It’s a new week of restaurant news in Houston, including the first full week of limited dine-in service at Texas restaurants, and Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Houston. Here’s what we’re keeping our eye on:
Spirits awards: Tales of the Cocktail Foundation announced Monday morning the nominees for its annual Spirited Awards, recognizing bars and beverage professionals throughout the world. Houston earned two nominations: Anvil Bar & Refuge for Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar, and Better Luck Tomorrow for Best American Restaurant Bar. Each category named 10 finalists. The top four finalists for each category will be announced June 1; the awards will be announced July 25.
Cinco de Mayo: With Texas restaurants reopened for dine-in service at only 25 percent of capacity, this year’s annual tequila-fest won’t have the intensity but restaurants throughout Houston will mark the day with food and drink specials; take-out specials, too, for at-home partying. El Big Bad, 419 Travis, began marking Cinco de Mayo on Friday and will continue Monday 2 to 10 p.m. and Tuesday 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Cuchara restaurant will continue its fourth annual Battle of Puebla celebration with music, food, drinks, and wrestlers on Tuesday. First come, first served from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (90-minute limit per social distancing tables). Fajitas A Go Go, 5404 Kirby, is offering meal and margarita kits; its delivery drivers will be dressed in luchador masks on Tuesday. Tacos A Go Go (multiple locations) will offer party packs and margaritas to go on Tuesday. El Patio, 6444 Westheimer, is offering famous blue margaritas, regular margs, street taco party packs, fajita and enchilada party packs to go on Tuesday. Hugo’s, 1600 Westheimer, has Cinco de Mayo kits for two that includes appetizer, tacos, dessert and margaritas. The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation, 2704 Navigation, is offering margaritas (single or by the gallon) as well as fajitas to go on Tuesday. Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen, 6401 Woodway and 1140 Eldridge Parkway, is open for dine-in service with $5 house margaritas and special Cinco de Mayo enchiladas; full menu available for curbside pickup. Fish City Grill (23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd. in Katy, 11200 Broadway in Pearland, 15980 City Wal in Sugar Land) is offering $5 margaritas and $10 tacos for dine-in and takeout Tuesday.
Lyric Market: Houston-based real estate development firm US Property Management has announced a new partnership to open the long-delayed Lyric Market food hall in downtown Houston. Food hall developer Hospitality HQ will serve as operator of Lyric Market, set top open late 2020. Chef/restaurateur Akhtar Nawab will work with Hospitality HQ to curate vendors and manage the food hall. “Houston has such a rich and diverse food culture, championing the city’s reputation as a culinary destination. Houstonians have truly worldly palates and an insatiable interest for all kinds of cuisines, which make the possibilities endless for a food hall,” Nawab stated. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to be in Houston and serve such a dynamic community.”
Kiran’s at H-E-B: Chef Kiran Verma’s Kiran’s restaurant has been added to the lineup of Houston restaurants available at select H-E-B stores as part of the supermarket’s Meal Simple offerings of prepared, to-go meals. Expect to see Kiran’s butter chicken, chicken tikka masala and saffron rice among the Meal Simple options. Kiran’s, 2925 Richmond, was among the Houston restaurants that reopened Friday to limited dine-in service. Customers can expect a larger layout since the restaurant recently took over the closed MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company next door. With a new capacity of 372, Verma said she will be able to accommodate 94 guests at a time for her upscale Indian menu.
Restaurants reopen: The May 1 reopening of Texas restaurants at 25 percent capacity saw Houston diners eager to get back into local restaurants. According to OpenTable, the leader in online dining reservations, Houston area reservations shot up 1,797 percent on April 27 (the day Gov. Gregg Abbott announced restaurants could reopen for limited service) over the day before. Reservations in Greater Houston were 847 percent higher over the week before. OpenTable also noted that reservations were still down 89 percent over the same weekend last year.
Greg Morago writes about food for the Houston Chronicle. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter. Send him news tips at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hear him on our BBQ State of Mind podcast to learn about Houston and Texas barbecue culture.