificent flying mammals that share the city with us. Cancellations must take place 48 hours prior to the boat tour. Depart at dusk (reservations required). $35 adults, $20 children 4-12. Allen’s Landing, 1001 Commerce. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org
MARKET Summer SQUARE Calendar PARK BAYOU BIKERS Jun 3, Jul 1, Aug 5 Bayou Bikers meet at Market Square for 25- to 40-mile bike rides exploring the bayous of Houston. These rides are open to all. Mountain bikes or bikes with fat tires are necessary. This is an informal group whose purpose is to show Houstonians and visitors the beauty of Houston’s waterways. 8 am.
ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE ROLLING ROADSHOW For those who don’t want to schlep out to the ‘burbs, we’re bringing the Alamo experience to Market Square Park. Enjoy these quirky classics under the stars. Free. Jun 17 Mr. Mom, 8:30 pm Jul 11 National Lampoon’s Vacation, 8:30 pm
TWILIGHT TOURS: BUFFALO BAYOU BOAT RIDES Jun 9, Jul 14, Aug 11 These 30-minute pontoon boat cruises are a great way to spend the afternoon with your family and friends. First-come first-served, no reservations, 20-person max per trip. $7 adults, $5 children 4-12; 6-8 pm. Downtown’s Sabine Promenade along Buffalo Bayou. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org KAYAK TOURS Jun 9 Celebrate Houston in a whole new way and join the Buffalo Bayou Partnership for a kayak adventure through Houston’s stunning urban wilderness. All equipment is supplied, including the tandem sit-on-top kayaks. $60 per person (reservations required). 9 am-noon. Start: I-610 and Woodway Drive End: Allen’s Landing, 1001 Commerce. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org DISCOVER HOUSTON TOURS Ghost tours, tunnel walks and rail tours, architecture tours and more are available. Tour guide Sandra Lord is the resident expert, and she has been conducting downtown and Houston tours since 1988. Ticket prices vary. 713.222.9255. discoverhoustontours.com HERITAGE SOCIETY HISTORIC HOMES TOUR Nestled among 19 acres in the heart of downtown Houston, the Heritage Society boasts eight historic structures dating from 1823 to 1905. Each historic structure is authentically restored to reflect its original magnificence. Tickets $10 adults, $8 seniors
CRITICAL MASS Jun 19, Jul 27, Aug 31 Critical mass is an informal bike group that meets the last month of every Friday to ride around the city and raise awareness and advocate a bicycle-friendly urban environment. All bikes are welcome. 7:15 pm. Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available for purchase at Niko Niko’s Market Square.
No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages are allowed, please. Metered on-street parking is available and free after 6 pm. $5 parking is available across the street at Market Square Garage. 301 Milam. marketsquarepark.com Be sure to visit Market Square Park’s Facebook page for info on special deals and happenings at the neighborhood’s eclectic dining and bar scene.
and free for kids under 18. Tue-Sat 10 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm, 2:30 pm and Sun 1 pm, 2:30 pm. 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org
MINUTE MAID PARK TOUR Get a behind-the-scenes look at Minute Maid Park, including historic Union Station, broadcasting booth or press boxes, Astros’ or visitors’ dugout, luxury suites and much more. Tickets $9 adults, $7 seniors and $5 for kids 3-14. Mon-Sat 10 am, noon, 2 pm. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 713.259.8687. astros.com TOYOTA CENTER’S BACKSTAGE TOUR The one-hour backstage tour will take you behind the scenes of Houston’s premier destination for sports and entertainment. Tickets $7 adults, $5 for kids 12 and under and seniors. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.758.7715. houstontoyotacenter.com SAINT ARNOLD BREWING COMPANY TOURS Come visit Texas’ oldest craft brewery in their new location. Every Saturday the doors open at 11 am, and groups will rotate in and out of the facility in an open-house format until 2 pm. If Saturdays don’t work for you, check out their weekday open house at 3 pm. After the tour, guests are welcome to stay for a free tasting. Tickets $7, no reservations required. All minors under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. 2000 Lyons at I-10. saintarnold.com
HOUSTON ASTROS For schedule info and tickets, call or check the website. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 877.927.8767. astros.com BIKE TO THE BALLPARK Jun 3 The Astros take on the Reds and before game day, fans can register to bike to the ballpark. All registrants receive a Play Green® goodie bag including a Bike to the Ballpark water bottle. Registration is $10. 1:05 pm. astros.com/bike FAITH AND FAMILY NIGHT Jun 23 Join the Astros for Faith and Family Night and a game against the Indians. The Astros will welcome Grammy Award-winning and platinum recording artist Third Day to the ballpark for a postgame concert. Admission to the concert is free with game ticket. 3:05 pm. astros.com/third FAITH AND FAMILY NIGHT Jul 28 Head to Minute Maid Park for Faith and Family Night featuring Grammy-nominated and platinum recording artist MercyMe. The Astros take on the Pirates, and MercyMe will perform following the game. Admission to the concert is free with the purchase of a game ticket. 6:05 pm. astros.com/mercy HOUSTON DYNAMO For schedule info and tickets, call or check the website. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas. 713.276.7600. houstondynamo.com
and R&B outdoor concert. 6-9 pm. texasblackexpo.com HOUSTON ZOOMOBILE TRAVELS AROUND THE GLOBE Jun 16 Visit continents around the world without ever leaving Texas. Enjoy animal artifacts like skulls, skins and mounts, and live animals. An education specialist is available to answer questions as you stroll by. 1 pm.
DISCOVERY Summer GREEN Calendar Please note: The events listed are confirmed at time of printing. For a full listing of Discovery Green summer 2012 programming, please visit the events calendar at discoverygreen.com. COMPUCYCLE PRESENTS RECYCLING SATURDAYS Bring your glass, paper, plastic and aluminum to a recycling station at Discovery Green. 10 am-2 pm. YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOPS Saturdays, Jun 2-Aug 25 Writers in the Schools, HPL Express and Discovery Green team up to offer Houston’s only free writing workshop for kids. 10:30-11:30 am KAYAK BOAT RIDES AND MODEL BOATS Saturdays and Sundays Jun-Aug No reservations required. Just show up and have fun. Fees apply. 11 am5 pm. DATE NIGHT MOVIES June 2, 23 Enjoy a romantic date night at the park. Watch a great film on the Grace Event
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Lawn or from the back deck of The Grove, with special menu and drinks available for purchase. 8-10 pm.
Jun 19 Curious George: The Dog Show Jun 26 Yogi and BooBoo: Boo-Boo’s New Leg
DISCOVERY GREEN TOURS PRESENTED BY HOUSTON GREETERS Jun 3, Jul 1, and Aug 5 Meet the Houston Greeters in front of the Alkek Building to learn about the history of the park, its architecture, art and gardens. Free. 1-2 pm.
UHD PRESENTS THURSDAY CONCERTS AT DISCOVERY GREEN Thursdays, Jun, 6:30 pm Jun 7 George Porter Jr. & Runnin’ Pardners, Paul Ramirez Band Jun 14 The Gourds, Mary McBride Jun 21 The Niceguys, Kydd, Zinn Jun 28 Los Skarnales, Wild Moccasins
FAMILY & CHILDREN SERIES PRESENTED BY SHELL Toddler Tuesdays presented by Amerigroup Real Solutions®, 10:30 am Enjoy story time and activities with your favorite look-a-like characters Jun 5 Scooby Doo: Time To Play Jun 12 The Berenstain Bears Papa’s Day Surprise
HPL EXPRESS AT DISCOVERY GREEN All about turtles Jun 8 Presented by turtle conservation expert Debbie Leppelt: live specimens on exhibit during the program. 1 pm. HOUSTON AUDUBON SOCIETY Jun 9 Soaring over our city parks and nesting
in our backyards is an amazing array of birds. Discover why Houston is one of the best birding cities in the country. Meet live birds of prey and others. 1 pm. IKEA HOUSTON SCREEN ON THE GREEN Jun 9 The Muppets, (PG), 2011, 103 min. With the help of three fans, The Muppets must reunite to save their old theater from a greedy oil tycoon. Come an hour early for fun contests and activities. 7:30 pm DISCOVERY GREEN FLEA Third Saturdays A vintage market where everything old is new again; recycled, renewed objects. Live music, kid’s crafts and bicycle repair workshop, plus furniture, collectibles, clothing, jewelryand more. 6-10 pm TEXAS BLACK EXPO 2012 Jun 15 African American tradeshow with festivities and an “Old-Skool” hip-hop
LANDROVER HOUSTON PRESENTS RAINBOW ON THE GREEN Jun 22 A citywide celebration featuring Houston’s best GLBT talent led by Tye Blue and featuring Grammy Award-winning guest star Thelma Houston. 8-10 pm. DOCKDOGS Jun 22-24 DockDogs is a canine athletic competition featuring dogs from Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana in highjump and long-jump competition off a 20foot dock into a pool of water. Free viewing. Registration fees apply. dockdogs.com HAUTE DOGS AT DOCKDOGS CANINE COSTUME CONTEST Jun 23 Contest entry is free and open to everyone. Prizes will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place dog in each category. Categories include: Celebreedy Look-aLike, Pick of the Litter, Dog-gone Green and Royal Highness. 3 pm. TEXAS SNAKES AND MORE Jun 23 Clint “The Snake Man’s” snake and reptile show educates and entertains people about snakes, dispels myths and misconceptions, and brings about a greater appreciation and respect
for these fascinating creatures. Participants can touch a variety of non-venomous snakes. 1 pm. JUNGLE JIM’S WILD ENCOUNTERS Jul 6 Jungle Jim brings bugs and small animals from all over the world for this exciting program: a learning experience you will never forget. 1 pm. GYMBOREE Jul 13, 20 & 27 Toddlers enjoy a 30- minute presentation with bubbles, finger puppets and parachute activities. 1 pm. NATURE DISCOVERY CENTER - BACK TO THE BONE Jul 14 What do birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and mammals have in common? They all have backbones. Learn more about these animals with various specimens and live animals. This program is best for ages 5-12 but all are welcome. 1 pm. CAPOEIRA CLASS Jul 21 Capoeira is a truly unique art, combining martial arts, dance and music; students will learn essential moves and strategies. 1 pm. JULYDOSCOPE Jul 28 A kaleidoscopic evening of summer fun, film and live entertainment. 6-10 pm. EMANIAH SHINAR: STEEL DRUMS Jul 28 Most steel drummers play with only two mallets, but Shinar is the only performer in the world who simultaneously sings and accompanies himself on steel drums using not two, but six mallets, creating his signature “liquid” steel harmonic vibrations. 1 pm.
the guide to eating downtown
Edited by Angie Bertinot & L auren Covington
Donâ€™t myth it
Niko Niko's is a Houston icon. At their Market Square Park location, not only can you get perennial faves such as the gyro and falafel sandwiches, but also mouth-watering breakfast pitas.
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L17 Restaurant New American Found in the lobby of the luxurious Alden Hotel, this lush and lavish destination oozes elegance. Detailed American cuisine and smart service make this a restaurant of note. aldenhotels.com. Alden Hotel, 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. L by reservation only; D Daily. $$$$ L Andalucia Restaurant & Bar Tapas/Spanish Dim lighting, large wooden tables and heavy iron accents provide for a cozy, rustic atmosphere. The menu features large dishes, such as paella for up to 16 people, and tapas that range from the traditional such as gambas al ajillo (shrimp cooked in olive oil and garlic) and empanadas, to veal tongue and oxtail. andaluciatapas.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. L Mon-Fri, D Mon-Sat. $$ L Artista American Artista offers inspirational contemporary American cuisine and theatrical ambiance with high ceilings, glass walls and sweeping views of the Houston downtown skyline. cordua.com. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby, 713.278.4782. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat (Open for L & D on Sunday only if a theater performance is scheduled). $$$ Atrium Lobby Lounge Contemporary Located inside the Doubletree Hotel overlooking Allen Center courtyard. Relax after a busy day and enjoy your favorite beverage or a bite to eat while you catch up on the day’s news on the wide screen TV. Doubletree Hotel, 400 Dallas, 713.759.0202. L, D & LN Daily. $$ L Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar Japanese/Sushi Voted “Best sushi in Houston” by Citysearch.com, this new-age Japanese restaurant is anything but typical. The ambience is terrific, the sushi is innovative and fresh and the outside seating area provides great people watching. azumajapanese.com. 909 Texas, 713.223.0909. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sun; LN Fri & Sat. $$ L BB’s Café Cajun A relaxed café atmosphere with a menu of “Tex-Orleans” fusion food, which includes nearly two dozen overstuffed signature po’ boys, mouth-watering Mexico City-style tacos, homemade gumbo and more. bbscafe.com. 509 Louisiana, 713.236.8269. L, D Daily. $
chefs set up shop right in front of your table. The meal is made from scratch, and you can witness the entire show. benihana.com. 1318 Louisiana, 713.659.8231. L & D Daily. $$$ Birraporetti’s Italian This Italian restaurant/Irish bar is a Theater District staple. Their delicious pizzas continue to hit the spot, while items such as the chicken picatta and La Dolce Vita have become standouts. Enjoy a signature dessert to finish the meal. birrarestaurant.com. 500 Louisiana, 713.224.9494. L, D & LN Daily. $$ The Bistro American The Bistro is a full-service restaurant serving up breakfast and dinner in a casual atmosphere. Courtyard by Marriott, 916 Dallas, 832.366.1600. B & D Daily. $ L Bistro Lancaster New American Located in the historic Lancaster Hotel, this cozy getaway is a great place to dine before catching a show in the Theater District. You’ll find hearty soups, sizzling steaks and savory seafood. thelancaster.com. Lancaster Hotel, 701 Texas, 713.228.9502. B, L & D Daily. $$$$ new! Blue Fish Sushi Japanese Not your typical Japanese restaurant. Don’t expect small, minimal décor. Be prepared for innovative sushi in a highenergy atmosphere at Bayou Place. thebluefishsushi.com. 550 Texas, 713.225.3474. D Mon-Sat; L Mon - Fri. $$ L Bombay Pizza Co. Indian Fusion Fusing the cuisines of India with pizza, innovative creations are served on a homemade, dense, thin and crispy crust. Try the Saag Paneer, which is topped with fresh spinach and four cheeses or the Gateway to India topped with cilantro, tandoori chicken, garlic and artichoke hearts. bombaypizzaco.com. 914 Main, 713.654.4444. L Mon-Fri, D Mon- Sat. $ Bon Jour Café Deli Offering soups, sandwiches and salads. 945 Capitol , 713.237.0419. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Bouray’s Burrito Bar Fast Food A burrito bar with tons of ingredients and sides that allow you to create the burrito of your dreams. bourays.com. 609 Clay, 713.652.5999. L Mon-Fri. $
1600 Lamar, 713.739.8000. B, L, D & LN Daily. $$ L Cafe Express Fast Casual Need to grab a quick lunch? Cafe Express is an informal yet sophisticated choice. You can always find a variety of delicious entrees, salads and sandwiches. cafe-express.com. 650 Main, 713.237.9222. B & L Mon-Sat. $ Cafe Luz Bakery Diners will find seasonal dishes and pastries from various Houston chefs. Beverages are not to be missed, with locally roasted coffee, shakes, malts and artisan sodas with flavors like lavender and vanilla mint. cafeluzhouston.com. 907 Franklin, 281.912.3589. B Mon-Fri; L Daily. $$ new! The Capitol at St. Germain New American Executive Chef Kevin Bryant puts forward an impressive dinner menu of seafood and steaks at this renovated turn-of-the-century space. Lunch offers gourmet sandwiches, salads and shared bites. More than just food, The Capitol also serves as a backdrop for live music and special events. thecapitolhouston.com. 705 Main at Capitol, 713.492.2454. L, D Daily. $$$ China Garden Chinese A popular Chinese restaurant, China Garden has been serving downtown for more than 30 years. Their egg rolls and lemon chicken have become favorites. 1602 Leeland, 713.652.0745. L Mon-Fri; D Daily. $ Chipotle Mexican Known for its large portions, this Mexican fast casual spot offers a variety of wholesome menu items. chipotle.com. 909 Texas, 713.225.6633. L & Early D Mon-Fri. $
L Corner Bakery Fast Casual A bakery cafe,
key to symbols These listings are not reviews but are a guide to downtown dining spots.
"Recommended" restaurants are selected by Downtown Magazine editors and are based on food quality, menu selection, service, ambiance and value.
Ballpark Café American Enjoy the all-American cuisine and a nostalgic atmosphere for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just across the street from Minute Maid Park, Ballpark Café is a great place to have a pre/post-game meal. innattheballpark.com. Inn at the Ballpark, 1520 Texas, 713.228.1520. B & L Daily. $
Brazos Restaurant American Upscale seafood and casual American fare come together in a Texaschic atmosphere. Newly refurbished, black booths and white tablecloths offer elegance and décor not typically found in hotel restaurants. Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1700 Smith, 713.495.7854. B, L & D Daily. $$$
Bangkok Chef Thai A casual Thai joint that keeps booths packed with hungry downtowners looking for eclectic dishes to satisfy their spice cravings. And there’s a pretty tempting happy hour for drinks and nibbles under $5. bkchef.com. Inn at the Ballpark, 914 Main, 713.659. 1600. L & D Mon-Sat. $$
Brown Bag Deli Fast Casual Located in the Houston Club building, Brown Bag Deli serves up tasty, fresh sandwiches “just like you like it.” Known for its fluffy, soft bread you won’t be disappointed and neither will your wallet. thebrownbagdeli.net. 810 Capitol, 713.224.7000. L Mon-Fri. $
$ - $10 or less $$ - $11-$19 $$$ - $20-$29 $$$$ - $30+ B: Breakfast L: Lunch D: Dinner LN: Late Night
The Cafe American Located in the lobby of the Hilton Americas. An elaborate buffet is offered for breakfast, with a la carte selections from the menu available for lunch and dinner. Hilton Americas,
For a searchable database of downtown Houston restaurants by cuisine, location and price, visit downtownhouston.org and click on Dining.
L Benihana of Tokyo Japanese While some restaurants allow their guests to view the kitchen, this Japanese grill brings the kitchen to you. Benihana
L recommended new! just opened average price of an entrée
plate. offering fresh breads, salads, sandwiches, soups and sweets in a casual atmosphere. Located right on Main Street Square, you can’t beat the people watching or just relax and watch the rail line and Main Street Square’s jumping fountains. cornerbakery.com. 1000 Main, 713.651.0673. B & L Mon-Fri. $
new! Gelato Blu Gelato/Coffeehouse Brought to you by the masterminds behind Bombay, this Italian-style shop serves up gelato, sorbetto and caffe Italiano that will satisfy your sweet cravings with any of its delicious flavors. 914 Main, Ste. 115, 713.655.1400. Daily. $
Don Patron Bar & Grill Mexican Good Mexican food and margaritas, Don Patron is great for lunch and a good spot for an after-work happy hour. Available on weekends for private parties. donpatron.com. 500 Dallas, One Allen Center.B, L & D Mon-Fri. $$
new! Georgia's Market Downtown American The market is stocked with fresh organic produce, grassfed meats, prepared foods and snacks and home basics while the cafe offers breakfast, lunch and dinner from its organic buffet and a bistro menu. Don’t miss the underground cellar – the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine or craft beer with friends. georgiasdowntown.com. 420 Main at Prairie, 713.225.0990 B,L, D Daily. $
L The Downtown Aquarium Seafood The menu features a huge variety and offers something for everyone. While dining, guests are surrounded by a 150,000-gallon aquarium. Enjoy the sights and a great meal at this family-friendly spot. aquariumrestaurants.com. 410 Bagby, 713.223.3474. L & D Daily. $$
L The Grove American Rustic This two-story, ultra-urban restaurant is found at Discovery Green, downtown Houston’s newest park. The menu features rustic American cuisine such as Gulf Coast seafood, steaks and signature rotisserie dishes. grovehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar, 713.337.7321. L & D Daily. $$$
Downtown Hunan Café Chinese Fast casual spot offering all your Asian favorites. 613 Clay, 713.759.0515. L Mon-Fri. $
L Guadalajara del Centro Mexican This familyowned restaurant consistently serves up tasty food in a new, very cool environment. It’s the perfect place to bring the family or a large group of co-workers or friends. Great happy hour specials. guadalajarahacienda.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 713.650.0101. L & D Daily. $$
Domino’s Pizza 804 Main, 713.227.3030. $
L Droubi Bro. Mediterranean Grill Mediterranean This authentic Mediterranean grill offers up a quick and satisfying spot for lunch. Pita sandwiches are popular. 507 Dallas, 713.652.0058. L Mon-Fri. $ Eats Mesquite Grill Classic American Craving a burger downtown? Popular for its juicy burgers and great-tasting fries, Eats makes for a great lunchtime stop. Guests can make their burgers exactly how they like them. 804 Milam, 713.223.3287. L MonFri. $ L Einstein’s Bagels Deli Known as great place to grab freshly-baked bagels and coffee for breakfast, they also serve up delectable lunch choices that include paninis, melts and pizza bagels. Be an office hero and use the catering service to treat your work pals. einsteinbros.com. 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. Mon-Sun B & L. $ Falafel Frenzy Mediterranean This quaint spot serves up all your Mediterranean favorites, including beef and chicken kabobs, hummus and of course falafel. 914 Prairie, 713.237.8987. L Mon-Fri. $ L Flying Saucer Pub Fare Offering more than 200 beers, almost half on draft, Flying Saucer is a beer drinker’s paradise. Excellent staff and tasty eats give the place an identity all its own. beerknurd.com. 705 Main, 713.228.7468. L, D & LN Daily. $ L Frank’s Pizza Pizza Home of the “late-night slice,” Frank’s Pizza has built a quality reputation for itself serving up delicious food in a great atmosphere. Not only can you grab a slice of pizza, Frank’s also serves up darn good hamburgers, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, Buffalo wings, lasagna and salads. frankspizza.com. 417 Travis, 713.225.5656. L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $
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Hard Rock Café Classic American What do you get when you mix a music-themed diner with an all-American menu? Hard Rock is a great familyfriendly spot serving up items such as burgers, nachos and chicken varieties. hardrock.com. Bayou Place, 570 Texas, 713.227.1392. L, D & LN Daily. $$ L Hearsay Gastro Lounge New American Located in a beautifully refurbished historic building, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up delicious sandwiches, salads and entrees. They feature an extensive wine list, numerous beers on draft and bottle and premium liquors with a focus on Scotch whisky. hearsayhouston.com. 218 Travis, 713.225.8079. L Daily; D Mon-Sat; LN Fri–Sat. $$ Home Plate Bar & Grill Classic American A great hangout spot before or after an Astros ballgame. Enjoy American food with all menu items (except for sampler platters) less than $10. homeplategrill.com. 1800 Texas, 713.222.1993. L & D Daily (may close earlier during off-season so call first). $ Hong Kong Diner Chinese Hong Kong Diner will not disappoint with its expansive menu and delicious chef ’s specials. Dim sum daily and live music on Sundays. BYOB. 909 Franklin, 713.236.1688. L & D Mon-Sat; L Sun. $ L House of Blues Southern Classic HOB serves Southern-inspired signature classic dishes such as voodoo shrimp, Tennessee baby back ribs and the Cajun classic, Creole jambalaya. Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits, you can’t miss House of
Blues’ famous Sunday Gospel Brunch. hob.com. Houston Pavilions, 1204 Caroline, 888.402.5837. L & D Daily. $$ L Hubcap Grill American Classic Small but quaint burger joint. 1111 Prairie, 713.223.5885. L Mon-Sat. $ L Irma’s Mexican Irma Galvan has been crowned Houston’s Tex-Mex goddess. This authentic spot is a longtime favorite among Houston politicos and downtown business people. Traditional, homecooked Mexican cuisine is served for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. 22 North Chenevert, 713.222.0767. B & L Mon-Fri; D Thu-Sat. $$ L Irma’s New Southwest Grill Mexican Irma’s second location is a hip spot to satisfy a Mexican food craving. Enjoy tasty foods and great drinks for lunch or dinner. Only a few short blocks from Minute Maid Park. irmassouthwest.com. 1314 Texas, 713.247.9651. B & L Mon-Fri. Open on Astros baseball game days and nights three hours before first pitch. $$ Jason’s Deli Deli Order to please, Jason’s will make your sandwich or salad exactly how you like it. jasonsdeli.com. 901 McKinney, 713.650.1500. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches Deli All subs are served on your choice of fresh-baked French bread or thick-sliced 7-grain bread or try the low-carb lettuce wrap: all the regular sandwich ingredients without the bread. jimmyjohns.com. 820 Main, 713.222.9995. L Mon-Sat. $ L Korma Sutra Indian The name comes from the chef ’s love affair with fine Indian cuisine. The fine Indian establishment takes a menu-less approach where every dish can be custom ordered to your liking. Wait staff will let you know the daily specials, but if your palate is set on chicken masala or lamb curry, they will happily oblige. We also recommend trying the cilantro-mint limeade! korma-sutra.com. 706 Main, 713.229.8200. L & D Mon- Sat. $$ The Lake House Fast Casual The Lake House offers family-friendly food, featuring burgers, Kobe beef hot dogs, salads, shakes, wine and beer. Located on Kinder Lake, there is a large patio where you can watch model boats race across the water or listen to some live music from the nearby amphitheater stage. thelakehousehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar. Tue-Wed 11-3; Thu-Sun 11-8. $ L La Palapa Fast Food A Courthouse District favorite, there’s always a line at this free-standing pink concession stand for breakfast tacos and hamburgers. 1110 Preston, 713.228.9620. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Lacey’s Deli Deli The sandwiches are fresh, tasty, and affordable. We recommend the Italian Stallion which has homemade meatballs and marinara with sliced beef and sausage. laceysdeli.com. 416 Caroline, 713.237.0000. L Mon-Fri. $ L Last Concert Cafe Mexican Tucked away in the Warehouse District, this Tex-Mex cafe was born in
FOOD OF THE GODS F r o m a g a s s tat i o n t o a pa r k l o c at i o n ,
D i m i t r i F e t o kak i s c e l e b r at e s 35 y e a r s o f Mediterranean meals. By L auren covington
iko Niko’s Greek & American Cafe has come a long way since its first day of business 35 years ago when the owners cashed out for the evening with a measly $15 profit. In 1977, Chrisanthios Fetokakis and his wife Eleni had opened the walk-up window shop on Montrose in a former gas station with just $50 and warnings that they would lose everything. “They had a different feeling,” recalls son Dimitri. “They saw a gold mine.” Business slowly grew through the 1980s, with Chrisanthios making sporadic breaks for Vegas and Greece, while Eleni ran the restaurant with her children. Dimitri bought the restaurant from his mother in 1997 and expanded the size of the Montrose store several times over. The original recipes continuously make Houston’s “Best of ” lists and have been featured on the Food Network’s Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives. “The best part of it is all the different people you become friends with," says Dimitri. “From plumbers to executives, you meet everyone and you share stories and sometimes create great friendships. I have
become part of families from people I have met in Niko Niko’s. Parents have asked me to baptize their children and customers have asked me to be in their weddings.” The success could not have been achieved without the work ethic of his mother, who has earned more than 17 of Marvin Zindler’s Blue Ribbon Awards for clean kitchens. Dimitri has affectionately referred to her as a tyrant. “If someone isn't doing something right she follows behind giving orders and corrections,” he says. “This is nothing new. She’s operated like this since the beginning.” Having declined opportunities to expand for decades, Dimitri recognized the newly redesigned Market Square Park as the perfect opportunity for a second location. And the 375-foot downtown location opened in August 2010 with plenty of fanfare and noise - literally –as Mayor Annise Parker joined Dimitri and other community leaders in smashing plates in traditional Greek fashion to commemorate the park and restaurant opening. The small building reaches back to its roots with a sidewalk café-style restaurant reminiscent of the original walk-up shop that his parents began. The downtown location touts a pareddown version of the flagship’s menu. It focuses on to-go foods perfect for residents and on-the-move business folk; breakfast selections; and European café-style coffee, espresso, frappes and desserts. There’s even complimentary treats for four-legged friends visiting the park’s dog runs nearby. These days, people lovingly refer to Dimitri as the “unofficial mayor of Market Square,” greeting residents by name and looking for new ways to bring something special to the dining experience. Customers can count on playing backgammon in the park, Sangria Saturdays or just an insanely delicious breakfast pita to kick off their day. Opa!
plate. 1949 and still supplies tasty food and local music today. Spend some time on the leafy back patio and you’ll swear you’re in your neighbor’s backyard throwing back a cold one. lastconcert.com. 1403 Nance, 713.226.8563. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sun; LN Fri-Sat; Bar & live music Tue-Sat. $ L Les Givral’s Kahve Vietnamese Winner of the 2006 “City’s Best” award for Vietnamese restaurants in Houston, Les Givral’s offers up a delicious menu and great service. Located in downtown’s historic Market Square. lesgivrals.com. 801 Congress, 713.547.0444. B Mon-Fri; L Mon-Sat; D Fri & Sat. $ new! Line & Lariat Modern American An award-winning dining experience located in the historic lobby of Hotel Icon’s landmark bank building. The intimate dining room is extravagant, and the exquisite dishes from the Gulf Coast and South Texas emphasize fresh ingredients. A contemporary lounge with a modern setting for cocktails and an elegant after-work meeting place. hotelicon.com. Hotel Icon, 220 Main, 832.667.4470. B Daily; D Mon-Sat. $$$ Luby’s, etc. American Enjoy an incredible view of downtown along with 10 food stations offering a wide variety of goodies: a build-your-own salad bar, made-to-order grill, pizza by-the-slice, delightful deli, global café and traditional Luby’s cafeteria line with all the classic dishes. lubysetc.com. 1301 Fannin, 13th Floor, 713.759.9954. B & L Mon–Fri. $ L Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge American Bowlers and patrons relax on sleek leather couches and enjoy floor-to-ceiling video screens that flash movie clips and music videos as DJs deliver danceable grooves. Delectable munchies are available lane-side and in the lounge. bowlluckystrike.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 3, 713.343.3300. L, D & LN Daily. $$ L Macondo Latin Bistro Latin The menu is a tasty fusion of Latin dishes with a strong influence of Colombian cuisine. Try the migas on an English muffin for breakfast. Macondo also has a full coffee bar, featuring delicious Colombian coffee, a juice bar and a great selection of affordable wines and beers. macondobistro.com. 509 Main, 713.229.8323. B &L Daily. $
marketsquarehouston.com. 311 Travis, 713.224.6133. L, D & LN Mon-Sat. $ L Massa’s Restaurant Seafood An upscale and elegant restaurant offering a fine selection of American and seafood cuisine. Superior service and a great dining atmosphere allow guests to enjoy a memorable experience. massas.com. 1160 Smith, 713.650.0837. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$ L Massa’s Seafood Grill Seafood Like its sister restaurant, you can count on superior service and a great dining atmosphere. Conveniently located close to the convention center and Toyota Center, it’s a prime spot for lunch and dinner. massas.com. The Shops at Houston Center, 1331 Lamar, 713.655.9100. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$ L McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood The extensive menu changes daily depending on each day’s fresh seafood deliveries. With more than 80 preparations on the menu each day, every guest is sure to find something to satisfy their palate. mccormickandschmicks.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 Fannin. 713.658.8100. L & D Daily. $$$ McDonald’s Fast Food 808 Dallas @ Milam, 713.651.9449. B & L Daily; D Mon-Fri. $ L Mia Bella Italian You’ll enjoy an eclectic variety of Italian cuisine blended with a Mediterranean feel. A longtime favorite, this intimate little bistro’s simple, yet appealing décor, makes it a downtown standout. bellarestaurants.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. 320 Main, 713.237.0505 L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $$ L Minuti Coffee Coffehouse The coffee is created by a roast master in Italy, before making its way into the hands of talented baristas. This is the perfect place to bring the laptop and take advantage of Minuti’s free Wi-Fi. They also have beer and wine, which makes it a great pre/post theater spot. Be sure to sample some of the fresh-baked pastries and smoothies, too. minuticoffee.com. 909 Texas, 281.265.3344. B, L, D, LN Sun–Sat. $ new! MKT Bar Mediterranean Part of Phoenicia Specialty Foods, it's the perfect place to stop when you need a chill moment. The bar offers coffee, pastries, wine, beer, gourmet pizza and other yummy nibbles for which Phoenicia is known. phoeniciafoods.com. 1001 Austin, 832.360.2222. B, L, D, Daily. $
Mandarin Hunan Restaurant Chinese This upscale eatery gives its guests an engaging experience in Chinese cuisine. Located in the Skyline District, Mandarin’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows provide a great view of the streetscape. 777 Walker, 713.224.1212. L & D Mon-Fri. $
Molly’s Pub Pub Fare A good ol’ Irish bar with tasty food to soak up the beer. Your standard pub fare—sandwiches, dogs and pretty much anything that’s not good for you. mollyspubs.com. 509 Main, 713.222.1033. L, D & LN Daily. $
L Market Square Bar & Grill American This Chicago-style neighborhood hangout is a local favorite. Boasting a handful of “fire-powered” burgers, Market Square offers plenty of reasons to stop by for a meal or drink. The backyard patio, friendly staff and full bar add flavor.
L Morton’s The Steakhouse Steak House This award-winning steakhouse offers an outstanding menu. The downtown location features its new bar concept, Bar 12•21, which includes an impressive wine and martini menu along with its specially priced “bar bites.” mortons.com. 1001
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McKinney, 713.659.3700. D Mon-Sun. $$$$ Murphy’s Deli Deli Indulge in a variety of sandwiches and salads. Hot or cold, Murphy’s specializes in creating your sandwich any way it’s ordered. murphysdeli.com 601 Jefferson, 713.652.4939. 1021 Main, 713.275.1912. 440 Louisiana, 713.247.9122. B & L Mon-Fri all locations. $ L Niko Niko’s Greek & American Houston icon Dimitri Fetokakis opened his cafe last fall at Market Square Park. Favorties such as the gyro and kebob are on the menu along with new items such as the breakfast pita. Specialty coffee drinks, beer and wine also available. nikonikos.com. Market Square Park, 301 Milam. B, L, D daily. $ Nit Noi Cafe Thai Head Chef Mama Alice has a secret sauce that has made this Thai gem successful for more than 20 years. Diners can go light with fresh cucumber salads or fill up on classic noodle dishes with a choice of beef, chicken, pork tofu or shrimp. nitnoithai.com. 301 Main, 713.225.1069. L Mon-Fri. $$ L Pappas BBQ Barbecue Voted one of Houston’s best year after year, this barbecue joint offers an excellent selection with Texas-sized portions. Traditional favorites such as brisket, ribs, sausage and ham are served with Pappas’ flare. Delivery and take-out are available. pappasbbq.com. 1217 Pierce, 713.659.1245. L & D Daily. 1100 Smith, 713.759.0018. L & D Mon-Fri. $ Paul’s Snack Shop Deli Sandwiches, salads and snacks to-go.1213 Prairie, 713.224.4701. B & L Mon-Fri. $ L Perbacco Italian An adorable little spot located at street level of one of Houston’s skyscrapers, Perbacco serves up Italian cuisine in a modern and fresh atmosphere. Catering to downtown workers and the theater crowd, you always get quick and friendly service and tasty food. 700 Milam, 713.224.2422. L Mon-Fri; D Thu-Sat. $ Popeye’s Fast Food 1116 Travis, 713.571.8600. L & D Mon-Sat. $ L Quattro Contemporary Italian Vivid colors, creative lighting and a unique design create a sophisticated and inviting ambience for guests. Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, Quattro is one of downtown’s best restaurants. Four Seasons Hotel, 1300 Lamar, 713.652.6250. B, L & D Daily. $$$ Quizno’s Fast Food 811 Rusk, 713.227.7702. L & D Mon-Fri. 1119 Commerce, 713.228.9000. L & D Mon-Sun. $ Rachel’s Sandwich Shop Deli A good little sandwich shop. 421 San Jacinto, 713.223.3913. B & L Mon-Fri. $ new! Red Lantern Vietnamese A small café hiding in the historic district, Red Lantern packs a punch. Known for its delicious bahn mi and pho. The
lunch crowd can’t get enough of the pork egg rolls and vermicelli bowls. 917 Franklin, 713.237.0360 L, D Mon-Fri. $ The Sam Bar American Casual The Alden Hotel's relaxed dining option where you'll find a breakfast buffet and a great bar menu with tasty appetizers, salads, burgers and sandwiches every day of the week. A good spot for a fast lunch or a bite before the ballgame, you'll also love the happy hour and cocktail offerings. aldenhotels.com. Alden Hotel, 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. B, L & D Daily. $$ L Samba Grille South American Samba Grille offers a vast lunch selection of appetizers, homemade soups, fresh salads and choice meats and seafood. sambagrillehouston.com. 530 Texas at Bayou Place, 713.343.1180. L Mon-Fri & Sun; D daily. $$-$$$ L Sambuca New American A hip, trendy and upscale restaurant right in the mix of Main Street. The menu includes a wide variety of favorites and combined with the live music, Sambuca is Houston’s ultimate supper club. sambucarestaurant.com. 909 Texas, 713.224.5299. L Mon-Fri; D & LN Daily. $$$ Shay McElroy’s Pub Fare This authentic Irish pub offers up a menu of appetizers, sandwiches, salads and soups. mcelroyspub.com. 909 Texas, 713.223.2444. L Mon–Fri. $ The Shops at Houston Center Food Court Au Bon Pain, Captain D's, Chick-Fil-A, Chicken Kitchen, d’lish, Doozo Dumpling & Noodles, Droubi Bros. Grill, Freshii, Great American Cookies, Mediterranean Grill, Murphy’s Deli, Ninfa’s, Otto’s Barbeque, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Quizno’s, Robek’s Juice, Roman Delight, Salata, Simon’s Homestyle Café, Starbucks, Subway, Teppanyaki, Treebeards, Wall Street Deli, Wok & Roll. shopsathc.com. 1200 McKinney, 713.759.1442. Mon-Sat, hours vary. $ L Shula’s American Steak House Steak House Dark wood, sports memorabilia and menus handpainted on official NFL game footballs makes Pro Hall-of-Famer Don Shula’s Steak House stand out from the rest. Become a member of the 48oz Club by finishing a 48-ounce Shula Cut. donshula.com. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4777. B, L & D Daily. $$$ Skyline Deli Deli With their freshly baked bread, Skyline makes a great deli sandwich. 717 Texas, 713.571.0509. B & L Mon-Fri. $ L Spaghetti Warehouse Italian Making its home in an old warehouse, this Italian-American eatery offers up large portions for lunch and dinner. Traditional menu items such as spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna and pizza allow the Spaghetti Warehouse to cater to all ages and appetites. meatballs.com 901 Commerce, 713.229.0009. L & D Daily. $$ L Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops Steak House An ideal location to enjoy a great steak, Spencer’s offers top-quality beef and boasts an extensive wine list. The atmosphere is light, engaging and conducive to conversation. Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar, 713.577.8325. L & D Daily. $$$$
L Spindletop Seafood A favorite Houston seafood restaurant and fine dining experience ideal for birthday parties, family reunions, anniversaries and engagements. Perched on the 34th floor of Hyatt Regency Downtown, this glass-walled restaurant makes one revolution every 45 minutes, ensuring you'll enjoy 360-degree views of the city and all of its famous landmarks. houstonregency.hyatt.com. Hyatt Regency, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4775. D Tue-Sat. $$$ The State Bar Pub Fare Located on the second floor of Post Rice Lofts with a beautiful balcony overlooking Texas Ave., this upscale lounge also serves appetizers and hearty sandwiches with your martinis and margaritas. thestatebar.com. 909 Texas, Suite 2A, 713.229.8888. Mon-Sat. $ L Strip House Steak House Only minutes from the convention center and Toyota Center, Strip House’s mouth-watering steaks are accompanied by a seductive ambiance. Red walls and carpet give this steak palace a unique interior. An international collection of wines puts the finishing touches on the restaurant. striphouse.net. The Shops at Houston Center, 1200 McKinney, 713.659.6000. L Mon-Fri; D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $$$$ Subway Fast Food 405 Main, 713.227.4700. 805 Dallas, 713.651.1331. Daily. $ L Table 7 Bistro American Table 7 Bistro is a combination of an upscale, yet casual atmosphere. The bistro serves a selection of artistically and generously presented cuisine. Happy hour weekdays offer $4 well drinks and $2 domestic beers, and its happy hour all weekend with $2 mimosas all day on Saturdays and Sundays. district7grill.com. 720 Fannin @ The Club Quarters, 713.227.4800. B, L & D Daily. $ new! Tejas Grill & Sports Bar American Downtown's newest spot for sports fans with large appetites and an arsenal of high fives. Located at The Shops at Houston Center, Tejas offers the perfect tailgate menu and full-service bar. tejasgrillandsportsbar.com. 1201 Lamar at The Shops at Houston Center, 713.739.8352. L Mon-Fri, D Mon-Sat. $$ Thepthidaa Thai Thai A traditional Thai restaurant located at the ground level of the loft residence Hogg Palace. The warm and cozy atmosphere offers a great setting for a dinner escape and is a local favorite. 401 Louisiana, 713.225.4900. D Daily. $ L III Forks American Upscale, warm atmosphere and impeccable service sets the stage for this sophisticated steakhouse. New York strip and filet mignon, bone-in ribeye, porterhouse, young rack of lamb and veal chop are served with duchess potatoes, off-the-cob cream corn, and perfectly cooked vegetables. Seafood items include Chilean sea bass, Ahi tuna, salmon, halibut, scallops and lobster tails, which are flown in daily. iiiforks.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, Level 1, 713.658.9457. L Tue–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$$$ L Treebeards Southern A downtown institution for more than 30 years, Treebeards offers tasty Cajun dishes that are sure to satisfy. Favorite menu items
include the chicken and shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice and étouffée. For dessert, try the famous butter bar. treebeards.com. 315 Travis, 713.228.2622. Cloisters at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas, 713.229.8248. L Mon-Fri. $ Trofi Restaurant Continental Trofi’s menu is described as Continental with a Mediterranean and Latin flair and the ambience is simple, yet sophisticated. Lunch buffets are available Monday through Friday. 400 Dallas, Doubletree Hotel, 713.759.0202. B, L & D Daily. $$ L Vic & Anthony’s Steak House This world-class steak house is one of the most elegant dining locations in Houston. It boasts rich mahogany woodwork and one-of-a-kind hospitality. Located in the heart of the Ballpark District and across from Minute Maid Park, Vic & Anthony’s is the ideal spot for entertaining business clients, a special celebration or a pre/post-game dinner. vicandanthonys.com. 1510 Texas, 713.228.1111. L Fri; D Daily. $$$$ Warren’s Inn Fast Casual Let the good times roll with a killer jukebox, excellent drinks and a fun, bohemian environment. Quick sandwiches and other items are served during the day; you can order in from nearby restaurants at night if you have the munchies. 307 Travis, 713.247.9207. L Mon-Fri; LN Daily. $ Wimpy’s Hamburgers Fast Food Wimpy’s serves up a pretty good burger but they also have many other down-home favorites. 632 Polk, 713.652.0123. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Yao Restaurant and Bar Asian The menu at Yao’s is a mix of standard American-Chinese fare, like sesame chicken and kung pao chicken, along with more exotic dishes like braised abalone. Sushi rolls include the Yao Roll, with snow crab and black caviar topped with lobster. yaorestaurant.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 Main, 713.739.9267. L Mon-Fri, D Mon–Sat. $$ Zero’s Sandwich Shop Deli A great little spot for a freshly made deli sandwich. zerossandwichshop.com. 809 Dallas, 713.650.3333. 1110 Lamar, 713.655.7722. 507 Dallas, 713.739.9955. B & L Mon-Fri. $ L Ziggy's Bar & Grill American Ziggy’s offers healthy comfort food in their new Main Street location. Counter service is offered during the day and table service at night. Happy hour specials include pomegranate martinis and Ziggyritas made with fresh citrus juice. The location is conveniently located along the light rail line and just a few short blocks from the Theater District. Brunch Sat & Sun 9-3. ziggysbarandgrill.com. 702 Main, 713.527.8588. B, L & D Daily. $ L Zydeco Louisiana Diner Cajun This cafeteriastyle Cajun joint brings Louisiana dishes to the Hospital District of downtown Houston. Traditional Cajun items such as po-boys, jambalaya and gumbo make Zydeco a great lunch stop. A casual atmosphere adds to the enjoyment. 1119 Pease, 713.759.2001. L Mon-Fri. $
Looking for a spot to go after a long day or for a fun night out with friends? Check out some of our favorites— from the quintessential dive to swanky lounges, you’re sure to find something that will quench your thirst!
like us at facebook.com/visitdowntownhouston The Brewery Tap | 717 Franklin Sit at one of the long wooden picnic tables (think biergarten) and chill with one of the 35 beers on tap. Laid-back and friendly, a great place to catch a soccer game and play some darts. Mon-Thu 4-10 pm; Fri & Sat 4 pm-1 am; Sun 4-11 p.m.
House of Blues | 1204 Caroline Street @ Houston Pavilions A well-known national franchise with a lively, fun atmosphere. A 1,500-person concert venue is onsite and some of the best touring shows in the country come through on a weekly basis. The members-only Foundation Room is available for VIPs. Show times and events vary nightly. hob.com
The Capitol at St. Germain | 705 B Main St. The Capitol brings a new dimension to live music, dining and cocktails to the heart of the city. From touring acts to local favorites, there's something for everyone in a majestic, turn-of-the-century venue. Mon 11 am-9 pm, Tue-Thu 11 am-midnight, Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat 5 pm-2 am. thecapitolhouston.com
La Carafe | 813 Congress The oldest building in Houston, this dark and cozy hideaway boasts a great jukebox, moody atmosphere and an extensive beer and wine selection. Sit on the outside patio or balcony and look up in awe at the amazing downtown skyline. Cash only. Mon-Fri noon-2 am, Sat & Sun 1 pm-2 am.
The Cellar at Georgia’s Market | 420 Main @ Prairie Georgia’s underground cellar offers a wide selection of organic and biodynamic wines and local brews. The newly renovated space mixes modern and vintage for a cozy place to spend happy hour or host your next event. Mon-Fri noon- 9 pm, Sun 9 am – 5 pm. georgiasdowntown.com/cellar
Last Concert Café | 403 Nance One of Houston’s best kept secret treasures! You have to knock three times on the red door to gain entry to the unmarked house in the Warehouse District (well, not anymore). With a backyard stage and sandpit, hoola-hooping and tiki bar, Last Concert has live music most nights. Tue-Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat 5 pm-2 am, Sun 3-9 pm. lastconcert.com
Chapel Spirits | 534 Texas @ Live! at Bayou Place Chapel Spirits is a sophisticated bar, ideal for happy hour, an engagement party, a bachelor party or late nite VIP experience. Great balcony seating for scenic views of downtown and people watching. Fri & Sat 10 pm-2 am. chapelspirits.com Char Bar | 305 Travis Char Bar offers stiff drinks alongside custom suits. Drenched in nostalgia, Char Bar is proud of its history, as reflected in the old photos of family members who have worked in the space since the 1930s. Enjoy the second floor balcony or chat it up with Weldon Renfro, who has a permanent shoe shine booth at the entrance. Mon-Wed 10 am–midnight, Thu-Sat 10 am-2 am. Dean’s | 316 Main Much of the original building was preserved when the 30s department store was converted into a bar. If you’re lucky, you can snag the table in Houston’s first electric elevator tucked away in the corner. Listen to live music by local artists, buy the local art on the walls, and drink frozen cosmos while taking in the ever-changing downtown scene. Sun-Wed 8 pm-2 am, Thu-Sat 5 pm-2 am. The Dirt Bar | 1209 Caroline The non-venue rock 'n' roll lounge is a popular pre- and post-show destination spot that has become famous for its performer patronage. Drawing crowds and artists from every venue in the city has allowed The Dirt to host hundreds of memorable after-show events, including Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. Daily 6 pm-2 am. dirtbar.com 1820 Bar | 1820 Franklin Located just one block north of Minute Maid Park. Small flat-screen TVs dot the bar, allowing patrons to keep tabs on games while not being the center of attention. On the first and last Friday of every month Joystix Classic Games and Pinball next door is open, and $15 gets you all night to practice your Ms. Pac-Man skills. Daily 4 pm-2 am. Flying Saucer | 705 Main Offering more than 200 beers, with nearly half on draft, Flying Saucer is a great place to hang out and enjoy a cold one. A cool and relaxed atmosphere along with a hip crowd gives downtown visitors a great place to enjoy the night. Check out the website for information on beer tastings, trivia night and specials. Mon-Wed, 11 am-1 am, Thu & Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat noon-2 am, Sun noon-midnight. beerknurd.com
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Lone Star Saloon | 1900 Travis The Lone Star Saloon is a true classic Texas dive bar that seems misplaced in its urban setting. The crowd, half aging townies and half world-weary road dogs, are always willing to share have-been-to-hell-and-back stories. Daily noon2 am. Lucie’s Liquors | 534 Texas @ Live! at Bayou Place Go to Lucie’s for taste of vintage Vegas, quality drinks and a night to remember. The attitude at this place recalls a time when the Rat Pack was at the top and the ladies called the shots. Great balcony seating for scenic views of downtown and people watching! Tue & Thu 8 pm–2 am. Fri & Sat 9 pm–2 am. luciesliquors.com Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge | 1201 San Jacinto @ Houston Pavilions Swanky upscale bowling alley with a separate restaurant/ lounge area. Bowlers and patrons relax on sleek leather couches and enjoy floor-to-ceiling video screens that flash movie clips and music videos as DJs deliver danceable grooves. Great lunchtime and Sunday brunch bowling specials. Sun-Thu 11 am-midnight, Fri & Sat 11 am-2 am. bowlluckystrike.com MKT Bar | 1001 Austin Phoenicia’s MKT bar, located at the first floor of One Park Place, is the perfect place to stop when you need a chill moment. The bar offers coffee, pastries, wine, beer, gourmet pizza and other yummy nibbles for which Phoenicia is known. Mon -Wed 7 am-9 pm, Thu 7 am-2 am, Fri-Sat 9 am-2 am, Sun 9 am-8 pm. phoeniciafoods.com Molly’s Pub | 509 Main This classic Irish pub offers a variety of Irish whiskeys and international beers. Tables and coves lead you to the back, where pool and darts can be found and a second-floor balcony provides excellent views of Main Street and downtown. Daily 11 am-2 am. mollyspubs.com Notsuoh | 314 Main The name is Houston spelled backwards. A bar full of random weirdness: Think grunge lounge and artsy. You’ll find people playing chess, and drinking beer, live music, lots of crazy, weird artwork and maybe walk in on a night of punk-rock karaoke. Live bands on weekends. Daily 8 pm-2 am. PBR Houston | 534 Texas @ Live! at Bayou Place
Cowboy cool meets urban chic in this country bar in the city. Grab a cold beer, hard drinks and try your hand at a little bull riding. This is the place when you want to two-step, hang low, or just meet a pretty little lady or urban cowboy. Great balcony seating for scenic views of downtown and people watching. Wed, Fri & Sat 9 pm– 2 am. pbrhouston.com Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar | 1201 Fannin @ Houston Pavilions Two dueling pianos and a sing-along, clap-along, drinkalong, have-one-helluva-good-time-along bar! Wed-Sat, 7 pm-2 am Wed-Sat 7 pm-2 am, showtime @ 8 pm. petesduelingpianobar.com Reserve 101 | 1201 Caroline A whiskey and martini bar touting more than 220 specialty liquors that will make any cocktail aficionados mouth water. Stop by on Tuesday for complimentary tastings of special selections. Sun 5 pm - 2 am, Mon-Sat 2 pm - 2 am. reserve101.com The Sam Bar | 1117 Prairie Street @ Alden Hotel Located in the Alden Hotel. This upscale bar is furnished with dark leather banquettes and a menu of 30 cocktails, both classic and new mixologist creations. Sun-Thu 11 ammidnight, Fri & Sat 11 am-1 am. aldenhotels.com Sambuca | 909 Texas @ Post Rice Lofts Guests can enjoy live music most nights of the week in this upscale and eclectic environment. The plush interior and elegant design make for an amazing location. Enjoy your favorite drink inside or hang outside on the patio with the locals. Sun-Wed 11 am-midnight, Thu 11 am-1 am, Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat 4:30 pm-2 am. sambucarestaurant.com Shark Bar | 534 Texas @ Live! at Bayou Place No need to drive to Galveston to get to the beach. This surf bar is an endless party with pail punch, pina coladas and retro dance music that will take you to the North Shore. Great balcony seating for scenic views of downtown and people watching. Fri & Sat 9 pm-2 am. sharkbartx.com Shay McElroy’s Pub | 909 Texas @ Post Rice Lofts Dublin native and owner John McElroy created this space around a richly detailed, 19th-century bar he had shipped from Ireland. The crowd is an inviting collection of young professionals and not-so-young merrymakers who enjoy colorful dialogue and witty conversation. Mon-Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat & Sun 1 pm-2 am. mcelroyspub.com State Bar | 909 Texas @ Post Rice Lofts Located on the second floor of the Post Rice Lofts, this upscale bar presents a classic richness all its own. Much of the furniture and memorabilia are from the old Rice Hotel’s Capitol Club. Leather couches make for great seating and conversation, while a grand veranda overlooks the city outside. Mon-Fri 3 pm-2 am, Sat 6 pm-2 am. thestatebar.com Sunny’s Bar | 901 Capitol @ Main Laid-back place with a friendly atmosphere and great prices that keep the regulars coming back. Sunny will likely be behind the bar serving up the beer and cocktails and great conversation. Foosball, darts and shuffleboard are in the back of the house to keep you entertained. Mon-Sat 2 pm-2 am. Warren’s Inn | 307 Travis This tavern is long known for its top-notch jukebox full of American classics, strong mixed drinks and its diverse crowd of customers. Mon-Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat noon-2 pm, Sun 2 pm-2 am.
C’mon get happy
After spending a long day toiling at your desk, sometimes nothing is better than a cool cocktail with friends. Luckily for us, downtown has plenty of spots where you can imbibe, and we’ve wrapped up some of our favorites just for you. But happy hour doesn’t have to mean evening. We found some great brunches where you can sip on your Bellini, munch on your eggs Benedict and just chill. Ahhhh, perfect!
Sundown on the Green
Discover one of Houston’s prettiest spots. Every Wednesday this summer, toast the sunset with friends and co-workers at this weekly celebration at The Grove’s Treehouse. Live music, light bites, guest artists and innovative drinks make for a perfect end of the day, presented by The Grove, Discovery Green and Mix 96.5.
Rise and shine
Who says happy hour has to be evening cocktails? At Georgia’s Market Downtown coffee lovers get their own special time every morning. Take $1 off any espresso drink and get ready to face the day with Brazil St. Lucia drip coffee for just $1. Bring your reusable mug and you get 10 percent off any coffee drink. Don’t forget to grab a tasty breakfast taco or luscious pastry to go. Where
Georgia’s Market Downtown 420 Main georgiasdowntown.com When
The Treehouse at The Grove 1611 Lamar thegrovehouston.com When
Wednesdays July 11-September 26 6-8 p.m.
MKT Bar is the place to be nightly with terrific prices on select beverages and tasty treats. During the week, groove to live music, $5 wines by the glass, $4 draft beer and great appetizer specials. Take half off bottles of wine every Wednesday. Plus, don’t miss Tasty Tango Tuesdays, complete with tango class, dancing and a juicy $12 steak dinner and Thursday Steak Night, which includes steak, salad and your choice of twicebaked potato or Zaatar fries. Finish your weekend on a high note with a sumptuous jazz brunch. Pomegranate mimosas, breakfast pitas, gourmet coffee, chef ’s specials and more make for a perfect Sunday morning.
MKT Bar 1001 Austin phoeniciafoods.com
JAZZ IT UP
Monday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. Tasty Tango Tuesdays, 6-9 p.m. Thursday Steak Night, 2-10 p.m. Jazz Brunch, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Check out the city’s longest happy hour at Last Concert Café every Monday from 5 p.m.-2 a.m. This downtown hideaway features $2 Shiners and $3 margaritas along with great live music every night. Where
The Last Concert Café 1403 Nance lastconcert.com When
Mondays, 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Tuesday-Friday, 5-7 p.m.
Daily, 7-10 a.m.
ith a fusion of culture, lifestyles and commerce, life around here is anything but typical. Look up and discover soaring skyscrapers designed by icons like Philip Johnson and I.M. Pei. Turn a corner and bump into Houstonâ€™s historic past or uncover a piece of contemporary public art. Enjoy major league sports, world-class theater, innovative chefs, funky hotspots, movies in the park, sidewalk cafes, outdoor festivals, pontoon boat tours and more. Welcome to Downtown Houston!
Bayou Music Center
IN N E Y 1200 MCK IN TO & AUST A N J AC IN S N E E W T BE C .C O M S H O P S AT H
We’ll help you look good & feel good, find just the right fashion or gadget. Errands or a work-out? Great! We’re the perfect place to complete your to-do list. Oh, and come hungry. THE SHOPS AT HOUSTON CENTER. THE COMPLETE ONE-STOP SOLUTION FOR THE DOWNTOWNER ON THE GO.