Between the crippling shutdown effects of COVID-19 and the worldwide protests in the wake of Houston-native George Floyd‘s murder at the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, an (overdue) call to seek out and support local, black-owned businesses arose. This is something that should be thought of all year — not just after the reality of systematic racism and police brutality (finally) shake the world into action.
Houston’s the most diverse city in America — and black-owned restaurants are naturally among the best restaurants in H-Town.
Of course, there are also plenty of black-owned Houston clothing stores, service organizations, health and beauty shops, etc, etc. . . the list goes on and on (here’s one directory). Today, we’re highlighting some of Houston’s most outstanding black-owned restaurants.
With Juneteenth this Friday, June 19, several of these restaurants are also offering specials for an added dining bonus.
Your mind will be swimming at all the delicious possibilities at this Midtown restaurant. Taste’s menu features comfort foods like chicken and waffles, lamb chops and mac ‘n’ cheese, but they’re given a creative, global twist. If that’s not enough to get you racing there, then maybe its specialty mixed drinks will.
How does a Lavendar Blueberry Margarita, Jerk Paloma, or Ginger Caipirinha sound?
Even Joe Biden knows about Lucille’s. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee chose this Museum District institution for the site of his private meeting with George Floyd’s family. The location of the meet-up was especially poignant as the restaurant was named after chef/owner Chris Williams’ great-grandmother, Lucille B. Smith, a black entrepreneur, chef, educator, inventor and food corporation founder and president.
Smith counted President Lyndon B. Johnson, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Joe Louis among her friends and fans. And during the Civil Rights movement, she had the honor of serving Dr. Martin Luther King.
And Lucille’s food lives up to gravitas of Williams’ grandmother You can’t really go wrong with anything at Lucille’s, but some of the must-tries include the Famous Chili Biscuits, Butcher Burger and Baked Mac & Cheese.
3. Glazed: The Doughnut Cafe
Don’t glaze over this sweet spot hidden on Old Spanish Trail. Listen, we love Shipley’s just as much as the next donut fiend, but have you seen these donuts? Sweet, sweet indulgence. Plus, Glazed offers sandwiches and burgers. . . served in donuts. You can thank Founder Edose “Ose” Ohen for making Houston that much sweeter.
This popular Heights restaurant has been offering its insane breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch menus for more than 15 years, tempting diners with options like its 6th Street Migas Verde, Brisket Hash, and Italian Goat pizza ( served on ciabatta).
5. Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant
This longstanding, family owned restaurant has been in operation since 1994, but recently moved from its old Richmond location to its new Upper Kirby spot on Audley. Order up some light bites from its appetizer and beverage menu, select something hearty from the vegetarian menu, or go for a plate on the meat and fish menu. We also find it worth mentioning that their dishes are served with delicious, spongy Injera bread.
It’s summertime, so go ahead and treat yourself to a scoop of ultra creamy ice cream from Hank’s. This NRG Stadium area parlor has been open since the ‘80s. Hank’s knows a thing or two about the secret to quality creams.
No list of the best barbecue restaurants in Houston would be complete without Gatlin’s BBQ. Period. The family owned and operated BBQ joint has been dishing out seriously mouthwatering meats, slow-cooked to perfection, for a decade. As you consider which delicious plate and sandwich to order, be sure not to overlook Gatlin’s new breakfast menu. Seriously.
Another bonus? Gaitlin’s new online ordering system has dramatically reduced the sometimes maddening waits Gatlin’s used to have at times.
Yes, you can eat vegan and still enjoy the same, soul-food experiences you get with traditional comfort food plates. Soul Food Vegan offers smoothies, crispy Fried Mushrooms, Jambalaya, Cajun Boudin Balls and Cinnamon Macapecan cupcakes, all made with vegans in mind.
Hit Richmond Avenue to find Taste of Nigeria, the satisfying restaurant that has filled a void for authentic Nigerian food in Houston. Taste of Nigeria was even featured on the PBS show No Passport Required.
Headed by Tiffaney and Rasak Odewale, Taste of Nigeria prides itself on fresh West African flavors and ingredients. Expect traditional soups such as Egusi, filling plates such as Jollof Rice and delectable seafood prepared with Cameroonian spices.
Upper Kirby Bistro brings rich and flavorful soul food plates to the heart of Upper Kirby, with dinner options ranging from Louisiana Gumbo to Shrimp Creole Pasta. But if you consider yourself more a bruncher, you’re in luck.
This bistro’s brunch lasts for four hours on Saturdays and five hours on Sundays so you can get in that extra Mojito or Daquiri, no problem.
Head to downtown’s Finn Hall to get a bite from this popular burger joint from Shannen Tune, former star and winner of Chopped. Craft Burger dishes out the perfect classic burger for all you purists, but also includes plenty of crazy combos that may make deciding what to order a bit more difficult than anticipated.
Get a load of the Morning After Burger, which features sweet and spicy candied bacon, a fried egg and smoked gouda, all served on a bacon-cheddar waffle bun.
12. Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack
No matter which way you slice it, Ray’s Real Pit BBQ Shack is a true old school barbecue joint that’s a Houston staple for good reason. Run by Rayford S. Busch, Maxine Davis and Herb Taylor, this barbecue joint is deeply satisfying with its mouthwatering meat plates, po’boys, burgers and sweet desserts.
OK, OK, yes this one’s a given. The breakfast klub is a Midtown institution that draws regular folks and celebrities alike. Between its iconic chicken and waffles, katfish & grits and legendary long lines, the breakfast klub is a must visit for any Houston food trip.
Just be patient, it’s worth the wait. And show up early — everything is closed by 2 pm.
Located in the Greater Heights area, Throughgood Coffee provides that must-have pick-me-up in a beautiful and quaint setting. The cool and idyllic coffeehouse is a venture in artistry, topnotch coffee and perfectly baked goods – all executed with service in mind.
Throughgood Coffee founded the nonprofit organization Temenos Community Development Corporation, in 2008 and today the coffee shop continues to donate a portion of its proceeds to initiatives designed to help empower those in need.
Another classic we would be remiss not to include, especially since it is Beyoncé approved. Frenchy’s is no secret or under-the-radar spot for Houstonians. It’s a given favorite — and staple of any true Houston resident’s diet.
What could possibly be more satisfying than crispy fried chicken, a buttery biscuit, dirty rice and Frenchy’s fries?
James Haywood and Ross Coleman, the creative minds behind the now shuttered Kitchen 713, have just opened up their newest restaurant Lit Chicken in downtown’s Finn Hall, and it’s definitely a spot worth visiting. You can imagine the difficulties of opening up a restaurant in the midst of COVID-19, but this dynamic duo is fearless.
We recommend grabbing any one of their Yard Bird plates, which come with fried chicken that’s been brining and marinating for 48 hours.
Chef Jonny Rhodes who turned his Indigo restaurant into a national sensation, recently launched his new store Broham Fine Soul Food & Groceries, and it deserves plenty of notice, too.
The new grocery, which opened ahead of schedule on April 1 to help those in need during the coronavirus pandemic, is all about selling local – like super local. Rhodes’ intent is to eventually sell only self-sustainable goods, with all products coming from his own garden. As his continues to prune and work on his garden, however, you can still grab all sorts of grocery items, including jellies, meats, fresh juices, pastries and more.
18. Olive + Twist Bar and Kitchen
Olive + Twist Bar and Kitchen whips out wildly comforting plates that are a nod to all kinds of international flavors. You’ll almost feel like you’re in New Orleans with Olive’s creole-spiced Orleans Chicken. Or fly to Greece with the Mykonos Salmon, a rich dish featuring lemon butter, capers, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, basil, feta and wild mushroom risotto.
19. Cool Runnings Jamaican Bar & Grill
Cool Runnings Jamaican Bar & Grill is about as real as it gets. Headed by Jamaica-native Chef Terron Henry, this Houston restaurant delivers some serious Caribbean eats, from the starters all the way down to the desserts. Signature plates include items such as Curried Goat, Oxtails, Coconut Curry Shrimp and Jamaica’s national dish, Ackee and Saltfish.
And be sure to get one of the sweet Jamaican sodas to wash it all down.
Have a hankering for something sweet or trying to satiate that undying sweet tooth? Then you have to check out Crumbville, TX on Elgin Street. Everything at this Houston bakery is so tempting, you might not believe that many of the goods are vegan and/or gluten free.
Featured treats include Vegan Oreos, Vegan Peanut Butter cookies and “Stuffedcups,” cupcakes filled with sweet surprises like cheesecake and gooey cookies.
Head to Midtown to experience the cool and eclectic ambiance only available at Lost & Found. The noteworthy bar and restaurant offers a variety of indulgent plates. This includes a Cheesy Crawfish Turkey Burger and Fried Chicken Sandwich, plus crafty cocktails like the popular Golden Cadillac.
A number of celebs who know good food also love Lost & Found. Drake, Travis Scott and Deshaun Watson have all made visits.