Classic Houston Restaurant Reimagined With a Secret Supper Club, Stylish Touches and More

Your First Taste Look at The Annie

BY // 11.05.19

The legendary Cafe Annie, a beacon of Houston’s roaring ’80s and ’90s, was rechristened The Annie Cafe & Bar earlier this year and re-conceptualized in a partnership with founder and chef Robert Del Grande and Benjamin Berg of Berg Hospitality Group.

Still situated in its two-story Post Oak Boulevard space, the new version debuted one rainy evening to a crowd eager to see how the James Beard Award-winning Del Grande, and Berg have rebooted for the next decade and beyond. With the help of architect Issac Preminger, nearly every nook and cranny of the 11,000-square-foot space was gutted and redesigned.

In its place stands a light, bright interior with floor-to-ceiling black-steel windows, towering faux palm trees, whitewashed brick walls, and tufted charcoal velvet banquettes. Make your way up the narrow split staircase, its walls lined with framed pictures of matchbooks from iconic restaurants, to the oval-shaped bar, with 36 seats.

The main dining room’s floor-to-ceiling mural is by New York graffiti artist CES, while the 1,040-square-foot patio encourages al fresco dining with views of Post Oak Boulevard.

Del Grande and Berg are joined by operating partner Sam Governale, who splits his time as owner/operator of Emmaline restaurant. In the back of the house, Del Grande’s crew includes executive sous chef Elliott Kelly (Cafe Annie and Four Seasons Hotel, Houston). This team’s thoughtful dishes are described as Texas-influenced American cuisine — no surprise, as Del Grande is hailed as one of the founders of the Southwestern cuisine movement.

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The Annie Café & Bar

Classics on the carte include Del Grande’s much-imitated coffee-crusted filet mignon ($42), shrimp cocktail ($16), and steak tartare ($18). Many old standards have a comfortable place on the expansive menu, including Gulf crabmeat tostadas with avocado salsa ($16), or try new inventions such as Texas lardo, a rich pork fatback layered with mascarpone and seasonal fruit mustard on crostini ($10) or rabbit pot pie, a steaming stew beneath a bronzed crust, pierced tableside and filled with market vegetables and mushrooms ($12).

Shareable entrees for two include redfish on the half-shell ($58), a dry-aged long bone rib eye ($116), and Dinner Bell chicken, which feels like a good Southern Sunday supper with cornbread dressing, sweet potato and green-bean salad ($52).

The wine selections by sommelier Bridget Paliwoda are a highlight, with bottles priced from $39 to $1,100. Desserts include the playful Annie sundae, made with vanilla and chocolate ice cream studded with pralines, brownie bites, and marshmallow fluff, topped with two churros ($9), as well as flourless chocolate cake with a scoop of chocolate coffee mousse and candied orange ($12).

The Annie is open for lunch and dinner, while December will bring the unveiling of Turner’s, a 30-seat supper club tucked downstairs and accessed through a sly side entrance.

The Annie Cafe & Bar, 1800 Post Oak Blvd. in BLVD Place, 713.804.1800.

For more on Cafe Annie and its history, read PaperCity’s exclusive feature on its complete transformation.

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