Hot in Houston 2023! These Merchants and Professionals Are Making a Splash Now

Hot in Houston 2023! These Merchants and Professionals Are Making a Splash Now

Cocktails at Jonathan’s the Rub

Hot Car Sales Pro: Tony McClelland

Tony McClelland (photo by Al Torres Photography)

With his personal touch and attention to detail, Tony McClelland of Central Houston Cadillac has been named “Best Domestic Car Sales Professional in Houston” by Outsmart and has many faithful customers. The dealership, currently located in Midtown, is in the process of building a new landmark facility near NRG Stadium that’s set to open in August. The new location boasts the latest technological advancements and will be one of the largest Cadillac facilities in the country!

Hot Fine Art Gallery: Off the Wall Gallery

'Fly Away' by Amy Shekhter at Off the Wall Gallery

With two Galleria locations, Off The Wall Gallery boasts a world-class art collection, a passionate and knowledgeable staff, a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere, various events and programs, and a strong commitment to quality art and education. The Gallery, run by Mimi Sperber-Wasserberg, showcases original paintings, sculptures and fine prints from global artists. It offers visitors a unique art experience, including exhibitions, art-filled cultural travel, art brokerage, shipping, installation and bespoke framing.

Hot Lawyer: Lauren Varnado

Lauren Varnado (photo by Laurie Perez)

Lauren Varnado, managing partner of Michelman & Robinson’s Houston office, is an experienced trial lawyer, representing oil, gas and petrochemical clients in high-stakes, “bet the company” lawsuits. Beyond the courtroom, Lauren advises private and public companies about climate change litigation, investments and contractual rights and obligations in renewable energy, and much more. M&R prides itself on the collaborative and long-standing relationships it has with clients.

Hot Realtor: Sarah Callaway Sulma 

Sarah Callaway Sulma

Previously an assistant for top producer Cathy Cagle, fourth generation Houstonian Sarah Callaway Sulma of Greenwood King Properties honed her skills and became experienced in all aspects of real estate, from relocation to assisting buyers and sellers in all areas of Houston and at all price points. Sulma and Cagle are now partners, Sulma has become a top producer in her own right — with an impressive base of both buyers and sellers in the Houston community.

Hot Mother-Daughter Duo: Clare and Leigh Leppert

Clare and Leigh Leppert

Compass realtor Clare Leppert, who formerly partnered with her mom, says her experience in the luxury market for the last 20+ years is enhanced by her daughter Leigh Leppert’s fresh take on marketing and insight on the ever-evolving Houston neighborhoods. Working together, they recognize that real estate is much more than “the house.” Exceeding client expectations, marketing, negotiating, hand-holding and successfully maneuvering in changing markets is what they do best. A combination of grit and grace.

Hot Caterer: CULINAIRE


If you know, you know. CULINAIRE, founded by classically trained chef Barbara McKnight, has been an insider go-to for 20 years. This Houston institution has been upping the luxury catering game with its considered custom menus paired with flawless service and event execution. Team CULINAIRE touts a staff of courteous and seasoned professionals. Sample poolside menu: smoked chicken tostadas, Greek-salad-style shrimp cocktail, a sushi station and coconut-passionfruit panna cottas for dessert. Yes, please.

Hot Restaurant: Jonathan's the Rub

Jonathan’s the Rub

Jonathan’s the Rub has two locations in the Memorial area and is open for brunch, lunch, dinner and special occasions, touting steaks, meatballs, gumbo and hearty American cuisine. Jonathan’s is also known for its catering services, private events and putting on amazing wine dinners at the Memorial Green location. “The restaurants are the heart and soul of our family,” says chef-owner Jonathan Levine. “Everything we have goes into making sure that our food and service represent our family values and hospitality.”

Hot Realtor: Mike Mahlstedt

Mike Mahlstedt

Mike Mahlstedt of Compass consistently ranks as one of the Top 3 real estate agents in Houston with over $950,000,000 in career sales. Mahlstedt focuses on traditional inner-Loop and close-in neighborhoods. His success continues to grow thanks to hard work, attention to detail and repeat referral business. “I am a good businessman and confident negotiator,” he says. “My job is to ensure that my clients have the latest knowledge and understand the entire transaction process.”

Hot Women's Boutique: Frock Shop

A look from Frock Shop

When owner Selina Stanford opened Frock Shop her goal was to create a space where women feel seen and loved. “We do this by meeting our customers exactly where they are in life and being in gratitude that we get to style them for all of life’s moments,” she says. Frock Shop is filled with sought-after brands like LoveShackFancy. Summery looks include colorful coverups, fun-print mini-dresses and cute tops by Houston-based Hunter Bell.

Hot Men's Clothier: Adam Ross Bespoke and Custom Clothiers

Adam Ross

He’s the Suit Boss, and his Adam Ross Bespoke & Custom Clothiers has a rep for making meticulously well-fitted suits — he takes 40+ measurements and sources high-quality Italian and English fabrics — and for being a cool dude with a boy’s-clubby setup. Clients include rapper Paul Wall, actor Michael Rappaport and tons of sports pros. See that ivory suit with the subtle paisley pattern Jonanthan Owens wore when he married Simone? That was Ross.

Hot Med Spa: Montrose Med Spa

Montrose Med Spa owner Maricela Olivo

New Montrose Med Spa offers body sculpting and skin treatments that invigorate and energize and are specifically designed to restore balance and strength and renew youth. The Spa provides a complete medical gym experience — from the varied treatments with Emsculpt Neo to a personalized health and wellness and skin evaluation for each individual. It also provides a noninvasive, pain-free and needle-free facelift through EMFace, in addition to offering monthly beauty memberships.

Hot Restaurant: Brasserie 19

Does one go to Brasserie 19 to be seen among the swells who crowd in routinely — inside the urbane, light-washed dining room and the front patio — or for the excellent French food purveyed by B19 chef-owner Charles Clark, who grew to acclaim over years at late, great Ibiza? Well, as one might say when asked to choose between caviar served with onion dip and potato chips and mussels steamed with white wine and fennel? Why not both?

Hot Outdoor Furnishings: Patio 1 Houston

For 44 years, Patio 1 Houston has helped Houstonians create their dream backyards. In a world of parity, they deliver clients’ choices from 150 fabric colors — in an unprecedented five days. Being entrusted by top world brands, they commit to fulfilling excellence that gives absolute value to their customers. Patio 1, which offers high fashion and high-quality brands that bring the newest trends into the outdoor furniture market, has always emphasized superior details, materials, workmanship, durability, comfort and styling.

Hot Restaurant: Local Foods

From the days of his eponymous Rice Village spot to today’s Local Foods concept, Benjy Levit has been a staple of Houston’s restaurant scene. As buzz surrounds his newer speakeasy-style wine bar Lees Den and the unfussy French spot Eau Tour, Local Foods remains a five-location powerhouse. Breezy, counter-service-style Local Foods is passionate about creating fresh, hyper-seasonal dishes, made from scratch daily, with the best local ingredients Texas has to offer.

With Expertise in Blondes, Extensions and More, the Janelle Alexis Team Is a Go-To Salon

YOU CAN'T LIMIT Janelle to one title – Hairdresser. Her career and business has been established and built on a strong foundation. Using her two business degrees + one more in-process, this enables Janelle and the team to deliver not only a customer-focused experience, but a foundationally solid business. There is much more than meets the eye, and in sharing a little bit about Janelle, she was not only an international hair extension educator for over 14 years, but brings extensive expertise to blondes. She rounds this out with her previously launched namesake cosmetic line, which is a perfect complement to her belief that “Beauty is our Business”.

Keep ReadingShow less

A CHANGE OF scenery is good for the soul. And Thompson hotel’s newest location overlooking Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Park has plenty to offer those in need of checking in and chilling out. This is the brand’s fourth luxury boutique Texas property since Hyatt acquired it and expanded its reach.

Keep ReadingShow less

AS WE PRODUCE our second annual “Cool 100” list, we’re reminded of our thoughts as we debuted this feature last year. We acknowledged that deciding who and what is cool is not only a moving target but also entirely subjective. And that attempting to “rank” the coolest people in Houston is a fool’s errand, one that will leave us immediately open to criticism. “You think she is cooler than him? You included this person?! You left off that one!?"

Keep ReadingShow less
People + Places