M&S Seafood | Steaks | Oysters
House of Blues Restaurant & Bar
Life Time Athletic
Guadalajara del Centro
House of Blues
Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar
1201 Fannin St. Houston, TX. 77002 | greenstreetdowntown.com
SUMMER 2021 VOL. 13, NO. 3
MANAGING EDITOR/CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Angie Bertinot, Downtown District
Barbara Linkin Mendel, Mendel Creative Solutions
CORE Design Studio
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Amber Ambrose Holly Beretto Todd Green Lauren McDowell Shelby Pipken Victoria Reid
Angie Bertinot 713.650.3022 email@example.com
03 HELLO SUMMER
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
Lazy days in the park, warm nights filled with live music, an afternoon sipping your favorite concoction from the perfect patio—get ready for your best summer ever! BY VICTORIA REID
Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.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. Published by:
With support from:
15 MR. PRESIDENT Loren Blanchard has big plans for the University of Houston Downtown, starting with using big data to better ensure student success, reach distant communities and build new degree programs. BY HOLLY BERETTO
20 HIGH-TECH GROWTH Downtown’s innovation ecosystem is steadily gaining momentum. Despite the pandemic, Downtown Launchpad opened in 2020 in the heart of the city with two nationally recognized accelerators MassChallenge and gener8tor. A year later we profile four promising startups ready to change the world. BY AMBER AMBROSE, TODD GREEN, LAUREN McDOWELL
PUBLISHERS’ NOTE ARTS & CULTURE
Powerful murals, whimsical displays, interactive installments—Downtown is home to some pretty spectacular public art. Create your own tours with a rundown of our favorites. BY HOLLY BERETTO
We’re Texans, and let’s face it; sometimes we just want a good steak. What better way to enjoy one than with a steak night special? Peruse our listing of some of our favorites and start planning your next great meal! BY SHELBY PIPKEN
DESTINATION DOWNTOWN MAP
Summertime and the living is so easy! Remember festivals, outdoor movies, sports, live music? They’re all back and waiting for you and your squad. We’ve got everything you need to fill your days with fun.
Welcome back! The streets of Downtown are starting to reflect a return to normal. We’re seeing more foot traffic, businesses are opening up, and events are starting to fill our calendars once again. It’s been a long road, and we see a bright future ahead filled with lots of big hugs and festive celebrations. This summer we encourage you to come on back and see everything Downtown has to offer. Classic film festivals, bingo in the park, live music, sports—they are all waiting for you. Start planning your summer fun days with our feature beginning on page 3 and our datebook on page 46. Plate is also back starting on page 35 to help you enjoy Downtown dining again. You’ll find plenty of restaurants, coffee shops, and bars ready to serve up both your old favorites and any number of new culinary twists. Check out lunch or dinner on one of Main Street’s spacious new patios or feel free to imbibe your favorite cocktail inside a sleek new WE SEE A BRIGHT space—totally your call! FUTURE AHEAD FILLED One of the things we’re most excited to WITH LOTS OF BIG share in this issue is Houston’s emergence as a tech hub. Axios recently reported HUGS AND FESTIVE that Houston has seen a strong influx of CELEBRATIONS. tech workers over the past year—despite the pandemic. According to data from LinkedIn, Houston was second only to Miami in the number of software and IT workers moving in. As Axios noted, “Young engineers and recent college graduates see Miami, Houston, and Philadelphia—not San Francisco, New York or Seattle—as the hot new places to jumpstart a technology or creative economy career.” We, of course, agree and would like to introduce you to just a few of those tech innovators starting on page 20. We know last year was rough, and our thoughts are always with those who have suffered losses. We also know that as Houstonians we pull each other up in times of crisis. We’re so proud of how our Downtown community has done just that. To all of you we say “Welcome home!”
PRESIDENT DOWNTOWN DISTRICT
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING DOWNTOWN DISTRICT
Summer CITY in the
by Victoria Reid
What to Do in
ummer is synonymous with music festivals and outdoor activities, and Downtown is officially open for fun. With vaccines increasing and restrictions decreasing, it’s time to slather on the sunscreen, go outside and get back to the summer festivities you know and love!
THE DR. SEUSS EXPERIENCE
Oh the Places
The end of the school year probably has you wondering what to do with the kids. Bring them Downtown of course! First stop: Discovery Green. From Kinder Lake to the Art Cars, this award-winning greenspace has plenty of entertaining options for the little ones. The newly renovated John P. McGovern Playground offers double the space to play for kids of all ages. For the tiny tots, the Mendez Play Space encourages fitness and creativity with nearly 15 pieces of equipment to explore. Older kids (ages 5 to 12) can head to the interactive Gateway Fountain for a ropes course.
JOHN P. MCGOVERN PLAYGROUND
The George R. Brown Convention Center is offering more than air conditioning this summer. Enter the convention center and step into the world of Dr. Seuss. One of the most exciting events of the season, The Dr. Seuss Experience, invites you to immerse yourself in the wacky, whimsical world of this beloved children’s book author. The sensory spectacle takes you on an adventure through nine different worlds from Seuss’s most popular books. Swing among Truffula Trees from The Lorax, stroll through the towering clovers from Horton Hears a Who! or join the Circus McGurkus! Whether you’re 5 or 35, this is one event you don’t want to miss.
MÖTLEY CRÜE, DEF LEPPARD, POISON AND JOAN JETT
Like the rest of the world, the lack of live music last year left us reeling. Thankfully, the dark days are moving behind us because live music is back. One must-attend event? Road to River Revival at Market Square Park. Brought to you in partnership with Splice Records and Saint Arnold Brewing Company, this monthly series counts down to the annual River Revival Music Fest by showcasing some of the hottest regional talent around. Plan to post up on the lawn at MSP on the second Saturday of each month through August. Discovery Green is giving you even more opportunities to groove to some tunes. The Friday Night Concert Series kicks off June 25 at 7:30 p.m. with a performance by Say Girl Say, and continues through August. Currently, their lineup includes Bayou City Funk and Swimwear Department.
Sports aren’t the only thing taking over stadiums this season. Downtown welcomes 2 Chainz, Trae the Truth and Friends to Toyota Center on May 29. Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer (July 29), and Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison and Joan Jett (Aug. 17) will rock Minute Maid Park. And Justin Bieber (Aug. 5) and Tame Impala (Aug. 12) are scheduled to pack the home of the Rockets. Did you buy your tickets yet?
From the minds that brought you The Commoner and Boulevardier comes Cherry Bar, a glam-rock fueled space bringing back the wild times of the ‘80s. With a zebra print floor, neon signs and icons of the decade adorning every wall, this brand new bar is ready and waiting for you to unleash your inner Madonna. We can see it already. You—teased hair and all—sipping a Raspberry Beret or balling out with Jane Fonda warm-ups (aka bottle service), while belting out the lyrics to Let’s Go Crazy under the unicorn mirror ball. We’ll meet you on the dance floor!
If you’re still not keen on the idea of boarding an airplane, or you are just looking for a break from your regular routine, why not venture Downtown for a staycation? Spend a weekend snoozing on luxurious sheets and lounging poolside at the Marriott Marquis; leave the kiddos at Grandma’s and have a getaway with your significant other at C. Baldwin; or crash at The SAM after supporting the ‘Stros. No matter the weekend you’re dreaming of, Downtown’s hospitality community is ready to make it come true.
The dog days of summer are here, and they always call for an ice cold treat. From gelato and root beer floats to Saint Arnold’s Superfine seltzers (our fave is Mimosa Morning), there’s no shortage of cooling options in this 1.84-square mile district. Our suggestion? Pop into MKT Bar for their creamy Italian ice cream, find a shady spot and enjoy. For those without a sweet tooth, nothing is as refreshing as sipping a cold drink while taking in a great view. Snagging a seat on your favorite patio or taking advantage of the drink specials at Downtown’s must-hit happy hours are two of the best ways to beat the heat. SAINT ARNOLD’S SUPERFINE SELTZERS
Your Booze Ever wondered what that huge contraption carrying a group of pedaling people is? It’s the Bike Bar! Get your fitness on with friends and pedal to the metal bar in this two-hour tour. The fun starts in EaDo where you’ll make your way to your choice of three watering holes in the Downtown area.
ARTS & CULTURE
arts & culture.
A R T S & C U LT U R E VIEW IT
Underneath UHD’s One Main Building
1 Main St
Photo by Anthony Rathbun
EVERYWHERE YOU TURN
Must-see Public Art in Downtown
ouston’s Museum District has some of the greatest collections of art in the country. Walk the streets of Downtown, however, and you’ll also be surrounded by art. From sculptures on city streets, to pop-up installations in parks, to murals on the walls of buildings, art is everywhere. Don’t miss these great works! BY HOLLY BERETTO
A R T S & C U LT U R E
CONFLUENCE University of Houston Downtown This 223-foot-long mural was commissioned by the Houston Parks Board and the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, and was painted by artist Jane Kim, a co-founder of Ink Dwell Studio. It’s painted on the retaining wall at the confluence of White Oak and Buffalo bayous and is an homage to Houston’s migratory birds. The sweeping work undulates along the bayou, showcasing three species of birds that come to Houston every spring looking to breed and three others who come to the Bayou City for the winter. As birds often change their plumage to attract mates, the artwork shows the birds in their breeding and non-breeding plumage. The birds are partnered with a map of Houston’s bayous, a reminder of the life the waterway brings to the city. “Adding this beautiful art piece along the bayou greenway not only enhances the landscape, it celebrates the ecology of the area, builds community and contributes to a sense of pride among all who interact with it,” said Elisa Olsen, UHD’s executive director of university relations, who says the piece complements existing artwork on and adjacent to the campus. Installation on the mural began in March and took nearly six weeks to complete. Areas along the bayou are already Instagram friendly. This new mural will more than likely be one more great spot for selfies, as pedestrians and cyclists take in the work.
ZERO HUNGER West side of the Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Unveiled in March, this massive artwork by Dragon76 was created to bring awareness to the problem of hunger in the Houston community. It’s part of a collaboration between Street Art for Mankind and the World Food Program, designed to showcase how widespread food insecurity is. The first mural appeared in New Orleans in February. Four more are planned throughout the country. The Downtown mural is the largest in the city. It takes up the building’s five stories and measures 13,000 square feet. Communities of color are disproportionately affected by food security issues. Zero Hunger features four African-American children with Zero Hunger
While the mural calls attention to a serious issue here in the Bayou City and elsewhere, it’s also awash with hope. and Food Justice written along their foreheads. While the mural calls attention to a serious issue here in the Bayou City and elsewhere, it’s also awash with hope. A bright blue zigzag runs across the backdrop. Two of the children boast big smiles. The golden yellows and earth tones make for engaging viewing. “It creates a huge statement to support the work of the UN @worldfoodprogramme, advocate for the 169 million people who face food insecurity around the world and reminds people that hunger also exists in the United States, especially among the African-American communities,” Street Art For Mankind wrote in an Instagram post announcing the project.
710 Crawford St
A R T S & C U LT U R E
Photos by Lawrence Elizabeth
EARTH DAY MURALS BY TEXAS ARTISTS The 13 murals that make up this temporary installation showcase the beauty of Houston’s natural environment. Discovery Green put out a call for works earlier this year. The finalists were selected from more than 100 entries. As part of the park’s Green Mountain Energy Earth Day celebration in April, the artists did live painting on their murals. “I wanted to create a mural that showcased iconic animals that call the Big Thicket and Texas home,” said Wendy Delgado, who creates art as Usagi Wasabi. Her mural features a bobcat, coyote and armadillo, and is called Spirit of the Big Thicket. Each animal is made of plants and they’re surrounded by a starry sky, a nod to the fact that Texas is one of the only places you can see the Milky Way at night. “I hope to show
the beauty of these animals and the important role they play in the balance of the unique ecosystem we have in Texas,” Delgado said. Hannah Bull’s Bee Sweet, Y’all mural explores how vital the fuzzy pollinators are to our lives. A third of food crops, wildflowers and honey owe their existence to bees. “I hope the colorful capture of my painting inspires people and grants awareness not only to bees' physical beauty but their integral function in an effort towards a rewild mindset that treats nature with care and as equals,” the artist said of her work. Artist Melissa Aytenfisu looked close to home for the inspiration for her mural, Urban Gardeners. During the Covid pandemic, the mother of two, like so many, found herself without work, without school for her children and with no place to go. So the family began visiting parks and soon discovered a community garden in their Third Ward neighborhood. “One of the gardeners took my 4-year-old under his wing,” she said. “And he just loves gardening now! We grew our own broccoli, and we’ve done radishes and chives. I think people really have an innate desire to explore in nature.” Her mural captures her children’s excitement about the community garden. The murals will be on display through October.
Discovery Green Park 12
A R T S & C U LT U R E
TIME NO LONGER
“I hope the colorful capture of my painting inspires people and grants awareness not only to bees' physical beauty but their integral function in an effort towards a rewild mindset that treats nature with care —Hannah Bull, and as equals.” Earth Day Murals Finalist TIME NO LONGER
Photo by Lawrence Elizabeth Knox
This immersive experience blends film and sound in a creation by multimedia artist Anri Sala. The film is projected onto a 22-by-150-foot screen, its soundtrack echoing throughout the Cistern’s vast space. That provides a 360-degree experience for visitors, who see and hear the piece through the Cistern’s 221 supporting columns. Time No Longer shows a turntable floating in a space station, its electrical cord still plugged in. As the turntable floats in space, it continues to play a vinyl record, although there doesn’t appear to be anyone around to listen to it. The record playing is a new arrangement of Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. The composer wrote the piece while he was held as a prisoner of war in Germany during World War II. Sala created the work specifically for the Cistern’s dramatic space. VIEW IT
Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern
A R T S & C U LT U R E
WINDOWWORKS BY VARIOUS ARTISTS
Photos by Morris Malakoff
This ambitious project, a partnership between the Houston Downtown Management District and UP Art Studio, infuses new life into windows all along Main Street. Vacant and inactive storefronts have been transformed into artists’ canvasses, and the result is a dynamic set of artworks showcasing different styles and subjects. “I loved the idea of using the empty location's store fronts as opportunities to create an art gallery exhibition for everyone to enjoy,” said Steffany Brady, whose mural Brilliant Tapestry can be seen at 1111 Main. The design was inspired by Downtown itself. “I wanted to create a quilted like design, fabric or textile, a visual representation of the colorful tapestry of Houston's vibrant community,” he said. “I also wanted to create an orthogonal composition that could resemble the orthogonal nature of Downtown's city grid.”
A few blocks away at 1313 Main, Feels Like Summer is an explosion of color and feel-good vibes. “We wanted to portray something fun and colorful to bring more life to Downtown,” according to creator DeeJon. DeeJon is the collaboration between Marjon F. Aucoin and Dandee Warhol, who blend classical and contemporary design in their work. The mural captures the fun enthusiasm of the season, with bright colors and pop art motifs. “When we sketch our images, Marjon usually comes up with the conceptual ideas, and Dandee will come in and start adding colors and patterns to balance the piece,” the couple said of the way they work. “Marjon will paint the realistic components of the piece. She’s a master in the technical aspects of the human figure and anatomy. Dandee’s role is to create a balanced composition using shapes, colors, and values, which is mind-blowing because he is color-blind. In the end, we find that our pieces become a visual conversation between the two of us. Our two very different styles merge to create something bigger than what either one of us could have planned for individually. This ultimately keeps our creativity continuously growing and the possibilities endless.” For viewers, the possibilities will seem endless as well. There are 18 murals along the windows of Main Street, and more beyond. Visit houstonmuralmap.com for a full list that offers plenty of inspiration for a self-guided tour.
“We wanted to portray something fun and colorful to bring more life to Downtown.”
In storefronts around Downtown
—DeeJon, Feels Like Summer's Creator FEELS LIKE SUMMER
Looking Ahead U HD ’S NEW P R ESI D ENT HA S B I G P L A NS BY HOLLY BERETTO
“Academics is the core of who we are, but there’s an extension of what we do to ensure our students are engaged in experiential learning. But more importantly to be sure they understand the value and the need for service, for reaching out and helping others.” — Loren J. Blanchard uhd president
t’s a homecoming of sorts. When Loren J. Blanchard took over as president of the University of Houston Downtown in March, he wasn’t exactly a stranger to Houston. Throughout his life the Louisiana native has spent time in the Bayou City. Now, after his most recent position as California State University System’s executive vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, he’s excited to come back to his roots. “I want to be crystal clear about this,” he says half-jokingly. “We’ve missed the Southern cuisine.” He laughs. “We brought the Southern cuisine with us to Southern California. We’d cook all the time, and our hours would be filled with people who were so fascinated with all the gumbos and etouffees and you name it.” Blanchard knows he and his family will have their pick of that kind of food in restaurants around the region, and he’s looking forward to being closer to relatives in his native Lake Charles. But he’s also looking forward to continuing UHD’s legacy as a standout institution of higher learning. He spent his first weeks on campus touring each of the school’s buildings and talking to administrators, faculty, staff and students. “It was a chance to meet the people who really create the kind of energy which serves as the foundation for what [our campus buildings]
stand for. It’s just amazing to see the kind of work that we do. Academics is the core of who we are, but there’s an extension of what we do to ensure our students are engaged in experiential learning. But more importantly to be sure they understand the value and the need for service, for reaching out and helping others.” Blanchard commends the UHD faculty as experts in their fields, and also for their energy and enthusiasm in supporting their students and colleagues. Whether it’s helping students secure research opportunities or sharing with fellow faculty the best practices for designing a fully online class, the dedication they’ve shown has been inspiring, and it’s a vital part of what makes UHD unique. Following his arrival at UHD, Blanchard set up a series of town hall meetings this spring, allowing him to hear opinions and concerns from the UHD community. More are slated throughout the year, and Blanchard is confident they’ll fold into his leadership strategy. First and foremost within that strategy: dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has upended education across the country. When we interviewed Blanchard, classes with on-campus meeting requirements
“We are committed to making sure we can provide the kind of non-traditional services that enable them to not only complete their courses in a timely manner, but more importantly receive all the support they need to be successful in the completion of their degrees.” — Loren J. Blanchard uhd president
were taking place on campus, but much was happening in the virtual sphere. As of June 1, the university anticipates in-person classes will resume fully, while staff will work on campus a minimum of three days a week. By mid summer, it’s expected that staff will be back to pre-COVID schedules, and 60 percent of the campus’s classes will be face-to-face. During the spring, Blanchard and the university focused on encouraging the UHD community to get vaccinated, inviting members of Houston’s public health institutions to come to campus for a series of discussions about COVID-19 and health precautions. Developing— and using—partnerships like this with other Houston institutions is something Blanchard feels is necessary. They can offer UHD students vital connections with organizations around the city, augmenting the university’s classroom offerings with real-world experience. When people think of college, it often calls to mind students fresh out of high school, spending the years between 18 and 22 on a residential campus, then graduating and heading off to work. UHD’s students are typically
older—the average age is 24—and they’ve had experience in the workforce or raising families. They are often first-generation college students. Blanchard is a first-gen college graduate himself, so he recognizes providing support to UHD’s students is vital to helping them achieve their educational and career goals. UHD has always been committed to providing its students with co-curricular opportunities outside the classroom; Blanchard said it will continue to do so, exploring programs in health and tech, which are among the top career needs in the 21st century. “We value the whole notion of public service and community service,” he said. “We are engaging students in such a way so they can see and envision themselves through experiential learning experiences, but also envision themselves and how they might contribute to the workforce, meaningfully so, in the state of Texas, and more importantly in the city of Houston, and knowing they’ve got the knowledge, the skills, the disposition that will not only enable them to work effectively, but also become leaders in their fields.”
Ensuring those kinds of successes has been a hallmark of Blanchard’s own administrative success. He earned his bachelor’s degree in speech pathology at Xavier University, and went on to earn a master’s degree in education from McNeese State University and his doctorate in education psychology from the University of Georgia. He served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at his alma mater, Xavier, where he launched programs in public health sciences and communication, as well as clinical psychology and educational leadership. A strong fundraiser, he brought in millions of dollars to prepare undergraduate minority students for degrees in medical school programs, and secured grants to strengthen high school pipeline and student retention programs. While serving in the CSU system, he made increasing graduation rates a priority, along with eliminating equity gaps. That experience, coupled with his own background and his connections to the region, give him a unique perspective to lead UHD into the future. He plans to dig deeper into looking at how data can demonstrate paths to continued
student success, especially when coupled with personal-touch elements such as advising and offering students necessary resources to find internships, fund their educations, and balance education with work and family commitments. “Many of the students we serve don’t have a built-in model for college success, so it becomes even more important to use data to understand the strategies we should implement in order to see success outcomes. It’s not one size fits all. My mantra is, if we have deemed the students qualified enough to enter our university, then we have a collective responsibility to ensure that students complete a degree program with us,” he said. He noted that data helps show what barriers students face, which will allow the university to build cohorts of students facing similar challenges. That can provide them with a support system, and also offers a starting point to remove the challenges they’re facing. Maybe they entered college with an uneven K-12 experience. Maybe they’ve had a lot of stops and starts in their college career. Perhaps they simply aren’t used to taking classes during a traditional 9-to-5 school day. “So, in that instance, what are we doing to offer the evening courses, the weekend courses? What are we doing to make sure we’re not just offering courses here at the University of Houston Downtown? For instance, in urban education, we’re taking education to them in different areas of the city.”
In Katy, for example, UHD is offering courses toward some of its master’s degrees, allowing students on the west side of the city to study closer to home. Another way data might be applied to UHD’s educational strategies is in looking at the city of Houston, itself. Where are its job centers? What careers will be most prevalent—and relevant— in the coming decades? The answers to those questions can help determine new curriculum approaches, new experiential learning opportunities and new degree programs that UHD might offer. Blanchard wants to see UHD students complete internships, study abroad and other educational programs, both as a way to augment their school experience and also to offer them different perspectives on learning and life. This, in turn, can help them contribute meaningfully to their communities in their future careers, solving real-world challenges. “To me, that’s the beauty of it all,” he said. “Our students chose us, which means that they believe in us and then we reciprocate when we provide the foundation of support to reach their goals. There is nothing more energizing and nothing more meaningful in terms of the work that we do.”
“My mantra is, if we have deemed the students qualified enough to enter our university, then we have a collective responsibility to ensure that students complete a degree program with us,” — Loren J. Blanchard uhd president
YO U LO O K
GREAT W I T H T H AT
Kelly D. Pachar
Downtown Office 214 Travis Street, Houston, TX 77002 713.227.5406 | GaryGreene.com
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IN NO VA AWAKEN 20
A TION NING Case
Studies in Success
When Downtown’s innovation hub, Downtown Launchpad, opened in 2020, it was a bright light in a gloomy year. Even with the clouds of pandemic-induced uncertainty hanging over the city, the Houston innovation community showed that they weren’t just up for a challenge, but ready to come back stronger than before. As MassChallenge and gener8tor, two of the Launchpad’s inaugural residents, prepared for their cohorts, they rolled with the punches, shifting to virtual programming and welcoming new companies in with enthusiasm. In a short period of time, Downtown’s centralized innovation ecosystem has played host to some of the city’s most promising startups, including the following four companies taking their businesses to the next level.
Jose Aguilar CEO co-founder
Liz Cordill COO co-founder
Māk Studio’s Innovations Make Life Easier Through Customizable Craftsmanship by Amber Ambrose
Access to mentors and a well-connected network proved an invaluable takeaway from their time with MassChallenge, as well as guidance on streamlining their design and fabrication process to make it more scalable.
“How can we make life easier?” With a simple question, many startups and entrepreneurs are born, including Houston-based Māk Studio and its co-founders (and married couple) Liz Cordill, COO, and Jose Aguilar, CEO. The pair were working as architects when they noticed a specific pattern that was ripe for a solution emerging on their design projects. “We would design something [custom] and then it would be pulled out of the project because the cost was just too high, or it was too complicated to make or they couldn’t find anyone to make it nearby,” says Cordill. Designing custom pieces was fraught with unknowns, and no one had figured out a better way to bring the “wow” factor to high-impact projects without breaking the bank. “Imagine the time spent by an architect or interior designer on a custom design,” says Cordill. “They spend all this time on the custom piece, it goes out to bid and comes back too expensive. So, what do you do in that scenario?” The answer in 2021: Hire Māk Studio, which aims to make life easier for architects, interior designers and their clients through a mix of technology and fabrication. Specializing in the design and crafting of custom spaces, functional elements, furniture and surfaces, Māk has found a niche in the space
between creativity and predictability, furthered by their experience as members of MassChallenge Houston’s inaugural cohort.
How MassChallenge “flipped the switch” for this Houston startup Cordill originally thought they’d have to seek out-of-town resources and accelerators to better grow, expand and improve, but when MassChallenge expanded to Houston, “it really flipped the switch.” Access to mentors and a wellconnected network proved an invaluable takeaway from their time with MassChallenge, as well as guidance on streamlining their design and fabrication process to make it more scalable. “We have a lot of high-tech equipment that isn’t traditionally found in architecture and interiors—that is new, but then what we got from MassChallenge was that we started to develop an app,” says Cordill. Working with a developer they connected with through the accelerator, Māk broke down the custom design and fabrication process. First, they started with baseline designs of specific pieces like feature walls, reception desks, seating furniture and more. Next,
they added customization options like colors, finishes, and materials, with upcoming features allowing for logo placement and branding. “How are we going to execute something that’s more of a software platform? We’re not software developers,” says Cordill. “Working on the app really helped us focus on what products we needed to start offering in the catalog.”
“Houston is a hotbed of opportunities and intelligence now. I love to see the incubators happening, especially with women-owned and minority-owned businesses.” —Liz Cordill
A pandemic case study for their new process That catalog expanded last year when Māk noticed a need for sanitization stations more stylish than the “Purell on a stick” options available on short notice. It took about a month to go from initial design sketch to prototype production, which Cordill explains is “pretty unheard of in the furniture world.” Using technology to rapidly produce prototypes and simplify the process of customization has been a key element in Māk’s trajectory post-MassChallenge. Designers, architects and owners are empowered to create beautiful, unique spaces affordably, but still have the ability to put personal touches and artisanship into each piece. “We’re trying to use the technology to enhance the craft. We’re not saying that this craft doesn’t matter anymore, but embracing the technology can really enhance the craft,” says Cordill.
and bring our world [of architecture] into software, and we thought we’d have to go to Silicon Valley or Austin, but not anymore,” says Cordill. “Houston is a hotbed of opportunities and intelligence now. I love to see the incubators happening, especially with womenowned and minority-owned businesses.” Her advice for other startups in Houston? Take full advantage if you are selected into any accelerator or other Startup Development Organization (SDO) program. Engage with your cohort members, reach out to mentors, don’t just go through the motions and most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. “You have all these resources. Go and use them. Get as much feedback as you can on your pitch. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are lots of experts out there that are willing to help you if you just ask,” Cordill says. But perhaps the most important question to continue asking is the same one Cordill and Aguilar have been answering through Māk Studio’s evolution and the one Houston’s growing innovation ecosystem has started asking entrepreneurs: “How can we make life easier?”
“Houston is a hotbed” A few years out from Māk’s MassChallenge experience, Cordill is proud to see how far Houston has come in fostering a healthy and supportive startup and innovation culture and ecosystem. “I remember when we first started, there was really only one resource at the University of Houston. There was not much. We were ready to launch this idea
Smarter Software, Better Care: CaseCTRL to the Rescue by Lauren McDowell
Many outside of the medical world are surprised to find that despite huge advancements in medical technologies, the innovation many hospitals and doctors’ offices rely on for scheduling and communication tools remains in the technological dark ages.
Surgery always carries some degree of patient apprehension and anxiety. Most people are, understandably, focused on what might happen from the moment a surgeon picks up a scalpel to the moment the operating room clears. But as anyone who’s experienced a medical procedure or works for a doctor’s office knows, there’s a lot more to the process than simply showing up on surgery day. There’s always paperwork—forms for patient history, instructions to the patient on how to prepare for surgery, insurance— the list goes on. Concurrent with this mountain of paperwork is the communication network between doctors, patients and schedulers to ensure that a surgical plan becomes a reality. Many outside of the medical world are surprised to find that despite huge advancements in medical technologies, the innovation many hospitals and doctors’ offices rely on for scheduling and communication tools remains in the technological dark ages. CaseCTRL, a promising collaborative surgery management platform and Houston startup, aims to change that.
No patient left behind Led by veteran systems engineer Pamela Singh as CEO, bioengineer Dr. Ashvin Dewan as Chief Medical Officer and Saachi Roye as Chief Technology Officer, CaseCTRL hopes to bring surgical scheduling into the modern age with artificial intelligence. The Software as a Service (SaaS) management platform streamlines surgical scheduling and coordination workflows for simple collaboration across surgeons, schedulers, administrators, billing and staff. What started as an administrative solution has cascaded into additional positive effects. As the CaseCTRL website states, “By effectively engaging patients and tracking metrics that enhance patient care, CaseCTRL reduces surgery cancellations, complications, operational costs, and maximizes surgical case revenue with up to an additional $230,000–300,000 per surgeon per year.” The idea started with a patient at Dr. Dewan’s orthopedic practice. The patient needed a knee replacement and came to the office for a brief visit to discuss what to expect from the surgery. After a 10-minute discussion with Dr. Dewan, she went home with a routine packet of information from the office that detailed what she should do to prepare.
Pamela Singh CEO veteran systems engineer
The day of the surgery, she arrived with an empty stomach, per instructions, only to find out that she had missed a cardiac clearance. Her surgery was canceled. When Dewan saw the patient after the cancellation, the patient was understandably upset—an already stressful situation had not only been prolonged but amplified. Dewan then discovered that she had attempted to call and clarify necessary steps before the surgery only to get lost in a phone tag shuffle. Seeing his patient in distress, and recognizing the inefficiencies at his practice, Dr. Dewan shared his concerns with his wife, Pamela Singh. “We really started thinking, why are we using low-tech processes to support high-tech surgeries? On the one hand, he’s having conversations about the latest robot for the hospital, and on the other, we’re using faxes to coordinate his surgery. It made no sense. There’s over 150 data points that need to be communicated successfully to prepare for any surgery, and if just one falls through the cracks, through a missed email, phone message or fax, the surgery can be canceled.” At the time, there wasn’t a grand plan for a startup—Dewan and Singh just recognized that there had to be a better way to reduce surgery cancellations and provide better care for patients. With coding experience at his disposal, Dr. Dewan started with a barebones product for his own practice with the goal of reducing surgery cancellations. A year later, he had reduced cancellations by 20 percent, and found that he had $300,000 more in surgical case revenue. His administrators came to him to ask why his practice was more efficient than everyone else’s. “That was when he came to me and we realized it had commercialization potential,” said Singh. The next step was to find a way to make their vision a reality.
Becoming part of the Downtown Launchpad community People often hear about startup success stories and assume that fortunes are virtually guaranteed alongside a great idea. But a great idea isn’t a business, and Dewan and Singh knew they needed some help to form a new company and get it off the ground. They found an opportunity in fall 2020 as one of five companies invited to participate in gBETA, a free seven-week, preaccelerator program for early-stage local entrepreneurs through gener8tor. Singh credits the program for helping CaseCTRL focus its efforts and provide a roadmap for success. “We had a very shaky foundation when we started, and gener8tor helped us launch our company and our vision. That’s why we’ve been able to pitch to people and communicate with people. One thing we learned is that it doesn’t matter how good your idea is, and it doesn’t matter how many people you’re helping. If you can’t communicate it properly, it’s going nowhere.” With direction to zero in on what they could do best rather than what they could do well broadly, Singh says gBeta helped their new company recognize where they should focus their efforts. “That is when we really started to see traction in terms of not just resonating with customers, but also at pitch competitions.”
Looking toward the future, today Since finishing the program at the end of 2020, CaseCTRL has been busy racking up accolades and preparing for future growth. Singh describes the next steps as a multi-pronged approach, which includes continuing to work with private practice orthopedic surgeons, talking to innovative arms of hospitals, and finding innovative partners. “We’re grateful for these opportunities. I feel like when you make entrepreneurs feel supported, to have that support on the business side is really what kept us afloat. We [recently] got into Venture Houston and were awarded as a Most Promising Company at the Texas Life Science Venture Forum. When we saw that our community is rallying behind us, that made us want to succeed even more. We’re grateful for our Houston community.” Because MassChallenge and gener8tor are part of Downtown Launchpad and industry agnostic, Singh says, “there is a support system for companies that aren’t just oil and gas... With the gener8tor network’s help, we were able to accelerate our timeline and get everything in order at least 100 times faster in my opinion.”
“One thing we learned is that it doesn’t matter how good your idea is, and it doesn’t matter how many people you’re helping. If you can’t communicate it properly, it’s going nowhere.” —Pamela Singh
Sarah Park co-founder
Jae Paik co-founder
zero5 is Transforming Parking Lots by Todd Green
“We must leap, not stroll into the future. We must sprint, not jog. It will be this city that will be the smart city of the world." —Mayor Sylvester Turner
How prepared are we for autonomous vehicles? Tech and infrastructure experts are asking this important question all around the world, and that includes Sarah Park, co-founder of zero5. Her San Francisco-based innovative startup is developing systems that will transform parking lots into tech-enabled marketplaces, equipping cities to easily accommodate autonomous vehicles when they become mainstream. Though headquartered on the West Coast, zero5 has a close connection to Houston: Park and her zero5 co-founder, Jae Paik, participated in MassChallenge Houston’s inaugural 2019 class. They credit the time they spent with MassChallenge as a major turning point in understanding how cities like Houston can lead the way for the burgeoning autonomous vehicle and automated parking industries.
Tech-enabled marketplaces “If autonomous cars are to really serve their purpose, they should be able to drop you off, park themselves, then pick you up when you’re ready to leave.” The way Park describes it, we’re all about to get our very own Batmobile; but not without a change in mindset and community support. Help from both real estate developers and tech
ecosystem leaders is essential, as current infrastructure does not support autonomous vehicular traffic. Parking garages, for example, rely on manual ticketing systems. Autonomous vehicles can do a lot of innovative things but pressing buttons on ticket booths is not one of them. That’s why Park and Paik envision a world where parking lots are fully automated, comprehensive networks that collect, analyze and distribute on-demand, real-time data. Their goal: Connecting available spots, drivers and vehicles for a seamless parking experience, while maximizing revenue for lot operators by reducing overhead and eliminating unused spots. Per the zero5 website: “We are starting with building technology to streamline parking of today. Next, we will truly bring the offline parking market online. We will reveal the potential of the parking market and change the way the world thinks about parking.”
Houston: a smart city Zero5 was recently contracted by Houston-based Lovett Commercial to automate the parking system for over 900 spaces at the new Post Houston development, an adaptive reuse of the former Barbara Jordan U.S. Post Office. The location will no doubt put zero5’s systems to the test, as it’s expected to be a vibrant Downtown destination. The project will feature an international food hall, experiential shopping options, coworking offices, a six-acre rooftop farm, a music venue and more. Zero5’s success at Post Houston would have tremendous effects on the future of this city and the viability of autonomous vehicles calling Houston home before other major metropolitan areas. It might even convince more tech companies to move headquarters from Silicon Valley to Houston.
For one, ride-sharing companies would benefit. During an interview with Autonomous Vehicles Podcast, Park and Paik discussed Uber and Lyft’s plans for AV fleets. Not only would they be able to safely store vehicles in the off-hours, but they could enhance customer experiences by using data to identify where vehicles should be stored for the fastest deployment and pick up. The zero5 team are not the only ones who envision Houston as a smart city. As Mayor Sylvester Turner said three years ago, “We must leap, not stroll into the future. We must sprint, not jog. It will be this city that will be the smart city of the world." The mayor’s office has launched a vision of our city’s tech-driven future, providing solutions to transit, public safety, sustainability and community engagement concerns. Within the transit category, plans include parking guidance systems, intelligent transportation systems, and autonomous transit circulators. With Downtown Launchpad home to two internationally acclaimed startup accelerator programs, MassChallenge and Gener8tor’s gBeta; and the Ion’s Smart and Resilient Cities accelerator and Greentown Labs’ clean energy incubator holding court just down the block in Midtown, it certainly seems like zero5 has found the perfect place to park its services.
How it all began “We didn’t really know much about Houston before the MassChallenge program, but once we were here we quickly realized how important it would be to our mission.” The zero5 story began in a unique way. Co-founders Park and Paik met while working for a wearables factory. Paik, a mechanical engineer in Korea at the time, was the only person on his team who spoke English. Park was the
only one on her team who spoke Korean. The two formed a close professional bond, one that would bring them together again after that wearables company was acquired. By 2017, Park had moved to the venture capital side of tech, helping fund ambitious startups like zero5, when she received a call from Paik. She knew he had always been interested in cars, but he had become fascinated with how autonomous vehicles will change our lives. The two spoke at length and came to the conclusion that infrastructure had to be reimagined and prepared before autonomous vehicles could go mainstream. It was this vision that got them accepted into the 2019 MassChallenge Houston program.
Advice for budding startups When Park and Paik initially entered MassChallenge, they planned to raise funding by graduation. That didn’t happen. They knew what they wanted but didn’t know what they were missing. Luckily, one of MassChallenge’s main goals is to partner founders with industry experts and mentors. Zero5 ended up connecting with Robert Pieroni, director of economic development at Central Houston, Inc. Park credits Pieroni for identifying with their vision right away and knowing exactly how their services could benefit the world. Robert Pieroni was also instrumental in connecting zero5 with the Lovett Commercial Post Houston project. During the program, they met with Pieroni weekly, refining their pitch until the startup was ready to be connected with real estate companies. “He helped us identify what we needed to do to get to that funding stage. He was always available,”
Collaboration with fellow founders was also very important to Park. She found tremendous value in workshopping the zero5 mission with fellow MassChallenge Houston founders. During these sessions, she discovered a symbiotic relationship, one in which they offered advice to founders developing hardware, based on their backgrounds, and would receive advice on software development from fellow founders. “We were really lucky to end up in Houston,” she says. On the heels of receiving the Post Houston contract, zero5 raised $2 million in seed funding in 2021. They finally began to fulfill the original goal they had upon graduating from MassChallenge.
See zero5’s work in action The expected completion date for Post Houston is fall 2021.
Collaboration with fellow founders was also very important to Park. She found tremendous value in workshopping the zero5 mission with fellow MassChallenge Houston founders.
Real Estate 2.0: The Ask DOSS Story by Todd Green
DOSS goes beyond giving consumers innovative tools to play with on their smartphones and laptops; it’s also revolutionizing the way realtors work.
Anyone following the real estate industry since the beginning of the pandemic has likely read about historically low interest rates, decreasing inventory, increasing home prices and much more. As a prospective home buyer or seller, especially a first timer, navigating those particulars and the multiple stakeholders involved can quickly become overwhelming. Enter Bobby Bryant, founder and CEO of Ask DOSS. DOSS is a Houston-based startup that’s participated in two Houston accelerator programs: MassChallenge Houston in 2019 and gBeta in 2020. Bryant credits both programs with having a profound impact on DOSS’ development. Each cohort experience helped his team better understand, share and diagnose problems, build solutions, and ultimately simplify the real estate process for everyone.
21st century real estate “So you’ve done your research on HAR and Zillow, and you’ve probably found a few homes that you’re interested in,” says Bryant. “What happens next? First off, you don’t have any reason to go back to those sites again, do you?” For Bryant, the current system is inefficient. Consumers are expected to hunt for homes, shop for realtors and mortgages, find a title company, good insurance, and more—all independent of one another. It’s a process that can only be described as fragmented, inconvenient, and unfriendly to consumers. “Too many people in the industry ignore the Internet and the one big promise the Internet made to us. It promised to make things easier and cheaper,” Bryant says.
That’s why he’s made it his mission to bring real estate into the 21st century, giving consumers innovative tools and resources to make financially savvy decisions. And Bryant aims to achieve those lofty goals through DOSS, his online platform, which allows customers to navigate the entire life cycle of homeownership in one place. Selling, buying, renting, purchasing warranties, insurance, hiring a title company; the goal is to have it all under one roof.
Technology is essential DOSS goes beyond giving consumers innovative tools to play with on their smartphones and laptops; it’s also revolutionizing the way realtors work. The platform aspires to create a new breed of real estate agents, known as tech Agents. DOSS’ website defines these agents as professionals who “leverage technology to increase transactional efficiencies that automate and streamline the real estate process to reduce cost for the consumer without sacrificing service.” For anyone who’s ever gone house hunting, it certainly makes sense to work with a realtor who is doing everything they can to make the process easy and transparent. Bryant adds that the need for tech savvy agents is reaching a point of urgency: “Millennials currently make up the largest demographic of buyers, yet the system hasn’t evolved from a Baby Boomer mindset. The majority of realtors might tolerate tech, but they don’t leverage it. Savvier agents are needed to make life efficient and economical for clients and themselves.”
Bobby Bryant CEO founder
“Accelerators are nothing if you don’t know what you want to get out of them,” he says “It’s so easy to have a full tank of gas but be going in the wrong direction.” —Bobby Bryant
From recession to innovation Bryant first entered the real estate industry on the mortgage side more than 20 years ago. Following the recession in 2008, however, he transitioned to the online marketplace and began seeking ways to make homeownership simpler. The housing bubble had exposed that buyers were not adequately prepared nor being vetted properly. The solution: Step up and give consumers better tools and resources. In 2008, Bryant joined iBuy Realty as a Real Estate broker. His experiences over the next eight years would radically change his views of the industry and what needed improvement, namely technology. Those lessons ultimately led to Bryant founding his own company, DOSS, in 2017. That of course is where MassChallenge and gBeta enter his story. Bryant knew there were still important pieces of the puzzle missing, including being a part of the tech community where he could workshop ideas, diagnose problems and be among peers, rather than on an island by himself. In addition to seeking out important validation moments and building strong relationships with industry leaders, Bryant was attracted to these accelerators because neither takes equity from participating startups. That’s something Bryant thinks is critical for young, early-stage startups.
Know what stage you’re in “Accelerators are nothing if you don’t know what you want to get out of them,” he says “It’s so easy to have a full tank of gas but be going in the wrong direction.”
Bryant's main advice for founders applying to MassChallenge and gBeta is to know what stage your startup is really in. That way you can leave the best impression possible with mentors and industry leaders. During the MassChallenge Houston’s inaugural 2019 class, for example, the DOSS team found itself in the accelerator world for the very first time. They learned a lot about in-kind credits and raising capital. It was a great experience, but Bryant wishes DOSS’ mission had been a little more refined so they could leverage the full benefits of the cohort. That experience no doubt shaped how DOSS approached gBeta, refining their mission ahead of the program, allowing them to work with experts on more advanced business development, like honing in on messaging and refining their pitch.
Find a mentor Bryant points to mentorship as an essential part of the cohort process. He cites two mentors in particular: Robert Pieroni, director of economic development at Central Houston, Inc, and Wogbe Ofori, founder and principal of 360APPROACH, a Houston-based advisory practice that provides guidance and support with an emphasis on small- and middle-market growth-stage ventures and turnaround opportunities.” “Robert was a great advisor, and has helped a lot since with making introductions,” says Bryant. Connecting with industry leaders like Pieroni and Ofori seems like a no-brainer. The breadth of their knowledge and networks can open doors that founders never expected. Ofori, for example, not only mentors startups
for MassChallenge and gener8tor, but also for Founder Institute and Capital Factory, while also acting as a committee chair for Houston Exponential.
Already keeping his promise “We want to radically evolve the way homes are found, bought and sold, while also servicing the American dream,” he says. “To do that, we need to save you time and money.” The DOSS app launched in spring 2021 and is now available for iOS, Android and desktop. If you’re looking to buy, rent or sell a home in Houston, Austin or Dallas, you’re in luck. You have an incredible wealth of tools to explore right at your fingertips. The main reason Bryant wants to create the next era of real estate search and transactional experiences? He believes DOSS can help ensure that every product and service you use is of the highest quality, and that savings can be passed down to both buyer and seller. That definitely sounds like a win-win.
BRINGING IT DOWNTOWN Your morning grinds are literal—yes, a double-shot over ice, please. Business deals are made with a handshake between delicious bites of food. Your commute could be on foot, by car, via bus or train, or even thanks to your trusty bicycle. And happy hour is a chance to kick back and root for the home team—whether that’s your new coworker or a certain out-of-this-world baseball team.
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EDITED BY STEFANIE PASCACIO
�A THE GUIDE TO EATING DOWNTOWN
PLEASE NOTE! Due to COVID-19, individual restaurants may have modified hours, service and menus. We recommend you check online before making plans.
These listings are not reviews but are a guide to Downtown dining spots. “Recommended” restaurants are selected by downtown editors and are based on food quality, menu selection, service, ambiance and value.
v RECOMMENDED NEW!
B Breakfast BR Brunch L Lunch D Dinner LN Late Night
Average Price of an Entrée $ $10 or less $$ $11–$19 $$$ $20–$29 $$$$ $30+
For a searchable database of downtown Houston restaurants by cuisine, location and price, visit downtownhouston.org and click on Guide. 1600 Bar + Grille American Located on the lobby-level of the Hilton Americas–Houston hotel, 1600 Bar + Grille brings farm-fresh ingredients to the menu for a justpicked flavor. Featuring locally-sourced seasonal fresh produce, plus Certified Angus Beef and Gulf seafood dishes prepared from scratch, you can guarantee farm-to-fork freshness. hilton.com. 1600 Lamar. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Adair Downtown American Located at the tunnel level at Wells Fargo Plaza, Adair Downtown is a sophisticated, yet casual restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and a postwork happy hour. Breakfast options include avocado toast and chicken & waffles, while the lunch menu features a variety of fresh, vibrant salads and deliciously stacked sandwiches. adairdowntown.com. 1000 Louisiana, B, L, H, Daily. $$ Ballpark Café American Enjoy the all-American cuisine and a nostalgic atmosphere for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just across the street from Minute Maid Park, Ballpark Café is a great place to have a pre/post-game meal. westin.com/Houston-Downtown. The Westin Houston Downtown, 1520 Texas. B, L & D Daily. $ v Barnaby’s at Market Square American A local favorite, Barnaby’s serves up oversized sandwiches, salads and burgers, putting a Southwest spin on traditional deli dishes. Colorful murals adorn the walls of the restaurant along with large windows for a perfect view of the park. barnabyscafe.com. 801 Congress. B & L Mon–Sat; D Fri–Sat. $ v Batanga Tapas + Drinks Latin This tapas joint whips up delicious dishes inspired from Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Chile— anywhere that sangria is served. The spacious patio is as good as it gets when it comes to outdoor dining with its festive twinkle lights, great music and stellar views of the Historic District and Market Square Park. batangahouston.com. 908 Congress. L & D Daily; BR Sat & Sun. $$
Benihana of Tokyo Japanese While some restaurants allow their guests to view the kitchen, this Japanese grill brings the kitchen to you. Benihana 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. L & D Daily. $$$ v Biggio’s American Biggio’s is not your average sports bar. The twostory sports haven named after the Houston baseball legend, Craig Biggio, boasts a large drink selection, upscale bar food, and seats that come with views of flat screen TVs as far as the eye can see. 1777 Walker. L & D Daily. $$ 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. L, D & LN Daily. $$ Blue Fish Sushi Japanese Not your typical Japanese restaurant. Don’t expect small, minimal décor. Be prepared for innovative sushi in a high-energy atmosphere at Bayou Place. thebluefishsushi.com. 550 Texas. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$ Bouray’s Burrito Bar Fast Food Bouray’s offers made-to-order Mexican and Vietnamese food using ingredients that are prepared fresh daily. bourays.com. 609 Clay. L Mon–Fri. $ Bovine & Barley American Bovine & Barley is a beautifully designed urban bar and eatery with a heavy focus on beef and beer. The space has an industrial feel which is complimented by warm wood accents and huge HTX letters that hang illuminated on an exposed brick wall. Highlights from the menu include brisket tacos, meatloaf muffins on top of jalapeno mash, 1836 beer can chicken and a variety of burgers. Not to metion over 42 beers and six hand-crafted cocktails on tap! bovineandbarley.com. 416 Main. L Sat–Sun; D, LN Daily. $$ Brasa’s Brazilian Steakhouse Steakhouse Open for lunch and dinner, Brasa’s Brazilian Steakhouse brings an authentic churrascaria dining experience to Downtown. In keeping with tradition, the menu comprises various types of meat including beef, pork, chicken and seafood. brasashouston.com. 705 Main, L, D, Daily. $$$ v Brasserie du Parc French Located in the luxury high rise, One Park Place, the interior design and the menu at this beautiful French restaurant were inspired by classic Parisian brasseries and offerings include classic dishes like risotto, steak frites and crêpes, along with delicacies such as escargots and chicken liver pâté. brasserieduparc.net. 1440 Lamar. L & D Daily. $$$
v Bravery Chef Hall Food Hall The first of its kind, Bravery Chef Hall is a next generation food hall with five chef-driven concepts and a Gaggenau Concept Kitchen with a rotating roster of guest chefs. Culinary options include Atlas Diner, The Blind Goat, BOH Pasta & Pizza and Kokoro. The chef hall also houses three bars including Bravery Wine Bar and Secret Garden. braverychefhall.com. 409 Travis. L, D, LN Daily. $$$ BurgerIM Fast Casual BurgerIM is an Israel-based mini-burger concept known for serving 3oz. patties in a mix-andmatch format. Choose from options like dry-aged beef, chorizo, turkey, salmon, veggie and more. The unique eatery also offers two different bun options, nine sauces and 10 different toppings making for an extremely customizable burger experience. BurgerIM also offers chicken strips and wings, milkshakes, family boxes and a variety of sides including onion rings and sweet potato fries. burgerim.com. 800 Preston. L, D, LN, Daily. $ Burger Theory American Located at street-level of Downtown’s Holiday Inn, Burger Theory specializes in gourmet burgers, casual American fare and boasts a beercentric bar. They also serve a mean breakfast! 1616 Main St. B, L, D & LN. $ 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, 1600 Lamar, 713.739.8000. B, L, D & LN Daily. $$ China Garden Chinese A popular Chinese restaurant, China Garden has been serving downtown for more than 30 years. Their egg rolls and lemon chicken have become favorites. 1602 Leeland. L Mon–Fri; D Daily. $ Chipotle Mexican Known for its large portions, this Mexican fast casual spot offers a variety of wholesome menu items. chipotle.com. 909 Texas. L & Early D Mon–Fri. $ Christian’s Tailgate American Christian’s Tailgate has arguably one of the best burgers in town and now you can enjoy them Downtown! The notable Houston burger joint in Downtown’s Historic District boasts daily food specials, 30 beers on tap, 40+ TVs, a pool table, shuffle board, video games and an awesome outdoor patio! christianstailgate.com. 1012 Congress. L, D & LN. $ Corner Bakery Fast Casual A bakery cafe, offering fresh breads, salads, sandwiches, soups and sweets in a casual atmosphere. Located right on Main Street Square, you can’t beat the people watching or just relax and watch the rail line and Main Street Square’s jumping fountains. cornerbakery.com. 1000 Main. B & L Mon–Fri. $
plate. Cultivated F+B American Cultivated F+B is the perfect spot for a meal with friends, a power breakfast or post-performance nosh. Dine al fresco on the patio or soak in the contemporary art indoors as you indulge in a sophisticated American menu that features braised short rib tacos, Fernando’s chilaquiles and other exquisite items. thelancaster.com. 701 Texas Avenue. B, L & D Daily. $$ The District American The District offers classic American cuisine in a modern setting. Perfect for lunch or dinner before a show! The menu includes a variety of options like burgers, salads, pasta and small plates. There’s definitely something for everyone! thedistricthtx.com. 610 Main St. L & D. $$ Domino’s Pizza dominos.com. 975 McKinney. $ The Downtown Aquarium Seafood The menu features a huge variety and offers something for everyone. While dining, guests are surrounded by a 150,000-gallon aquarium. Enjoy the sights and a great meal at this family-friendly spot. aquariumrestaurants.com. 410 Bagby. L & D Daily. $$ 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. L Mon–Fri. $ Einstein’s Bagels Deli Known as a 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. B, L & LN Mon–Sun. $ El Big Bad Mexican Brought to you by the El Gran Malo crew, this casual Tex-Mex restaurant brings hand-crafted tequila infusions, specialty margaritas and craft beers to the table. The gastrocantinainspired menu is chock full of tasty tacos with fresh toppings like pomegranate salsa, charred scallions, pumpkin seeds and more. elbigbad.com. 419 Travis. L, D & LN Mon–Fri; D & LN Sat & Sun, BR Sun. $$ Fabian’s Latin Flavors Latin Looking for dinner with a side of salsa dancing? If so, Fabian’s Latin Flavors is the place for you! From carne asada tacos and empanadas to popular Salvadorian beer and salsa nights, you’ll get a taste of Latin America at this Downtown hotspot. fabianslatinflavors.com. 301 Main. L & D Daily. $$
v Finn Hall Food Hall The upscale food hall serves delicious cuisine from 10 independently operated eating establishments including Craft Burger, Oddball Eats, Dish Society, Yong, Greenway Coffee, Pizza Square, Lit Chicken and Papalo Taqueria. Come eat your heart out during breakfast, lunch, and dinner or enjoy a cocktail at either of Finn Hall’s elevated bars during happy hour. 712 Main. B, L, D, LD Daily. $$ Flying Saucer Pub Fare Offering more than 200 beers, almost half on draft, Flying Saucer is a beer drinker’s paradise. Excellent staff and tasty eats give the place an identity all its own. beerknurd.com. 705 Main. L, D & LN Daily. $ Foundation Room American Escape, indulge and elevate your nightlife in Foundation Room at House of Blues, Houston’s luxe downtown hideaway. Foundation Room features an elegant private dining room and plush lounge perfect for after-dinner drinks and socializing. From starters like seared jumbo shrimp in a Cajun lemon beurre blanc to the 16oz. cowboy ribeye, the inspired menu draws from seasonal and international flavors with a distinctively Texas twist hob.com. GreenStreet, 1204 Caroline. D Wed–Sat. $$$
v Guard and Grace Steakhouse A take on the modern steakhouse, prominent Denver Chef Troy Guard’s first foray into the Houston dining scene features rows of woodburning grills with a bright, airy atmosphere that differs from the usual dark tone of a steakhouse. Guard and Grace boasts a menu offering everything from charcuterie and sushi to pan-roasted halibut and a filet mignon flight for one deliciously contemporary dining experience. One Allen Center, 500 Dallas. L,D, H, Daily. $$$ NEW! The Halal Guys Fast Casual The Halal Guys is a fast casual restaurant franchise that began as halal carts on the southeast and southwest corners of 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, New York City. The Downtown outpost serves their famous lineup of sandwiches, gyros and platters. thehalalguys.com 609 Main. L, Mon-Sat. $
v Hearsay Gastro Lounge New American Located in a beautifully refurbished historic building, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up delicious sandwiches, salads and entrées. They feature an extensive wine list, numerous beers on draft and bottle and premium liquors with a focus on Scotch whisky. hearsayhouston.com. 218 Travis. L Daily; D Mon–Sat; LN Fri–Sat. $$
v 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. L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $
Hearsay on the Green American Located inside the Embassay Suites in Downtown’s Convention District, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up the finest craft cocktails, New-American dishes and a chic dining experience. The drink menu features an extensive wine list, numerous bottle and draft beers and premium liquors. hearsayhouston.com. 1515 Dallas. L & D Daily; LN Fri–Sat; BR Sun. $$
v Grotto Ristorante Italian This trendy Italian eatery is conveniently located on Downtown’s restaurant row—Avenida Houston! Enjoy spectacular views of nearby Minute Maid Park and Discovery Green as you experience a revolutionized take on Italian cuisine from small and sharable plates, to fresh salads and traditional dishes like Neapolitan thin crust pizzas and house made pastas. grottorestaurants.com. 1001 Avenida de las Americas. L & D Daily. $$$
House of Blues Restaurant and Bar American From daytime to playtime, House of Blues Restaurant & Bar draws inspiration from across the South, including iconic dishes, signature Southerninspired recipes, as well as a wide range of burgers, sandwiches and salads. Enjoy live music most nights and don’t miss Houston’s best Jazz ‘n’ Blues Brunch every Saturday! hob.com. GreenStreet, 1204 Caroline. L & D Daily. $$
v The Grove American Rustic This two-story, ultra-urban restaurant is found at Discovery Green. The menu features rustic American cuisine such as Gulf Coast seafood, steaks and signature rotisserie dishes. grovehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar. L & D Daily. $$$
v Irma’s Mexican Irma Galvan has been crowned Houston’s TexMex goddess. This authentic spot is a longtime favorite among Houston politicos and downtown business people. Traditional, home-cooked Mexican cuisine is served for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. 22 North Chenevert. B & L Mon–Fri; D Thu–Sat. $$
v Guadalajara del Centro Mexican This family-owned restaurant consistently serves up tasty food in a new, very cool environment. It’s the perfect place to bring the family or a large group of co-workers or friends. Great happy hour specials. guadalajarahacienda.com. GreenStreet, 1201 San Jacinto. L & D Daily. $$
v Irma’s 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. 1475 Texas. L & D Mon–Sat. $$
v Jackson St. BBQ Barbecue This laid-back spot by renowned Houston chefs Bryan Caswell, Bill Floyd and Greg Gaitlin offers smoked brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage and classic southern fixins like potato salad, baked beans, collard greens and cole slaw! Conveniently located across from Minute Maid Park, stop by this Downtown favorite before or after Astros games! jacksonstbbqhouston.com. 209 Jackson St. L & D Sat–Sun. Jason’s Deli Deli Order to please, Jason’s will make your sandwich or salad exactly how you like it. jasonsdeli.com. 901 McKinney. B & L Mon–Fri. $ Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches Deli All subs are served on your choice of freshbaked French bread or thick-sliced seven-grain bread or try the low-carb lettuce wrap: all the regular sandwich ingredients without the bread. jimmyjohns.com. 820 Main. L Mon–Sat. $ The Lake House Fast Casual Offering family-friendly food, featuring burgers, Kobe beef hot dogs, salads, shakes, wine and beer. Located on Kinder Lake, there is a large patio where you can watch model boats race across the water or listen to some live music from the nearby stage. thelakehousehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. L & Early D Mon–Sun. $ v La Calle Mexican Located in Downtown’s historic Market Square, this cozy restaurant serves authentic Mexican street tacos, tortas and tostadas. Your visit isn’t complete without an Agua Fresca or pit stop at the funky digs’ lucha libre themed bar, La Cantina! In addition to the savory tacos, you’ll find plenty of Mexican beers, drafts, and frozen margaritas. lacalletacos.com. 909 Franklin. L, D & LN Daily. $ v La Fisheria Coastal Mexican Located in Downtown’s Historic District, La Fisheria serves authentic Mexican Seafood such as sweet shrimp tamales, perfectly prepared fish tacos and a variety of crudos and ceviches. lafisheriahouston.com. 213 Milam. L & D Daily. $$ 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. B & L Mon–Fri. $ v Last Concert Cafe Mexican Tucked away in the Warehouse District, this TexMex cafe was born in 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. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sun; LN Fri–Sat; Bar & live music Tue–Sat. $ Little Napoli Italian Theater and moviegoers can now enjoy these southern Italian dishes before the big show! The healthy options, such as whole wheat pizza crust and low-fat cheeses, are a nice touch. littlenapoli.net. 540 Texas. $$
Lone Star Taco Tex-Mex Fast-casual Tex-Mex restaurant, specializing in great tacos! Lone Star Taco quickly serves artisanal quality, made-fresh tacos at an affordable price. txlonestartaco.com. 1001 Texas St. B, L & D Daily. $ Main Kitchen American Named Main Kitchen to reflect its location on Main Street and the hopes of becoming a staple in Houston’s culinary scene, the restaurant seats 120 and boasts an exhibition kitchen providing guests with an insight into the chefs’ creative process. jwmarriotthotelhouston.com/main-kitchen. 806 Main St. B, L, D Daily. $$ Mango Tree Thai Bistro 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. mangotreethaibistro.com. 914 Main Street, #125. L & D Mon–Sat. $$ v McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood The extensive menu changes daily depending on each day’s fresh seafood deliveries. With more than 80 preparations on the menu each day, every guest is sure to find something to satisfy their palate. mccormickandschmicks.com. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin. L & D Daily. $$$ NEW! The Melt on Wheels American Located inside Craft Beer Cellar, The Melt takes a childhood classic and gives it a gourmet twist! From the birria grilled cheese with chuck and brisket on artisan Texas toast, monterey and chihuahua cheese and dipping broth on the side, to the mama mia featuring prosciutto, gouda, goat cheese and basil with a honey drizzle, all on potato bread, these sandwiches give you that classic cheesy taste you love with a hint of sophistication. meltonwheels.com. L,D, Daily. $$
v The Moonshiners American The Moonshiners Southern Table + Bar offers up a rebellious respite in the bustling urban backdrop of Downtown Houston. The restaurant celebrates and elevates southern culinary traditions serving up moonshine and whiskey in mason jars alongside generous portions of southern comfort foods such as fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and pulled pork sandwiches. 1000 Prairie. L & D Mon–Fri; LN Fri & Sat. $$ v Morton’s Steakhouse 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 McKinney. L Mon–Fri; D Daily. $$$$ Murphy’s Deli Deli Indulge in a variety of sandwiches and salads. Hot or cold, Murphy’s specializes in creating your sandwich any way it’s ordered. murphysdeli.com. 601 Jefferson. 1900 Main. 700 Louisiana. 1415 Louisiana. B & L Mon–Fri all locations. $ NEW! The Nash American Located in the historic Star, formerly known as the Texaco Building, The Nash offers diners a dynamic, laid-back style in the heart of Downtown. The menu is an approachable mix of cold and hot small plates, pizzas, entrees, steaks and chops, and is a nod to Houston’s diverse and vibrant population. thenashhouston.com. 1111 Rusk, D, H, Daily. $$
v Niko Niko’s Greek & American Houston icon Dimitri Fetokakis opened his cafe in 2010 at Market Square Park. Favorites 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. $
v Mendocino Farms American California-based Mendocino Farms is a one-stop shop for gourmet sandwiches and salads. The fast-casual concept offers twists on classics like a Vietnamese Bahn Mi, Cubano, tuna melt and more. Drawing inspiration from both its homestate and many cities across the nation, Mendocino Farms strives to introduce fresh, unique ingredients in approachable adventurous foods. mendocinofarms.com. 609 Main. L,D, Daily. $
v Osso & Kristalla Italian Osso & Kristalla serves up authentic Italian fare in a modern, yet relaxed atmosphere. The casual trattoria features housemade pastries, pastas, wood-fired pizzas and more Italian eats, along with wine, beer, cocktails and local Katz coffee. Enjoy views inside their open concept kitchen or on their breezy outdoor patio. ossoandkristalla.com. 1515 Texas. B Mon–Fri; L & D Daily. $$
v MKT BAR International Part of Phoenicia Specialty Foods, it’s the perfect place to stop when you need a chill moment. The bar offers coffee, pastries, wine, beer, gourmet pizza and other yummy nibbles for which Phoenicia is known. phoeniciafoods.com. 1001 Austin. B, L & D Daily. $
Padthai Thai Restaurant Thai A traditional Thai restaurant located at the ground level of the loft residence Hogg Palace. The warm and cozy atmosphere offers a great setting for a dinner escape and is a local favorite. padthaithairestaurant.com. 401 Louisiana. D Daily. $ v Pappadeaux Seafood This local favorite serves up some of the finest and freshest seafood with a Cajun twist! Start with the crispy fried alligator or a bowl of gumbo, try the Chilean Sea Bass or the pasta mardi gras, and top it all off with the praline bread pudding soufflé. pappadeaux.com. 1001 Avenida de las Americas. L Fri–Sun; D Daily. $$$
plate. 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. L & D Daily. 1100 Smith. L & D Mon–Fri. $
Rachel’s Café American Rachel’s Cafe is an old fashioned hamburger joint inside the historic Londale Building. This quaint little café has an extensive menu with lots of simple classics like burgers, fries, sandwiches and salads—all made fresh! rachelscafehouston.com. 421 San Jacinto. L & D Mon–Sat. $
v Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Steakhouse Pappas Bros. Steakhouse puts immeasurable care into everything they do, all to provide their guests with a dining experience like no other. They buy the highest-quality ingredients, use a timeless recipe, and cook it flawlessly each and every time. pappasbros.com. 1200 McKinney.
Roma’s Pizza Italian Located just across from the Preston Station on the METRORail, Roma’s Pizza offers New Yorkstyle pizza by the slice or pie, as well as a variety of salads, lasagnas, ravioli, and chicken dishes. 223 Main. L & D Daily. $
v Pappasito’s Cantina Tex-Mex One of Houston’s most popular casual Tex-Mex restaurants, Pappasito’s specializes in sizzling fajitas, creamy queso and tortillas that almost melt in your mouth! The Downtown location offers six unique ceviches and crudos that can’t be found at any of the other restaurants. pappasitos.com. Hilton Americas-Houston, 1600 Lamar St. L & D Daily. $$ v The Pearl Seafood The Pearl at the Sam Houston Hotel is a coastalinspired restaurant with a passion for seafood and steak. The menu satiates guests with savory appetizers and salads, entrees like classic shrimp and grits, scallops carbonara and short ribs, and a la carte selections such as premium cuts of steak alongside simply grilled fish and shrimp dishes. pearlrestauranthouston.com. 1117 Prairie. B, L & D Daily. $$ v 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. L Mon–Fri; D Thu–Sat. $ v Phoenicia Specialty Foods International If you are in search of yummy food on the go, Phoenicia Specialty Foods is the place for you! This urban gourmet market boasts an incredible salad bar, made-to-order shawarmas and pizzas, grab-n-go sushi, sandwiches and various meat and seafood entrees. This is a one-of-a kind downtown destination where you can appreciate down-to-earth gourmet food prices and a unique variety of flavors. phoeniciafoods.com. 1001 Austin. B, L & D Daily. $$ v Potente Italian A sophisticated Italian restaurant, Potente is a dining experience like no other focused on using local products and only the highest quality ingredients. Menu items include daily seafood selections, steaks, homemade pastas and the signature veal osso bucco. potentehouston.com. 1515 Texas. D Daily. $$$ Quizno’s Fast Food 1119 Commerce. L & D Mon–Sun. $
Russo’s New York Pizzeria Italian Inspired by the traditional Italian values of family, friends & food, this Houston original doesn’t disappoint when it comes to fresh, delicious, homemade Italian meals. And they serve more than just pizza—try one of their specialty calzones, sandwiches or pastas! nypizzeria.com. 604 Polk. L & D Daily. $ Salata American This next-generation salad bar allows you to create your own, tossed-to-order salad or wrap complete with a variety of fresh greens, a large selection of veggies, fruits, nuts, cheeses and more. Top your order off with one of their signature dressings and your choice of chicken, seafood or tofu! salata.com. GreenStreet, 1201 Fannin. L & D Daily. $ Saltgrass Steak House Steakhouse Most famous for its Certified Angus Beef steaks, Saltgrass is an award-winning steakhouse with a menu featuring a variety of fresh seafood, chicken, burgers, sandwiches and more including favorites like BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Surf & Turf and Chicken Fried Steak. For delicious bar bites and beverage specials, swing by their No Bull Lounge during Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 3 pm to 7 pm. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. L,D, Daily. $$ v Sambuca New American A hip, trendy and upscale restaurant right in the mix of Main Street. The menu includes a wide variety of favorites and combined with the live music, Sambuca is Houston’s ultimate supper club. sambucarestaurant.com. 909 Texas. L Mon–Fri; D & LN Daily. $$$ v Sapporo Japanese Sushi & Bar Asian Sapporo Japanese Sushi & Bar offers everything from sushi and yaki soba to shrimp vegetable tempura and smoked taipan yaki filet mignon. Daily happy hour favorites include hot sake, fried oysters and an assortment of house wines. sapporohouston.com. 801 Congress. L, D , LN Daily. $$ v Shake Shack American East Coast burger chain, Shake Shack is heatin’ up Downtown Houston with cult favorites like the Shack Stack, Chick’n Shack, crinkle cut fries, creamy shakes and Texas-exclusive, the Lockhart Link Burger. shakeshack.com. 702 Main. L, D, Daily. $
The Shops at Houston Center Food Court Bullritos, Chick-fil-A, Doozo’s Dumplings & Noodles, Great American Cookie, Leaf & Grain, Murphy’s Deli, Otto’s Barbecue & Hamburgers, Pho Huy Vietnamese Noodle House, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Pretzel Time, Quizno’s Subs, Salata, Simon’s Homestyle Café, Starbuck’s Coffee, Subway, Thai Basil, Treebeards, Wok & Roll. shopsathc.com. 1200 McKinney. Mon–Sat, hours vary. $ Skyline Deli Deli With their freshly baked bread, Skyline makes a great deli sandwich. 717 Texas. B & L Mon–Fri. $ Sol Cafe Mejicano Mexican A family-owned cafe offering traditional Tex-Mex breakfast and lunch dishes made from fresh ingredients. 1205 Travis. B & L Mon–Fri. $ Stack Burger American This Downtown burger joint is far from ordinary. Serving more than just your everyday burgers, Stack Burger also offers coffee, breakfast, fusion sandwiches and a whole lotta Houston art. stack-burger.com. 703 St. Joseph Pkwy. B & L Daily. $ Sub Roc Fast Casual Located inside 1021 Main you’ll find Sub Roc, a quaint little space offering a diverse menu of breakfast and deli lunch options like soups and salads. Whether you’re taking a coffee break or a grab and go sandwich in hand, Sub Roc strives to make every guest’s experience pleasant with a smiling face and a relaxing environment. sub-roc.com. 1021 Main, Suite 200. B & L. $ Subway Fast Food 405 Main, 713.227.4700. Daily. $ NEW! Sweetgreen American With locally sourced greens + grains and a menu that follows Mother Nature’s lead, sweetgreen is making a sustainable impact on the future of food. Choose from their deliciously curated warm bowls and salads, or create your own. sweetgreen.com. 820 Main. L, Mon-Fri. $
Table 7 Bistro American Table 7 Bistro is a combination of an upscale, yet casual atmosphere. Weekday happy hour includes $4 well drinks and $2 domestic beers, and it’s happy hour all weekend with $2 mimosas all day on Saturdays and Sundays. district7grill.com. 720 Fannin @ The Club Quarters. B, L & D Daily. $ Tejas Grill & Sports Bar American 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. L Mon–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$ Thai Cafe Asian Make your way to the Historic District and treat your tastebuds to the authentic flavors of Thai fusion at this local hub. Menu favorites include a variety of Thai dishes including their Crispy Shrimp & Spicy Tamarind Sauce and Kao Soi. thaicafe917.com. 917 Franklin. L & D Mon–Sat. $$
It’s what’s for dinner
BY SHELBY PIPKEN
STEAK NIGHT. When we hear those two words we think of affordable, juicy, beautifully seasoned pieces of beef and can often name the best versions we’ve had around the city. Steak night has been a restaurant and bar staple for years, but a number of unique twists on this classic meat-and-side dish have emerged recently. To save you the calories, we embarked on an adventure to taste what our neighborhood has to offer.
The weeknight special everyone’s talking about MKT BAR
Home of the OG steak night, MKT Bar started the trend years ago with their Thursday night special. For just $16.99, diners can feast on a fresh, crisp Mediterranean side salad, a chef’s choice steak with house-made chimichurri sauce and a side of twice-baked potato or Za’atar fries. We know, it’s a steal. Our favorite part has to be the fried onion strings that are cooked to perfection and served as an accompaniment to the juicy steak. If you’re looking for a lighter touch, they also offer a parmesan-herb salmon instead of steak.
Hugo Ortega’s Oaxaca-inspired restaurant offers a Wednesday steak night special that’s just as yummy as every other Xochi offering. Each week a 10-ounce wood-grilled ribeye is accompanied by two sides and a glass of wine for $35, which is a higher price point than most, but absolutely worth every penny. The week we visited, the ribeye (also covered with one of Ortega’s signature moles) came with perfectly charred, tri-colored cauliflower and crispy smashed potatoes. Each bite was absolute heaven. Xochi also has a wonderful patio to dine on making this steak night perfect for those breezy summer evenings.
BOH PASTA & PIZZA Tuesday nights are steak night at this Italian restaurant in Bravery Chef Hall. While we’re big fans of their gourmet pizza and freshmade pasta, they have a spectacular steak night deal that includes a 16-ounce ribeye with a Caesar salad and garlic bread for $24. We dined early to take advantage of the Bravery Wine Bar happy hour from 4–7 p.m., when you can enjoy 20 percent off. If you’ve tried BOH’s delectable dishes, you know Chef Ben McPherson doesn’t skimp on his steak offering.
BOVINE & BARLEY The sports bar-slash-cocktail lounge has a rotating pop-up restaurant each Thursday, but the one to watch for is their steak night pop up on the last Thursday of the month with Meat Mafia HTX. Starting at 7 p.m., Meat Mafia cooks up a number of different cuts, from regular filets to the sought after tomahawk. Prices vary depending on which steak you choose, but each comes with a side of grilled zucchini (or the in-season veggie) and typically rice or potatoes. Don’t wait on this one, they cook until they're sold out, which only takes about an hour and a half.
The neighborhood gastro lounge located in the Historic District has a Thursday night Gentlemen’s Night, but ladies, don’t let the name scare you away. The low-lit, chic antique restaurant knows how to mix the old with the new. Their steak night special, a long-standing tradition, is accompanied by two sides from their re-vamped menu. Diners can choose either a 6-ounce filet or a 12-ounce ribeye, along with two sides for just one Andrew Jackson, unless you choose to add three jumbo shrimp for $5. The best part is their all-night cocktail specials featuring Woodford Reserve, Monkey Shoulder and select scotch pours. If you’re looking for a laid-back evening spent in a leather chair with a bourbon in hand, this is for you.
EL BIG BAD
This hip Downtown watering hole, home of more than 50 handcrafted tequila infusions and perfectly cooked street tacos, offers a unique steak night special on Monday nights. As the only Monday steak night Downtown, El Big Bad does it, well, big. You can choose from a number of different steak
options—premium cuts and wagyu beef are most popular—and each come with a side of greens and potatoes. While we love El Big Bad for their tequila, their steak night sets them a cut above the rest.
v Theodore Rex American Enjoy an intimate dining experience at James Beard Award–winning Chef Justin Yu’s modern American bistro, Theodore Rex. Expect fresh local produce in your dishes coupled with warm hospitality as you walk in. trexhouston.com. 1302 Nance St. D Mon–Thu. $$ v 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. Cloisters at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas. L Mon–Fri. $ v Underground Hall American Located in the Historic Market Square District, Underground Hall is the latest food hall to hit Downtown Houston. Offering everything from pizza and beer to tacos and tres leches, this foodie paradise truly has a little something for everyone. The casual establishment features locally known dining spots including Wokker, Hotline Burger, Birdhaus, The Pho Fix and Treacherous Leches. undergroundhall.com 1010 Prairie. L, D, H, Daily. $
v Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse 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. L Mon–Fri; D Daily. $$$$ Wimpy’s Hamburgers Fast Food Wimpy’s serves up a pretty good burger but they also have many other down-home favorites. 632 Polk. B & L Mon–Fri. $
v Xochi Mexican Named after Xochitl, the goddess of the flowers, Xochi specializes in the authentic cuisine of Oaxaca, the culinary capital of Mexico, and incorporates traditional Oaxacan herbs and ingredients throughout its menu. Highlights include the barbacoa de res de zaachila, lechon, and sopa de piedra, an ancient traditional fish and shrimp soup. ¡Buen provecho! xochihouston.com. 1777 Walker. L & D Daily. $$$ Your Pie Italian Your Pie is a “down-the-line” pizza concept offering customers the opportunity to build their own 10″ hand-tossed pizza which cooks in a gas-fired oven in less than five minutes! Their bar menu includes 25 taps of craft beer and a selection of boutique red and white wines. yourpie.com. 1625 Main (inside SkyHouse Houston). L & D. $ Zero’s Sandwich Shop Deli A great little spot for a freshly made deli sandwich. zerossandwichshop.com. 809 Dallas. 1110 Lamar. 507 Dallas. B & L Mon–Fri. $ v Zydeco Louisiana Diner Cajun This cafeteria-style Cajun joint brings Louisiana dishes to the Hospital District of downtown Houston. Traditional Cajun items such as poboys, jambalaya and gumbo make Zydeco a great lunch stop. A casual atmosphere adds to the enjoyment. 1119 Pease. L Mon–Sat; D Tue–Sat. $
PLEASE NOTE! Looking for a spot for a caffeine fix or for a fun night out with friends? Check out some of our favorites!
Bayou & Bottle | 1300 Lamar Bayou & Bottle is a chic bourbon concept located in the lobby of Four Seasons Houston. The bar serves over 150 varieties of bourbons and whiskeys along with flavorful cuisine inspired by Houston’s melting pot of cultures. Unique features include the firstever Topgolf® simulation golf experience, Angels’ Share private dining room, and personalized bourbon lockers. Mon–Wed 11 am–midnight; Thu–Sat 11 am–1 am; Sun noon–midnight. fourseasons.com Boots ’n Shoots | 506 Main This Texas-themed bar conveniently located right off the METRORail, features a wide variety of whiskey. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out the super fun larger-than-life PLINKO board which decides your fate when the time comes to take a shot! Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am. bootsnshootshouston.com
v Understory Food Hall Located at the base of Bank of America tower, this expansive 40-foot atrium which doubles as a lively food hall is filled with natural light, an abundance of community gathering spaces and features diverse food and drink experiences such as Seaside Poke, Farro, Flip n' Patties, Boomtown Coffee, MONA Fresh Italian Food, Mama Ninfa’s Tacos & Tortas, East Hampton Sandwich Co and Silver Lining Bar. understoryhouston.com. 800 Capitol. B, L, D, Daily. $$
Buzz Barista | 811 Main This full-service espresso bar offers much more than caffeinated beverages for a morning fix. People on the go can grab fresh-baked pastries, Naked juices, yogurt parfaits and fruit cups along with their brewed delights. Mon–Fri 6:30 am–4 pm. Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge | 308 Main A fun and quirky bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously (hence the name), but the cocktails are seriously good. Patrons enjoy the speakeasy vibe and the patio terrace for prime people watching. Mon–Sun 4pm–2 am, twitter.com/badnewsbar Casablanca Lounge | 312 Main This Guatemalan-inspired bar offers drink specials every day of the week, plenty of flat screen TVs to keep up with the latest sporting events and features live DJ’s on the weekends. Tue–Sat 4pm–2 am; Sun 4 pm–midnight. casablancahouston.com
Due to COVID-19, hours of operation and capacity can change. Please check online before making plans.
Cellar 7 Wine & Bar Bites | 610 Main From wine 101 classes and event tastings to enjoying cocktails with friends before a theater show, Cellar 7 is a go-to destination in the skyline district. Wind down after work with a glass of wine or a Texas brew and pair it with a side of grilled oysters or any of the delectable bar bits on their menu. Daily 4–11 pm. district7grill.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. twitter.com/TheCharBar
sip. NEW! Cherry | 308 Main From the minds that brought you The Commoner comes this ‘80s-themed nightclub and bar. Decked out with neon lights, vinyl records and vintage TVs, Cherry brings the all-night dance parties of the eighties to Main every weekend. Fri & Sat, 9 pm–2 am. cherryhtx.com
Etro Lounge | 114 Main Follow the bright lights and fun music flowing along Main Street to Etro Lounge! Known as a longtime staple in the Houston club scene, Etro spins the best in 80s dance and hip-hop as well as, contemporary electronic music. Tue–Sun 9 pm–2 am. etronightclub.com
Cottonmouth Club | 108 Main For guests of The Cottonmouth Club, the cocktail experience will start before the first drop of liquor is poured. A brainchild of Reserve 101’s Mike Raymond, the bar combines its come-one-comeall atmosphere with world-class cocktails and private barrel-blended whiskey. Daily 4 pm–2 am. cottonmouthhouston.com
El Big Bad | 419 Travis El Big Bad is a gastro-cantina that specializes in infused tequilas, fresh juice margaritas and cocktails, Mexican and Texan Craft Beer and scrumptious fare. Sun–Thu 11 am–midnight; Fri & Sat 11 am–2 am. elbigbad.com
Craft Beer Cellar | 907 Franklin Located in the Historic Market Square neighborhood, Craft Beer Cellar is a bottle shop and bar with a full wall of local, national and international beer options. Stop by and have a drink at the bar or fill up a growler and take one to go! Mon–Sat 10 am–10 pm; Sun 11 am–7 pm. houston.craftbeercellar.com CRU Lounge | 311 Travis CRU Lounge is a restaurant and bar known for its craft cocktails and CBD-infused offerings. In addition to hookah and crutails, the menu offers small plates including wings, lollipop lamb chops and baby burgers.Mon–Wed 5 pm–1 am; Thurs & Fri 5 pm–2 am; Sat 2 pm–2 am; Sun Noon–11 pm. crulounge.com NEW!
Day 6 Coffee Co. | 910 Prairie Street, Suite 100 Day 6 Coffee Co. is a family owned and operated business located in the Historic Market Square District. Serving up everything from coffee classics to specialty lattes, the brewhouse strives to serve the community and provide a platform to emerging artists. Mon–Thu 8 pm–10 pm; Fri–Sat 8 am–10 pm; Sun 9 am–10 pm. daysixcoffee.com Dean’s | 316 Main Under new ownership and with a new look and feel, Dean’s adds to the cool vibe found on the 300 block of Main. Great attention from the bartenders and the trendy crowd make it a unique place to socialize. Mon–Thu 8 pm–2 am; Fri–Sat 5 pm–2 am. deansdowntown.com 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 The Dive | 809 Pierce A dive bar built for good vibes, you get the best of both worlds at this lounge with a mixture of free play arcade games, drinks and music by some of the best local DJs and international artists. Fri–Sat 9 pm–2 am. divehtx.com 1820 Bar | 1820 Franklin This cozy little bar is located just one block north of Minute Maid Park. It’s the perfect place for a pre-game drink or a strong night cap during the week. Eighteen Twenty Lounge shares a door with Joystix Classic Games which is open on the first and last Friday of every month where $15 gets you all night access to practice your Pac-Man skills. Daily 4 pm–2 am. 1820lounge.com
El Segundo | 306 Main Kick back at the bar with a spiked agua fresca, frozen mojito slush or any other delicious concoction at El Segundo for a fun night of boozing. If you get hungry, the bar’s $2.50 tacos along with their inexpensive burgers, fries, and quesadillas will fill you right up. Sun–Wed 10 am–Midnight; Thu 10–2 am; Fri–Sat 10–3:30 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. 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 Henke & Pillot | 809 Congress Where past meets present, and drinks and dining blend in flawless harmony. Henke & Pillot is more than a dynamic Downtown cocktail lounge. Named after the Houston grocery store chain that occupied the space in the 800 block of Congress over 150 years ago, the simple yet sophisticated setting offers patrons inspired cocktails that are paired with mouthwatering dishes. Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am. henkehouston.com High & Dry Rum Bar | 306 Main, Suite 200 Offering more than 50 different types of rum behind the tiki-themed bar, High & Dry is your go-to destination for all your rum-based cocktail needs. Order a classic or try out the bar’s upgraded infusions of the Mai Tai and Hurricane, or maybe both! Thu–St 4 pm–2 am. highanddryhtx.com La Cantina by La Calle | 909 Franklin This authentic Mexican sports bar is draped in vintage lucha libre threads, and is the perfect hangout to throw back a few Micheladas, enjoy your fix of tacos and catch your facorite soccer, boxing or UFC match on one of their large 82″ screen TVs. If you get too carried away, drop by La Cantina’s sister concept, La Calle the next morning or the perfect hangover cure—a big bowl of menudo or caldo! Mon–Wed 3 pm–midnight; Thu–Fri 3 pm–2 am; Sat 11 am–2 am; Sun 11 am–midndight. lacalletacos.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.
Last Concert Café | 403 Nance 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 Lawless Spirits & Kitchen | 909 Texas Lawless Spirits & Kitchen is an establishment with flair. A place that gives rise to the iconic visions of Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Frank Sinatra or Steve McQueen leaning on the bar with a stiff, well-crafted Rye Manhattan. Lawless is detailed with glitzy style, featuring revolutionary cocktails accompanied by comfortable finger foods and satisfying bites. Daily 4–11 pm. lawlesspirits.com Lilly & Bloom | 110 Main St. Located in the historically chic Raphael Building, this beautiful two-story lounge is known for its specialty cocktails and guest bartenders every Tuesday night. Prepare to be amazed! Daily 4 pm–2 am. lillyandbloom.com Little Dipper | 304 Main This spot is a cool, blue neighborhood bar with pinball machines, cheap bourbon and a bad-ass jukebox. Daily 4 pm–2 am. twitter.com/LittleDipperBar 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-helland-back stories. Daily noon–2 am. Mademoiselle Louise Bakery | 1715 Main In addition to a quaint European vibe, Mademoiselle Louise Bakery offers chocolate croissants, tarts, eclairs, a variety of freshly baked bread and other classic French pastries. Conveniently located on the first floor of Skyhouse Main. Wed–Sat 8 am–4 pm; Sun 9 am–3 pm. mademoisellelouise.com Minuti Coffee | 909 Texas 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 freshbaked pastries and smoothies, too. Daily 7 am–5 pm. minuticoffee.com MKT BAR | 1001 Austin Part of Phoenicia Specialty Foods, MKT BAR is a hip wine and beer bar offering light bites and an urban, yet relaxed setting to hang out with friends on the weekend or unwind with coworkers after a long day. The bar is a local favorite with DJs, bands and fun theme nights. Mon–Wed 7 am–9 pm; Thu 7 am–2 am; Fri & Sat 9 am–2 am; Sun 9 am–8 pm. mktbar.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. notsuoh.com Part & Parcel | 1700 Smith Part & Parcel is a trendy patio bar located at The Whitehall Hotel—it’s the perfect place to mingle, sip and relax under the Texas stars. Their menu includes classic cocktails, original libations, and small plates with big taste! Mon–Thu 4 pm–midnight; Fri–Sat 4 pm–2 am. thewhitehallhouston.com The Pastry War | 310 Main A Mezcaleria from Bobby Heugel and Alba Huerta that serves up agave spirits along with classic Mexican cocktails and beers in a festive and intimate environment. This specialty tequila joint not only accepts pesos, but is on a brave mission to serve the best margaritas in town. Salud! Tue–Sat 4 pm–2 am. thepastrywar.com Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar | 1201 Fannin at GreenStreet
Two dueling pianos and a sing-along, clap-along, drink-along, have-one-helluva-good-time-along bar! 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. Order up delicious bites from the new, chef-driven menu featuring tasty flatbreads, appetizers and sandwiches. Sun 5 pm–2 am; Mon–Sat 2 pm–2 am. reserve101.com
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Saint Arnold Beer Garden & Restaurant | 2000 Lyons Saint Arnold’s Beer Garden & Restaurant is a must-go-to destination combining beer, food, architecture, and art. Guests can enjoy a pint of any Saint Arnold beer along with an expanded lunch and dinner menu that includes a variety of shareable dishes, pizzas, sandwiches, salads, and world-class entrées. Sun–Wed 11 am–10 pm; Thu–Sat 11 am–11 pm. saintarnold.com Shay McElroy’s Pub | 909 Texas 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 notso-young merrymakers. Mon–Fri 11 am–2 am; Sat & Sun 1 pm–2 am. mcelroyspub.com Starbucks | 723 Main, 914 Dallas, 1600 Lamar Offering staples such as macchiatos, lattes and teas, pastries, oven-warmed food and other light bites. Daily. starbucks.com Sunny’s Bar | 901 Capitol 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.
VAULT | 801 Congress This underground basement club in Downtown’s Historic Market Square neighborhood boasts a high-end nightlife experience with a sleek, mysterious vibe. Guests can expect signature cocktails, world-class DJ’s, high-end VIP bottle service and more. Thu–Sat 10 pm–2 am. facebook.com/VaultDownTownHTX 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. The Wine Cellar | 540 Texas Unwind and relax with more than 400 varieties of wine and imported beers. Wine tastings Mon–Thu, 2–7 pm. Daily 11 am–midnight. thewinecellarhouston.com Z on 23 | 1121 Walker Sitting on Le Meridien’s 23rd floor, this gem offers a light menu, craft cocktails, specialty beers, a unique wine selection and 360-degree views of Downtown Houston. Sun–Thu 4–10 pm; Fri–Sat 4–11 pm. lemeridienhoustondowntown.com
Tongue Cut Sparrow | 310 Main (upstairs) Named after a Japanese fable, this 25-seat formal cocktail bar provides an extremely elevated experience from the tidy menu made up of 16 classic cocktails and a few select beer and wine options, to the bartenders clad in black bowties. Wed–Sat 4 pm–2 am.
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Performing Arts 47 Special Events 48 Market Square Park 49 Discovery Green 53 and more
EDITED BY VICTORIA REID
DR. SEUSS EXPERIENCE 46
PERFORMING ARTS PARIAH
Jun 4–Jul 4 Two archeologists marvel over a chest of gold artifacts one of them has found. Moral questions about what to do with this gold rise to the surface as troubling questions about the men’s criminal pasts are probed. August Strindberg was highly influenced by the work of Edgar Allen Poe while writing this play, especially Poe’s mesmerizing story The Cask of Amontillado (beautifully read by David Rainey in the Alley’s Chills and Thrills series). Free. ONLINE. alleytheatre.org
Jun 6 Max Amini brings his highly anticipated new show to Houston with an array of eccentric impressions and novel storytelling. His performance delivers a strong message about family ties, cultural trappings and social topics. Wortham Center, 501 Texas.
HOUSTON SUMMER JAZZ 2021
Aug 20–22 DaCamera returns to the Theater District for a summer jazz festival. From the powerful vocals of the legendary Dianne Reeves and Chicago’s star trumpeter Marquis Hill, to the Grammy Award-winning Latin jazz big band of Dafnis Prieto, the festival is a prelude to DaCamera’s upcoming season. Tickets start at $37.50. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. dacamera.com
GALVESTON BAY PARK
SPECIAL EVENTS DR. SEUSS EXPERIENCE
Jun 1–Aug 15 This imaginative and interactive experience immerses you in the world of Dr. Seuss. The sensory spectacle takes each guest on an awe-inspiring journey through nine different Dr. Seuss books, giving each visitor a chance to magically step into the pages of a featured book. Swing among the Truffula Trees from The Lorax or join the Circus McGurkus. George R. Brown Convention Center. 1001 Avenida de las Americas.
HOUSTON 2020 VISIONS
Jun 1–Aug 27 Cities are at a historic crossroads, with broad consensus that we must change the way we plan and build for the future. Half of the global population already lives in cities, and by 2050 that proportion is expected to balloon to two-thirds. Inspired by Houston’s experience during Hurricane Harvey and other national disasters, the exhibition features 26 projects that examine themes including: prairie-to-bay ecology, green corridors, hubs, the future of buildings, and the future of the energy economy through the visions of participating architects, engineers, environmental thinkers, city planners, educators and scholars. Architecture Center Houston, 902 Commerce.
PIERCE SKY PARK
MARKET SQUARE PARK
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
Summer Calendar Market Square Park is open daily from 6 am–11 pm. Blankets, lawn chairs, and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available for purchase at Niko Niko’s. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages are allowed. Metered on-street parking is available and free after 6 pm and all-day Sunday. 301 Milam. marketsquarepark.com Photo by Morris Malakoff
DON’T MISS BLANKET BINGO
Jun 17, Jul 15, Aug 19 The popular park favorite is
back! Bring your blanket, lawn chairs or snag one of the tables at the park for a night of music and great prizes. $10 admission includes one bingo packet (approximately nine games). Additional games and daubers can be purchased for $1 each. Benefits Market Square Park and Buffalo Bayou Partnership. 6–9 pm. Bingo begins at 7 pm. Note: Blanket Bingo is a monthly event through Oct.
ROAD TO RIVER REVIVAL
Market Square Park counts down to the popular River Revival Music Festival with a new, free monthly concert series featuring live music from regional heavy hitters. Brought to you by Splice Records, Saint Arnold Brewing Company and the Downtown District, you’re guaranteed good music, good times and good vibes! “Doors” open at 6 pm and live music begins at 7:30 pm.
Jun 12 Jul 10 Aug 14
John Evans with Two Tons of Steel Greyhounds with Maggie Belle Band Money Chicha with Mia Borders
SOME LIKE IT HOT
MOVIES MARKET SQUARE PARK PRESENTS HOLLYWOOD CLASSICS
Forget about trekking to the theater for your movie fix and come Downtown instead. Join us at Market Square Park for these fantastic films under the stars the second Friday and last Wednesday of each month (Jun–Aug). Jun 11 Jun 23 Jul 9 Jul 21 Aug 13 Aug 25
Roman Holiday 1953, 118 min. 8:30 pm Rear Window (PG) 1954, 115 min. 8:30 pm Sabrina 1954, 113 min. 8:30 pm Some Like It Hot (PG) 1959, 132 min. 8:30 pm Psycho (R) 1960, 109 min. 8:30 pm An American in Paris 1951, 115 min. 8:30 pm
FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS
GIRLS GOTTA EAT
IN REAL LIFE COMEDY TOUR
CONCERTS TIME NO LONGER IN THE CISTERN
Jun 1–Aug 31 A newly commissioned artwork for
Because of COVID restrictions, schedules can change. Please visit websites for more information.
the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern by multimedia artist Anri Sala, Time No Longer offers an immersive, otherworldly experience of film and sound within this vast, subterranean reservoir on the edge of Downtown. Bayou Park Cistern, 105 Sabine. buffalobayou.org
Bayou Music Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas.
SUNRISE YOGA AT BUFFALO BAYOU PARK
Jun–Aug Flow into the weekend with Sunrise Yoga at
BAYOU MUSIC CENTER
HOUSE OF BLUES
The Water Works in Buffalo Bayou Park. In partnership with The Breathing Room, this series of 45-minute early morning yoga sessions features a spectacular view of Downtown. Houston’s most iconic green space is a unique and uplifting backdrop for yogis of all levels and ages. Bring your own mat and reusable water bottle. Suggested $10 donation to Buffalo Bayou Partnership. Fridays, 6:30-7:15 am. The Water Works in Buffalo Bayou Park, 105 Sabine. buffalobayou.org
HOB’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. House of Blues, GreenStreet, 1204 Caroline. hob.com/Houston
SOUND HEALING MEDITATION IN THE CISTERN
Toyota Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk.
the spacious and tranquil Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern. Offered in collaboration with Union is Creation and Youniversoul this meditation series features the use of singing bowls and wind chimes to encourage mindfulness and connectivity. Guests should bring their own cushion or mat. Saturdays, 10-10:45 am Bayou Park Cistern, 105 Sabine. buffalobayou.org
Jun–Aug Find your center and practice meditation in
EXPOS The George R. Brown Convention Center’s online calendar is updated regularly. Visit their website for more info and to purchase tickets. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas.
grbhouston.com Jul 9–11 Jul 31–Aug 1 Aug 11–12 Aug 18–19
Anime Matsuri 2021 Bridal Extravaganza ENTELEC 2021 NAPE Expo 2021
Jun 3 Girls Gotta Eat Jun 9 Scarypoolparty Jun 28 Fitz and The Tantrums Aug 19 Apocalyptica
Jun 5 Aug 5 Aug 12 Aug 21
In Real Life Comedy Tour Justin Bieber Tame Impala JoJo Siwa
TOURS BUFFALO BAYOU PARK CISTERN TOUR
Learn about the architecture of this unique space and the history of Houston’s water system during a guided tour. All guests are required to wear a face mask and use hand sanitizer before entering the Cistern. Sunday and Saturday. $7 per person. Private tours $140.
Photo by Morris Malakoff
These two-hour tours run Monday through Saturday from noon to 2 pm. This tour will visit the upper deck, Gallagher Club, Bank of America Suite Level, Honda Club Level, press box, and Houston Methodist Hall of Fame Alley. Fans will also have the opportunity to check out the visitor's clubhouse and batting cage, the Astros dugout, take a lap around the warning track, and conclude their tour by getting an inside look at the manual scoreboard. Tickets $25 for adults, $20 seniors and $18 for children. astros.com
These hour-long daytime tours run Monday through Saturday and make stops at the all-new Michelob Ultra Club, Gallagher Club, Bank of America Suite Level, Honda Club Level, press box, Lexus Field Club, the warning track in center field and Houston Methodist Hall of Fame Alley. Tickets $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens and military and $10 for children. astros.com
SPECIAL EVENTS VIRTUAL RAINBOW ON THE GREEN
Jun 24 Celebrate the 10th anniversary of
Rainbow on the Green with virtual performances by Tye Blue and Angelina DM Trailz. Featuring a 10-year Rainbow retrospective moderated by Barry Mandel with cameos by Tyle Dayne, Crystal Waters and many more of your favorites, the show will be taped live in front of a small audience from Legacy Community Health. 7 pm.
TOUCH OF HISTORY TOUR
These two-hour mid-day tours are held on designated Saturdays from 11 am to 1 pm. The experience will include a one-hour artifact session where fans will see and hold Astros memorabilia from over the years followed by a one-hour classic tour. Tickets $75.
SAY GIRL SAY
FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE CONCERTS
Live music is returning to Discovery Green! Enjoy socially distanced concerts on the green throughout the summer. Reservations will be required, and social-distancing circles will be provided. Register online. Shows start at 7:30 pm.
Jun 25 Say Girl Say Jul 23 Bayou City Funk Aug 27 Swimwear Department
datebook. SCREEN ON THE GREEN
DISCOVERY GREEN Summer Calendar The events listed are confirmed at the time of printing. For a full listing of Discovery Green’s spring events, please visit the calendar at discoverygreen.com Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome; food, beer and wine are available for purchase at the Lake House. No glass containers or outside alcoholic beverages permitted. Most events are free, unless noted otherwise. 1500 McKinney.
HEALTHY LIVING FITNESS IN THE PARK
Classes are free and no pre-registration is required. Bring a towel and water, as well as a mat for yoga classes. Masks are not required while exercising, but participants are asked to wear one before and after class Circles painted on the lawn will help ensure 8 feet of distance. 9 am–6 pm. View website for full schedule. Free.
FITNESS IN THE PARK Photo by Kristen Gilliam
YOGA, Tuesdays, 6:30–7:30 pm HIIT, Wednesdays, 6:30–7:30 pm HATHA YOGA, Saturdays, 9–10 am TAI CHI, Saturdays, 10:15–11:15 am
ENTERTAINMENT BANK OF AMERICAN SCREEN ON THE GREEN
Get outside and enjoy a movie night with family and friends at Bank of America Screen on the Green! The movie is free, but a reservation is required as attendance will be limited.
Jun 26 Onward (PG) 2020, 102 min, 5 & 8 pm ADA VOX
AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY TOUR
Take an hour-long tour that tells the story of African American baseball in Houston. From Jackie Robinson’s early days to Satchel Paige’s later ones and the founding of the Negro National League by a Texan, the tour gives a unique perspective and unexpected look into our past. This is a limited engagement on select Saturday afternoons. Tickets $25. astros.com
Most people don’t know about the haunted history of historic Union Station and the site of Minute Maid Park, once a neighborhood known as Quality Hill. Join us as we explore these ghost stories on a one-hour, dark and eerie nighttime tour on select Saturday nights at 9:30 pm. Tickets $10. astros.com
A MINUTE IN MINUTE MAID PARK
Want to snap a few shots inside Minute Maid Park but don’t have time for a full tour? A Minute in Minute Maid Park takes fans on a 10- 15 minute walk to the Lexus Field Club in center field and back along the warning track past the manual scoreboard in left field. A Minute in Minute Maid is offered year-round from 10 am to 2 pm at your convenience. Simply check in with a tour ambassador in the Union Station lobby and they will escort you on your tour. Schedule and available locations may vary due to games, special events, and construction. Tickets $10. astros.com
datebook. HOUSTON DYNAMO
SPORTS ASTROS CLUBHOUSE TOURS
Tours of the Houston Astros clubhouse are back! Tours are held on select Saturdays at 10 am, 11 am, noon, and 1 pm. These tours last between 30-45 minutes and give fans an inside look of the Astros locker room, batting cages, dugout, gym, player lounge, the manager and clubhouse manager's offices, and the press conference room. Tickets $50. astros.com
ULTIMATE FAN TOURS
These two-hour tours run during baseball season Monday through Saturday from noon to 2 pm. This tour will visit the upper deck, Gallagher Club, Bank of America Suite Level, Honda Club Level, press box, and Houston Methodist Hall of Fame Alley. Fans will also have the opportunity to check out the Lexus Field Club, Michelob Ultra Club, the Union Station Roof Deck, and on non-game days can visit the Diamond Club and Astros dugout. Tickets $25 for adults, $20 for senior citizens and military and $18 for children. astros.com
For schedule info and tickets, visit website. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. astros.com
Jun 1–3 Jun 15–16 Jun 17–20 Jun 28–30 Jul 6–8 Jul 9–11 Jul 19–21 Jul 23–25 Aug 5–8 Aug 10–11 Aug 20–22 Aug 23–25
Astros vs Boston Red Sox Astros vs Texas Rangers Astros vs Chicago White Sox Astros vs Baltimore Orioles Astros vs Oakland A’s Astros vs New York Yankees Astros vs Cleveland Indians Astros vs Texas Rangers Astros vs Minnesota Twins Astros vs Colorado Rockies Astros vs Seattle Mariners Astros vs Kansas City Royals
For schedule info and tickets, visit website. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas.
houstondynamo.com/houstondash Jun 26 Jul 2 Jul 24 Aug 1 Aug 13 Aug 29
Dash vs Orlando Pride Dash vs OL Reign Dash vs Portland Thorns Dash vs Gotham FC Dash vs Washington Spirit Dash vs Racing Lousiville
For schedule info and tickets, visit website. BBVA Compass Stadium, 2200 Texas.
houstondynamo.com Jun 23 Jul 3 Jul 31 Aug 14 Aug 21 Aug 28
Dynamo vs Portland Timbers Dynamo vs FC Cincinnati Dynamo vs Real Salt Lake Dynamo vs Colorado Rapids Dynamo vs FC Dallas Dynamo vs Minnesota United FC
With 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 Houston’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, sidwalk cafés, outdoor festivals, pontoon boat tours and more.
Welcome to Downtown Houston! Tours
Attractions & Sights
1. Buffalo Bayou Boat Tours 713.752.0314 2. Heritage Society Historic Homes Tour 713.655.1912 3. Minute Maid Park Tour 713.259.8687 4. Saint Arnold Brewing Company Tour 713.686.9494 5. Toyota Center Backstage Tour 713.758.7715
14. 15. 16. 17. 18.
Sports 6. Minute Maid Park 7. Toyota Center 8. BBVA Compass Stadium
Recreation Buffalo Bayou (hiking & jogging trail) 10. Root Memorial Square (basketball court) 11. Discovery Green (exercise class, bocce ball & putting green)
Shopping 12. GreenStreet 13. The Shops at Houston Center
19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 25.
Avenida Houston Buffalo Bayou Discovery Green Downtown Aquarium George H.W. Bush & James A. Baker, III Monuments George R. Brown Convention Center Historic District Bayou Place Main Street Square Saint Arnold Brewing Company Union Station at Minute Maid Park
Eat & Drink 26. Ballpark District 27. Bayou Place/Theater District 28. Avenida Houston 29. Downtown Aquarium 30. Historic District 31. GreenStreet 32. The Shops at Houston Center 33. Warehouse District Food Halls 34. Bravery Chef Hall 35. Finn Hall 36. Understory 37. Underhall
38. 39. 40. 41. 42.
Houston Central Library Julia Ideson Library Heritage Society Museum Houston Police Museum Museum District (via METRORail)
DOWNTOWN INTERACTIVE PARKING MAP Our new Google Map will help you find where you’re going, where to park and what’s nearby
Education 43. Incarnate Word Academy 44. Kinder High School for the Performing & Visual Arts 45. South Texas College of Law Houston 46. University of Houston– Downtown
73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79.
Medical 47. St. Joseph Medical Center Religious 48. Antioch Baptist Church 49. Annunciation Catholic Church 50. Christ Church Cathedral 51. First United Methodist Church 52. Holy Cross Church 53. Islamic Dawah Center 54. Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral 55. Houston First Baptist Church Spiritual 56. Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer
Museums & Libraries A great way to get form point A to point B or just explore downtown! You can purchase daily, weekly or 111 more annual memberships. For info, visit houston.bcycle.com
57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67.
Allen’s Landing Discovery Green Halliburton Plaza Hermann Square Market Square Park Root Memorial Square Sabine Promenade & Buffalo Bayou Park Sam Houston Park Sesquicentennial Park Sisters of Charity Park Tranquillity Park
Groceries & Conveniences 68. CVS/Pharmacy 69. CVS/Pharmacy Market Square 70. Phoenicia Specialty Foods Grocery Store 71. Wolfe’s Cleaners
Film 72. AMC Houston 8
Southeast East End
Music Venues 80. House of Blues 81. Bayou Music Center 82. The Rustic
City, County & Federal 83. 84. 85. 86.
City Hall City Hall Annex Bob Casey Federal Courthouse Harris County Court Campus
Where to Stay 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 105. 106. 107. 108. 109. 110. 111.
AC Hotel by Marriott Aloft Hotel Athens Hotel Suites C. Baldwin Cambria Hotel Club Quarters Courtyard by Marriott/Marriott Residence Inn/SpringHill Suites Embassy Suites Four Seasons Hampton Inn/Homewood Suites Hilton Americas Holiday Inn Holiday Inn Express Hotel Alessandra Hotel Icon Hyatt Place Hyatt Regency Downtown JW Marriott Magnolia Hotel Marriott Marquis Lancaster Hotel Le Meridien The Sam Houston Hotel Westin Houston Downtown The Whitehall
Realtors 112. BHGRE Gary Greene
METRORail Lines North/Main
Alley Theatre Hobby Center Jones Hall Jones Plaza The Landing Theatre Company Rec Room Wortham Center
ALWAYS BE AWARE OF PEDESTRIANS, DRIVERS, BICYCLISTS AND TRAINS WHEN NEAR TRACKS!
Visitor Information 113. Houston Visitors Center
to n Jacin
Public Parking Garages
UH DOWNTOWN STATION
Bayou Trail Access
15 57 1
24-Hour Accessible ATM
9 ← Commerce
22 ← Lamar
← to Allen Parkway
GREENSTREET 12 31
62 ← Bell
→ Leeland 98 ← Pease
DOWNTOWN TRANSIT CENTER
66 → Pierce I-45
← St. Joseph Parkway
← La Branch
→ San Jacinto
→ Jefferson ← Milam
s ew dr
GEORGE R. BROWN CONVENTION CENTER
alla W. D
→ from Allen Parkway Bagby
THE SHOPS AT HOUSTON CENTER 32 13
Avenida de las Americas
MAIN STREET SQUARE STATION
← La Branch
MINUTE MAID PARK
→ Texas → Travis
109 ← Prairie
→ San Jacinto
BUFFA LO BA YOU
Public garages, surface lots and metered on-street parking are abundant in Downtown. Reminder: on-street parking is free after 6 pm Monday–Saturday and all day Sunday.
DREAMY COMMUTER SERVICE DIRECT TO DOWNTOWN.
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