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Restaurants / Openings

New Heights Restaurant Promises to be Different from its Award-Winning Sibling

Inside a Greek Dream Team’s New Plans

BY // 04.11.17
photography Christine Lee

The Helen Greek Food and Wine team is turning lemons into lemonade after closing its second restaurant concept — Italian eatery Arthur Ave — less than one year after its high-profile debut. The 3,500 square-foot digs that once served classics like red sauce and meatballs may be down, but it’s certainly not out.

In fact, the culinary clan behind the shuttered space — sommelier Evan Turner, director of operations Tim Faiola, executive chef William Wright, and chef de cuisine Mercedes Gomez — is breathing new life into the space, channeling its Greek origins for a second iteration of the group’s award-winning Rice Village restaurant Helen. Helen in the Heights, a Helen Greek Food and Wine spinoff of sorts, makes its official debut today, adding to the ever-burgeoning Heights restaurant scene.

While the new Helen location will channel the spirit of its predecessor, don’t expect an exact replica of its Rice Village sibling.

“The concept we are looking to execute with Helen in the Heights is going to be very different from Helen Greek Food and Wine,” Wright says. “I think a lot of guests are expecting a duplication of that project, but Helen in the Heights will be creative and unique on its own, offering dishes and other elements that can’t be found at the original Helen.”

While Helen Greek Food and Wine showcases modern takes on Greek cuisine, Helen in the Heights will feature a broad variety of Greek classics — think pastitsio with pasta, spiced beef, tomato, and béchamel sauce; layered Greek staple moussaka; and a bevy of souvlakis and gyros utilizing lamb, beef, feta-brined chicken, pork, and shrimp.

“The concept we are looking to execute with Helen in the Heights is going to be very different.”

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Turner, the mastermind and sommelier behind the Helen brand, unveils a 100 percent Greek wine list featuring bottles priced at $80 or less, many of which have never been available in Texas or the United States … until now. Bar manager Josh Bearden also utilizes Greek spirits for the restaurant’s Greek-centric cocktail list.

In addition to the menu, one of the biggest contrasts between the two restaurants will be the size. Helen in the Heights provides more than double the square footage of Helen’s petite Rice Village location and will be able to host large private parties on the building’s seventh floor.

Helen in the Heights will be open only during dinner hours throughout the first two weeks of service. Helen in the Heights, 1111 Studewood Street, 832.582.7146, helengreek.com

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