downtown >> hot companies | KBR's commitment starts at home
connecting you to the center of houston
Houston Pavilion's Karen Mulville does
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reasons we love Downtown From Rdg to grb
Music festival celebrates 20th anniversary
We're Ready for Summer!
Concerts Reading Lists and More
downtown houston Summer 2010
volume 2 number 4
Inside 16 Bubbha’s blues
2 publishers’ note 3 in style
Houston Pavilions general manager Karen Mulville shares her top picks. by phil hudson
4 news + notes
Phoenicia, Niko Niko’s and Kelsey-Seybold Clinic find new downtown homes. BB’s Cafe provides urbanites with a jolt of Cajun flavor.
Our new web portal epitomizes everything we like about downtown. It’s fresh exciting and full of life.
Bubbha Thomas struggled for years to make Houston a jazz mecca, now with his International Jazz Festival in its 20th year, he’s sees the fruits of his labor. by david theis
19 We heart Houston What’s not to love? From the art car parade to our nautically themed convention center to our spectacular skyline, we remind you of 25 reasons downtown just flat out rocks. by Allison Bagley
From plug-in cars to solar panels, downtown is finding new ways to conserve.
7 must reading
Get ready for summer with our list of essential tomes - courtesy of Books-A-Million. by holly beretto
8 hot companies
KBR keeps their world headquarters dowtown and finds there’s no place they’d rather be. by bill hensel
11 arts + culture
The Houston Theater District has just what you need to turn your vacation into a staycation. Plus, Q&A with Mercury Baroques’s Antoine Plante. by heather pray and andrew huang
Theater, concerts, sports, festivals & special events, tours and more.
Dishing up classic Italian fare with Spaghetti Warehouse.
48 destination downtown map
Tater enjoys hanging out at discovery green Questions or comments? Drop us a line at email@example.com
Managing Editor/Creative Director Angie Bertinot, Downtown District
Photography Katya Horner, Slight Clutter Photography
Arts and Culture Editor Heather Pray, Houston Downtown Alliance
Contributing Writers Allison Bagley, Holly Beretto, Bill Hensel, Phil Hudson, Andrew Huang, Barbara Mendel, Heather Pray, David Theis
Copy Editor Barbara Mendel, Mendel Creative Solutions Design ph Design Shop
Advertising Information Angie Bertinot, 713.650.3022/ 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:
When it comes to downtown, we like change. We like seeing our city evolve and grow, and we especially like being a part of it all. Enter our new downtown Web portal. Earlier this summer we launched the fresh, new downtownhouston.org. It’s yet another exciting collaboration between the Downtown District and the Houston Downtown Alliance along with an important new partner – the City of Houston Convention and Entertainment Facilities Department. We’re all working toward the same things for downtown so it made sense to come together for this new project. Our goal for downtownhouston.org was to mirror the look and excitement of Downtown and that’s exactly what we got. Our new and improved site puts great information, the latest Earlier this summer we news, photos, videos, blogs and the launched the fresh, new most comprehensive calendar all at your downtownhouston.org fingertips. We hope you’ll take some time to check it out in the coming weeks and months. It’s got everything we love about downtown Houston. And so does this quarter’s issue. Allison Bagley has put together a superfun compilation of the very best of our city – some things you expect and some that might surprise you (see page 19). Keep your issue handy for whatever leisure activity you might be planning. And as always, please feel free to send comments and suggestions our way.
Houston Downtown Alliance
ON THE COVER Robert Del Grande is without a doubt one of our top reasons to love downtown. He and his partners took a chance on building two restaurants in a new downtown park–their gut instincts were on the mark and their success has been integral to the vibrancy of Discovery Green.
Karen Mulville General Manager, Houston Pavilions
Karen’s Top 10
By Phil Hudson Photography by Katya Horner and Julie Soefer
DISCOVERY GREEN Tater and I are fixtures at Discovery Green’s dog run. There are so many interesting people living downtown and many of them are dog lovers like me.
XXI FOREVER ACCESSORIES. I’m into creating unique jewelry pairings, and it’s so easy to run into XXI Forever and pick up some funky, chic jewelry. The price is always right and the looks are on trend.
If you’ve ever been to Houston Pavilions, the three-city-block dining, shopping and entertainment center with anchors House of Blues, Lucky Strike Lanes and XXI Forever, you’ve probably seen Karen Mulville walking her English bulldog Tater. Tater is fast becoming a local attraction at Houston Pavilions. “I love bringing her to work because running this center can be challenging, but Tater always keeps my spirits high,” she says. This spring marks the second year for Mulville to be back in Houston. She served as the general manager of the Denver Pavilions in downtown Denver for several years before accepting the position to open the Houston property. “I love living and working in downtown,” she says. “I can walk everywhere, so my car rarely leaves the garage at One Park Place.” Mulville is a successful and stylish woman, and that’s why we asked her to share the 10 things that make her world go round.
III FORKS STEAKHOUSE The perfect martini at the end of a hectic day. Need I say more?
HIGH FASHION HOME. This near-downtown emporium for interior design has it all. I only wish my apartment was bigger…I would buy more pieces.
ANGELIKA FILM CENTER
The perfect weekend always consists of catching a movie at the Angelika.
BCBGMAXAZRIA SHOES. Platforms. Wedges. Boots. Strappy and sexy..
LIBERTY COWBOY BOOTS When the weekend starts, I throw on some jeans and a pair of Liberty boots. Add a chic top and I’m set for anything.
ONE PARK PLACE The view from my apartment at One Park Place is amazing and the staff is the best.
DOWNTOWN YMCA. I love the Y and can’t wait for the new facility to open. I go to spin classes and Reggie’s workouts. Good for stress relief and for keeping trim.
When she’s not at work with me, Tater loves to go to doggy daycare at Urban Tails. She has such a good time, and the folks there take great care of her.
around the world>>
uilding on the success of their Montrose location, award-winning BB's Café will soon be tempting downtown taste buds with a new location at 509 Louisiana. Opening their doors this summer, they will be serving weekday lunches and offering a variety of office and eventfriendly catering options.Their menu includes nearly two dozen overstuffed signature po' boys, mouth-watering Mexico Citystyle tacos, homemade gumbo, mounds of grillades and grits, creative appetizers, healthy salads and more. bbscafe.com
Phoenicia Phoenicia Specialty Foods is bringing their well-known international food market to the ground floor of One Park Place. Zohrab “Bob” Tcholakian and his wife Arpine, Lebanese immigrants of Armenian descent, opened the original flagship market in west Houston in 1992 and since then it has grown from a small restaurant and importer to a 55,000-square-foot tourist destination with thousands of products from around the world. In addition to local accolades including Best Of listings from the Houston Press and Swamplot.com, Phoenicia was recognized last year by Saveur as one of their 10 favorite supermarkets in the nation. Phoenicia offers customers a wide variety of foods at reasonable prices, and this new 28,000-square-foot location downtown will be similarly packed with imports while also catering to downtown’s growing residential population and business diners. You’ll find the everyday standards you need such as fresh meat and seafood, produce, milk, artisan breads and pastries, cheeses, fine wine, beer, coffee, and house wares. But you’ll also find plenty of convenience foods and a comfortable space for dining in or enjoying a glass of wine or a beer. Phoenicia will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. “It’s a great product for the location,” said Bob Eury, Downtown District executive director. “Phoenicia Specialty Foods is a homegrown Houston business that reflects the incredible diversity of our community. I can’t imagine a better fit for downtown.” Want to learn more about Phoenicia? Check out their video at downtownhouston.tv
Downtown District signs Al Fresco Dining } The a deal with Niko Niko’s Niko Niko’s Greek & American Café is expanding for the first time in its more than 30-year history with a new restaurant kiosk located in the soon-to-be-completed Market Square Park in the heart of Houston’s Historic District. Slated to debut in time for the park’s opening, Niko Niko’s will reach back to its roots with a sidewalk café-style restaurant reminiscent of their original walk-up window shop opened on Montrose in 1977. With the piers for both the café and dog run having been poured, and construction well under way on the park’s other elements, Market Square Park remains on schedule to take a late summer bow. “Niko Niko’s is a great fit for Market Square Park,” says owner Dimitrios Fetokakis. “We’re honored that we’re right in the middle of the (Historic District’s) transformation, especially with the history of the site. Anything we can do for Houston – because it’s done so much for us – we’ll do it." nikonikos.com 4
What’s up doc? Kelsey-Seybold Clinic will be mak-
ing a new home downtown at The Shops at Houston Center later this year. KelseySeybold's primary care and specialty physicians, an imaging center (including x-ray, mammography and ultrasound), as well as a new pharmacy, will occupy 23,000 square feet at the new location. “The new location will give them even higher visibility and greater access to the downtown work force,” said Bob Boykin, managing director of leasing. With construction about to commence, the space is expected to be ready by December 2010. kelsey-seybold.com
From electric car charging stations to a hotel’s composting program to a great weekly farmers market, downtown is often on the cutting edge of environmental efforts. Check out our rundown of some of the more interesting initiatives you’ll find in Houston’s center:
Here comes the sun
The city of Houston is looking to the sky for energy. Both the City Hall Annex and the George R. Brown Convention Center are harnessing the power of the sun with their rooftop solar panels. The more than 600 panels on top of the convention center are helping the city learn how to best harness the energy of the sun while the array at City Hall generates about 12,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, roughly enough power for an average-size home. The ultimate goal? To expand the use of solar energy throughout the city. greenhoustontx.gov
Take a taste
One of the easiest things you can do when trying to reduce your carbon footprint is to eat locally sourced foods and recycle. Both are super simple to do when discoverygreen.com you stop by Discovery Green any weekend. Each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. you can drop off paper, glass, plastic and cans. And every Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. stop by the Urban Harvest Farmers Market, where you’ll find fresh local fruits and veggies, prepared foods and crafts, chef demonstrations, gardening and growing tips and much more.
Check in The city’s largest hotel, the Hilton Americas-Houston, has made incredible strides when it comes to the environment. It was the first hotel in the state to achieve the coveted Green Seal Certification. That’s no small achievement. Recycling, composting, waste water management and more are all part of the certification process and those that get the recognition have taken significant steps to go green. For example, since the inception of their food composting project, more than 383 tons have been shipped for composting. More than 56 tons of cardboard and more
With hybrid vehicles becoming more common, consumers may be ready for the next phase – electric cars. The city of Houston and Reliant Energy are looking to jump start that transition with a new program – the Power of the Plug-In. The program, launched late last year, will convert 10 city-owned Toyota Prius hybrids into plug-in electric hybrid vehicles and install 15 charging stations to power them, including one at City Hall. The converted vehicles can drive up to 100 miles per gallon, helping to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The program is also designed to raise consumer awareness about electric cars (seven of the stations will be open to the public) and to promote the city as an electric vehicle center. greenhoustontx.gov
than 240 tons of paper, glass, mixed plastic and metal cans have been recycled. They took their commitment a step further last summer with their conversion to bio-diesel as an alternative, environmentally friendly fuel. Bio-diesel, a non-toxic and biodegradable energy source, is a clean-burning alternative to petroleum diesel. Even better, it’s made from renewable resources such as plant oils, animal fats and recycled grease and kitchen oil and it significantly reduces harmful hydrocarbon emissions and greenhouse gases. americashouston.hilton.com
X Great summer
reads from Books-a- Million staffers
prawling across two levels in the Houston Pavilions, Books-A-Million beckons readers from across the downtown area with its endless aisles of books, magazines, multimedia and gifts. And the inviting Joe Muggs café, serving up coffee, breakfast pastries and light lunch fare, is all the more reason to linger over that too-good-to-put-down book you found. “Our staff loves to read,” says book lover and general manager Naomi Reynolds. “And we love matchmaking and helping our readers find the perfect book.” So whether this summer finds you hitting the road, heading to the beach, or simply chilling out at home, here are some hot picks by Reynolds and her staff guaranteed to liven up your vacation.
Take a peek at Books-A-Million’s special sections this summer, Books He’ll Love, featuring thrillers and biographies, and Books She’ll Love, stocked with chick lit and literary fiction.
1. Naomi Reynolds To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee This Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork delves into the issues of honor and injustice in the deep South, and the heroism of one man in the face of prejudice and hate. The novel turns 50 this year and was voted one of the best novels of the 20th century. “And check out all the new book releases and new arrivals every Tuesday for the best that Books-AMillion has to offer,” she advises.
2. Araceli Martinez Retail Hell by Freeman Hall Hall is an aspiring screenwriter who sets out to
realize his Hollywood dream, but instead plunges into the seventh circle of retail hell when the rent comes due. Here, he provides a true account of life from the other side of the handbag display. “One of the funniest books I’ve ever read,” she raves. “I laughed out loud from beginning to end.” Araceli also says you shouldn’t miss out on the coffee and cheesecake in Joe Muggs café. It’s the perfect pairing for any book.
physicist, genius, womanizer, drunk. “It’s an interesting look at the climate change debate,” he says. “But it’s a full-on drama, not an environmentalist’s sob story.”
4. Annette Santos Flat Belly Diet! by Liz Vaccariello “This is the only weight loss book I recommend. I lost 30 pounds, and it’s such an easy read.”
3. Brennan Rosales Solar by Ian McEwan
5. Jeff Abbinanti When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris
The latest from the author of Atonement follows nine years in the life of Michael Beard, a Nobel Prize-winning
“Hilarious from start to finish. David Sedaris’ dry wit is irresistible. A very fun read.” downtownhouston.org
KBR and Houston A long history, bright future By bill hensel
When KBR decided a few years ago to relocate from its Clinton Drive facility into a new campus-style building near Katy, it appeared downtown Houston was about to see a sizeable exodus. Then the economic downturn hit. KBR, with offices across KBR headquarters the globe, decided it was not a good time to proceed with that plan, particularly since financing had become more difficult. Instead, it entered into discussions with its landlord, Brookfield Properties, about acquiring more space at KBR Tower at 601 Jefferson, along with additional space at 500 Jefferson. A new deal was worked out. That meant KBR, a company with longtime Houston roots and a track record of helping build a host of notable structures in and around the city, would remain a significant part of downtown. With employees coming into work from all over the area, many of whom take METRO, the general feeling was that the more central location made sense. Now a renovation of their headquarters is under way after new leases were executed at the beginning of this year. KBR has a total of 1.2 million square feet at Cullen Center, and the refurbishing project is expected to take 18 months to two years, according to Michele West, the company’s director of real estate services. New floors will be built out to KBR’s standards, and some of the older floors will be renovated. The company still owns the Clinton Drive property, although numerous employees will be moving to the new offices
after work is complete. Houston’s sound economic base is important to the company. But the changing face of Houston’s downtown also played a part in the company’s decision, notes West. “It definitely plays a role because downtown is growing and expanding,” West says. “I think that helps when attracting new resources. You have a younger and younger workforce and with the activities downtown, it is more appealing now.” The fact that midtown now has more residential offerings also comes into play, she adds. The company also is pleased to see the new YMCA across the street from its headquarters, providing
KBR’S favorite things about their DOWNTOWN neighborhood: Business Hub - Central to many of our clients * Mass Transit Opportunities * Restaurants * Central to many neighborhoods and surrounding suburbs * Convenient to sports arenas, the fine arts and concert venues
KBR volunteer at kbr kids day on buffalo bayou
KBR has over 50,000 employees on five continents
more than 29 years ago, when his son was born prematurely and died due to serious complications. He began making yearly personal contributions and in 2002, volunteered to take a leading role in KBR’s WalkAmerica fund-raising efforts. He collected more than $51,000 last year and was named the top walker for Texas. Additionally, there is KBR Kids Day on Buffalo Bayou, an event held every June. Open to the public, the purpose is to educate area children and families about environmental issues and expose them to our ecosystem. KBR also hosts the Master of the Green golf tournament, another event aimed at raising funds to help the environment.
»»»» KBR at a glance
KBR has a legacy of investing in new an additional benefit to employees. technologies as well as improving existing The company would like to technologies, and they consider innovation see a renewed focus on its an integral part of the KBR culture. The KBR longtime ties to Houston, too. Technology Center, a 70,000-square-foot “We have a presence across the technology development facility located in globe, but our roots are here in West Houston, contains pilot plants, laboraHouston,” Sara Engdahl, KBR’s tories, fabrication facilities and a talented senior manager of external staff of engineers, chemists, pilot plant communications says. “Our footprint can be seen from specialists and craft employees who develop Johnson Space Center to Minand commercialize new and improved proute Maid Park. We are known cess technologies. recently for a lot of very largescale projects, but we want to national government agencies. raise more awareness that KBR In 2006, KBR separated from Halliburton is involved in a wide variety of projects rangand became a stand-alone public company. ing in size.” That was significant, notes Senior Vice PresiKBR’s history dates back to 1901, when dent of Administration Klaudia Brace, M.W. Kellogg opened a pipe fabricating busiparticularly with a new chief executive offiness in New York that ultimately became a cer, Bill Utt, and new management. Utt also successful engineering firm bearing his serves as chairman and president. KBR has name. The company’s history also draws more than 50,000 employees on five contifrom Texas-based construction company nents, about 4,400 in Houston, where the Brown and Root, which was founded by headquarters is located. Although some of George and Herman Brown and their the company’s service businesses are mainly brother-in-law, Dan Root. The company focused on North America, KBR’s hydrocarreceived its first government contract in bons operations are all over the world, from 1940 to build the Corpus Christi Naval StaAustralia to the Middle East, Brace said. It tion, and also was awarded a contract to has large engineering offices located in the build the first of 359 ships for the U.S. Navy. United Kingdom and in Singapore. Several years later, the company built the Despite being a global presence, one of first offshore oil platform. Brown and Root KBR’s company values is having a commitwas bought by Halliburton in 1962 and M.W. ment to community wherever its employees Kellogg eventually was acquired by Dresser live and work, Engdahl notes. In Houston, Industries, a service provider for the oil and the company is a sponsor of the March of gas industry. Dresser then was bought by Dimes Walk for Babies, a Halliburton, where it was walk that begins close to combined with M.W. Keldowntown. KBR logg and Brown and Root, employee Adel Tawfik, creating Kellogg Brown & an employee for more Root – now known as KBR. than 35 years, has gained In addition to being a national recognition for major player in the oil and his fund-raising efforts gas industry, the company for the March of Dimes. also is the world’s largest His partnership with the defense services provider, March of Dimes began supporting U.S. and inter-
Headquarters: 601 Jefferson employees worldwide: 50,000 employees in houston: 4,400 CEO: Bill Utt other locations: Dallas, Birmingham, Greenville, Raleigh, Arlington, Newark, Auburn, Ontario, Calgary, Edmonton, Lagos, Johannesburg, Secunda, Cairo, Dubai, Baku, Atyrau, Moscow, Gothenburg, Leatherhead, Haryana, Beijing, Singapore, Jakarta, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Gold Coast Business: Oil and Gas, Defense services provider website: www.kbr.com downtownhouston.org
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Sara Webb and Ian Casady in Sir Frederick Ashton's La Fille mal gardée, June 10-20. Photo Pam Francis.
arts & culture
If your summer vacation turns into a Houston staycation this year, the Houston Theater District has plenty of ways to keep you cool, calm and cultured.
here is always something going on in the Houston Theater District: here's the skinny on what not to miss this summer and a look into the future. Houston Ballet wraps up their 40th anniversary season with the revival of Sir Frederick Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée (The Wayward Daughter) from June 10-20. Folk dance and classical ballet combine in a joyous celebration of love and life perfect for the entire family. The month of July tuns sinister with the Alley Theatre’s Summer Chills production of the most famous stage mystery ever, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. Opening July 10 and running through August 8 on the Hubbard Stage, the undisputed mistress of the thriller genre brings a classic whodunit that pits a stranded and trapped group of strangers against each other. Have a budding actor or actress waiting in the wings? Alley Theatre hosts their annual summer camp in June and July for grades 2-12. Playmaking, ensemble
building and more with Alley-trained teaching artists will help to foster your minime’s individual creativity. Houston Symphony keeps fans in the seats and city with their decades-long tradition – the Houston Chronicle Dollar Concert! There’s no catch – you can see the Houston Symphony under the direction of Hans Graf for only a dollar. This annual concert is July 10. If you missed the sold-out January world premiere of The Planets-An HD Odyssey, or you want to relive the experience, you can on July 17. Go out of this world with a multimedia evening of film paired with a live performance of Gustav Holst’s The Planets and to add to the celestial evening, enjoy the inspired work of John Williams as the orchestra performs selections from Star Wars, E. T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Come back to Earth on July 22 with the power of a full rock concert experience (think rock concert lighting and sound) as singer Brody Dolyniuk captures the sound and essence of Freddie Mercury and Queen
with conductor Brent Havens and the Houston Symphony orchestra. Finally, to close out their summer season is the Houston premiere of Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy on July 24. For hardcore gamers, fan favorite composer Nobuo Uematsu and Arnie Roth will be available for an exclusive meetand-greet for the first 100 people who purchase a ticket. Theatre Under The Stars takes us beyond the Hobby Center stage with free performances of Little Shop of Horrors at Miller Outdoor Theatre, July 13-18. Have a musical youngster nipping at your heels? TUTS’ The Humphreys School of Musical Theatre can keep them busy with their performing arts camp for ages 4 through 18. Humphreys has also recently merged with The River, a nonprofit arts organization for children with special needs, allowing TUTS to offer wonderful, barrier-free programming for children of all abilities. Journey to the Land of Oz and go behind the emerald curtain when Gexa Energy
by heather pray
top: Johann Sauty; bottom: Johan Jacobs courtesy of La Monnaie
RIGHT | Students in Alley Theatre's Young Performers Studio's "Exploring Acting" Class. Photo: Simon Gentry BOTTOM | (left to right) Chandra Lee Schwartz and Donna Vivino meet in the land of Oz long before that girl from Kansas in Wicked, June 30-July 25. Photo: Joan Marcus
Center for the Performing Arts, Capital One Bank trolleys will be there just in case you need a lift. Theater District Open House is also the best day to purchase season subscriptions at the lowest prices for the 2010-2011 performing arts season. Houston Symphony debuts its season with a new concertmaster, Frank Huang, on September 11, performing Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante with Wayne Brooks, principal violinist. The 2010-2011
As the summer winds down and everyone starts to get ready for the hustle and bustle of the fall, the Houston Theater District kicks off the upcoming season and opens its doors for a free family day on Sunday, August 29 from noon to 5 p.m. The Capital One Bank Theater District Open House puts the four major theaters on display for you to explore. See live performances, take backstage tours, meet performing artists and much, much more – and the best part is – it’s free! As you make your way to Jones Hall, Alley Theatre, Wortham Theater Center and Hobby
season features innovation through community partnerships, the Sound + Vision series will enhance the classical concert experience with an audiencefriendly approach to pops programming. Classical guest artists include returning friends Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham and Yefim Bronfman, while debuting a new generation of musical talent in pianists Gabriela Montero and Markus Groh and conductors Juanjo Mena and Juraj Valcuha. Among the pops line-up are Kenny
Broadway Across America – Houston brings Wicked back to Hobby Center, June 30-July 25. This Broadway blockbuster tells of two girls that meet in the Land of Oz long before that girl from Kansas arrives in Munchkinland. One – born with emerald green skin – is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. The untold story of how these two grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good will remind you that there really is no place like home. No passports required when traveling to Colombia by way of Colombian Folkloric Ballet’s performances June 11 and June 12 at Hobby Center. Celebrate the 200th anniversary of the independence of Colombia with Mi Colombia, a powerful and vivid expression of folkloric dance and live music, featuring La Cumbiamba eNeYe from New York City and the internationally renowned Jairo Lastre and Nilko Andreas. Return to the dying post-Bohemia of New York’s East Village with Masquerade Theatre’s Rent, July 22-August 1, and follow eight friends for a year as they learn to cope with themselves and the chaos of modern life. Songs such as One Song Glory, La Vie Bohéme, Seasons of Love and I’ll Cover You will rock your soul and shake your heart with laughter and tears.
Kick off the new season with Capital One Bank Theater District Open House: Sunday, August 29. Loggins, Chris Botti and Broadway’s Mary Poppins, Ashley Brown. Tribute concerts to Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles are also highlights for their upcoming season. Society for the Performing Arts’ season is steeped in magic – from the illusion of MOMIX’s ethereal Botanica to the mystery of Zulu harmonizing as only Ladysmith Black Mambazo can deliver. You’ll experience magic with Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble when this group of musicians, composers and visual artists bring their own unique perspective steeped in the musical culture and heritage of their homelands to the stage. SPA’s nearly two dozen events range from musical theater to Latin jazz and from cutting-edge contemporary dance to rock 'n' roll – bringing the boldest, most eclectic programming to date. Da Camera of Houston continues to offer an extraordinary range of international artists and musical styles in their next season, New Worlds in Music and Art. From chamber music and jazz; early music and contemporary works, Da Camera presents unique programs in which visual art and music meet and take you on a journey of musical discovery. Legendary Jordi Savall joins Da Camera on a celebratory musical journey from Old Spain to the New World. The critically acclaimed production The Blue
Rider: Kandinsky and Music evokes new works in music and art with spellbinding visuals. American composer John Adams brings his brilliant new string quartet and pairs them with Beethoven. And France’s award-winning Ebène Quartet features the turn-of the-century Parisian masterpieces with which this chamber group has risen to stardom. The musical journey continues with a specially curated concert honoring the 40th anniversary of The Rothko Chapel, as well as a tribute to Benny Goodman and much more.
peras that thrill, stimulate and entertain are the criteria that Anthony Freud and Houston Grand Opera have set
for the 2010-2011 season. Expect everything from the world’s most-celebrated works to more rarely performed operatic gems. HGO music director Patrick Summer takes the podium to conduct four of this season’s six operas including Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, Britten’s Peter Grimes, Dead Man Walking by Jake Heggie and Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss. One of the most exciting young Italian conductors of his generation, Antonino Fogliani, will make his U.S. debut conducting a new production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and young American conductor James Gaffigan, will also make his HGO conducting debut with Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. Also not to miss is HGO’s Song of Houston project, which will present two new productions in celebration of the anniversaries of Mexican independence and revolution. Seven new works enter Houston Ballet’s repertoire during the 2010-2011 season, including Balanchine’s Jewels, featuring Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds; the company Ana Maria Martinez opens Houston premiere of Grand Opera's John Cranko’s Season as Cio Cio lavish, comic San in Puccini's Madame Butterfly. staging of the Shakespearian classic The Taming of the Shrew; a world premiere by the in-demand European dance maker Jorma Elo; the American premiere of Houston Ballet associate choreographer Christopher Bruce’s
BELOW | SPA brings MOMIX's ethereal Botanica to Jones Hall as part of their magical new season. Photo: Max Pucciariello.
Grinning in Your Face; and the company premiere of English choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush. The season
will launch with a mixed repertory program entitled Body, Soul & Gershwin, featuring Stanton Welch’s lively and colorful neoclassical work Tu Tu, Jiri Kylian’s emotionally charged abstract ballet Forgotten and The Core: Gershwin, the Heart of the Big Apple, Welch’s Broadway-style ode to 1930s New York City glamour. Another shining season comes by way of Theatre Under The Stars’ 43rd season in Houston. Expect fresh new shows direct from Broadway with all six being TUTS debuts and five that are Houston premieres. Shows include Hairspray, 9 to 5: The Musical, Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, Billy Elliott The Musical, Curtains and Rock of Ages. Houston audiences will be treated to more Broadway smash hits and recent Tony Award-winning and Grammy Awardwinning musicals to suit almost every taste with Gexa Energy Broadway Across America. “This season the Hobby Center is getting a make-ogre; dancers will heat up the stage with the ultimate dance sensation; we will witness the greatest love story of all time; be inspired by a story about following your dreams; and have the time of our lives at the ultimate feel-good show,” says Fran MacFerran, executive director of the Hobby Center. Shows include Shrek The Musical, Burn The Floor, West Side Story, Billy Elliott The Musical and Mamma Mia!. Visit houstontheaterdistrict.org for all the latest information.
Q&A Enchanté: Mercury Baroque’s
Antoine Plante By Andrew Huang and Heather Pray
How did Mercury Baroque come to be? Tell us about the growth it has experienced and some of its successes. When I finished my master’s degree at Rice 10 years ago, I decided to stay in Houston for at least a little while. A few friends and I started a small concert series concentrating on the music of the Baroque, using period instruments loaned to us by my dad at first. Popularity picked up really quickly and before we knew it we had a strong following, performing many concerts in the Wortham Center. I understand that Mercury Baroque will be performing in Paris this summer. How did that happen? When we started Mercury Baroque, I really wanted to make sure that we would provide a wide range of Baroque music, from opera, ballet and oratorios to intimate chamber music. Opera in Baroque music is really important. The Baroque period actually begins with the invention of the opera. At Mercury, we perform a fully staged opera every year. After doing many chamber operas, in May 2009 we were ready to perform larger and more important works. We decided to produce the last opera of Jean-Baptiste Lully, Armide. It’s a great work and is rarely done. We hired an important French stage director, Pascal Rambert, to create the staging. We also used a talented French soprano, Isabelle Cals. The production was such a success that Pascal Rambert invited Mercury Baroque to recreate the whole production at his theater in Paris. So the cast and the orchestra are packing for Paris, where we will give five performances of Lully’s Armide. The French audience is already very curious about our Baroque orchestra from Houston, performing a work that not even many French orchestras would dare to do! Other than classical music, what would we find on your iPod? My iPod is indeed mainly classical music. I have 3 ½ days worth of music by Vivaldi alone! But that’s work. I also have lots of tango music, some jazz and some Quebecois singers (although my wife does not really allow me to play it when she is around). I also like several French classic singers like Brassens and Gainsbourg.
Tell us a little about yourself.
What do you like to do when you are not working?
I was born in Montreal into a family of musicians. My dad is the director of an early music ensemble called L’ensemble Claude-Gervaise. Our home was filled with over 150 early instruments. In fact, growing up my bedroom was next to the rehearsal space, so I used to be awakened by early trombones and violins warming up! I went to the Montreal Music Conservatory for college and then earned my master’s degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.
I have two wonderful daughters: Simone, 4, and Claire, 3. I also have a beautiful wife, Lori. Most of my free time is spent with my family. We enjoy the usual – parks, zoo and museums – but mostly visiting friends. I love to cook and entertain. My wife and I also enjoy tango dancing. We have a vacation home in Quebec on an island off the St. Laurence River. We spend many summer weeks away from Houston’s heat there, hanging on the beach and foraging for mushrooms and berries. If I had more free time I would love to dedicate it to learning more languages and how to cook more types of cuisine.
Bubba Thomas at red cat jazz cafe.
Houston Bubbha Thomas and the Houston International Jazz Festival celebrate
two decades of music. by David Theis
you’ve attended one of Da Camera’s jazz concerts in the Wortham Theater Center, in which jazz musicians are accorded the same respect that classical musicians receive, you might be surprised to learn that 40 years ago their image was quite different. But according to acclaimed drummer and musical educator Bubbha Thomas, such was the case in Houston. At that time, Thomas says, “jazz had a negative image in this city. (People thought that jazz musicians) played music all night, slept all day, and slept with every woman they could.” Thomas says that musicians had a different image on the East Coast. “Coltrane played in the philharmonic hall,
and Duke Ellington played jazz masses, but if you tried to play in a church here, you’d have to beat up the board of directors and deacons first.” Hoping to change local attitudes, Thomas founded The Concerned Musicians of Houston society in 1970. “People used to ask me, ‘What are you concerned about?’ and I’d say ‘the negative image of jazz.’” Thomas recalls that some people disagreed that jazz had an image problem, but at the same time they doubted that thenmayor Louie Welch would sign a proclamation declaring August to be jazz month in Houston. “They said, ‘Louie Welch can’t spell jazz.’”
But Thomas proved them wrong. Welch did in fact sign the proclamation, (The Smithsonian has since declared April as National Jazz Month) and Thomas was off on a new career as the man who made Houston safe for jazz. Thomas grew up in the Fourth Ward where he was recruited to play drums in a community band. His father, William Thomas, was the pastor of Bright Morning Star Baptist Church. He played the piano at home while Bubbha’s mother Lela played piano during church services, so Thomas’ world was filled with music. He attended Booker T. Washington High School when the band was directed by the
late, great Conrad Johnson. “For a minute I was the best drummer there,” Thomas recalls. While still in school he began playing his first professional gigs in small Third Ward bars. He won a scholarship to Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. There, Thomas learned that his musical education was incomplete, to say the least. “As a drummer I didn’t know anything about scales or chords,” he recalls now. He had to work extremely hard to catch up, and this lesson about the importance of formal music training never left him. After graduating from Wylie, Thomas returned to Houston and was playing around town when he got an unexpected phone call from one of his heroes. Don Wilkerson is not widely remembered now, but at various points he seemed on the verge of making it big. He played lead sax for Ray Charles for years before trying to make it as a band leader himself. The All Music Guide remembers Wilkerson as “an archetypical, big-toned Texas tenor,” and Thomas was excited to join his band. “Don was the man,” Thomas says. “He was bigger than life. His music was so spiritual.” After Wilkerson’s band broke up, Thomas briefly went on the road with Chuck Jackson, a hit-maker from the ‘50s. But by the early 1970s Thomas was a father, and he wanted to stay close to home. So he started his own ensemble, The Lightmen (later The Lightmen Plus One), which would make a number of jazz-funk recordings. He also had a radio show and did jazz specials on local television. In 1970 he put on a jazz festival, but was disappointed at its reception. “I wanted to bring media exposure to the music. But I realized how hard it was going to be. These old people weren’t going to change their minds.”
Houston International Jazz Festival 20th Anniversary Friday, August 6, 9 pm Red Cat Jazz Café, 924 Congress Kick-off Party Saturday, August 7, 4-10 pm Discovery Green Texas Brass Band w/Kyle Turner, Hiroshima and Rachelle Ferrell Sunday, August 8, 11 am- 1 pm Wortham Theater Center Mayor’s Jazz Brunch w/ Summer Jazz Workshop All-Stars Discovery Green, 4-10 pm Summer Jazz Workshop All-Stars, The Latin Jazz All-Stars and Tito Puente, Jr. Tickets available at TicketWeb.com or 1.866.468.7621 For more info on the festival and Jazz Education Inc. visit jazzeducation.org
Feeling frustrated with his efforts to bring jazz into the Houston mainstream and not sure where to turn next, Thomas says “I went inside myself. I looked at my own background. Then I said I have to get young people involved.” So began what might well be Thomas’ most lasting contribution to Houston jazz – his work as an educator. In 1972, funded by a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and partnered with Conrad Johnson, Thomas began the Summer Program for Youthful Musicians, now known as the Summer Jazz Workshop (SJW) a program of his non-profit youth music education organization Jazz Education Inc. Thanks in part to SJW, Hous-
ton is now one of the country’s prime incubators of jazz talent with an impressive alumni of more than 8,500 teenage musicians.
ianist Jason Moran is perhaps Houston’s most critically applauded jazz musician. He says that SJW was a key in his development. “(The workshops) were my first step as a jazz pupil. I vividly remember Conrad Johnson showing us the scales. It was also an amazing place to meet so many other musicians that were serious about music. We inspired each other to play better.” By 1974 Thomas was ready to reach out to an even younger audience so he began his Jazz and Poetry Series for elementary school children, in which he presented jazz performances “that involved everybody in the room.” Thomas says that Houston has now “more jazz bands in secondary schools than anywhere in the world.” If so, he must get his share of the credit for bringing jazz into the curriculum. By 1990 Thomas felt the time was right once again to promote a jazz festival, and the Houston International Jazz Festival was born. The goal of the event is not only to raise monies for the youth programs but also to expose Houstonians to different types of jazz. The festival attracts local, national and international musicians. This year’s event, August 6-8 at Discovery Green and other downtown locations, will be the 20th anniversary edition. Festival favorites Hiroshima will perform Saturday, August 7 and as is the custom, the festival will close with a performance by the Summer Jazz Workshop All-Stars – doing Bubbha Thomas proud.
left: Summer Jazz Workshop All-Stars; center + right:
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17 | may 2010
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The Downtown District, Houston Downtown Alliance and City of Houston Convention & Entertainment Facilities Department have joined expertise and resources to create a onestop-shop for information on what to do and where to go in downtown Houston. This new downtown web portal, downtownhouston.org consolidates four websites into one. We hope this site and blogs will be helpful to you. Let us know what you think!
LO ‹VE WH Y W E
H-TOW N by Allison Bagley
Why we heart the heart of Houston. With its ever-changing landscape, a quirky personality, and a big history that blurs with Texas-sized tall tales, here are reasons to love Houston’s downtown.
Because we elected the ultimate public servant
hen newly-elected Annise Parker said, “I would rather be mayor of Houston than any other city in America,” in her first State of the City address earlier this year, we believed her. From her offices in downtown’s City Hall, Parker seeks to establish herself as an advocate for the citizens she has served alongside for years. With her no nonsense approach and the ability to make tough decisions, the native Houstonian is a standout politico. Proving herself for 11 years as a civic servant in the sometimes-thankless roles of city council member and city controller, Parker brings serious political activism and community organizing chops to the table, not to mention corporate oil and gas experience. The mother and historic preservationist was recognized with numerous awards before her campaign, such as Council Member of the Year by the Houston Police Officers Union.
Because Our Tallest Houstonian Is From China Rockets fans taking in the action courtside see ads for products they can’t get even their hands on, thanks to 7-foot, 6-inch Yao Ming’s rock star status in his native China. Those ads for milk and candy that flip courtside are aimed at the massive viewing audience in his home country (who also come to visit the city in record numbers). Our beloved hoops hero recently helped to open a second location of Yao Restaurant & Bar (owned by his parents) in the Houston Pavilions, where general manager Jack Tsai says the superstar visits once or twice a week for his current favorite dishes, the skydiver sushi roll and General Yao’s Chicken. Tsai says business at the authentic restaurant is “very good – people from China want to feel more at home.” The eatery draws an international clientele who often ask for the NBA All Star. “I tell them, ‘If you get lucky, you will see him.’ ” he says.
Because of our wildcatter, entrepreneurial spirit
The Wild West? Yep, it all started, and continues, here. Houston was born downtown, literally, in a grab for land as spirited as the bustling commerce that has followed since. The epicenter of the nation’s fourth-largest city continues to prosper because of the kind of innovative thinking that led to developments like Hogg Palace, the Inn at the Ballpark, One Park Place and the Houston Pavilions, citychanging endeavors like METRORail, points of civic pride like Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral and stalwart landmarks that reach the heavens while serving as hubs of economy, like Chase Tower and Wells Fargo Plaza.
Because we have one of the world’s largest “cradles”
Because we have six steakhouses within 10 blocks of each other
When the Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark opened on the edge of downtown in June 2008 it catapulted Houston into an entirely different league for the relatively new sport of skateboarding. The 30,000 square-foot, in-ground facility draws skaters of all levels from around the city to the park, where they can work on their kick flips and their ollies or just learn the basics. It’s all free, but don’t forget to bring your helmet – it’s required gear. And be sure to check out the urban art located along Skater Alley, the winding walkway between Sabine Street and the park’s entrance. The five large panels showcase outstanding urban works created by local artists.
ou’re sure to hit a sizzling New York strip on our strip, where an impressive six steakhouses share a span of just 10 blocks, and all still bustle nightly. Visiting dignitaries rub elbows with energy tycoons and regular Joes in mahoganypaneled bars and sleek dining rooms. Everything’s bigger in Texas, including our love for beef, and it’s evident by the very close proximity of Vic & Anthony’s, Strip House, Spencer’s, Shula’s, Morton’s and the newest kid on the block, III Forks. Christopher Fannin, vice president of operations at Strip House, says everyone gets a prime cut of the marketplace. Downtown diners – many on expense accounts, still more from out of town and looking for an authentic bite of cowboy chic – keep all the steakhouses filled. “It’s kind of that Texas cuisine,” that draws crowds in, Fannin says. “We don’t battle for customers – the steakhouses all have a really good relationship.” A visiting businessman eats at one, then spots another around the corner and makes a mental note to try it next time he’s in town, he says, adding that when one eatery fills up during a convention, he’s quick to check availability at a neighboring steak slinger down the road.
Because one man’s swamp is another man’s paradise New Yorkers John Kirby Allen and Augustus Chapman Allen founded Houston in 1836 on an unlikely spot – the then-unsightly convergence of White Oak Bayou and Buffalo Bayou. Few real estate tycoons could have envisioned what this pair did, choosing to name their development for the father of Texas and hero in its war for independence, General Sam Houston. Allen’s Landing eventually became Houston’s first port and the spot where many a settler stepped off to see their new home, perhaps disappointed in the swamplands that existed where the marketing-savvy Allen brothers are said to have promised glorious waterfalls.
G SCOTT IMAGING
Because we have a skyscraper the color of money and shaped like a dollar sign Money talks, especially when itâ€™s 71 stories high. The Wells Fargo Plaza shines like the beacon of capitalism it is. The largest multi-tenant building in the southwestern United States is the color of a crisp greenback and has a footprint of two semicircles to form an abstract dollar sign. Its all-glass design encapsulates black granite water walls, soaring lobbies and peaceful outdoor terraces.
Because we have an amazing public art collection
owntown’s revitalization was made possible through the kind of careful forethought that included plans for the al fresco art gallery that now peppers the area. In addition to rotating works at Discovery Green and other downtown landmarks, there are permanent pieces that have earned their own sightseeing rights over time, like David Adicke’s lyrically-inspired Virtuoso in the Theater District, John Runnels’ Dream.boats and Matthew Geller’s Open Channel Flow at the Sabine Water Pump Station, a 60-foot tall, bright blue steel set of pipes that spew water. The structure integrates the Pump Station with two downtown gems, the Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark and Buffalo Bayou Park,
in what Geller has described as “a kind of urban earthwork that is playful, absurd and as entertaining as it is functional.” From mosaic tile fountains to the abstract sculptures like those conceived by Joan Miro marking the entrances of the Chase Tower, downtown residents and visitors get their very own daily museum pass. Two of Discovery Green’s more notable outdoor installations include Margo Sawyer’s slick, color-blocked Synchronicity of Color, where professional and amateur photographers alike wrangle families and brides for portrait sessions, and Jean Dubuffet’s Monument Au Fantome.
Because Artists Can Thrive John Runnels of Mother Dog Studios considers himself a settler of downtown, founding his artists’ collaborative space in a 22,000-square foot warehouse in the 1980s, when few dared to put up stakes. Tolerating the area’s grit, or perhaps drawn to it, some artists and artist groups flocked to cheap rents downtown in those years, and some of the early pioneers, like MotherDog, still help shape a vibrant part of downtown’s landscape.
Because one of our beloved Cajun restaurants is located in the cloisters of an Episcopal church Downtowners rejoice when fried chicken is on the daily menu of The Cloister, one of the four locations of Treebeards, a downtown dining institution. Serving up a menu of jambalaya and seafood gumbo in Christ Church Cathedral’s social hall and courtyard, devoted members of the flock also sample Louisiana-influenced specialties in the chain’s Market Square and two tunnel locations.
In addition to creative performance groups and unconventional spaces including Super Happy Fun Land, DiverseWorks and Francisco Studios and freshly-thought gallery spaces like the one inside retail sneaker emporium The Tipping Point, downtown is home to the annual ArtCrawl event, now in its 18th year. Working artists work and show here, in addition to other creative types including filmmakers, graphic designers and interior designers.
Because you can travel from one end of downtown to another without ever seeing the light of day
Because a woman built one of Houston’s most beautiful buildings in honor of her sweetheart Here’s a tribute that’s not moving. Mellie Esperson built and dedicated a skyscraper at the corner of Travis and Rusk to her beloved husband Niels, an oil man, after his death. The 32-story Italian renaissance building was inspired by her travels to Europe and was the tallest building in Texas when it opened in 1927. Her love’s name is etched on the side of the building and the stunning masterpiece remains a showstopper today – its stately columns and a Roman tempietto (tiered monument) soar above the action below; the unique architecture has become one of the most recognizable downtown. In 1941 an annex went up next door – the first skyscraper to be built in Houston with central air conditioning – and the pair are referred to as the Mellie and Niels Esperson buildings.
Additional Houston locations of Tasti-DLite, a trendy Manhattan-based frozen yogurt shop, and gourmet salad bar Salata are two of the newest restaurants in downtown’s tunnel system. The six-mile network of air-conditioned underground passageways and skywalks spans 95 city blocks, defying Houston’s extreme natural elements while connecting hotels, businesses and entertainment options. Because the tunnel is only open during weekday business hours, many Houstonians have never traveled the other world. 25
Because we have the best skyline in the South
Because our convention center looks like the Love Boat
here are more than 600 members of the Facebook group that call themselves, “When I was a kid I thought the George R. Brown Convention Center was a boat.” With a futuristic façade and design elements that mimic brightly-colored steam pipes and port holes, it’s no wonder the younger generation (it didn’t exist until 1987) of this port city were confused when their parents drove them past the landmark.
pumping up Houston’s economy with his successful efforts in shipbuilding, drilling and petrochemical industries, the entrepreneur is credited for suggesting improvements to the artificial heart, spurring the Rice-Baylor landmark lifesaving invention. The American Society of Travel Agents made the first reservation for a national convention in the building the year it was complete, 1987. Now boasting 1.8 million square feet, including seven exhibit halls, an amphitheater, a ballroom and 66 loading docks, the GRBCC has played host to thousands of trade shows, meetings and conventions.
So who is our cruise ship’s captain? Namesake George R. Brown was an engineer whose successful oil company donated a large parcel of the 11 total city blocks where the patriotically-hued behemoth now sits. In addition to
Because quilters are our biggest annual convention Each fall, crafters from across the globe descend upon the George R. Brown Convention Center for the International Quilt Festival. The weekend, managed by a Houston company and this year taking place November 4-7, is a patchwork of social events, lectures, consumer shows, trade-only events, a quiltmaking academy and needling showdowns, all focused on the art and business of quilting. The nostalgic pastime has enjoyed a resurgence of late, thanks to the trendiness of the DIY movement. Fresh, modern designs and the introduction of technology are evident in cotton canvases that often look more like abstract artwork, portraits and landscapes than your grandmother’s tattered throw.
Because we have people in shocking bright yellow and teal uniforms that clean up after us every day Working tirelessly to keep downtown streets free of trash and litter, the Downtown District street team is one of many working parts transforming the area into a place where urbanites can play after hours and on weekends. District initiatives like this have supported the growth of downtown over the past 15 years making it a more livable and walkable place.
Because we have the oldest, largest and best Art Car Parade
ike so many Houston institutions, the Art Car Parade was born downtown. In 1987, it had “40 entries, 2,000 people – mostly friends and families of the artists – and a few homeless people who woke up Saturday morning and thought they had gotten some bad hooch the night before,” jokes
Barbara Hinton, a 25-year board member of The Orange Show, the non-profit organization behind the ever-growing annual parade. The event now features more than 250 wacky works of moving art, a spectacle that draws at least 250,000 people downtown annually.
We must be doing something right – the fleet of quirky cars gets a blessing from Dan Aykroyd himself this year. The comedian and founding father of the House of Blues will have a second tie to downtown as he serves as grand marshal of the 23rd parade. “The characters he has created are
cultural icons, and we think art cars are an icon of our society,” Hinton says of the celeb endorsement. “People can take a factorymanufactured vehicle and transform it into something that expresses their own personal creative vision.”
Because you can unpave a parking lot and put up a paradise
Because we have the city’s oldest commercial building still in use with (possibly) the oldest bar in Houston as its occupant
Discovery Green, a world-class green space that was once a surface lot, proves it. The 12-acre urban oasis has had one of the most significant impacts on downtown in recent years, spurring development, revitalizing surrounding areas and attracting visitors from the greater Houston area. Dining options range from a farmers market to a see-and-be-seen celebrity chef’s restaurant, and the park’s offerings are just as varied. Seasonal ice skating, WiFi, free public programming, lovely picnic space, water features, a performance arena and children’s attractions are just some of Discovery Green’s perks.
No, you’re not tipsy. The building that houses La Carafe, said to be the oldest haunt in Houston, indeed leans due to its age. Dare to step inside, where you’ll need cash for the jukebox (think Miles Davis
Because our favorite (and only!) craft brewery in town just moved to the neighborhood Through August, Texas’ oldest craft brewery, Saint Arnold, will shill bottles of their seasonal Summer Pils. This year, the tie-dyed label marks more than award-winning taste (the flavor recently brought home a gold medal from the Great American Beer Festival). It’s the first beer brewed in the new Lyons Street brewery on downtown’s edge. “To be part of the heart of Houston, you need to be located near the heart of Houston, which is downtown,” says founder Brock Wagner of his team’s move. “It was always a pipe dream – I didn’t know we would succeed at it.” Outgrowing their original location, the team brings to downtown a brew house (beer-making equipment) from a German monastery that they refurbished along with modern, energy-saving systems. Best of all, larger tours are on tap in the three-story new digs, a historic brick building constructed in 1914. Cheers!
mixed with old country standards) and reading glasses to study the wine list in the narrow, cozily dim room where local history dots the walls in the form of black-andwhite photos.
Because world class performance art starts here, then travels across the globe With the most theater seats in a concentrated area outside of Broadway and resident companies in the performance arts that rival those in New York, innovation brews onstage here. Take recent world premiere performances like Houston Ballet’s Marie or the Alley Theatre’s Wonderland – both shows will travel from their birthplace in Houston and continue to dazzle and delight audiences across the country. The groundbreaking Houston Grand Opera has produced 40 world premiere operas and six American premiere operas that have toured the world - some continue to do so - including Tony and Grammy award-winning Porgy and Bess, which premiered in Houston in the 1970s.
Because we have the winningest law school for moot court and moot trial competitions (Take that Harvard!)
Legal eagles at South Texas College of Law continue to beat out the Ivies and other eponymous institutions of higher education in moot court and moot trial show-downs. In 2008, the school nabbed a record 100th national advocacy competition title. Coached by faculty and alumni, students sharpen their skills at the downtown campus for national showdowns that mimic real-life courtroom scenarios. (In 2007, two South Texas teams battled for first and second place in a national competition.) It’s no surprise that U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks South Texas in the top 10 in the specialty of teaching trial advocacy skills and that its students also bring home accolades in brief writing competitions. We rest our case.
Because a man with only a 9th grade education transformed Houston into an international hub of commerce
rmed with nothing but Southern grit and determination and the keys to his late uncle’s offices, scion-in-themaking Jesse Jones moved to Houston in 1898 as a young man to manage his family’s lumberyard. Successful in this and a series of savvy business deals, Jones acquired an impressive amount of real estate and the Houston Chronicle, eventually becoming one of the city’s lead developers. The cowboy of commerce settled into a successful career in banking, during which time he invested in oil, raised money for the Houston ship channel and made
other significant impacts on the economy. Recognized for his Lone Star-sized prowess, the entrepreneur was eventually tapped to work with presidential administrations, most notably FDR, a position he used to bring new industries to Texas, like steel. Among other substantial philanthropic gifts to support local philanthropy, Jones and his wife Mary Gibbs Jones established the Houston Endowment, which today supports many arts organizations including the Houston Symphony, whose musicians perform in the downtown hall that bears the magnate’s name.
Because Waste Management’s Larry O’Donnell knows the meaning of “getting down and dirty”
he premiere episode of the reality show Undercover Boss, which aired on CBS after the Super Bowl, featured Larry O’Donnell, the president and chief operating officer of Houston-based Waste Management – the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. In this unscripted look at life on the front lines of the waste business, we saw the true Larry – a regular guy with family values and a Texas-sized worth ethic. Posing as a new, entry-level employee, he worked on jobs that included cleaning portable toilets and pulling diapers out of recycled materials on a sorting line. “I wanted to experience firsthand what it was like to do the jobs that are so vital to keeping our company running every day,” he said. After days of physically exhausting tasks, he got “A” marks from both viewers and employees. When he said, “I came away with a whole new appreciation for what our people do every day,” and pledged to address “some of the things that get in the way of people truly enjoying their jobs,” we were inclined to believe him.
Because Southwestern cuisine became more than soft shell tacos thanks to a biochemist-turned-chef named Robert Del Grande “It was one of those legacytype projects,” says Robert Del Grande, one of Houston’s chef superstars, of his decision to expand his eating empire to a park in the middle of downtown. “When we first saw what was going to happen downtown with Discovery Green … well, I always like helping a good vision to reality.”
The San Fran-raised Del Grande, who’s the force behind the two uber-successful restaurants in Discovery Green – The Grove and The Lake House – says it was “a bit puzzling,” years ago that downtown didn’t serve as the hub of the city as the central core does in most thriving metropolises. “It seemed like downtown was so ripe for that.
It just took a little vision and the support of the city.” Del Grande set out to create a concept for his venture. “The restaurant had to be an extension from the park – the restaurant should flow into the park and the park should flow into the restaurant,” he says. This is achieved with floor-to-ceiling windows at the fast-casual The Lake House and with a stunning second-story terrace and nature-inspired décor in the more upscale The Grove. From there, he built menus around local farming and other “signatures” of Houston. “You’ve got to have a great burger, seafood, some of the other Texas traditions,” he says of the Southwestern influences that spill over from his lauded RDG + Bar Annie uptown. “Some restaurants, when you walk through the front door, you could be (in any city). Here, you’re in Houston.” Not only do Houstonians appreciate the dining experience, but visitors get a feel for how great this city is.
datebook Theater 35 : Concerts 37 : Festivals & Special Events 38 : Tours 39
Sample the best of dance, music, theater and more at the Capital One Bank Theater District Open House on Sunday, August 29 from noon - 4 p.m. The annual, free, family-friendly event takes place in the heart of the Theater District at the Alley Theatre, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Wortham Theater Center and Jones Hall. downtownhouston.org 34
THEATER INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE May 21-Jun 20 Kenneth Lin’s new play, Intelligence-Slave, tells the story of Curt Herzstark, a concentration camp prisoner who was kept alive by the Nazis because he was rumored to have invented the world’s first hand-held, four-function calculator – a great prize if it could be re-created. Caught between the thrill of technological discovery and the fear of rendering himself obsolete if he produces a working device, Curt’s survival plan takes a turn when the Nazis introduce him to a wunderkind member of the Hitler Youth with a soul that might be salvageable. Recommended for mature audiences due to subject matter. Tickets $40-$55. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN May 25-Jun 6 You’ll have a monstrously good time at this spectacular new production, winner of the 2008 Outer Critics Circle Award. The sensational cast delivers all your favorite moments from the classic film, plus brand-new, show-stopping numbers for the stage, including Transylvania Mania, He Vas My Boyfriend and Puttin’ on the Ritz. This wickedly inspired re-imagining of the Frankenstein legend follows bright young Dr. Frankenstein (that’s Fronkensteen) as he attempts to create a monster – but not without scary and hilarious complications. The brains behind the laughter is mad genius and three- time Tony Award winner Mel Brooks himself- who wrote the music and lyrics and co-wrote the book along with his record-breaking team from The Producers. Tickets $26-$75. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 800.745.3000. broadwayacrossamerica.com BOEING-BOEING Jun 4-27 Boeing-Boeing, the high-flying, Tony award-winning comedy that had London and Broadway audiences airborne with laughter, is taking off on the Alley’s Hubbard Stage. Bernard, a successful American architect living in a posh Paris apartment, has been deftly juggling three fiancées who are all flight attendants. It’s easy, with good timing and a bit of assistance from his reluctant housekeeper who plays romantic air-traffic controller. But this supersonic lifestyle hits turbulence when his old college friend visits and each of his three fiancées change their flight schedule. Boeing-Boeing is called “the funniest play to hit Broadway in ages” (Wall Street Journal), and “pure pleasure and unconditional bliss” (New York Times). Fasten your seat belt for a roaring ride. Recommended for adults and children ages 12 and older. Tickets $21-$80. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org NIGHT COURT 2010: LEGAL HOLIDAYS Jun 9-12 The annual all-lawyer musical comedy that benefits charity is back with a stage show that parodies current events, pop culture, politics and nautical entertainment, as well as the legal profession. Tickets $15-$29. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.759.1133. hba.org MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL Jun 15-27 Four women at a lingerie sale with nothing in common but a black-lace bra AND memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, not enough sex, too much sex and more! This joyful musical parody set to 25 classic baby-boomer songs from Puff, My God I’m Draggin to the disco favorite Stayin’ Awake, Stayin’ Awake will have
you cheering and dancing in the aisles! It’s definitely not “The Silent Passage” anymore! Tickets $54. Hobby Center. 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. thehobbycenter.org LET’S MISBEHAVE Jun 19 A comedy show with a broad spectrum of music that parodies all elements of the crazy world in which we live. All bets are off, and political correctness will be thrown out the window so check your sensitivities at the door. Camp? You betchya! Tickets $22-$55. 7:30pm. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.521.7464. bayoucityperformingarts.org WICKED Jun 30-Jul 25 Long before that girl from Kansas arrives in Munchkinland, two girls meet in the land of Oz. One – born with emerald green skin – is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. How these two grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch makes for “the most completely satisfying new musical in a long time.” (USA Today) On Broadway and around the world, Wicked has worked its magic on critics and audiences alike. Winner of 26 major awards, including a Grammy and three Tony Awards, Wicked is “Broadway’s biggest blockbuster.” (The New York Times) Tickets $39-134. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 800.745.3000. broadwayacrossamerica.com
Houston Public Library’s Summer Reading Program June 1 - August 1
HIS SUMMER, kids and teens up to 18 years of age can join the magical adventure from fantasy to fables at the Houston Public Library’s free Summer Reading Program (SRP). Beginning June 1 thru August 1, they will be able to participate in many exciting, entertaining, and educational programs. The program encourages kids and teens to read during the sizzling days of summer to elevate their reading skills in preparation for the next school year. Hundreds of diverse free programs and events will take place during the two-month program.
Free. Houston Public Library, 500 McKinney. 832.393.1313. houstonlibrary.org
AGATHA CHRISTIE’S THE MOUSETRAP Jul 10-Aug 8 Written by the undisputed mistress of the thriller genre, The Mousetrap follows a group of strangers – one of whom is a murderer – trapped in a boarding house during a snow storm. Is it the newlyweds whose rampant suspicions nearly wreck their marriage, or the spinster with the curious background? Perhaps it is the architect, the retired Army major, or the odd man who claims his car overturned in a snow drift. Ticket $21-$70. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. 713.220.5700. alleytheatre.org PATIENCE Jul 16-25 Two eccentric poets “out-poet” one another to win the love of a simple milkmaid while surrounded by throngs of love sick maidens (whose soldier boyfriends are none too happy about the situation). The rapier wit of W.S. Gilbert and the timeless music of Sir Arthur Sullivan combine to prove that Patience isn’t just a virtue, it’s a comic opera. Tickets $25-$46. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. gilbertandsullivan.org RENT Jul 22-Aug 1 The Broadway smash hit finally
comes to Masquerade Theatre, and already the crowds are cheering for the show that turned the theater world upside down. Follow a year in the life of eight friends living in the post-Bohemia of New York’s East Village at the end of the millennium as they learn to cope with the chaos of modern life and the ties that bind them all together. Young lovers Roger and Mimi are reeling from the shadow of AIDS and the fear of betrayal and loss; street performer Angel and the studious, life-affirming Tom Collins are coming together in spite of the disease ravaging their bodies; Benjamin has married into wealth and in the process has sold out his Bohemian ideals; Maureen is coping with her chronic infidelity through performance art and her partner Joanne is wondering if their love can survive; and Mark, the aspiring filmmaker, observes it all through his camera without ever playing a part. Songs such as One Song Glory, La Vie Bohéme, Seasons of Love and I’ll Cover You will rock your soul and shake your heart with laughter and tears. Tickets $36.25-$66.25. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. 713.315.2525. masqueradetheatre.com
datebook PERFORMING ARTS PECOS May 27-Jun 6 Created by the legendary George Balanchine for New York City Ballet in 1978, Ballo della Regina is a virtuoso set of variations, comparable to the bel canto style of opera, set to ballet music that was cut from the original production of Verdi’s Don Carlos. With a specially commissioned score by Matthew Pierce, Stanton Welch’s vibrantly theatrical Pecos Bill dramatizes the poignant romance between the legendary Texas hero Pecos Bill and the gutsy tomboy Sluefoot Sue. Modern dance legend Mark Morris’s Sandpaper Ballet contains the hallmarks of his work: wit, humor, and dazzlingly inventive movement, along with whimsical green and white costumes by noted fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi. Tickets $35-$160. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org LAMHE Jun 6 A concert featuring four-time Filmfare Award winner Padamshri Kavita Krishnamurthy, the incredible classical Bollywood phenomenon Suresh Wadkar, the melodious Sa Re Ga Ma Pa winner Sanchita Bhattacharya, and the rising star in Bollywood playback singing Aavez Darbar. The four top-notch singers are accompanied by the original six-member Sa Re Ga Ma Pa music band. Tickets $45-$170. 6 Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 281.648.0422. iaahouston.com LA FILLE MAL GARDÉE (“THE WAYWARD DAUGHTER”) Jun 10-20 A glorious romantic comedy full of color and laughter, La Fille mal gardée is set in the countryside in 18th-century France. The ballet tells the story of Lise, a young maiden who must choose between the handsome, penniless farmer Colas and the wealthy simpleton Alain, whom her meddling mama wishes her to marry. In La Fille mal gardée, folk dance and classical ballet meet in a joyous celebration of love and life that is perfect for the entire family. Tickets $25-$160. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.227.ARTS. houstonballet.org SHEN YUN PERFORMING ARTS Jul 2-3 The response to Shen Yun’s productions has been phenomenal. Laughter, tears and standing ovations are a common sight. In its inaugural 2007 season the company performed for some 200,000 people. The following year, the number swelled to more than 500,000 and continued to climb in 2009. Shen Yun has already graced many of the world’s greatest stages, including New York’s Radio City Music Hall, London’s Royal Festival Hall, Washington DC’s Kennedy Center and Paris’ Le Palais de Congrès. Tickets $80-$230. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 800.745.3000. ticketmaster.com CHRONICLE DOLLAR CONCERT Jul 10 Enjoy the Houston Symphony in Jones Hall for $1 per ticket as Music Director Hans Graf continues this summer tradition. The concert also celebrates the talent of the first-prize winner of the Ima Hogg Young Artist Competition. Named to honor the memory of Ima Hogg, a co-founder of the Houston Symphony, this prestigious competition is open to young musicians between the ages of 16 and 29 who play standard orchestral instruments or piano. Tickets $1-$10. 7:30 Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
THE PLANETS PLUS STAR WARS Jul 17 If you missed the sold-out January world premiere of The Planets—An HD Odyssey, or want to relive the experience, now is your chance. This must-see multimedia event features an HD film of planetary images projected on a giant screen over the stage and paired with a live performance of Gustav Holst’s The Planets. Plus, enjoy the celestial inspired works of John Williams as the orchestra performs musical selections from Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. Tickets $22-$109. 7:30 Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org MARIACHI VARGAS CONCERT Jul 17 The Mexico City-based Mariach Vargas de Tecalitlán has been performing for 110 years and more than five generations. The group is made up of some of the best vocalists and musicians in the world. Tickets $29-$99. 7:30. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 800.745.3000. ticketmaster.com THE MUSIC OF QUEEN Jul 22 Houston Symphony patrons enjoyed sold-out summer performances of The Music of Led Zeppelin and The Music of Pink Floyd. Now join us and conductor Brent Havens for an evening dedicated to the timeless music of Queen. Singer Brody Dolyniuk captures the sound and essence of Freddie Mercury while the full orchestra provides the power and harmony for a full rock concert experience, including rock concert lighting and sound. This concert will feature music from albums such as Classic Queen, A Night at the Opera, Sheer Heart Attack, Jazz, News of the World, A Kind of Magic and The Works. Tickets $25$109. 7:30. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org DISTANT WORLDS – MUSIC FROM FINAL FANTASY Jul 24 Join us for the Houston premiere of the highly anticipated multi- media concert experience, Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy. Conductor Arnie Roth will conduct the orchestra through the extensive musical catalog of every game in the Final Fantasy series as the video of the games are projected on a large screen above the orchestra. Enjoy new music from the newly released Final Fantasy XIII, and the upcoming release Final Fantasy XIV. Fan favorite composer, Nobuo Uematsu and conductor Arnie Roth will be available for a post concert Q&A session from the stage. An additional, exclusive meet and greet opportunity also will be available for $75 for the first 100 people who add it to their concert ticket. Tickets $20-$95. 7:30. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 713.224.7575. houstonsymphony.org
EXHIBITS & VISUAL ARTS INFILTRATING CAPITALISM WITH THE YES MEN Through Jun 5 Considered among the most important political artists of this decade, The Yes Men are culture-jamming activists who practice what they call “identity correction.” By posing as spokespersons for prominent organizations and powerful entities, The Yes Men create spoof websites and appear in press conferences and TV shows to highlight how corporations and governmental organizations often act in dehumanizing ways toward the public. Keep it Slick: Infiltrating Capitalism with The Yes Men exhibits their practice through costumes, PowerPoint presentations, posters and props, scripts, research materials and selected publications and ephemera from their personal collections. Free. Wed- Sat noon-6. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.0346. diverseworks.org FLICKERLOUNGE: SELECTION OF SHORT FILMS BY DARA GREENWALD Through Jun 5 A companion piece to the Keep it Slick: Infiltrating Capitalism with The Yes Men exhibit in the DiverseWorks main gallery; flickerlounge, curated by Aurora Picture Show, will showcase short films by Dara Greenwald. While Greenwalds’ works also offer social and political commentary through practices that include collaboration, performance and video, they often do so from a feminist perspective, widening the lens on many of the subjects faced by a post-911 America. Free. Wed- Sat noon-6. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.0346. diverseworks.org A TEJANO SON OF TEXAS Through Jun 27 A Tejano Son of Texas traveling exhibit tells the life story of legendary Texas Tejano Jose Policarpio “Polly” Rodriguez. Free. Tue-Sat 10-4, Sun 1-4. The Heritage Society, 1100 Bagby Street. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org LUCK OF THE DRAW 9: THE MUSICAL Jun 16 Great art that will make your heart sing created by locally and nationally known artists and available at affordable prices. It’s not a song and dance – it’s DiverseWorks highly anticipated summer auction. Tickets $25-$125. DiverseWorks, 1117 East Freeway. 713.223.8346. diverseworks.org
CONCERTS NEIL YOUNG Jun 6 Rock icon Neil Young will hit the road for his first solo concert tour in years. The Twisted Road tour is a rare treat for fans. Young will play solo, offering a program of his classic songs along with brand new, unrecorded songs. British folk legend Bert Jansch will open the show. Tickets $59.50-$259.50. 8. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. 888.512.SHOW. frontgatetickets.com MAJIC 102.1 LIVE AFTER FIVE Jun 25, Jul 23 & Aug 27 Majic’s free summer concert series. Free. 5. Jones Plaza, 601 Louisiana. KMJQ.com PET SOUNDS Jun 26 Forty Houston musicians return to Discovery Green to re-create the Beach Boys Pet Sounds, an album that appears on many top lists and was the inspiration for Sergeant Pepper. Free. 8-10. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713.400.7336. discoverygreen.com VERIZON WIRELESS THEATER Jun 5 3OH!3 and Cobra Starship Jun 8 Imogen Heap Jul 17 Weird Al Yankovic Jul 28 Alejandro Sanz Jul 31 Melissa Etheridge Verizon’s concert calendar is continuously being updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. Verizon Wireless Theater, 520 Texas. 713.230.1600. livenation.com HOUSE OF BLUES Every Sunday Gospel Brunch Jun 4 Loudes 68 Presents Eric Nelson, Black Reign, J-cost and P. Blades Jun 5 The Fab Four - The Ultimate Tribute Jun 7 MGMT Jun 8 90.1 KPFT’s Lonestar Jukebox Presents Troubadour Tuesdays Jun 8 Truth & Salvage Jun 9 Wonder Girls World Tour w/Special Guest Jun 12 JP Morton Band Jun 16 Sage Francis w/Free Moral Agents and B. Dolan Jun 17 Josh Golden w/Jokersdeck Jun 18 Sounds of Seattle Tour Jun 18 Mingo Fishtrap Jun 19 Emory Quinn w/Rich O’Tolle and Mike Kelly Jul 3 Nevermind, A Tribute to Nirvana Jul 4 Miyavi: Neo Tokyo Samurai Black World Tour 2010 Jul 10 Monsters of Rock Tribute Night Jul 30 Aziz Ansari: Dangerously Delicious Tour Jul 31 Ottmar Liebert and Luna Negra Aug 12 Cyndi Lauper Aug 14 Frontiers - A Tribute to Journey HOB’s concert calendar is continuously being updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. House of Blues, Houston Pavilions, 1204 Caroline. 888.402.5837. hob.com
R at TOYOTA CENTE
Jun 9 Maxwell w/Jill Scott Jul 3 A.R. Rahman “Jai Ho” Jul 16 Michael Buble Jul 25 & 26 Lady Gaga - Monster Ball Tour Jul 28 WWE Smackdown Toyota Center’s concert calendar is continuously being updated. Check online for more info and to purchase tickets. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.4HOU.TIX. toyotacentertix.com
HIGH CALIBER GUN & KNIFE SHOW Jun 19-20 See hundreds of displays of new and old guns, ammo, gun parts, books, knives, knifes, sharpening tools, coins, camouflage and related items at discount prices. Tickets $8. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 281.331.5969. highcalibergunshow.com
HOUSTON WEDDING SHOWCASE Aug 28 Meet Houston’s top wedding professionals without driving all over town. Spectacular fashion shows, new ideas, expert advice and more. Tickets $10, cash only. 12 and under, free. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 713.952.5252. houstonweddingshowcase.com
BRIDAL EXTRAVAGANZA Jul 10-11 Meet face to face with Houston’s top wedding vendors and check out all they have to offer under one roof. Tickets $15 (one day) and $28 (two-day). George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 281.340.7777. bridalextravaganzashow.com
EVERY WEEK AT DISCOVERY GREEN RECYCLING SATURDAYS Saturdays Bring your glass, paper, plastic and aluminum to a recycling station at Discovery Green. On the first Saturday of every month, enjoy coffee and a newspaper at Hilton Americas Hotel. Free. 10-2. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713.400.7336. discoverygreen.com
HIGH CALIBER GUN & KNIFE SHOW Jul 24-25 See hundreds of displays of new and old guns, ammo, gun parts, books, knives, knifes, sharpening tools, coins, camouflage and related items at discount prices. Tickets $8. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. 281.331.5969. highcalibergunshow.com
YOUNG WRITERS WORKSHOPS Saturdays Writers in the Schools, HPL Express and Discovery Green team up to offer Houston’s only free open writing workshop for kids. Made possible by a grant from David Mendez. Free. 10:30-11:30. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713.400.7336. discoverygreen.com
EXPOS TRI STAR COLLECTORS SHOW Jun 18-20 The nation’s premier producer of authenticated, autographed sports memorabilia and sports collectible events, with appearances by Nolan Ryan and Darryl Strawberry, among dozens of others. George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida de las Americas. tristarproductions.com
datebook CHILDREN’S DISCOVERY SERIES PRESENTED BY KBR Saturdays in Jun A wonderful weekly excursion in art, culture and fun. Check online for Discovery Series updates. Free. Noon-1. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713.400.7336. discoverygreen.com URBAN HARVEST MARKET Sundays Discovery Green welcomes a new market, organized by Urban Harvest Inc. a non-profit organization that operates Houston’s largest farmers market at Eastside. Free. Noon-4. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713.400.7336. discoverygreen.com SUNDAYS IN THE PARK PRESENTED BY THE FOUR SEASON HOTEL Sundays in June Enjoy a Sunday in the park with great live music from Houston’s best bands. Free. 3-5. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713.400.7336. discoverygreen.com THURSDAYS ROCK AT DISCOVERY GREEN PRESENTED BY CAPITAL ONE Jun 3 Los Skarnales + Karina Nistal Jun 10 Mike Stinson + Robert Ellis and The Boys Jun 17 Sara Hickman + Leah White and The Magic Mirrors Jun 24 Joe King Carrasco + David Beebe and The Conrads Free. 6:30-8. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713.400.7336. discoverygreen.com FITNESS IN THE PARK PRESENTED BY ACADEMY SPORT AND OUTDOORS YOGA IN THE PARK WITH TUTS Saturdays, 9:30-10:30 FAMILY YOGA WITH TUTS (Jun Only) Tuesdays, 10:30-11:30 PILATES + YOGA= PIYO WITH TUTS Tuesdays, 6:30-7:30 ZUMBA! Wednesdays, 6:30-7:30 Free. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713.400.7336. discoverygreen.com
FILM ANGELIKA FILM CENTER Ongoing Stylish cinema playing an eclectic mix of art films and commercial movies from major studios. Tickets $9 adults, $7 matinee, $6.25 kids, $6.5 seniors (note: if you park in the Theater District garage, they will deduct from your ticket price but you must bring parking ticket with you). Call or go online for list of films and show times. Bayou Place, 510 Texas. 713.225.1470. angelikafilmcenter.com AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL TRAVELING SERIES Jun 4 Movement (R)evolution Africa (2007; 65min) is an astonishing exposition of nine African choreographers from Senegal to South Africa who challenge stale stereotypes of “traditional Africa” and unveil soul-shaking responses to the beauty and tragedy of 21st-century Africa. Presented as part of the African Film Festival
Traveling Series, with additional films scheduled at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The event begins at 7:30 with live music by D.R.U.M. Free. 8:30. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713.400.7336. discoverygreen.com FIRST THURSDAYS AT DEAN’S Jun 3, Jul 1 & Aug 5 Every first Thursday of the month you can check out the screening of award-winning, Texas-made short film entries from the Houston Film Commission’s Texas Filmmakers Showcase or from other film festivals. Free. 8:30. Dean’s Credit Clothing, 316 Main. 713.437.5249. KUHF SILENT FILM CONCERT – The Unknown Jun 11 Lon Chaney and a young Joan Crawford light up Tod Browning’s The Unknown (1927, 63 min) with original score performed by The Invincible Czars. Free. 8-10. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713.400.7336. discoverygreen.com SCREEN ON THE GREEN – The Blues According to Lightning Hopkins Jun 19 A lyrical film about one of the greatest of all bluesmen, Houston’s Lightnin’ Hopkins. The 1969 film (31 min) was made by noted filmmaker Les Blank. Opening with live music from today’s blues scene in Houston. Free. 8-10. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713.400.7336. discoverygreen.com
SUMMER MOVIE SERIES Presented by KHMX-FM. Please check website for movie listing and schedule. Free. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713.400.7336. discoverygreen.com FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS KBR KIDS DAY ON BUFFALO BAYOU Jun 5 Presented by Buffalo Bayou Partnership, a fun-filled day with hands-on educational activities, music, food, park performers and boat rides on the bayou. Activity stations will include a showcase of bayou animals and insects, wetland hikes, skateboarding demos, bayou scavenger hunts, kayaking demos with REI, bat games with Texas Parks & Wildlife, fishing lessons, soccer games with the Houston Dynamo, basketball activities with the Houston Rockets, wildflower plantings in the bayou
prairies, face painting, balloon twisting and jugglers. Free. 10-2. Sabine Promenade. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org FREE PRESS SUMMER FEST Jun 5 & 6 This music and arts festival will feature more than 50 national and local musical performers, visual arts and games. Confirmed to headline this year is the Grammy Award-winning band The Flaming Lips. 2010’s festival welcomes the addition of a third stage and an exciting expansion of the scope and area of artist installations.. Noon-10. Eleanor Tinsley Park, 1800 Allen Parkway. freepresssummerfest.com REDS, WHITES AND BREWS Jun 25 Emerging Leaders’ signature annual wine event has a new twist, the addition of beer! Join EL for an evening of delicious red and white wines from the Italian Expo and a variety of ice cold beers. Downtown restaurants will be on the scene providing generous tastings of their kitchens’ best. Tickets $35 for EL Members $45 for nonmembers. 7-10. Advantage BMW Midtown, 1305 Gray. 713.658.8938. houstondowntownalliance.com DOCK DOGS Jul 2-4 Presented for the third time in Houston, this Big Air Dogs competition is a dynamic canine sport measuring leaps and bounds. Televised on the Outdoor Channel, DockDogs consists of dogs jumping into water from a designated dock with the largest or highest leap earning that canine a victory. Dogs and owners travel to Houston to compete, and the competition will be open to local dogs, too. Check website closer to the event for updated schedules. Free. Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney. 713.400.7336. discoverygreen.com FREEDOM OVER TEXAS WITH FIREWORKS BY SHELL Jul 4 Houston’s official Fourth of July celebration featuring a national musical act, several musical stages, kids activities, food, fun, and the largest land-based fireworks show in the nation. Free. 4-10. Eleanor Tinsley Park, 1800 Allen Parkway. freedomovertexas.org 24TH ANNUAL WATERMELON DANCE AND SUMMER SOCIAL Jul 31 Last Concert Cafe is a Houston institution, and thanks to their always-closed red door it’s pretty much the closest you can get to a speakeasy in the 21st century. A great place to enjoy live music, margaritas and Tex-Mex food, their annual Watermelon Festival really makes the most of Last Concert’s backyard stage. 2/$20 or $15 each. $10 with kids under 10 free. Proceeds benefit 90.1 KPFT Pacifica Radio. Last Concert Café, 1403 Nance. 713.226.8563. lastconcert.com
20th ANNUAL HOUSTON INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL Aug 6-8 With performances by Rachelle Ferrell, Texas Brass Band, Hiroshima, SJW All-Stars, Tito Puente, Jr., the Latin Jazz All-Stars and more, the Houston International Jazz Festival is a music-lovers dream. Tickets available at ticketweb.com. Fri 9 (Red Cat Jazz Café), Sat 4-10 (Discovery Green), Sun 11-1 (Jazz Brunch at Wortham Theater) and 4-10 (Discovery Green). 713.839.7000. jazzeducation.org CAPITAL ONE BANK THEATER DISTRICT OPEN HOUSE Aug 29 Visit the Alley Theatre, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Wortham Theater Center and Jones Hall all in one day. Performances and backstage tours will be offered at several of the Theater District’s venues and downtown restaurants will offer bites to eat . There also will be an opportunity to purchase season subscriptions to member performing arts organizations. Those organizations include Alley Theatre, Da Camera of Houston, Houston Ballet, Houston Broadway Series, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, Society for the Performing Arts and Theatre Under The Stars. Free. Noon. Alley Theatre, 615 Texas. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. Wortham Center, 501 Texas. 713.658.8938. downtownhouston.org
SPORTS HOUSTON ASTROS For schedule info and tickets, call or check the website. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 877.927.8767. astros.com HOUSTON DYNAMO For schedule info and tickets, call or check the website. University of Houston Robertson Stadium, 4800 Calhoun. 713.276.7500. houstondynamo.com
TOURS BAT TOUR WITH WINE AND CHEESE Jul 16 Join Glenn Olsen, for a bat tour in style on Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s pontoon boat. In addition to watching the Waugh Bridge bat colony emerge at dusk, Glenn will share his environmental knowledge and identify the various wildlife and plants that call Houston’s waterway home. $55, reservation required. 7:309:30. Sabine Promenade at Sabine. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org SECOND SATURDAY BUFFALO BAYOU BOAT RIDES Jun 12, Jul 10 & Aug 14 These 30-minute pontoon boat cruises are a great way to spend the afternoon with your family and friends. First-come, first-serve, no reservations, 20 person max per trip. $7 adults, $5 for kids 4-12. 10-2. Sabine Promenade at Sabine. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org
BATS TOURS BY PONTOON BOAT Jun 11 & 25, Jul 9 & 23, Aug 13 & 27 You’ll enjoy an amazing view of the bats’ dusk emergence and learn more about these magnificent flying mammals that share the city with us. Reservations required, cancellations must take place 48 hours prior to the tour. $35 adults, $20 for kids 4-12. Depart at dusk. Allen’s Landing, 1001 Commerce. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org KAYAK TOURS Jun 19 Join the Buffalo Bayou Partnership for a kayak adventure through Houston’s stunning urban wilderness. All equipment is provided, including a tandem sit-on-top kayak. Reservations required, cancellations must take place 48 hours prior to the tour. $60 per person. 9-noon. Start: I-610 and Woodway. End: Allen’s Landing. 713.752.0314. buffalobayou.org DISCOVER HOUSTON TOURS Ghost tours, tunnel walk and rail tours, architecture tours and more are available. Tour guide Sandra Lord is the resident expert and has been conducting downtown and Houston tours since 1988. Ticket prices vary. 713.222.9255. discoverhoustontours.com HERITAGE SOCIETY HISTORIC HOMES TOUR Nestled among 19 acres in the heart of downtown Houston, the Heritage Society boasts eight historic structures dating from 1823 to 1905. Each historic structure is authentically restored to reflect its original magnificence. $6 adults, $4 seniors and free for kids under 18. Tue-Sat
10, 11:30, 1, 2:30 and Sun 1, 2:30. 1100 Bagby. 713.655.1912. heritagesociety.org MINUTE MAID PARK TOUR Get a behind-the-scenes look at Minute Maid Park, including the historic Union Station, broadcasting booth or press boxes, Astros’ or visitors’ dugout, luxury suites and much more. $9 adults, $7 seniors and $5 for kids 3-14. Mon-Sat 10, noon, 2. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. 713.259.8687. astros.com TOYOTA CENTER’S BACKSTAGE TOUR The one-hour backstage tour will take you behind the scenes of Houston’s premier destination for sports and entertainment. $7 adults, $5 for kids 12 and under and seniors. Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. 713.758.7715. houstontoyotacenter.com SAINT ARNOLD BREWING COMPANY TOURS Come visit Texas’ oldest craft brewery in their new location. Every Saturday, the doors open at 11 and groups will rotate in and out of the facility in an open house format until the final group is allowed in at 2. If Saturdays don’t work for you, check out their weekday open house at 3. After the tour, guests are welcome to stay for a free tasting. $7, no reservations required. All minors under the age of 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. 2000 Lyons at I-10. saintarnold.com FREE SELF-GUIDED AUDIO WALKING TOURS Put on your headphones, hit play and let local insiders, captivating voices and an original soundtrack envelop you in stories of Houston’s past and present. No need to worry about which way to go or what to look for, we’ll point out everything along the way. Three tours are available: The Ultimate Downtown Tour, Museum District Walk & Roll and A Walk in the Park: Discovery Green Walking Tour. Tours are free and available to download to your iPod or MP3 player at houstondowntown.com or as a podcast on iTunes. Be sure to also download the accompanying map for reference.
2010 MLS ALL-STAR GAME
) MLSvs.all-stars Manchester United Saturday, July 24: MLS All-Star Fun Run: A 5K run and festival organized by the Houston Marathon Saturday, July 24: Dynamo Game Viewing Party Sunday, July 25: Soccer Movie Festival at Angelika Film Center Monday, July 26: All-Star Kickoff Party & MLS Works Party Tuesday, July 27: Celebrity All-Star Soccer Match for Charity at Discovery Green Tuesday, July 27: Red Carpet Celebrity Party at Hotel ZaZa Wednesday, July 28: MLS All-Star game at Reliant Stadium visit HoustonDynamo.com for more info
The Guide to eating downtown
Meatballs and more The Spaghetti Warehouse combines old world Italian traditions with American abundance in hearty, made-from-scratch dishes. 901 Commerce. >> 40
L17 Restaurant New American
Found in the lobby of the luxurious Alden Hotel, this lush and lavish destination oozes elegance. Detailed American cuisine and smart service make this a restaurant of note. aldenhotels.com. Alden Hotel, 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. L by reservation only; D Daily. $$$$
a+ bar and grille American Casual The Alden Hotel's relaxed dining option where you'll find a breakfast buffet and a great bar menu with tasty appetizers, salads, burgers and sandwiches every day of the week. A good spot for a fast lunch or a bite before the ballgame, you'll also love their happy hour and cocktail offerings. aldenhotels.com. Alden Hotel, 1117 Prairie, 832.200.8800. B, L & D Daily. $$
L Andalucia Restaurant & Bar Tapas/Spanish Dim lighting, large wooden tables and heavy iron accents provide for a cozy, rustic atmosphere. The menu features large dishes, such as paella for up to 16 people, and tapas that range from the traditional such as gambas al ajillo (shrimp cooked in olive oil and garlic) and empanadas, to veal tongue and oxtail. andaluciatapas.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.1200. L Mon-Fri, D Mon-Sat. $$
L Artista American
Artista offers inspirational contemporary American cuisine and theatrical ambiance with high ceilings, glass walls and sweeping views of the Houston downtown skyline. cordua.com. Hobby Center, 800 Bagby, 713.278.4782. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat (Open for L & D on Sunday only if a theater performance is scheduled). $$$
Atrium Lobby Lounge Contemporary Located in-
Birraporetti’s Italian This Italian restaurant/Irish bar is a Theater District staple. Their delicious pizzas continue to hit the spot, while items such as the chicken picatta and La Dolce Vita have become standouts. Enjoy a signature dessert to finish the meal. birrarestaurant.com. 500 Louisiana, 713.224.9494. L, D & LN Daily. $$
L Bistro Lancaster New American
Located in the historic Lancaster Hotel, this cozy getaway is a great place to dine before catching a show in the Theater District. Their new seasonal menu continues Bistro Lancaster’s commitment to local, fresh ingredients of the highest quality. You’ll find hearty soups, sizzling steaks and savory seafood. thelancaster.com. Lancaster Hotel, 701 Texas Ave, 713.228.9502. B, L & D Daily. $$$$
L Bombay Pizza Co. Indian Fusion Fusing the cuisines of India with pizza, innovative creations are served on a homemade, dense, thin and crispy crust. Try the Saag Paneer, which is topped with fresh spinach and four cheeses or the Gateway to India topped with cilantro, tandoori chicken, garlic, and artichoke hearts. The restaurant is BYOB and also offers delivery. bombaypizzaco.com. 914 Main, 713.654.4444. L Mon-Fri, D Mon- Sat. $
Bon Jour Café Deli Offering soups, sandwiches and salads. 945 Capitol , 713.237.0419. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Bouray’s Burrito Bar Fast Food A burrito bar with tons of ingredients and sides that allow you to create the burrito of your dreams. bourays.com. 609 Clay, 713.652.5999. L Mon-Fri. $
side the Doubletree Hotel overlooking Allen Center courtyard. Relax after a busy day and enjoy your favorite beverage or a bite to eat while you catch up on the day’s news on the wide screen TV. Doubletree Hotel, 400 Dallas, 713.759.0202. L, D & LN Daily. $$
Brazos Restaurant American Upscale seafood and casual American fare come together in a Texaschic atmosphere. Newly refurbished, black booths and white tablecloths offer elegance and décor not typically found in hotel restaurants. Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1700 Smith, 713.495.7854. B, L & D Daily. $$$
L Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar Japanese/Sushi
L Brown Bag Deli Fast Casual
Voted “Best sushi in Houston” by Citysearch.com, this new-age Japanese restaurant is anything but typical. The ambience is terrific, the sushi is innovative and fresh and the outside seating area provides great people watching. azumajapanese.com. 909 Texas, 713.223.0909. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sun; LN Fri & Sat. $$
Ballpark Café American Enjoy the all-American cuisine and a nostalgic atmosphere for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just across the street from Minute Maid Park, Ballpark Café is a great place to have a pre/post-game meal. innattheballpark.com. Inn at the Ballpark, 1520 Texas Avenue, 713.228.1520. B & L Daily. $
Banzai Sushi Japanese/Sushi Count on Banzai Sushi at Bayou Place for the freshest sushi, sashimi and specialty rolls. If sushi isn’t your thing, try their vegetable tempura, Chilean sea bass, Korean ribs or chicken teriyaki. Lunch combos start at just $8 and you can receive 10 percent off your bill with a theater ticket for that night. Bayou Place, 550 Texas, 713.225.1167. L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $$
Benihana of Tokyo Japanese While some restaurants allow their guests to view the kitchen, this Japanese grill brings the kitchen to you. Benihana chefs set up shop right in front of your table. The meal is made from scratch, and you can witness the entire show. benihana.com. 1318 Louisiana, 713.659.8231. L & D Daily. $$$
Located in the Houston Club building, Brown Bag Deli serves up tasty, fresh sandwiches “just like you like it.” Known for their fluffy, soft bread you won’t be disappointed and neither will your wallet. thebrownbagdeli.net. 810 Capitol, 713.224.7000. L Mon-Fri. $
Burger King Fast Food 810 Capitol, 713.223.4114. B & D Mon-Sat; L Daily. $ B.U.S. Sports Grill and Bar American The ultimate hangout spot before or after a ballgame. Come and enjoy your favorite cold beverage or bite to eat while cheering the home team to victory. B.U.S. is also a great place to catch the latest sporting event on the big screen! Two locations. Before/after Rockets games, 1410 Bell. Before/after Astros games, 1800 Texas. $
L Byrd’s Market & Cafe American Byrd's features a chef- driven, casual dining restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, a prepared food market where you can find freshly baked breads and pastries and a limited selection of wines, grocercy essentials and basic household necessitates. Grab a seat on the mezzanine level, overlooking Main Street and enjoy a butternut squash roasted pork sandwich with sweet potato fries! byrdsmarket. com. 420 Main, 713.225.0100. B & L Daily; D Mon-Fri. $ Cabo Mexican The “Mix-Mex” grill is a spicy blend of South and Central American flavors. A fun downtown spot with the ultimate outdoor balcony
for dining overlooking the streets of downtown. cabomixmex.com. 419 Travis, 713.225.2060. L & D Mon-Sun; LN Mon-Sat. $$
The Cafe American Located in the lobby of the Hilton Americas. An elaborate buffet is offered for breakfast, with a la carte selections from the menu available for lunch and dinner. Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar, 713.739.8000. B, L, D & LN Daily. $$
L Cafe Express Fast Casual
Need to grab a quick lunch? Cafe Express is an informal yet sophisticated choice. One of the originals in the fast casual restaurant category, you can always find a variety of delicious entrees, salads and sandwiches. cafe-express.com. 650 Main, 713.237.9222. B & L Mon-Sat; D Mon–Fri. $
L Cava Bistro American Bistro Enjoy a diverse menu when dining at this rustic eatery situated on Main Street in downtown’s Historic District. Menu items include escargot, leek tart, ahi tuna, short ribs, gnocchi and whole red snapper. An impressive wine list, great service and affordable prices make this bistro unique. bellarestaurants.com. 300 Main, 713.229.9504. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$ China Garden Chinese A popular Chinese restaurant, China Garden has been serving downtown for more than 30 years. Their egg rolls and lemon chicken have become favorites. 1602 Leeland, 713.652.0745. L Mon-Fri; D Daily. $ Chipotle Mexican Known for their large portions, this Mexican fast casual spot offers a variety of wholesome menu items. Chipotle is an affordable choice and with patio seating available, guests can enjoy their meal al fresco. chipotle.com. 909 Texas, 713.225.6633. L & Early D Mon-Fri. $
L Cielo Mexican This new upscale Mexican bistro offers patrons Latin American favorites in a sophisticated, urban setting. Cielo has a fantastic bar and happy hour menu for late nights, also a large patio for al fresco dining. Tequila and wine tasting dinners will be offered monthly. bellarestaurants.com. 300 Main, 713.229.9500. L & D Mon-Sat; LN Fri & Sat. $$
} key to symbols These listings are not reviews but are a guide to downtown dining spots. "Recommended" restaurants are selected by Downtown Magazine editors and are based on food quality, menu selection, service, ambiance and value.
L recommended new! just opened average price of an entrée $ - $10 or less $$ - $11-$19 $$$ - $20-$29 $$$$ - $30+ B: Breakfast L: Lunch D: Dinner LN: Late Night
>For a searchable database of downtown
Houston restaurants by cuisine, location and price, visit downtownhouston.org and click on Dining.
If These Walls Could Talk
A Meal at the Spaghetti Warehouse is a Trip Through the Past. By Holly Beretto
t’s hard to ignore history when you have a meal at the Spaghetti Warehouse, the massive home-style Italian restaurant rising out of a curve where Travis dips into Commerce. Right inside the door is a huge metal grinder, and just behind the hostess stand, a staircase winds its way upward into a vast concave of vintage signs and set pieces that look straight out of The Name of the Rose. “Our staircase came from a castle in England,” says general manager Sandra McMasters. “The décor is a huge part of our concept.” The concept is simple: fun, friends and food. For diners, that means heaping portions of comfort Italian food – think eats spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmigiana, fried ravioli, fettuccine alfredo – in a setting literally filled to the rafters with antiques. Spaghetti Warehouse opened in 1974, but the restaurant’s building dates back to 1903, when it began its life as the Desel-Boettcher Warehouse and used as storehouse for the Southern Pacific Railroad. “When we bought the place, our owners went all over the country, looking for great antiques they could use in the space,” explains McMasters. She points out the Tiffany chandelier that used to hang in New York City’s Grand Central Station, and the authentic grandfather clock. There’s even an old Houston Avenue trolley car 42
that’s been converted to seating and does double duty as a party place. Vintage signs, framed old maps, a couple of old-fashioned stoves, even reclaimed church pews are crammed into the Historic District location, surrounding diners with the past.That love of the past carries over into the menu, where classic Italian family fare is served up in epic proportions at reasonable prices. Start out with a glass of Warehouse Sangria, made with slightly sweet Lambrusco and packed with puckery fruit flavors. Order the toasted ravioli appetizer, six lightly breaded ravioli fried to crisp perfection, perfect for dipping in the accompanying home-made marinara sauce. Move on to the lasagne and chicken parmigiana combination. The lasagne is done with pork and beef, mixed between layers of pasta and milky ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. One of the restaurant’s signature dishes, McMasters estimates the place goes through 200 pounds of lasagne noodles a week. This summer, diners can check out the “2 for $20” menu, selecting an appetizer to share, two entrees served with bottomless soup or salad and bread. For an extra two bucks you can add on Warehouse Tiramisu or a Brownie Sundae Supreme. McMasters says the family atmosphere is what keeps diners coming back for more. “We’re seeing people now who came here for a party, met each other, got married, and are bringing their kids in,” she says. “We’re proud of our food and our history. And it’s great being right here in the shadow of Allen’s Landing, where Houston began.”
L 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, 713.651.0673. B & L Mon-Fri. $
L El Rey Taqueria Cuban/Mexican This fast casual Cuban and Mexican eatery is home to tasty plantains and juicy roasted chicken. El Rey opens early for those craving breakfast tacos and is open late on weekend nights for night owls craving a Cuban sandwich. elreytaqueria.com. 233 Main, 713.225.1895. B & L Mon-Fri. $
Craiganales Italian Deli Italian Deli A family-
serves up all your Mediterranean favorites, including beef and chicken kabobs, hummus and of course falafel. 914 Prairie, 713.237.8987. L Mon-Fri. $
owned Italian-styled deli located close to Minute Maid Park and the Courthouse District. Craiganales features a tasty and affordable selection. craiganalesdeli.com. 415 Caroline, 713.237.0000 L Mon-Fri. $
Decafe Fast Casual Located in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency, visit this marketplace cafe anytime, day or night, when you are craving something delicious. Decafe offers brick oven pizza, deli sandwiches, salads, homemade pastries and, of course, an entire selection of your favorite coffee beverages. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana, 713.654.1234 x 4088. B, L, D & LN Daily. $ Domino’s Pizza 804 Main, 713.227.3030. $
LDon Diego Coffee House/Columbian This quaint neighborhood spot features Columbian specials served with plantains and rice. They have 100 wines by the bottle- all under $20 and feature Katz’s coffee and a wide selection of desserts. Its cozy atmosphere and free WIFI make it the perfect hang-out spot. cafeyvinocompany.com 208 Travis, 713.228.3560, B & L Daily, D, LN Thu-Sat.$
Don Patron Bar & Grill Mexican Good Mexican food and margaritas, Don Patron is great for lunch and a good spot for an after-work happy hour. Available on weekends for private parties. donpatron.com. 500 Dallas, One Allen Center.B, L & D Mon-Fri. $$
L The Downtown Aquarium Seafood
The menu features a huge variety and offers something for everyone. While dining, guests are surrounded by a 150,000 gallon aquarium. Enjoy the sights and a great meal at this family-friendly spot. aquariumrestaurants.com. 410 Bagby, 713.223.3474. L & D Daily. $$
Downtown Donuts Bakery This little shop puts out a large assortment of breakfast goodies. Daily fresh baked choices include glazed, iced or filled donuts, bear claws, cinnamon rolls and turnovers and they also have kolaches—be sure to try the spicy boudin kolache. 1207 Prairie, 713.236.0500. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Downtown Hunan Café Chinese Fast casual spot offering all your Asian favorites. 613 Clay, 713.759.0515. L Mon-Fri. $
L Droubi Bro. Mediterranean Grill
This authentic Mediterranean grill offers up a quick and satisfying spot for lunch. Pita sandwiches are popular. 507 Dallas, 713.652.0058. L Mon-Fri. $
Eats Mesquite Grill Classic American Craving a burger downtown? Popular for their juicy burgers and great-tasting fries, Eats makes for a great lunchtime stop. Guests can make their burgers exactly how they like them. 804 Milam, 713.223.3287. L Mon-Fri. $
Falafel Frenzy Mediterranean This quaint spot
Flying Saucer Pub Fare Offering more than 200 beers, almost half on draft, Flying Saucer is a beerdrinker’s paradise. Excellent staff and tasty eats give the place an identity all its own. beerknurd.com. 705 Main, 713.228.7468. L, D & LN Daily. $
L Frank’s Pizza Pizza
Home of the “late-night slice,” Frank’s Pizza has built a quality reputation for itself serving up delicious food in a great atmosphere. Not only can you grab a slice of pizza, Frank’s also serves up darn good hamburgers, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, Buffalo wings, lasagna and salads. frankspizza.com. 417 Travis, 713.225.5656. L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $
L The Grove American Rustic This two-story, ultra-urban restaurant is found at Discovery Green, downtown Houston’s newest park. The menu features rustic American cuisine such as Gulf Coast seafood, steaks and signature rotisserie dishes. The Tree House roof deck bar features casual bar snacks and a see-and-be-seen atmosphere for cocktails. grovehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar, 713.337.7321. L & D Daily. $$$ Grum Bar & Grill Classic American A casual dining and nightlife spot with a traditional bar and grill menu including pizzas, sandwiches, burgers and steaks. Comfortable atmosphere with walls featuring work by local artists, a wide selection of beers, good food and friendly staff make this a place you want to check out. 306 Main, 713.224.6448. L Mon-Sat; D Thu-Sat. $
hearsayhouston.com. 218 Travis, 713.225.8079. L Daily; D Mon-Sat; LN Fri–Sat. $$ Home Plate Bar & Grill Classic American A great hangout spot before or after an Astros ballgame. Enjoy American food with all menu items (except for sampler platters) less than $10. homeplategrill.com. 1800 Texas, 713.222.1993. L & D Daily (may close earlier during off-season so call first). $
Hong Kong Diner Chinese A favorite of downtown locals, Hong Kong Diner will not disappoint with its expansive menu and delicious chef’s specials. Be sure to try their dumplings. 909 Franklin, 713.236.1688. L & D Mon-Sat. $
L House of Blues Southern Classic
HOB serves Southern-inspired signature classic dishes such as voodoo shrimp, Tennessee baby back ribs and the Cajun classic, Creole jambalaya. Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits, you can’t miss House of Blues’ famous Sunday Gospel Brunch. hob.com. Houston Pavilions, 1204 Caroline, 888.402.5837. L & D Daily. $$
Houston Tamales Factory Mexican Family recipes made with fresh ingredients. Great breakfast tacos and of course the tamales are the specialty of the house. houstontamalesfactory.com. 1205 Travis. B & L Mon-Sat. $
L Hubcap Burger Grill American Classic Small but quaint burger joint. 1111 Prairie, 713.223.5885. L Mon-Sat. $
Humble Cafe American The Humble Cafe is a full-service restaurant serving up breakfast and dinner in a casual atmosphere. Courtyard by Marriott, 916 Dallas, 832.366.1600. B & D Daily. $
L Hunan Downtown Chinese You’ll be impressed by the elegant décor, and their Chinese cuisine is as impeccable as the restaurant itself. Guests can indulge in traditional favorites or try new creations. 812 Capitol, 713.227.8999. L & D Mon-Sat. $$
L Guadalajara del Centro Mexican
This familyowned restaurant consistently serves up tasty food in a new, very cool environment. It’s the perfect place to bring the family or a large group of co-workers or friends. Great happy hour specials. guadalajarahacienda.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 713.650.0101. L & D Daily. $$
L Irma’s Mexican Irma Galvan has been crowned Houston’s Tex-Mex goddess. This authentic spot is a longtime favorite among Houston politicos and downtown business people. Traditional, home-cooked Mexican cuisine is served for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. 22 North Chenevert, 713.222.0767. B & L Mon-Fri. $$
Hard Rock Café Classic American What do you
L Irma’s New Southwest Grill Mexican
get when you mix a music-themed diner with an All-American menu? Hard Rock is a great family-friendly spot serving up items such as burgers, nachos and chicken varieties. hardrock.com. Bayou Place, 570 Texas, 713.227.1392. L, D & LN Daily. $$
L Hearsay Gastro Lounge New American Located in a beautifully refurbished historic building, this upscale restaurant and lounge serves up delicious sandwiches, salads and entrees. They feature an extensive wine list, numerous beers on draft and bottle and premium liquors with a focus on Scotch whisky. Open late night and serving up small and large appetizers, Hearsay is a great place for a late night cocktail and bites.
Irma’s second location is a hip spot to satisfy a Mexican food craving. Enjoy tasty foods and great drinks for lunch or dinner. Only a few short blocks from Minute Maid Park. irmassouthwest.com. 1314 Texas, 713.247.9651. B & L Mon-Fri. Open on Astros baseball game days and nights three hours before first pitch. $$
L James Coney Island Fast Food
This local favorite has been serving delicious hot dogs to downtown Houston patrons since 1923. The chili recipe has stayed the same, but new menu additions include Polish sausage, a Chicago-style dog and a New York-style dog. jamesconeyisland.com. 815 Dallas, 713.652.3819.B, L & D Mon-Sat. $
plate Jason’s Deli Deli Order to please, Jason’s will make your sandwich or salad exactly how you like it. jasonsdeli.com. 901 McKinney, 713.650.1500. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches Deli Try the tasty 8-inch subs starting at $3.50 or $7.75 for the J.J. Gargantuan, which has five different meats. All subs are served on your choice of fresh-baked French bread or thick-sliced 7-grain bread or try the low carb lettuce wrap: all the regular sandwich ingredients without the bread. jimmyjohns.com. 820 Main, 713.222.9995. L Mon-Sat. $
Josephine’s Ristorante Italian Enjoy traditional favorites made from scratch at this family-owned eatery. Great service and a cozy, casual atmosphere make you feel right at home. josephinesitalian.com. 1209 Caroline, 713.759.9323. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$
L The Lake House Fast Casual
The Lake House offers family-friendly food, featuring burgers, Kobe beef hot dogs, salads, shakes, wine and beer. Located on Kinder Lake, there is a large patio where you can watch model boats race across the water or listen to some live music from the nearby amphitheater stage. thelakehousehouston.com. Discovery Green, 1611 Lamar. Tue-Wed 11-3; Thu-Sun 11-8. $
L La Palapa Fast Food
A Courthouse District favorite, there’s always a line at this free-standing pink concession stand for breakfast tacos and hamburgers. 1110 Preston, 713.228.9620. B & L Mon-Fri. $
L Last Concert Cafe Mexican Tucked away in the Warehouse District, this Tex-Mex 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. Insiders know that to get in you have to knock on the red door. lastconcert.com. 1403 Nance, 713.226.8563. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sun; LN Fri-Sat; Bar & Live Music Tue-Sat. $ LLes Givral’s Kahve Vietnamese
Winner of the 2006 “City’s Best” award for Vietnamese restaurants in Houston, Les Givral’s offers up a delicious menu and great service. Located in downtown’s historic Market Square. lesgivrals.com. 801 Congress, 713.547.0444. B Mon-Fri; L Mon-Sat; D Fri & Sat. $
Little Napoli Italian Offering southern Italian items in a casual setting, you can opt for indoor seating or take a spot on their large patio right on Main Street. Their healthy options, such as whole wheat pizza crust and low-fat cheeses, are a nice touch. littlenapoli.net. 1001 Texas, 713.225.3900. L, D & LN Daily. $$
Luby’s, etc. American Enjoy an incredible view of downtown along with 10 food stations offering a wide variety of goodies: a build-your-own salad bar, made-to-order grill, pizza by-the-slice, delightful deli, global café and traditional Luby’s cafeteria line with all the classic dishes. lubysetc.com. 1301 Fannin, 13th Floor, 713.759.9954. B & L Mon–Fri. $
Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge American Upscale bowling alley with a separate restaurant/ lounge area. Bowlers and patrons relax on sleek leather couches and enjoy floor-to-ceiling video
screens that flash movie clips and music videos as DJs deliver danceable grooves. Delectable munchies, including tomato and cheese s'mores and mac-andcheese bites, are available lane-side and in the lounge. bowlluckystrike.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto Street, Level 3, 713.343.3300. L, D & LN Daily. $$
Mandarin Hunan Restaurant Chinese This upscale eatery gives its guests an engaging experience in Chinese cuisine. Located in the Skyline District, Mandarin’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows provide a great view of the streetscape. 777 Walker, 713.224.1212. L & D Mon-Fri. $
L Market Square Bar & Grill American
This Chicago-style neighborhood hangout is a local favorite. Boasting a handful of “fire-powered” burgers, Market Square offers plenty of reasons to stop by for a meal or drink. The backyard patio, friendly staff and full bar add flavor. marketsquarehouston.com. 311 Travis, 713.224.6133. L, D & LN Mon-Sat. $
L Massa’s Restaurant Seafood An upscale and elegant restaurant offering a fine selection of American and seafood cuisine. Superior service and a great dining atmosphere allow guests to enjoy a memorable experience. massas.com. 1160 Smith, 713.6500.0837. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$ L Massa’s Seafood Grill Seafood
Like its sister restaurant, you can count on superior service and a great dining atmosphere. Conveniently located close to the convention center and Toyota Center, it’s a great spot for lunch and dinner. massas.com. The Shops at Houston Center, 1331 Lamar, 713.655.9100. L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$
L McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood
The extensive menu changes daily depending on each day’s fresh seafood deliveries. With more than 80 preparations on the menu each day, every guest is sure to find something to satisfy their palate. mccormickandschmicks.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 Fannin. 713.658.8100. L & D Daily. $$$
McDonald’s Fast Food 808 Dallas @ Milam, 713.651.9449. B & L Daily; D Mon-Fri. $
L Mia Bella Italian
Located in the heart of the Historic District, you’ll enjoy an eclectic variety of Italian cuisine blended with a Mediterranean feel. A longtime favorite, this intimate little bistro’s simple, yet appealing décor, makes it a downtown standout. bellarestaurants.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto, 832.319.6675. 320 Main, 713.237.0505 L & D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $$
Mingalone Italian Bar & Grill Italian A dedication to authentic Italian cuisine makes Mingalone a special place. Just seconds away from all the major theaters, Mingalone is the perfect spot to enjoy dinner before or after a show. mingalone.com. Bayou Place, 540 Texas, 713.223.0088. L & D Mon-Sun. $$ Molly’s Pub Pub Fare A good ol’ Irish bar with tasty food to soak up the beer. Your standard pub fare— sandwiches, dogs and pretty much anything that’s not good for you. mollyspubs.com. 509 Main, 713.222.1033. L, D & LN Daily. $
L Morton’s The Steakhouse Steak House
This award-winning steakhouse offers an outstanding menu. The downtown location features their new
bar concept, Bar 12•21, which includes an impressive wine and martini menu along with their specially priced “bar bites.” mortons.com. 1001 McKinney, 713.659.3700. D Mon-Sun. $$$$
Murphy’s Deli Deli Indulge in a variety of sandwiches and salads. Hot or cold, Murphy’s specializes in creating your sandwich any way it’s ordered. 601 Jefferson, 713.652.4939. 1021 Main, 713.275.1912. 440 Louisiana, 713.247.9122. B & L Mon-Fri all locations. $
New Orleans Cajun Po-Boy Fast Food A great place to grab a fried shrimp or crawfish po-boy. 648 Polk, 713.750.0007. L Mon-Fri. $
L New York Pizzeria Pizza
604 Polk, 713.759.9800.
L Mon-Fri; D Tue-Fri. $
L Pappas BBQ Barbecue Voted one of Houston’s best year after year, this barbecue joint offers an excellent selection with Texas-sized portions. Traditional favorites such as brisket, ribs, sausage and ham are served with Pappas’ flare. Delivery and take-out are available. pappasbbq.com. 1217 Pierce, 713.659.1245. L & D Daily. 1100 Smith, 713.759.0018. L & D Mon-Fri. $ Paul’s Snack Shop Deli Sandwiches, salads and snacks to-go.1213 Prairie, 713.224.4701. B & L Mon-Fri. $
L Perbacco Italian
An adorable little spot located at street level of one of Houston’s skyscrapers, Perbacco serves up Italian cuisine in a modern and fresh atmosphere. Catering to downtown workers and the theater crowd, you always get quick and friendly service and tasty food. 700 Milam, 713.224.2422. L Mon-Fri; D Thu-Sat. $
Picazo Bar & Grill International Picazo’s very diverse menu features everything from pizza and salad to prime steaks and signature martinis. Picazo offers free downtown delivery and full-service catering. picazodowntown.com. 1421 Preston, 713.236.1300. B & L Mon-Fri; D Mon-Sat. $$
Plaza Bistro Fast Casual Kick back at Jones Plaza and enjoy a quick bite to eat. Plaza Bistro also serves up treats during scheduled Jones Plaza events. 600 Louisiana, Jones Plaza, 713.236.8850. L Mon-Fri. Also open for plaza events. $
Ponte Vecchio Ristorante Italiano Italian Don’t let the cafeteria-style service at Ponte Vecchio fool you, everything is prepared from scratch. You’ll find many delicious, healthy selections on the menu at this luncheon eatery, all at a reasonable price. alpontevecchio.com. 507 Dallas, 713.659.9400. L Mon-Fri. $
Popeye’s Fast Food 1116 Travis, 713.571.8600. L & D Mon-Sat. $
L Quattro Contemporary Italian
Vivid colors, creative lighting and a unique design create a sophisticated and inviting ambience for guests. Located in the Four Seasons Hotel, Quattro is one of downtown’s best restaurants. Four Seasons Hotel, 1300 Lamar, 713.652.6250. B, L & D Daily. $$$
Quizno’s Fast Food 811 Rusk, 713.227.7702. L & D Mon-Fri. 1119 Commerce, 713.228.9000. L & D Mon-Sun. $
Rachel’s Sandwich Shop Deli A good little sandwich shop. 421 San Jacinto, 713.223.3913. B & L Mon-Fri. $
[ houston pavilions/marketplace ]
LUNCH | DiNNer | HaPPY HOUr
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at H O U s tO N Pav i L i O N s
Polk & San Jacinto | HoUSton PaVilionS polkstreetpubhouston.com | 713.652.4044
C L I Q U E S A L O N AT H O U S T O N PAV I L I O N S 832.333.9000 1 2 0 1 FA N N I N | 1 S T F L O O R C L I Q U E SA LO N .CO M
Boutique Wines from around the world. 1201 San Jacinto | Houston Pavilions L E V E L 1 AC R OSS F R O M H O U S E O F B LU E S
713.936.1000 | www.corkpavilions.com
plate Ray’s Franks American Ray's serves up hotdogs and burgers in an environment that is full of b-horror movie nostalgia. Menu items include The Leatherface bacon cheeseburger and the Freddy Krueger, which is a deep-fried hot dog served with fried jalapeños and onions on top. Vegetarians aren't left out, as Ray's serves a black bean Blacula burger and a Clockwork Orange veggie dog. raysfranks.com. 1302 Nance, 713.224.6441. L & D Mon–Sat. $ Red & White Bistro International A Chef’s Table buffet features a variety of world cuisines and an assortment of delectable desserts. Compliment your meal with a selection from Red & White’s two 1,500 bottle wine towers. houstontoyotacenter.com. 1510 Polk, 713.758.7534. Open 90 minutes prior to the start of Toyota Center events; call ahead for reservations. $$$
L Red Cat Jazz Café Cajun Cajun style blends with Houston flavor at the Red Cat. Indulge in the distinct ambiance, cuisine and sounds offered at this laid-back spot. Live music nightly. redcatjazzcafe.com. 924 Congress, 713.226.7870. D & LN Daily. $$ L Sambuca New American A hip, trendy and upscale restaurant right in the mix of Main Street. The menu includes a wide variety of favorites and combined with the live music, Sambuca is Houston’s ultimate supper club. sambucarestaurant.com. 909 Texas, 713.224.5299. L Mon-Fri ; D & LN Daily. $$$ SG’s Express Vietnamese Vietnamese You’ll find all your Vietnamese favorites here: vermicelli bowl, the sandwich, egg drop soup, egg rolls and many different smoothie flavors. 1225 Travis, 713.659.0200. L Mon-Fri. $ Shay McElroy’s Pub Fare This authentic Irish pub offers up a menu of appetizers, sandwiches, salads and soups. mcelroyspub.com. 909 Texas, 713.223.2444. L Mon–Fri. $ The Shops at Houston Center Food Court Au Bon Pain, Chick-Fil-A, Chicken Kitchen, Doozo Dumpling & Noodles, Droubi Bros. Grill, Great American Cookies, Longhorn Uptown Café, Mediterranean Grill, Murphy’s Deli, Ninfa’s, Otto’s Barbeque, Planet Smoothie, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Quizno’s, Roman Delight, Salata, Simon’s Homestyle Café, Starbucks, Subway, Teppanyaki, Wall Street Deli, Wok & Roll. shopsathc.com. 1200 McKinney, 713.759.1442. Mon-Sat, hours vary. $
L Shula’s American Steak House Steak House Dark wood, sports memorabilia and menus hand-painted on official NFL game footballs makes Pro Hall of Famer Don Shula’s Steak House stand out from the rest. Become a member of the 48oz Club by finishing a 48-ounce Shula Cut. donshula.com. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana, 713.375.4777. B, L & D Daily. $$$
Skyline Deli Deli With their freshly baked bread, Skyline makes a great deli sandwich. 717 Texas, 713.571.0509. B & L Mon-Fri. $
L Spaghetti Warehouse Italian
Making its home in an old warehouse, this Italian-American eatery offers up large portions for lunch and dinner. Traditional menu items such as spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna and pizza allow the Spaghetti Warehouse to cater to all ages and appetites. 901 Commerce, 713.229.0009. L & D Daily. $$
L Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops Steak House
An ideal location to enjoy a great steak, Spencer’s offers top-quality beef and boasts an extensive wine list. The atmosphere is light, engaging and conducive to conversation. Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar, 713.577.8325. L & D Daily. $$$$
State Bar Pub Fare Located on the second floor of Post Rice Lofts with a beautiful balcony overlooking Texas Ave., this upscale lounge also serves appetizers and hearty sandwiches with your martinis and margaritas. thestatebar.com. 909 Texas, Suite 2A, 713.229.8888. Mon-Sat. $
L Strip House Steak House
Only minutes from the convention center and Toyota Center, Strip House’s mouth-watering steaks are accompanied by a seductive ambiance. Red walls and carpet give this steak palace a unique interior. An international collection of wines puts the finishing touches on the restaurant. striphouse.net. The Shops at Houston Center, 1200 McKinney, 713.659.6000. L Mon-Fri; D Daily; LN Fri & Sat. $$$$
Subway Fast Food 405 Main, 713.227.4700. 805 Dallas, 713.651.1331. Daily. $
L Table 7 Bistro American Open seven days a week , Table 7 Bistro is a combination of an upscale, yet casual atmosphere. The bistro serves a selection of artistically and generously presented cuisine. Guests can enjoy the warm, comfortable scenery while viewing the floor to ceiling windows and the colorful array of art. Happy hour weekdays offer $4 well drinks and $2 domestic beers, and its happy hour all weekend with $2 mimosas all day on Saturdays and Sundays. district7grill.com. 720 Fannin @ The Club Quarters, 713-227-4800. B, L & D Daily. $
Thepthidaa Thai Thai A traditional Thai restaurant located at the ground level of the loft residence Hogg Palace. The warm and cozy atmosphere offers a great setting for a dinner escape and is a local favorite. 401 Louisiana, 713.225.4900. D Daily. $
L III Forks American Upscale, warm atmosphere and impeccable service sets the stage for this well-known steakhouse. New York strip and filet mignon, bone-in ribeye, porterhouse, young rack of lamb and veal chop are served with duchess potatoes, off-the-cob cream corn, and perfectlycooked vegetables. Seafood items include Chilean sea bass, Ahi tuna, salmon, halibut, scallops and lobster tails, which are flown in daily. iiiforks.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 San Jacinto Street, Level 1, 713.658.9457. L Tue–Fri; D Mon–Sat. $$$$ Travis Chinese Restaurant Chinese All your favorites at affordable prices. 1122 Travis, 713.655.8787. L Daily. $
L Treebeards Cajun Homestyle
A downtown institution for more than 30 years, Treebeards offers tasty Cajun dishes that are sure to satisfy. Favorite menu items include the chicken and shrimp gumbo, red beans and rice and étouffée. For dessert, try their famous butter bar. treebeards.com. 315 Travis, 713.228.2622. Cloisters at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas, 713.229.8248. L Mon-Fri. $
Trofi Restaurant Continental Trofi’s menu is described as Continental with a Mediterranean and Latin flair and the ambience is casual simple yet sophisticated. Lunch buffets are available Monday through Friday. 400 Dallas, Doubletree Hotel, 713.759.0202. B, L & D Daily. $$
L Vic & Anthony’s Steak House This world-class steak house is one of the most elegant dinning 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 for a pre/post-game dinner. vicandanthonys.com. 1510 Texas, 713.228.1111. L Fri; D Daily. $$$$ L Voice Restaurant & Lounge Modern American A fine-dining experience located in the historic lobby of Hotel Icon’s landmark bank building. The intimate dining room is extravagant, and the exquisite dishes from the Gulf Coast and South Texas emphasize fresh ingredients. A contemporary lounge with a modern setting for cocktails and an elegant after-work meeting place. hotelicon.com. Hotel Icon, 220 Main, 832.667.4470. B Daily; D Mon-Sat. $$$$
Warren’s Inn Fast Casual The good times roll with a killer jukebox, excellent drinks, and a fun, bohemian environment. Quick sandwiches and other items are served during the day; you can order in from nearby restaurants at night if you have the munchies. 307 Travis, 713.247.9207. L Mon-Fri; LN Daily. $ Wimpy’s Hamburgers Fast Food Wimpy’s serves up a pretty good burger but they also have many other down-home favorites. 632 Polk, 713.652.0123. B & L Mon-Fri. $ Yao Restaurant and Bar Asian The menu at Yao’s is a mix of standard American Chinese fare, like sesame chicken and kung pao chicken, along with more exotic dishes like braised abalone. Sushi rolls include the Yao Roll, with snow crab and black caviar topped with lobster. The swank, comfortable lounge area is the perfect place for happy hour and features appetizers starting at $2.95. yaorestaurant.com. Houston Pavilions, 1201 Main, 713.739.9267. L Mon-Fri, D Mon – Sat. $$ Zero’s Sandwich Shop Deli A great little spot for a freshly made deli sandwich. zerossandwichshop.com. 809 Dallas, 713.650.3333. 1110 Lamar, 713.655.7722. 507 Dallas, 713.739.9955. B & L Mon-Fri. $
new! Ziggy's Bar & Grill American Ziggy’s offers healthy comfort food in their new Main St. location. Counter service is offered during the day and table service at night. Happy hour specials include pomegranate martinis and Ziggyritas made with fresh citrus juice. The location is conveniently located along the light rail line and just a few short blocks from the Theater District. Brunch Sat and Sun 9-3. ziggysbarandgrill.com. 702 Main, 713.527.8588. B, L & D Daily. $ Zula New American This eclectic restaurant is memorable with its 25-foot ceilings, mirrors and elaborate color scheme. The menu offers traditional favorites along with new, innovative items. zulahouston.com. 705 Main, 713.227.7052. D Mon-Sat. $$$ Zydeco Louisiana Diner Cajun This cafeteria-style Cajun joint brings Louisiana dishes to the Hospital District of downtown Houston. Traditional Cajun items such as po-boys, jambalaya and gumbo make Zydeco a great lunch stop. A casual atmosphere adds to the enjoyment. 1119 Pease, 713.759.2001. L Mon-Fri. $
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