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FACETS Your Door to Houston

EADO EXPLORATION: Brothers, Brews and Bánh mì Volume 1 – Fall 2016

Greater Houston Partnership

Facets is a quarterly, employee-run magazine published by the Greater Houston Partnership. No part of this publication may be reprinted or reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

Editor in Chief Lilyanne McClean

Creative Director Sandra Pham

Managing Editor Ashley White

Project Manager Damjana Alverson

Staff Writers Laura Niles Tess Cook

Graphic Design Suzanne Morgan Marc Keosayian

ON THE COVER Joey Sanchez/Bringing the blue tiles back to the Bayou City One man’s quest to create a uniquely Houston brand with historic street signs Photography by Theus Gyamfi East Downtown, DonkeeBoy Studios

PAGE THREE Leadership Perspective Partnership president and CEO Bob Harvey discusses his hopes for Houston. Have ideas or comments? Email us: Facets@houston.org Partnership Tower 701 Avenida de las Americas, Suite 900 Houston, TX 77010


CONTENTS and Stayed 4 Came vs. Born and Raised

Jason Ford and Sophia Guevara offer their unique takes on Houston as a hometown

Asking? 6 Hou’s Famous Houstonians, wishes and nicknames, oh my!

the Blue Tiles Back 8 Bringing Interview with Joey Sanchez, Founder, Blue Tile Project

and Fun 11 Food Around 701

Exploration of the neighborhood: new places, events and things to check out

Yourself Here 12 Picture The rise of public art and a special campaign for an even better cause

the Lens 14 Through EaDo from the Partnership’s perspective



Partnership president and CEO Bob Harvey discusses his hopes for our region.

I’m a native Houstonian, born and raised. I grew up in the Spring Branch area, but my parents actually grew up in east downtown, not terribly far from Partnership Tower. My grandparents lived there for many years, and some of my earliest memories of the city are that drive through downtown. It was “inside the loop” as they say, except there wasn’t a loop at that time. Over the years, I’ve seen what once was a quiet, older downtown transform into the modern, global city we see today. When I graduated Spring Woods High School and began my freshman year at Texas A&M, most Texans thought of Houston as the big city, where young people would start their career. The energy industry was synonymous with Houston at that time, which was also synonymous with success. After graduating from Texas A&M, I attended Harvard Business School, where I noticed that no one really had a perception of Houston at that time. After receiving my MBA, my wife Vicki and I weighed several options including staying in Boston or moving to other cities like Chicago. Following yet another late April snowfall, we sought warmer temperatures and a new opportunity at the Houston office of McKinsey and Company. I’ve been pleasantly surprised about how a city known for its sprawl has rediscovered its inner-city (no pun intended). Today, downtown Houston, including the vibrant east downtown district, is home to some of the most innovative and exciting activity in not just the city, but the nation. My hope for Houston in the years to come is that we become a model for opportunity and inclusivity. Today, many great global cities still struggle with extending opportunities across the board. As we continue to compete on the world stage, I’d like us to move beyond speaking in generalities about Houston and Houstonians. One key facet of Houston that’s always stood out to me is the unique way the city works. Elected officials, business leaders, philanthropists and the broader community serve Houston from all angles. No one is waiting to coalesce around a singular leader. In Houston today, everyone brings something unique to the table.

Bob Harvey

Partnership President and CEO


by Sandra Pham

For this issue’s Came and Stayed vs. Born and Raised, Sophia Guevara, fellow in the workforce division, and Jason Ford, VP of regional economic development, share some of their local favorite places and thoughts about living in Houston.

Sophia Guevara BORN AND RAISED


Jason is a native New Orleanian and moved to Houston two years ago. He is one of eight kids and has a twin sister. He is married with two kids, and his family currently resides in Kingwood.


Sophia is a native Houstonian that just moved back to the city after completing her undergraduate degree in North Carolina. She currently lives in the Rice Military area near Washington Avenue.

Jason Ford

Sophia Guevara

What makes Houston home for you? Houston is a perfect balance of sophistication and culture with salt-of-the-earth people. It’s also very convenient to visit family in New Orleans and San Antonio.

What makes Houston home for you? When I was a young child, I thought Houston was kind of dull. While my perception of the city was admittedly skewed towards a child-sized thrill seeker, over time, I changed and so did the city. I call Houston home because it is a place full of opportunities for continuous learning and personal enrichment.

Favorite Restaurant? B&B Butchers and Restaurant. I really enjoy the half shell baked oysters. If you were to describe Houston as a dish, what would it be and why? Gumbo. As one magazine wrote: “If Los Angeles and New Orleans had a baby, it would be Houston.” Houston is a classic mix of people from all over the world, which has influenced its culture, music and flavors. Favorite view from Partnership Tower? From the 10th floor break room: BBVA Compass Stadium because it inspires my daughter to succeed. She loves the women’s soccer team, the Houston Dash. If you could change one thing about Houston, what would it be? I wish there was more work to beautify our city and elevate its image. Specifically, our landscapes, streetscapes and elevated highways could use a revamp. I find that there is often overgrown grass and trash around our city blocks. Any tips for new Houstonians? Keep an open mind and be prepared to be surprised. Houston is full of contradictions that make it even more interesting than Austin. Any other quirky facts/things you want to add? I’m not related to Tom Ford, but my wife is a super model. Also, I would like to request another espresso machine for the office. On my desk.

Favorite Restaurant? Grace’s for some good, old-fashioned comfort food. Their smoked philly ribeye sandwich is terrific. I also enjoy their chicken tortilla soup. It’s the perfect blend of lime, jalapeño and jack cheese. If you were to describe Houston as a dish, what would it be and why? I would describe Houston as a bowl of gumbo. It brings the heat and thrives with the strength of the gulf and bayou. It is hearty and meant to be shared. Favorite view from Partnership Tower? The magnetic photo wall on the 9th floor is my favorite view. It complements the 360 degree views of Houston from Partnership Tower. The wall offers a magnified image of all that the city has to offer. If you could change one thing about Houston, what would it be? I would enjoy seeing more trees in the city. Any tips for new Houstonians? On a serious note, drive carefully. Drivers can be quite wild here. On the bright side, take the time to explore the city. You never know what you might find. Houston hosts some of the most reputable and incredible art houses and eateries in the country. Any other quirky facts/things you want to add? In middle school, I was an office supplies enthusiast. For my birthday, I would shamelessly ask my family for gift cards to OfficeMax.


HOU’S ASKING? by Ashley White Illustrations by Marc Keosayian

If you could have dinner with any famous Houstonian (dead or alive), who would it be? Beyoncé!

Wes Anderson.

Sam Houston.

Jasmine Spence

Jose Romero

Patrick Jankowski


What would make Houston even greater? More walkable neighborhoods. I just moved to Midtown for that reason!

Our tropical weather calls for the occasional day indoors. Luckily Houston has a world-class museum district, but extended hours for food, fun and shopping would be great.

More street art, it’s popping up all over the city.

Jeffrey Blair

Myrna Cantu

Theus Gyamfi

What’s your favorite nickname for Houston? H-town, with Hustletown in close second.

The City With No Limits.

H-Town, of course.

Tess Cook

Linae Acquisto

Terri Kuvach


BRINGING THE BLUE TILES BACK by Laura Niles Photography by Theus Gyamfi


hen it comes to images of Houston, one might conjure up the Astrodome, Apollo astronauts or maybe the Katy Freeway, but historic tiled street signs at curb level? Perhaps not. But Joey Sanchez, Partnership director of business analytics, is changing the game. He is on a self-described mission to bring the blue tiles back to the Bayou City.

The Blue Tile Project started as a bike ride through Midtown and developed into a mission to preserve, connect and elevate a uniquely Houston attribute that is quickly becoming a symbol of Houston itself. Joey’s idea for crowdsourcing images of the distinct

The blue tile lettering has already become an image for Houston routed in historical significance, used by local breweries, retailers and other small businesses. Houston blue tiled street signs and tagging them to a map via an app has rapidly grown in just one year. “The blue tile lettering has already become an image for Houston routed in historical significance, used by local breweries, retailers and other small businesses,” said Sanchez. It’s even used as part of the signage on James Beard award-winning Chef Chris Shepherd’s acclaimed Underbelly restaurant.

Joey is no stranger to branding and marketing his ideas for things he is passionate about. It all started at Elkins High School in Fort Bend County, where he was both prom and homecoming king and voted the most spirited. He went on to become the captain of his NCAA Division I soccer team at Jacksonville University in Florida. Joey’s enthusiasm for Jacksonville University was so strong, in fact, that he created the official university hand symbol in 2008, which is regularly used by fans at university sporting events. Given his background, it was natural that Joey would go on to champion a unifying symbol for the region he loves: Houston. With 2,819 tiles found as of this writing, the Blue Tile Project has officially caught on. New tiles are found weekly, and Houstonians continue to post their images of these finds to the official Blue Tile Project app, which then often appear on the project’s social media accounts. Blue Tile searchers have fun with their street sign snapshots, including dogs, bikes or themselves in the photos. This has prompted creative Blue Tile social media campaigns like this summer’s Dogs of Blue Tile Project.


Joey has three main goals for the project. “First, I hope to preserve the history of the blue tiles by documenting and cataloguing as many remaining tiles as possible,” said Sanchez. He’d also like to make the blue tiles a unifying image of Houston to connect its neighborhoods and artfully represent the city. But the third goal is one that truly solidifies

The project caught the attention of local and national preservationists, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The National Trust will be highlighting the Blue Tile Project as part of its National Preservation Conference, PastForward, held in Houston this November. The National Trust and Joey will team up to host an Instameet on the Blue Tiles of Houston on Friday, Nov. 18 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.. Participants will take a tour of EaDo blue tiles and catalog them via Instagram using the hashtags #BlueTileProject and #PastForward. Tune in to Instagram at that time to follow the Instameet and show your support by commenting and using the hashtags.

When visitors come to Houston, they’ll know this ‘blue tile’ business is something they can only find here and it originated in this place.

the blue tile image. “Using blue tiles as an identifier of exclusively Houston brands that are conceived and established in this region, I hope to help certify and promote local businesses,” explained Joey. “When visitors come to Houston, they’ll know this ‘blue tile’ business is something they can only find here and it originated in this place.”


As residents of downtown Houston, Joey and his wife are advocates for the city they call home. The Sanchezes will add a new Blue Tile enthusiast to the family in the new year, possibly about the same time a new blue tile is identified somewhere in Houston.

For more information on all things blue tile, visit the Blue Tile Project website at www.bluetileproject.com.

Food and Fun Around 701 by Sandra Pham | Photography by David Crowl

Brothers Taco House If you can’t find a taco joint within stone’s throw, you know you are not in Texas. Although some of our neighbors (read: Austin and San Antonio) have received national acclaim for their breakfast tacos, Houston is not to be overlooked. If you’re anything like me, breakfast tacos are the best motivators in the morning. Fueled by local authenticity, Brothers Taco House offers some of the best tacos around town. Just make sure you show up early – tacos are usually gone before you can say chorizo. 1604 Dowling Street

Cafe TH If you’re currently missing the downtown tunnels and unwilling to face the horrendous Houston heat, we’ve searched high and low for lunch options! Recently awarded the “Best Neighborhood Spot in EaDO” by Houston Press, Cafe TH is a well-frequented Vietnamese restaurant by regulars and newbies alike. Typical Vietnamese dishes such as bánh mì sandwiches and grilled pork vermicelli are on the menu along with “fan specials” named after devoted customers. Ditch your soggy pb&j and brush up on your Vietnamese for a stop at Cafe TH. 2108 Pease St. | www.cafeth.com

Yoga & Hops at 8th Wonder Brewery Escape the hustle and bustle of downtown by heading out to 8th Wonder Brewery. Already quickly becoming a Houston staple, 8th Wonder offers fun, local beers such as Brewston and Astroturf. Twenty bucks will get you an hour of yoga and three tokens for brews after. Find your inner yogi and stop by the brewery. Namaste, y’all. 2202 Dallas Street | www.8thwonderbrew.com

The Secret Group Who doesn’t love a good secret? Just steps away from Partnership Tower lies an obscure building simply labeled, The Secret Group. What exactly is it? Founded by four local Houstonians, The Secret Group is a new entertainment hub that offers a comedy club, music venue and full-time bar. Unbothered by boxed categories, the group guarantees plenty of “unexpected surprises” in the future. 2101 Polk Street | www.thesecretgrouphtx.com


Picture Yourself Here BECAUSE WE ALL NEED TO GIVE BACK by Tess Cook

If you cruise the streets of Houston today, you’re bound to notice something special: the rise of public art. In recent years, street artists and creative minds have run wild with downtown revitalization and beautification efforts. When the community donates a wall for an art project, artists and like minds come together to paint the town.

Favorite Murals LOVE MURALS

Wiley Robertson St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, 600 Pecore Street Houston Heights Bike Trail, intersection of Spring St. and Goliad St.


With public art quickly popping up all over our region, we have identified some of our favorites. Grab friends and family to explore these wall murals.


Intersection of Westheimer Road and Mulberry Street Snap a picture, then hop on over to the Menil down the street if you’re feeling extra artsy.

One street art project in particular has commanded locals’ attention: the #GIVEhou campaign, with its mission to “inspire civic pride,” said Noah Quiles of UP Art Studio. The #GIVEhou campaign— commissioned by Black Sheep Agency, in collaboration with UP Art Studio, with art by artist Wiley Robertson—asks the community to “picture yourself here because we all need to give back.” What does that mean? It’s quite literal, really. Take a picture at one of the four GIVE murals, then post it to social media with your pledge to give back to Houston. According to Aimee Woodall of Black Sheep Agency, they initiated this project with one primary goal: to ignite a conversation. “We wanted to create something that was hard to ignore—something inspiring, something that would give people a reason to think about how they are an essential part of the giving equation.” And it’s working. Hundreds of Houstonians have pledged their commitment via social media to give back to the community already.


SEBASTIEN “MR. D” BOILEAU 2800 Fannin Street The biggest mural in Houston, clocking in at 10,000 square feet, created with more than 200 gallons of paint donated by Sherwin-Williams.

Philanthropy is no stranger to Houston. Houston’s nonprofit sector ranked number one in the nation in performance for the second year in a row, according to Charity Navigator. The #GIVEhou mural collection is an accurate reflection of not only the thriving arts community but also the charitable spirit of our city. Join us with your commitment to Houston because we all need to give back!

How to #GIVEHOU? It’s Simple! 1. Find a GIVE Mural 2. Snap your picture 3. Upload to social media with your commitment to give back to Houston. Don’t forget your hashtag! #GIVEhou


GONZO247 Treebeard’s, 315 Travis St. One of Houston’s most prominent murals and a marquee piece in the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau’s “Houston Is…” campaign.


Wiley Robertson David Peck USA, 2515 Morse St. 1502 Sawyer St. 3700 Almeda 714 Yale St.


Current installation: DABfoto Creative Partnership Tower 701 Avenida de las Americas, Suite 900


Through the Lens EaDo from the Partnership’s Perspective