Visiting Houston during the holidays? Take a look at our 2022 travel guide filled with business and restaurants featured by Community Impact.
10 places to dine at all over Houston
The restaurant features brunch items, such as waffles and French toast; freshly imported seafood, such as wild cod and East Coast scallops; and a variety of cocktails and local drafts, such as mojitos, mules and cosmos.
208 N. Elm St., Tomball
Hours: Tue.-Thu. 11a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 4 p.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., closed Mon.
Longtime bagel spot branches out with new venture
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. The menu seeks to live up to the New York in the name, offering matzah ball soup, corn beef sandwiches and authentic New York-style bagels.
New York Eatery
5422 Bellaire Blvd., Bellaire
Hours: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily
Q's Deli brings halal-focused menu items to Sugar Land
Q’s Deli brings a variety of deli sandwiches, including paninis, salad sandwiches, the Reuben, a classic club and French dip, along with items off the grill, including cheeseburgers and chicken and brisket sandwiches. However, Q’s Deli ensures every item on the menu is halal despite the wide range of options, owner Ali Qureshi said.
13134 Dairy Ashford Road, Sugar Land
Little Kitchen HTX creates dishes with locally sourced ingredients in Jersey Village
Becca and Jason Kerr have worked in and bought from farmers markets for years, sourcing their ingredients from smaller producers and giving back to the community. Little Kitchen offers American comfort food with local ingredients. Dishes vary from gluten-free salads to hearty prime rib or gumbo, providing a meal for all palates. Part of the venture is Eat My Pralines, which offers desserts based on Becca’s family recipes.
Little Kitchen HTX
16000 Dillard Drive, Ste. A, Jersey Village
Hours: Mon.-Wed. 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Thu.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
The Chef's Table offers tastes from around the globe in Vintage Park
The Chef’s Table serves food inspired by dishes Paul Friedman, owner and executive chef at The Chef’s Table grew up eating in South Africa as well as those he came across on his travels around the globe, he said. Jerk snapper, chicken Florentine and Vlees Pastei are highlights of the restaurant’s menu, Friedman said, which also boasts cocktails and desserts, such as passion fruit creme brulee.
The Chef’s Table
110 Vintage Park Blvd., Bldg. J, Ste. P, Houston
Family-friendly grill Shanahan’s Local Bar and Eatery celebrates 20 years in Montgomery
Gregory Wimer, owner of Shanahan’s Local Bar and Eatery in Montgomery, was 14 years old when his father decided to open the restaurant—then named Shanahan’s Bar and Grill—in 2002. Named after his mother’s maiden name, Shanahan’s features bar foods, such as burgers and mac and cheese, as well as a full bar. Customers can play pool and shuffleboard, and on select nights the restaurant offers trivia night, industry night, ladies night with drink discounts, karaoke night, game night, pool and poker tournaments, and DJ appearances on the weekends.
Shanahan’s Local Bar and Eatery
18020 Hwy. 105, Montgomery
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily
Hometown Sports Bar & Grill, formerly a Mexican restaurant, now serves comfort food
In October 2021, Ram Aguilera turned a Pearland spot into Hometown Sports Bar & Grill, which focuses on comfort foods such as wings and pasta. During the summer, Hometown has a line of specialty hot dogs, such as a chili dog and a Cuban dog. To make its burgers, Hometown Sports Bar & Grill gets ground beef twice a week and uses a local bakery for its buns before hand-pressing the patties.
Hometown Sports Bar & Grill
1853 Pearland Parkway, Ste. 135, Pearland
Family-owned Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants Barcenas Mexican Kitchen serve Bay Area since 1998
After being in business for 24 years, family-owned Barcenas Mexican Restaurant opened its third location May 26, bringing its Mexican and traditional Tex-Mex food to League City at 2508 S. Gulf Freeway. Like its fellow locations, Barcenas Mexican Kitchen has breakfast, lunch and dinner menus featuring a variety of classic Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes as well as seafood and cocktails. Lunch specials are served Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and locations occasionally host happy hours with $3.99 margaritas.
Barcenas Mexican Kitchen
2508 S. Gulf Freeway, Ste. 102, League City
Hours: Mon.-Wed. 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Thu.-Sun. 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Bocca Italian Kitchen brings taste of Italy to Generation Park
Justin Turner is the head chef at Bocca Italian Kitchen, which offers high-end Italian cuisine in Generation Park, a master-planned community where Turner also serves as the director of hospitality. The restaurant offers Italian staples, such as spaghetti and meatballs and chicken Alfredo, though Turner said he hopes to move the menu toward more unique offerings, such as spinach lasagna.
Bocca Italian Kitchen
250 Assay St., Ste. 100, Houston
Hours: Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Katy eatery, ghost kitchen share comfort food
Urban Bird Hot Chicken opened in 2020 in Katy off of the Katy Freeway—and on its front entrance, there are two logos. On the right is the restaurant’s namesake and main concept, and on the left is the specialized, virtual kitchen concept—Chronic Fries.
Urban Bird owner Brandon Gawthorp hatched the idea for Chronic Fries in August 2021 from the popularity of the Urban Fries dish, which consists of a plate of fries topped with mac and cheese, two chopped Nashville hot chicken tenders and pickles, and drizzled with the restaurant’s signature bird sauce.
Urban Bird Hot Chicken & Chronic Fries
21788 Katy Freeway, Ste. 500, Katy
Hours: Sun.-Thu. 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.,
10 local businesses to try out
Republic Boot Co.
Over the years Chris Conrad spent living internationally—from Southeast Asia to Russia to Italy—the people he met all showed pride in the cultures and traditions of the area. For Conrad, the experience made him think about Texas culture and what it means to people around the world. When the Houston native moved back home in 2010, he sold everything he had to open a handcrafted boot shop in Katy, diving head first into a journey that involved blending art, history and the rugged individualism for which Texas is known.
Republic Boot Co.
1133 E. 11th St., Houston
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m., closed Sun.
Meadow to Market flower shop establishing roots in Montgomery
At the shop, customers can select premade bouquets that come in small, medium or large assortments. A build-your-own-bouquet bar is also offered where customers select their flowers with the option to buy a vase or hand-tie them. Other items are also sold in the store, such as shirts, candles, jams and other knick-knacks.
Meadow to Market
20823 FM 2854, Montgomery
West University shop Michael’s Cookie Jar shares love through cookies
The main product at Michael’s Cookie Jar is the oven-fresh cookie, a soft-baked homestyle cookie sold in 12 flavors. These made-from-scratch cookies use real butter, freshly cracked eggs and natural flavors. Chocolate chip cookies sell the most, followed by M&M, snickerdoodle and toffee pecan cookies.
Michael’s Cookie Jar
5330 Weslayan St., Houston
713-771-8603, ext. 0
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sun.
Bliss on 19th
Prior to opening the gifts and decor shop Bliss on 19th in May 2005, owner Dan Long said he and his business partner went to a big market in Dallas to buy goods to stock up. With both partners new to the world of retail, they also asked other vendors for tips on how to run the store. After spending five days at the market, the duo made their return trip to Houston with 1,200 glass fish, Long said.
Bliss on 19th
235 W. 19th St., Houston
Hours: Mon. 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Tue.-Sat.10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m.
Angel's Rocks and Fossils owner combines faith with passion in Cypress
Inside Angel’s Rocks and Fossils on Malcomson Road, rows of minerals and fossils are displayed on shelves, underneath lights designed to catch the eye. Angel’s sells to other rock shops and welcomes direct customers. Walser said his current clientele is young people interested in “the metaphysical aspect” of minerals.
12918 Malcomson Road, Cypress
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., closed Sun.-Mon.
Southern Roots Boutique & Salon brings heritage, tradition to League City
The salon offers appointments for various services including lash extensions, massages, hair coloring and haircuts. The business also has a small section in the salon where it sells locally made items from sellers in the Bay Area, including jewelry, clothing and hats. Many of the items are Southern inspired, such as the fishing gear for sale.
Southern Roots Boutique & Salon
4894 W. Main St., League City
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., closed Sun.-Mon.
'My son keeps me going': Owner of Jayden Layne Boutique in Tomball offers clients a personalized shopping experience
Brittani Johnson, owner of Jayden Layne Boutique in Tomball and a single mom, does not let any obstacle stop her. The shop’s namesake, her 14-year-old son Jayden, is her motivation to keep going, she said. Customers love that the shop offers a wide range of sizes—from petite to 3X—at affordable prices, Johnson said. She talks to and interacts with customers while they browse so she knows what they want her to sell in the store.
Jayden Layne Boutique
309 Market St., Ste. B, Tomball
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sun. noon-4 p.m.
Old Pearland Farmers Market: Event quadruples vendors in less than 1 year
The Old Pearland Farmers Market has since expanded to more than 55 vendors with food trucks, bounce houses and a band. Waguespack tries to keep only one or two vendors for each product offered at the market to keep it fair for the vendors. Additionally, each vendor must live and farm within 100 miles of Pearland. The vendors at the event change monthly; it takes place on the third Saturday of each month.
Old Pearland Farmers Market
Independence Park, 3449 Pearland Parkway, Pearland
Hours: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. the third Saturday of each month
Despite setbacks, strings-focused store Katy Violin Shop continues to serve community
The music store offers instrument sales for violins, violas, cellos and string basses, along with rentals, instrument accessories and sheet music, repair services, and private lessons.
Katy Violin Shop
5131 S. Fry Road, Ste. 500, Katy
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., closed Sun.
Independent bookseller Village Books in The Woodlands creates connections through reading
In addition to books, Village Books offers community events such as discussions with authors and literary workshops. Local authors owner Teresa Kenney has worked with include Alda P. Dobbs and Marcus Bridgewater.
9955 Woodlands Parkway, Ste. F, The Woodlands
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m.
10 places to have fun
Interactive theater concept Department of Wonder opens in Sugar Land Town Square
The 10,000-square-foot venue combines interactive theater with emerging technologies as guests participate in a mixed-reality quest, given a lantern and tasked with bringing light to the darkness by unraveling stories and solving puzzles, according to the announcement. The concept is designed for both adults and kids.
Department of Wonder
2180 Lone Star Drive, Sugar Land
Humble SportsPlex puts spin on traditional golf
Humble SportsPlex is home to a number of sporting options, including two golf courses, one disc golf course, two athletic fields that can be leased for various sports and a fishing pond. Humble SportsPlex offers an 18-hole course that is used for both disc and foot golf and a nine-hole golf course designed for beginners.
2107 N. Houston Ave., Humble
Hours: Mon.-Tue., Thu.-Fri. 1-6 p.m.; Wed. 1-8 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun. 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Pearland Arts League celebrates landmark gallery, still has eyes on future
The nonprofit organization achieved a milestone in September, securing its first storefront gallery, which provides a physical space for Pearland Arts League’s artists to showcase their work and is exclusively their own.
Pearland Arts League
11200 Broadway St., Pearland
Hours: Sat. noon-8 p.m., closed Sun.-Fri.
Stafford shop Golem’s Gate offers tabletop role-playing games for all generations
Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Starfinder, Shadowrun and Dungeon Crawl Classics are just a few of the favorite role-playing games, or RPGs, that have the attention of people of all ages, all cultures, everywhere.
The most played of the RPGs, Dungeons & Dragons, is played almost every night of the week at Golem’s Gate in Stafford. If compared to the first versions of the game that were released in the 1970s, the game has changed considerably, Golem’s Gate owner Jason Keller said.
4645 S. Main St., Stafford
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 4:30-9 p.m., Fri. 4:30-11 p.m., Sat. 12:30-11 p.m., closed Sun.
Skate Champions in Spring boasts family-friendly atmosphere
Founded in 1984, Skate Champions has provided a safe space for almost three generations of families to spend time together on roller skates, according to Manager Bob Justice.
5504 Fellowship Lane, Spring
Hours: Tue. 5-9 p.m., Thu. 6-9:30 p.m., Fri. 5-10 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 1-5 p.m., closed Mon. and Wed.
Woodland Lane Ceramics builds a creative community in local area
Although both the five-week and 12-week pottery classes are near capacity, Woodland Lane Ceramics continues to introduce people to the art form through its one-off workshops, such as a marbled pot-throwing session.
Woodland Lane Ceramics
33218 Sweetgum Lane, Magnolia
Hours: Tue.-Thu. 10 a.m.-noon, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; closed Mon., Fri., Sun.
Cy-Fair couple develops innovative batting cages at Swing Away
Derek and Chris McCarthy moved to Jersey Village six years ago. After Derek started playing sports in Cy-Fair ISD, his parents decided to open Swing Away. The couple did not limit the batting cages to just baseball; they said they have also seen a rise in softball teams using the space and have been able to feature other sports, such as cricket. An advantage of the design is the cages can be broken up to hold more batters or opened up to provide space for full practices on rainy days. The facility also employs two former professional baseball players who coach and offer private lessons.
12730 Cypress Valley Road, Cypress.
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 3-9 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. noon-6 p.m.
Conroe nurse 'pops' every flavor in town at Back in Time Popcorn
The popcorn at Back in Time—located on West Davis Street—is made in-house with flavors ranging from fruits, such as watermelon and blackberry, to savory tastes such as jalapeno cheddar and esoteric flavors such as Dr Pepper. Mims said holiday flavors, which usually feature chocolate, are among her most popular. Her personal favorites include dark chocolate with sea salt and peanut butter chocolate.
Back in Time Popcorn'
2107 W. Davis St., Conroe
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., closed Sun.-Mon.
Frogs, Snails and Fairy Tales
A play and party store tucked inside a Sugar Land strip mall that aims to offer a slice of magic has been allowing young children room to explore their imaginations since 2019.
Business owner Mark Fallet’s idea for Frogs, Snails and Fairy Tales was born out of the need many parents face to occupy their children while they work. With Fallet and his wife busy with work and school, the couple needed something for their daughter to do.
Frogs, Snails and Fairy Tales
350 Promenade Way, Ste. 450, Sugar Land
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m., weekend hours vary by places for play
Slinging Axes now open on Boudreaux Road in Tomball
The entertainment venue offers nine ax-throwing lanes, four dart-throwing lanes, two Xbox systems and two Playstation systems with everything rented by the hour.
11709 Boudreaux Road, Ste. 610, Tomball