The eatery, named after Davis’ grandmothers, keeps its menu selective and simple, serving authentic Creole food to Bay Area diners since 2015 in a laid-back setting. Several rotating menu items are family recipes, such as the sausage and red gravy Davis said his father always made.
While desserts are purchased from another bakery, Davis said his mother and grandmother bake the best pies and cobblers. Once he starts offering his own homemade sweets on the menu in the coming weeks, the women will come to his restaurant and help him refine his dessert-making techniques, he added.
“I like to keep it small so I can keep my hands on everything,” Davis said of the menu. “I just like simple food that reminds me of my family.”
Viola and Agnes’ was previously located at 18091 Upper Bay Road, Houston, and relocated in May to 3659 NASA Parkway, Seabrook.
A sign on the front door advises diners not to come in if they are looking for a quick bite, as each dish is cooked to order by Davis and his team. Despite potentially long waits, Davis said the customer base has expanded significantly since relocating.
“We love each one of you and want to create the best food possible, and that takes time,” the sign reads.
Once inside, soul music can be heard throughout the two dining areas and bar. Those spaces and their walls are decorated with a collection of antiques, some of which are New Orleans- or New Orleans Saints-themed. Davis, who attended culinary school in Louisiana, shops for the antiques when he is not in the kitchen cooking.
“Everything has a story; I can tell you a story about every little piece in here,” he said.
When he is not cooking or searching for new decor, Davis is hunting down ingredients daily for various dishes at a market in Kemah. Customers will leave comments online requesting foods from frog legs to fried alligator, and the chef does his best to offer those dishes as specials.
As menu items and sides rotate, regulars find their favorites—such as the macaroni and cheese, which staff said is a highly requested dish offered only occasionally. Mainstay dishes include shrimp and grits, Andouille sausage and bacon creole, and a peach tea-brined Cornish game hen served over a Belgian waffle.
In the future, Davis said he hopes to start weekend jazz brunches and extend weekend restaurant hours to cater to late-night bargoers.
“As long as God gives me the energy, I’m going to keep doing it, because I like it,” Davis said. “I just like people to come in and enjoy themselves.”