February: New York Eatery
Something new and something old meet in Bellaire with New York Eatery, an extension of the 46-year-old New York Deli and Coffee Shop founded on Hillcroft Avenue in Meyerland.
The Bellaire location has two separate entities: the year-old, classic bagel-focused bakery and the newer restaurant and deli, which opened next door in October. Originally known as Brooklyn Bagel, the business was started in Philadelphia by two brothers looking to fill a hole in the bagel market across the country.
New York Eatery
5422 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire
Hours: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily
March: Cafe Piquet
When people step into Cafe Piquet, co-owner Cristina Benitez said she wants to invoke the feeling of instantly being transported to Cuba. The warm neutral colors of the architecture and the pictures of historical buildings hanging on the walls help create the effect.
The Cuban ancestry runs deep for the family that runs the eatery. The restaurant started in the 1970s as Piquet Market, a grocery store for Cuban families in the Bellaire area and was run by Benitez’s stepfather’s parents, who were Cuban natives.
After the market closed down, Benitez’s stepfather and mother took over and opened the restaurant in a different location in 1996. The owners moved into the current Bissonnet Street location in 2006.
5757 Bissonnet St., Bellaire
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
April: 100% Taquito
Serving Mexican street food and drinks, the restaurant 100% Taquito is a bit of an oddity, owner Marko Garcia said.
Located off the Southwest Freeway in the Upper Kirby area, the eclectic eatery opened in 1995 as a food truck that also served as a University of Houston school project, Garcia said.
3245 Southwest Freeway, Houston
Hours: Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Established in 1983, Prego has served as a bastion for local Italian food in Rice Village for nearly 40 years.
The restaurant features many Italian mainstays, such as spaghetti carbonara and mozzarella-stuffed ravioli, as well as a uniqueness spurred from its Houstonian roots.
2520 Amherst St., Houston
Hours: noon-9 p.m. daily
June: M & M Grill
On the side of Almeda Road, shadowed by the Texas Medical Center, lies an unassuming eatery with an eclectic menu.
Combining Mexican, Mediterranean and American quick cuisine, Aladdin Hatamleh opened M&M Grill in 2011 as a small takeout concept next to his father’s 30-year-old car body shop.
6921 Almeda Road, Houston
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., closed Sun.
July: Hu’s Cooking
John Hu worked as an architect in the Houston area for more than 20 years. In March 2019, he made a career move, becoming a restaurateur with the opening of Hu’s Cooking in Houston’s Old Braeswood neighborhood.
“I used to work in Sugar Land, and there was a Chinese restaurant in the area, [Cooking Girl],” Hu said. “The owner and I became good friends, and I was actually helping at that restaurant.”
2502 W. Holcombe Blvd., Houston
Hours: Sun.-Wed. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5-9 p.m., Thu.-Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5-11 p.m.
November: Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack
From icehouse to casual burger joint to Houston staple, Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack has evolved alongside the city it calls home.
Originally located on the old Westheimer Road, the shack moved to its current abode on Westpark Drive in 1985, serving drinks with the occasional burger. Five years into its relocation, then-owner Bubba Gilliam sold the restaurant to one of its regular customers, Richard Reed.
Bubba’s Texas Burger Shack
5230 Westpark Drive, Houston
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily