Restaurants / Openings

New Wave of Houston Restaurants Commits to Reopening Their Dining Rooms, Including Every Single Landry’s Eatery

Some Major Holdouts Remain as Dining Out Returns

BY // 04.29.20

Some are singing hallelujah. Others are moving ahead with trepidation, and still others are reluctant at this moment in time to open their doors. Such are the responses of Houston-area restaurants to Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to allow restaurant dining rooms to reopen beginning Friday, May 1.

We expect more and more restaurants to come forward with their plans for opening their dining rooms in the weeks to come. But not everyone is on board at the moment.

In an update on Wednesday morning, Underbelly Hospitality‘s Chris Shepherd posted his stance in an email, which read in part: “There’s nothing we miss more than serving you in our dining rooms, but we’re not ready to open up yet. We want to take our time to understand exactly what we need to do to ensure the safety of our team and our guests.”

In the meantime, he added, Underbelly would increase curbside hours and add more ready-to-eat hot items and salads to the offerings. “We will continue to build our menu in the coming weeks and hope to open the kitchen of One Fifth soon as well,” he noted.

Kata Robata is another prominent Houston restaurant that will remain take-out and delivery only for now. Its takeout hours are 4 to 8:30 pm daily, with plans to add new menu items each week.

Shawn Virene of a’Bouzy announced Wednesday morning that his champagne-driven restaurant in River Oaks will open its dining-room doors on Friday and will continue take-out specials for those who aren’t yet ready for the 25-percent-capacity dining-room experience. Virene notes, as do almost all the reopeners, that a’Bouzy will follow guidelines from both the Texas Restaurant Association and the CDC and will endorse the Texas Restaurant Promise. Reservations can be made through the restaurant’s website.

Fans of the Original Ninfa’s tacos al carbon can rejoice that the beloved Tex-Mex food Mecca on Navigation opens its dining room Friday, while the Uptown location will continue its curbside pick-up only. Of course, you can always order those famed tacos to go. Guests wishing to dine in are encouraged to make reservations via OpenTable, but they are not required.

Beginning Friday, the legendary dry-aged beef at Doris Metropolitan can be savored in the chic dining room on a few select dates. Doors will be open for dining in this Friday and Saturday and May 7, 8 and 9. The Middle Eastern/kosher-inspired steakhouse will continue its pick-up service Tuesdays through Sundays. Reservations for the dining room are required and can be made at 713.485.0466.

Eugene’s Gulf Coast Cuisine opens on Friday with its full menu of Louisiana-inspired fare and the full mitigation package, as specified in the Texas Restaurant Promise, in play. Guaranteeing the 25-percent-maximum capacity, Eugene’s is accepting reservations only via the restaurant phone at 713.807.8883. The owners advise that reservations will not be accepted online or through OpenTable. Walk-ins will be accepted depending on space available.

Goode Company chef/owner Levi Goode has taken the extraordinary step, in advance of his openings, to have all of his employees tested for COVID-19. In cooperation with Hamilton Health Box, a primary and urgent-care micro-clinic operator, he announced the tests on Tuesday.  On Monday, May 4, he will open Goode Company Seafood and Goode Company Kitchen & Cantina and Goode Company TaqueriaArmadillo Palace and Armadillo will remain closed. 

In the most widespread opening push to date, Landry’s is reopening all of its 130-plus restaurants across Texas on Friday. Think Brenner’s Steak House, Brenner’s on the Bayou, La Griglia, Morton’s the Steakhouse, The Palm, and on and on and on.

“This will be a unique dining experience setting a standard for the ‘new normal’ in the hospitality industry,” says Keith Beitler, COO of Landry’s. “We look forward to welcoming diners inside our restaurants while we diligently follow CDC guidelines and proper protocols to keep our guests and employees safe. Landry’s employees are the backbone of our company, and reopening to 25 percent capacity is a step in the right direction to putting them back to work.”

Coppa Osteria
Coppa Osteria in Rice Village has spread its tables wide in advance of re-opening on Friday.

Rice Village’s Coppa Osteria will be the first among the Clark Cooper Concepts restaurants to open on Friday with the requisite 25-percent-capacity restrictions and heavy mitigation procedures. Reservations are required by telephone (713.522.3535), and dining parties are limited to 1.5 hours at the table.

The number of restaurants opening dining rooms will grow daily. Our recommendation is to check with each of your favorite dining spots to determine the status during the pandemic — and come back to PaperCity for updates.

To date, among the confirmations of openings coming are River Oaks District’s Bisou, Kings’ BierHaus in The Heights, EggHaus Gourmet, Hungry’s in Rice Village and Memorial, and Monkey’s Tail, which is extending its hours until 2 am and continues to provide free meals for food and beverage industry workers, first responders, and healthcare workers from 4 to 8 pm daily through May 18.

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