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Culture / Restaurants

Houston’s New Restaurant Hotspot Grows Up — and a Barbecue King Comes Out to Join the Party

BY // 10.26.16
photography Caroline Fontenot

It’s hard to believe merely one year has passed since State of Grace debuted on Westheimer Road. The first Houston restaurant from Atlanta-based restaurateur and Houston native Ford Fry, State of Grace’s inception immediately triggered a socialite table rush, establishing the restaurant as the city’s new see and be seen hotspot.

As the initial hype softened, prime tables transitioned from “reservations necessary” to “reservations encouraged;” the fight for a bar stool became less of a Hunger Games competition; and the ginger snap Whoopie pies, which are bestowed upon exit, became a can’t-miss delicacy.

The State of Grace hits list:

1). The restaurant’s stately cocktail bar (the weekend crowd = standing room only).

2). The chef’s counter seating, which offers diners a first hand look at executive chef Bobby Matos‘ culinary creations.

3). The picturesque oyster bar. (Pop by the restaurant at happy hour — prime oysters go for just $1.)

Holiday Gifting

  • Cotton Club
  • Bond No 9 - Candle
  • Cle Du Peau - Lip Gloss
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Wayne Smith
  • Elaine Turner - GiGi Flats
  • Oscar De La Renta - Clutch
  • Loeffler Randall - Shoes
  • Cotton Club
  • Asher Gallery
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Elaine Turner - Felicia Stole in Magenta
  • Cle Du Peau - Nail Polish
  • Loeffler Randall - Clutch
  • Museum of Fine Arts Houston
  • Bond No 9 - Perfume
  • Oscar De La Renta - Earrings
  • Wayne Smith

4). Gulf crab hush puppies accompanied by cane syrup butter, bacon fat tortillas and duck carnitas, just to name a few of the best dishes.

In true State of Grace fashion, the restaurant fêted its first birthday with a food-filled soireé this past Sunday. Chef Matos dished out Tex-Mex favorites including his enchiladas a la Felix, smoked redfish, fresh bacon fat tortillas, fresh guacamole, and pico de gallo alongside flowing Gulf Coast oysters provided by Prestige Oysters.

Pearland barbecue maestro Ronnie Killen (Killen’s Barbecue, Killen’s Burgers, Killen’s Steakhouse) also served his famed brisket, pork belly, and sides. Reggae music courtesy local band Idiginis filled the space as guests packed the restaurant from wall-to-wall. 

As for State of Grace’s birthday gift? The restaurant gave a portion of the night’s proceeds to the Houston Food Bank, proving its truly more rewarding to give rather than to receive.

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