The Heights is enjoying a burst of energy, support oflocal businesses, and new restaurant and shopping spaces. Between events, art shows (Circa Real Estate just took a tour of the Sawyer Studios that we can’t wait to talk about) and new restaurants, it’s almost hard to keep up. Good news! That’s why we’re here.
Right now, our mind is on food. It’s almost the weekend and time to start thinking about which new restaurant we’re going to visit. Here in the Heights, there is a whole crop of new places to check out. In no particular order, here are a few that we can’t wait to try:
Chances are, you’ve eaten at their famous school-bus-turned-food-truck before, but now Bernie’s is opening brick and mortar locations. And the Heights is so lucky to call one of them right at 2200 Yale Street. While you can still order the burgers you know and love, there’s a lot more to the new Bernie’s than just burgers. This location offers a breakfast menu, full bar, and spiked milkshakes. According to Bernie’s, though, they’ve kept their “Food Truck Philosophy” that everything is made from scratch—even the condiments. Their condiments have been so popular, Bernie’s Burger Bus is now bottling them so you can take some home. Go check them out!
Are you a sushi snob? It’s okay, we are too. Embrace your inner sushi love and head over to Kukuri. Operated by Chef Shimoa Ishikawa, a veteran of some of the finest Michelin-starred sushi restaurants in the country, Kukuri serves fish flown in fresh from Japan. Opt to order omakase-style if you’re in for the full experience. (You’ll need reservations to do that, FYI.) For those who aren’t familiar, omakase means that rather than ordering from the menu a la carte, you place your trust in the chef and they choose what dishes they think you will enjoy. Kukuri is located at 1902 Washington, Unit C.
Chef Justin Yu (formerly of Oxheart) makes a triumphant return to the Houston restaurant world with this new concept, described as a “bar with food.” While the main focus is on the cocktails, the food is exactly as good as you’d expect from Yu, according to many online reviews. The crispy-beefy-cheesy “Party Melt” seems to be the star of the show, food wise, but everything on the small menu sounds delicious. Better Luck Tomorrow is located at 544 Yale.
You already know and love Lee’s Fried Chicken & Donuts and State Fare, and now Lee Ellis has a third concept in the Heights area, a globally-inspired seafood restaurant called Star Fish. Enjoy classics like gulf shrimp and raw oysters, or get a little adventurous and order the massive, $150 Tower Royale, a veritable heap of seafood that includes crab, oysters, clams, lobster, shrimp, and more. You’ll find Star Fish at 191 Heights Blvd.
In June, the restaurant formerly known as Shade has been reincarnated as Alice Blue, after a serious makeover, both aesthetically and in terms of menu. The new menu features European-inspired dishes with a bright new twist. If you haven’t checked it out yet, now’s the time! We’re in love with their house-made pasta dishes, but there are plenty of less carb-centric dishes on offer too. (Honestly, we haven’t tried many of those yet, on account of our lifelong love affair with all of the carbs.) Alice Blue is located at 250 W. 19th Street, dangerously close to the Circa Real Estate office at 350 W 19th Street.
Okay, admittedly, this restaurant is only sort of new, and has been open since the spring, but we just couldn’t leave it off this list. Also dangerously close to our offices on 19th Street, we are so happy the Rice Box has come to town. It used to be our favorite way to get Chinese/American takeout—for four years, their food truck in Montrose (and other areas around Houston) had a line that wrapped around their lantern-decorated truck. Like Bernie’s Burger Bus, they were so popular that they decided to start up their own brick and mortar place, and lucky for us, it’s right here in the Heights at 300 W 20th Street. They have a wonderful patio, salt and pepper tofu, and Thai tea on nitro. Yes, we said Thai tea… On nitro. Go check them out!
Photos used with permission.