The first iteration of Off the Vine was a bistro highlighting farm-to-table ingredients, created in 2015 out of Namita and Manish Asthana's want to meet the health needs of their family, Namita Asthana said.

After nearly eight years, Namita Asthana decided to shutter the Missouri City restaurant in December 2022 to prioritize caring for her ailing mother.

But at the urging of Missouri City council member Anthony Maroulis—who she said expressed a distinct need for a business like hers—along with the support of her family, Off the Vine was transmuted in spring 2023 into a social club for intimate dinner parties and wine tasting at a new location a few streets down from the original space.

“It’s like an extension of people’s living room,” Namita Asthana said. “We've tried hard to keep that visual and that ambiance so that they don't feel like it's, ‘Do you want a booth or a table?’”
Off the Vine's wine selection tells the story of the owners' travels. (Courtesy Off the Vine)
What's special about it?

Namita Asthana said her customers are considered family after the first time they patronize the venue, which offers a selection of wines she and her husband have gathered through their world travels.

These guests savor the experience of sharing slow moments with friends and family over the faster pace of a Houston restaurant, she said. They often connect with other customers and form lasting friendships, she said.

“Most of the clientele are ... those who have understood the value of time,” Namita Asthana said. “Who are recognizing ... you don’t have to drink to get drunk, you have to enjoy your time.”
The tasting room and social club hosts a monthly wine dinner with several courses. (Courtesy Off the Vine)
The inspiration

Namita Asthana said the new, intimate concept lends the owners more flexibility to spend time with their own family—a value she wants passed down to her children.

Guests are encouraged to make reservations at the venue, which offers a condensed menu of appetizers, charcuterie boards, flatbreads, bowls and some desserts.

Decades ago, Namita Asthana said a gentleman invited her and her husband to his home for wine along the Canal de Marseille in France, and served them theirs in a traditional glass while he drank from a teacup.

She said this influenced her approach to life and her perspective on business.

“That's when I learned that it's not about appearances,” Namita Asthana said. “It's about the content.”