Restaurants / Openings

New Brunch Mecca Opens in The Heights, Bringing Crowds to Lowell Street Market: The Pancakes, Pickles and Stories of a Breakfast Phenomenon

BY // 01.24.18

The Heights has a brand new brunch — and brunch-only — spot. The popular Denver-based Snooze, an AM Eatery has opened its latest outpost on 18th Street.

This is the breakfast mecca’s fourth Houston area location. It’s the seventh Snooze in Texas overall, with two in Austin and one in San Antonio — and the chain already has revealed plans to open three Snoozes in Dallas. But this new Heights Snooze stands on its own.

“It’s so reminiscent of our first Snooze in Denver,” general manager Chris Xavier tells PaperCity during a soft opening. “It’s cool. It’s an up-and-coming community, and it’s growing.”

The new Snooze is on the corner of 18th and Shepherd, part of the new-mixed use development Lowell Street Market. The site originally housed several old industrial buildings. Its redesign is part of a push to increase the area’s retail space and overall walkability.

“We normally choose locations based on the communities and neighborhoods they exist in,”  Xavier says. The major criteria: What does the community look like?

Lines of early risers regularly stretch out the door of many Snoozes. This restaurant chain specializes in brunch, keeping its hours from 6:30 to 2:30, seven days a week.

Between the hearty, ever-changing Pancake of The Day and the healthy “Like a Feather” dishes, you can start your morning off any way you’d like. If you’re a morning person, stick around to see the crowd start to roll in around 9 or 10ish, judging by the flow at the other Snooze’s.

Just don’t plan on calling ahead — Snooze only takes reservations for eight people or more, and only from Mondays through Thursdays.

You may find it takes a minute or two to go through the extensive menu. There are lots of options, especially twists on traditional breakfast fare. Think six takes on Eggs Benedict and more than five types of pancakes. You can even mix-and-match within those categories, going for a combo of two half-sized Benedicts, “Benny Duo,” or a petite “Pancake Flight.”

There’s your go-to Benedict, called Ham Benedict III, with an updated smoked cheddar hollandaise, then more off-the-wall options like Bella! Bella! Benny with prosciutto and Talegio cheese.

The pancakes come in nutritious and decadent options, from the Sweet Potato Pancakes to Nana’s Hot Cocoa Pancakes topped with Mexican hot chocolate and a homemade marshmallow.

And we haven’t even gotten to the Pancake of The Day.

Like every location, The Heights Snooze offers up a different pancake every single day, and they rarely recycle the recipes. The join riffs on sauces like mascarpone and toppings like cinnamon butter, and blend in everything from berries to white chocolate chips. “What’s your favorite pancake topping?” is even an interview question for servers.

Once in awhile, a lucky customer may get a signature hotcake for free. Servers are given a few “pickles” a day — opportunities to give an unsuspecting customer a complimentary dish, dealer’s choice. The freebies’ name comes from a memorable day at the original Montrose location.

One day, a little boy about five or six was throwing a fit at the Montrose Snooze. It was his birthday, and he took advantage of crying if he wanted to option. He was giving his mother a hard time, demanding that all he wanted was a pickle. Nothing on the menu would do, Snooze server Jonathan Rodriguez tells PaperCity. Snooze does have pickles, but they’re of the kosher, gourmet pickle persuasion. Not your classic sour, like the kid was begging for.

So, “the manager went down the street and got him a pickle,” Rodriguez says. “He adopted the concept, and now the waiters can give pickles or freebies.”

That’s just one example of what sets Snooze apart from other breakfast destinations around the city, according to Rodriguez.

The major difference? “Originality,” he says, citing everything from the menu, to the service, to the staff.

Jumping Into The Heights

The breakfast destination officially opened its doors to the bright-eyed and getting there on Wednesday morning, but it had a few soft openings. Snooze paired up with three “community partners” from Saturday to Monday: HITS Theatre, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, and Friends for Life No Kill Animal Adoption & Rescue Shelter.

In just three days, Snooze raised $12,865 for those causes. The meals for each “community day” were comp’d, and the entire menu was available. All donations went to support each cause.

HITS Theatre, a nonprofit organization that provides children with performing arts productions and workshops, covered the education pillar on Saturday. Buffalo Bayou Partnership brought sustainability to the fore on Monday. The partnership represents a key concern: 90 percent of the restaurant’s waste is either composted or recycled.

Friends for Life was the “wild card,” a nonprofit within five miles that’s been deemed worthy. The only no-kill shelter in all of Houston had its benefit breakfast on Sunday. The group, led by Salise Shuttlesworth, parked their Mobile Pet Adoption Truck in front of Snooze and brought Cassie, their ambassador dog.

Just another day in busy life of a Snooze.

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