Retail in Rice Village has been active despite COVID-19’s presence in Greater Houston. Here is a rundown of business activity you may have missed.


Beginning Nov. 18 with its grand opening and lasting through Dec. 31, Rice Village is hosting the first all-female art gallery pop-up in Houston. Inside HER Studio, located at 2542 Amherst St., Houston, is dedicated exclusively to showcasing the artistic works of female-identifying individuals. The concept came about to address inequalities faced by female and femme artists in the art world, especially in Houston’s artist community, officials said. The gallery features the works of eight female artists ages 16-65: Anat Ronen, Laura Goodson, Lesli Gawrecki, Meredith O’Neal, Olga Saldivar, Sevy Marie Eicher, Shelbi Nicole and Vivian Pastor.

Upstairs Bar and Lounge has reopened to customers on the second floor at 2356 Rice Blvd., Houston. The 21-plus lounge, which reopened Nov. 2 atop the expanded Hungry’s location in Rice Village, is offering weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays and a new Seasonal Sips menu every day from 3-6 p.m., along with a new Bar Bites menu. Upstairs Bar and Lounge is an extension of Hungry’s Concepts, which also encompasses Hungry’s, Baby Yega and NextDoor. Upstairs also features lounge seating, flat-screen TVs throughout the bar area and an expansive outdoor terrace. 713-523-8652.


For the first time, Rice Village will be bringing an open-air farmers market to Houstonians. The Village has teamed up with Casey Barbles of The Informal Grub and Heights Mercantile Farmers Market to bring the farmers market to the shopping district, which will start Dec. 6, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and will be held the first and third Sunday of every month. Located in the parking lot near Beautique Day Spa & Salon and Mecox Gardens, the open-air market will include more than 40 hand-selected vendors, from family-owned farms to artisan chocolate to zero-waste home essentials, all with a focus on diverse, certified organic, locally owned grocer items. Vendors and guests are asked to wear a mask and follow social distancing practices.


Once a staple of Rice Village, J. Landa Jewelry is now open in the Lamar River Oaks shopping center, where it has been operating since June. The jewelry boutique, which offers dainty, chunky, turquoise and a host of other kinds of jewelry from across the world, is now located in a 1,300-square-foot space at 3264 Westheimer Road, Houston. The new location features artisan plastered walls, diagonally laid light French oak floors, museum-quality lighting, and custom armoires repurposed as jewelry showcases. In the new space, the jewelry boutique has expanded its assortment of fine jewelry, accessories and vintage turquoise. 713-807-1644.


Benjy Levit's Local Foods in Rice Village is adapting to COVID-19 once again—this time, by plotting a permanent expansion that will give it additional patio space and room to build on the market concept, which debuted in March when restaurants were initially closed. The expansion will incorporate Levit's benjy's restaurant space next door to Local Foods at 2424 Dunstan Road, Houston, which has closed after 25 years in business. Another Levit concept, The Classic, located at 5922 Washington Ave., Houston, has also permanently closed. The new Local Foods Market concept will continue to offer produce boxes, meats, cheese, wine, beer, coffee, olive oil, toilet paper and flour as well as exclusive items, a la carte counter service and a selection of wine. Along with the expansion, the existing Local Foods restaurant space will be updated. Michael Hsu, who helped with a 2019 renovation of benjy's, is designing the new configuration, which features ample patio space. The project is slated for completion in December. 713-521-7800.


Politan Row Houston, located at 2445 Times Blvd., Houston, permanently closed Nov. 13. COVID-19-related mandatory shutdowns were cited as one of the main factors in the decision to close. Politan Row Houston, which offered a mid-century-inspired, chef-driven food hall, first opened in Rice Village on Nov. 9, 2019. After the coronavirus pandemic came to Houston, the food hall offered its space to displaced members of the hospitality community for several weeks. It also participated in Rice Village’s meal donation campaign, through which it delivered more than 15,000 meals to Texas Medical Center workers.