June 1, 2023


Be Inspired By Food

Postino Opens Next Week, Divino Has Closed

click to enlarge Postino offers a convivial space and plenty of snacks for hanging out with friends. - PHOTO BY POSTINO

Postino offers a convivial space and plenty of snacks for hanging out with friends.

Photo by Postino

Postino Wine Cafe, 791 Town and Country Boulevard, will open August 9. This is the third Houston location for the brand, based in Phoenix, Arizona. The first opened in the Heights Mercantile in 2017, followed by the Montrose location a little over a year later. The all-day wine bar and cafe joins the burgeoning west side along with other Houston brands like Dish Society and State Fare Kitchen and Bar.

Postino Town & Country will offer 4,500 square feet of space with an open-air layout plus rollaway glass walls and a spacious patio. True to the Postino brand, the new location has a unique design with a decor that pays homage to the neighborhood in which it is located. Taking its cue from the early days of Town & Country, the walls will feature decoupaged 60s-era vintage shopping ad campaigns to go with the newly restored mid-century modern lounge chairs and cozy booths with overhanging vintage glass and brass pendants. Other show-stopping lighting includes hand-blown opal glass sconces and a large vintage Murano glass chandelier that hangs over a community table. The new location will also have an art installation made up of 27,805 hanging keys crowd-sourced from Postino guests.

The Meatballs with Goat Cheese is a popular snacky thing. - PHOTO BY BECCA WRIGHT

The Meatballs with Goat Cheese is a popular snacky thing.

Photo by Becca Wright

Regular guests of Postino are well aware of its $5 glasses of wine and $5 pitchers of 32-ounce craft beers from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Its food menu offers bruschetta boards that guests can build themselves or signature boards like The Bounty, Chef’s Charcuterie and Pub Board. There are soups, salads and panini plus its Snacky Things menu with starters like Meatballs with Goat Cheese, Crispy Cauliflower and the OMG Grilled Cheese.

click to enlarge Postino adds some sunshine to the weekend. - PHOTO BY POSTINO

Postino adds some sunshine to the weekend.

Photo by Postino

Weekend brunch is a popular event at Postino with mimosas and Bellinis for a sweet price of $5 each Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Farm-fresh dishes like Umbria Egg Toast with scrambled egg, crema, white truffle, crispy oyster mushroom and Parmigiano-Reggiano on ciabatta is a decadent weekend comfort food while the Focaccia Stack offers a hearty meal of smashed avocado, crispy prosciutto, fried egg, watermelon radish, arugula, feta and spicy Marcona almond on grilled focaccia. For a sweet treat, there’s the Panettone French Toast with orange whipped ricotta or healthier options like the Taylor Granola. If dining with a few pals, the Cast Iron Sticky Bread is a good communal appetizer. Besides the mimosas and Bellinis, there are $7 brunch cocktails like the Sherry Mary made with Oloroso sherry and the Sure Shot made with Cocchi Rosa, sparkling rose, grapefruit juice and soda for a light, refreshing day drink.

click to enlarge Divino is moving but we don't know where. - PHOTO BY ROBERT Z. EASLEY

Divino is moving but we don’t know where.

Photo by Robert Z. Easley

Divino Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar, 1830 W. Alabama, closed July 30. According to its Facebook post the property on which Divino has stood for the past 21 years has been sold to investors and a new location is currently being sought for the restaurant. In the post it mentioned its plans for the future: “We look forward to sharing news in the near future about our new concept in development and our new inner loop location.”

Owner/chef Patrick McCray trained in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the Divino menu featured classic Italian dishes from different regions of the country. Guests could opt for Parma-style Risotto, Sicilian-style Penne or Spanish-Tagliatelle Bologna-style. The Italian wine list was reasonably priced and its wine dinners and occasional Sunday wine sales were popular with its loyal customers.

Soto's pretty patio has gone quiet. - PHOTO BY LORRETTA RUGGIERO

Soto’s pretty patio has gone quiet.

Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero

Soto’s Cantina, 10609 Grant, closed June 30 due to a fire in the restaurant. We have reached out for more details regarding the incident but have yet to receive any new information. A spokesperson said by email that they weren’t completely sure of all the facts, yet.  A look inside shows a restaurant space in which little has been done to remedy the damage in the past month.

click to enlarge The interior of Soto's suffered damage from a fire. - PHOTO BY LORRETTA RUGGIERO

The interior of Soto’s suffered damage from a fire.

Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero

Soto’s serves a variety of Tex-Mex dishes. Owner Juan Santo comes from a family of cooks and restaurateurs. Soto’s opened in November 2011 and within the year had made it onto local food critic Alison Cook’s Top 100 Houston Restaurants for the Houston Chronicle. It has made it on the list several times more since with the beef fajitas being one of Cook’s favorite menu items.

Locally, this writer has a number of friends who are missing their jalapeno margaritas.

click to enlarge Will the original Adriatic Cafe keep its old school charm? - PHOTO BY THE ADRIATIC CAFE

Will the original Adriatic Cafe keep its old school charm?

Photo by The Adriatic Cafe

Adriatic Cafe, 17402 Highway 290, is also temporarily closed due to a fire. The owners posted on Facebook August 3 about the fire and said updates would be released regarding the reopening as repairs were made. The damaged Jersey Village location is the original for the family-owned restaurant which first opened in 2012.  Over the years, it has opened two large stand-alone locations in Tomball and Spring. A fourth location in Katy is currently under construction and is expected to open at the end of the year.

click to enlarge Mediterranean fare is healthy and colorful. - PHOTO BY DUC HOANG

Mediterranean fare is healthy and colorful.

Photo by Duc Hoang

Fadi’s Mediterranean Cuisine, 6365 Westheimer, will open August 16. This will be the sixth Houston location for the family-owned business which first opened in 1997. There are two other Texas locations in Dallas.

Founder Fadi Dimassi and his family have been serving its Mediterranean and Lebanese cuisine for over 24 years. Born and raised in Saida, Lebanon, Fadi began his culinary training in his family’s restaurants at the age of 19. Over the years he sharpened his skills and eventually opened his own restaurant. His passion for cooking led him to the Art Institute of Houston, where he graduated in 2015. Fadi’s regular participation in local food competitions has helped him to hone his culinary skills and win several awards including winning the 10th annual Zest in the West in 2017 and Premier Culinary Award Winner at Katy Sip ‘n Stroll in 2018, 2019 and 2021.

click to enlarge Fadi's does catering, too. - PHOTO BY DUC HOANG

Fadi’s does catering, too.

Photo by Duc Hoang

With the new location he is bringing in his daughter Lana Dimassi to oversee the marketing, public relations and social media for the restaurant while nephew Nabil Dimassi will be in charge of operations at the new location. Fadi is also making some changes to the ordering process including eliminating the set combination choices to allow for a la carte ordering, offering customers more affordable pricing and better portion control. Fadi’s Mediterranean Cuisine has adapted to the restrictions caused by the pandemic with catering and take-out orders which have increased by 30 percent.

click to enlarge Get fired up at Fadi's. - PHOTO BY DUC HOANG

Get fired up at Fadi’s.

Photo by Duc Hoang

Also new to the restaurant is its participation in Houston Restaurant Weeks, the five-week-long restaurant fundraiser that benefits Houston Food Bank. It runs from August 1 through September 6, 2021. This is the first HRW menu for Fadi’s and it offers a three- course lunch for $20. The first course is a choice of kabobs: chicken, shrimp or beef kefta. For the second course, guests can choose four side dishes including salads, dips and vegetables. The third course offers options like baklava, rice pudding or lady fingers. The HRW menu will be available at all Fadi’s Houston restaurants.

click to enlarge Hometown chef Marcos Leal will take the reins at Loro Houston. - PHOTO BY HAI HOSPITALITY

Hometown chef Marcos Leal will take the reins at Loro Houston.

Photo by Hai Hospitality

Loro Asian Smokehouse and Bar, 1001 W. 11th, is expected to open this fall in the Heights. This will be the third location for the concept from pitmaster Aaron Franklin and chef Tyson Cole, both James Beard Award-winning chefs.  It has locations in Austin and Dallas, serving a mix of bold Asian flavors with Texas barbecue techniques. Last week Hai Hospitality, the restaurant group behind Loro and Uchi, announced that chef Marcos Leal will take on the role of chef de cuisine when Loro opens in Houston.

Leal was born in Monterey, Mexico, though he considers himself a native Texan. He came to Houston as a child, settling with his family in the Bayou City. His mother sparked his interest in cooking as he watched her prepare meals for the family. She also instilled a strong work ethic in him as he pursued a culinary career professionally. He graduated with a Culinary Arts degree from Art Institute of Houston then worked his way up through jobs as a line cook, butcher and a lead cook position at the Wolfgang Puck Express in Houston. Eventually he landed the executive sous chef position at the Hotel Galvez in Galveston which earned Leal and his team numerous awards. Leal has worked for a number of restaurants, done corporate recipe development and had side gigs with professionals like David Welch of FireCraft BBQ.

For Leal, the new position is the culmination of his culinary journey. In the press release the young chef said, “I am excited to build a team from the ground up and to come back to Houston, the city I consider my hometown.”

click to enlarge Fat Tony will perform at 8th Wonder this Sunday. - PHOTO BY MEREDITH TRUAX

Fat Tony will perform at 8th Wonder this Sunday.

Photo by Meredith Truax

8th Wonder Brewery, 2202 Dallas, will launch its Hard 8 Pale Ale August 8 with a free music festival. In addition to the new brew, it will be celebrating its Wonder Water Herbal Seltzers that were rolled out in July. The non-alcoholic, zero calorie, reverse osmosis sparkling waters are made with natural herbal ingredients. The Delta-8 Wonder Water is infused with 10mg of Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a naturally occurring compound in the hemp plant. The CBD Wonder Water has 25mg of cannabidiol (CBD), also a naturally occurring compound in hemp. The THC and CBD come from Bayou City Hemp Co. 8th Wonder also has some alcoholic seltzers coming soon.

The lineup of musicians for the launch include Fat Tony, Howard and the Nosebleeds, Sea Sic and DJ Trillanoise.

click to enlarge Linda and Jerry Flowers are bringing some speakeasy glam to the 'burbs. - PHOTO BY ISABEL FLORES

Linda and Jerry Flowers are bringing some speakeasy glam to the ‘burbs.

Photo by Isabel Flores

Gridiron Bar and Grill, 4524 SH-6, has upgraded its bar and grill space and is now adding The Lounge next door. The new speakeasy concept is currently in the permitting process with the City of Sugar Land. When it opens, guests can expect modern contemporary glamour that offers a downtown city vibe in the suburbs.

Handcrafted cocktails and a selection of wines will be on offer along with its tapas-style menu of Thai fusion cuisine. The space will host regular events including comedy jams, open mic nights, karaoke, live music and art gallery showings.

Owners Linda and Jerry Flowers also operate Straight Out of Bangkok, a Thai takeaway and delivery restaurant, out of the bar and grill.

University of Houston, 4700 Calhoun, debuted Asado Burritos and Bowls, a Tex-Mex concept, August 2. It is located at Student Center South. The university’s food service provider, Chartwells Higher Education, has partnered with Apex Order Pick Up Solutions to offer self-serve automated food lockers for students and staff on campus. Customers can order through the app and will be notified through email when their meal is ready. The new smart lockers are loaded from the back by employees and customers pick up their orders from the front, allowing for a contactless transaction.

Asado offers customizable burritos, low-carb bowls, classic sides and more. There will be a grand opening August 24 when students return to campus.

click to enlarge The Dwaffle comes from the creative mind of chef Anita Jaisinghani. - PHOTO BY AJNA JAI

The Dwaffle comes from the creative mind of chef Anita Jaisinghani.

Photo by Ajna Jai

Pondicheri, 2800 Kirby, has introduced a new menu item, the Dwaffle. It came about as chef/owner Anita Jaisinghani was working on dosa recipes for her upcoming cookbook, Masala. The Dwaffle is made from a fermented batter giving it a flavor similar to sourdough. It’s fat-free, gluten-free and dairy-free. It’s available on Tuesday as a special with heritage fried chicken.  However, customers can also try the Dwaffle at its Pondicheri Bake Lab & Shop located at the restaurant. In its freezer section there are cinnamon, vanilla, turmeric, moringa and matcha flavors. Moringa is a plant native to Northern India and it’s purported to have a number of health benefits.

click to enlarge Break the fast with a pretty platter of smoked sturgeon. - PHOTO BY PAULA MURPHY

Break the fast with a pretty platter of smoked sturgeon.

Photo by Paula Murphy

Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen and Restaurant, 2327 Post Oak, is offering Rosh Hashanah meals for pre-order to be picked up September 6 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Orders must be made by August 30. Guests can order a la carte or indulge in the Erev Rosh Hashanah dinner package which includes chicken soup, matzo balls, chicken liver and challah for starters. For mains, customers can choose from brisket, apricot-roasted chicken, stuffed cabbage or a combination. The package also includes a choice of two sides, two desserts and kugels.

K&Z is also offering a selection of Break the Fast Platters which are artfully plated such as fruit, vegetarian, cheese, meat and smoked fish platters. The restaurant will close at 2 p.m. September 6 and will be closed all day September 7.

The restaurant will also be taking orders for Yom Kippur next month with the deadline for orders September 8 for pick up September 15.

Great chefs and fresh ingredients await guests at Chef Fest. - PHOTO BY CHEF FEST

Great chefs and fresh ingredients await guests at Chef Fest.

Photo by Chef Fest

Harvest Green Village Farm, 8939 Harlem, is hosting Chef Fest September 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Richmond. This will be the event’s fourth year. Last year’s Chef Fest was canceled due to the pandemic. Originally held in March, the event this year will celebrate the late summertime at the farm with nine of Houston’s best chefs showcasing their talents and local, seasonal ingredients. The festival will raise funds for Houston Food System Collaborative, a non-profit that strives to increase greater access to the regional food system with education, action and advocacy.

click to enlarge Chefs Sasha Grumman and Keisha Griggs share a table and laughs at Chef Fest. - PHOTO BY CHEF FEST

Chefs Sasha Grumman and Keisha Griggs share a table and laughs at Chef Fest.

Photo by Chef Fest

Participating chefs include Brandon Silva (Degust), Chris Williams (Lucille’s), Dawn Burrell (Late August), EJ Miller (The Sporting Club), Emmanuel Chavez (Tatemo), Jessica DeSham Timmons (Bread Man Baking Co.), Keisha Griggs (Bacage Catering, Ate Kitchen) Lindsey Fuquen (KITCH) and Sasha Grumman.

click to enlarge Chef Chris Williams has fun down on the farm. - PHOTO BY CHEF FEST

Chef Chris Williams has fun down on the farm.

Photo by Chef Fest

Attendees will gather at Harvest Green Village farm for an afternoon of tasting. There will be tasty bites prepared by the chefs themselves, signature cocktails, craft beer, Texas wine and hands-on tasting experiences. For entertainment, there will be live music and farm tours. Tickets are $95 for adults and $20 for children. Price includes admission, unlimited sampling of the chef-prepared bites, access to live music, covered dining tent, socially-distanced farm tours and five drink tickets for adults 21 and over.

Tickets are available at cheffesthouston.com. Ticket purchases made from July 12 through July 30 will receive 20 percent off with the code 2021CFEARLYBIRD.