Underbelly’s Wild Oats Restaurant Will Sprout at Houston Farmers Market This Summer

Nick Fine by Julie Soefer

IN THE NORTHEAST corner of the Heights sits the future home of the Houston Farmers Market, a $35 million overhaul of the 18-acre, 77-year-old market Airline Drive. The finished development will include 10 restaurants, community green space and more — and it'll be ready for Houstonians to explore as soon as this summer.


We're finally hearing details about Underbelly Hospitality's full-service restaurant that will open this summer in the space; Chris Shepherd himself has consulted throughout the market's redevelopment. (A second, fast-casual concept by Shepherd is yet to be announced.)

Houston native Nick Fine will helm the kitchen of the forthcoming Wild Oats, billed as a "fresh take on traditional Texas"; think shrimp-and-grits but with masa, as in tamales. Fine has traveled the globe, spent time cooking under famed chefs Scott Bryan and Dean Fearing, and was named culinary director of Underbelly Hospitality in 2017.

Houston Farmers Market

UBH's preference for partnering with regional farmers and ranchers will be well matched here, where up to 65 local purveyors will sell their goods. A 40-foot, open-air pavilion will highlight street-food and counter-service vendors, and Brazoria County's R-C Ranch Texas Craft Meats will open a butcher shop with glass walls for optimal viewing of the preparations of meats like goat, specialty sausage, Wagyu beef and more.

Elsewhere in the market, which is being developed by MLB Capital Partners, expect spaces dedicated to chef demonstrations, live music and more, plus improved bathrooms and parking.

Food

SOUTH FLORIDA-BASED Italian shoe line Concetto Limone will make its Texas debut at a cocktail reception at Valobra Master Jewelers (2150 Westheimer Rd.) on Thursday, April 29 from 5-7pm. The evening of "All Things Italian" will transport guests immediately to the coast of southern Italian as they sip on Italian wines, Aperol Spritzes, Negronis and Limoncellos while feasting on an assortment of Italian hors d'oeuvres from Houston's beloved Tony's. Invited guests will have the first glance in Texas on the Concetto Limone line and the opportunity to purchase unisex styles on Thursday evening and all day Friday at a trunk show at Valobra.

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Style

Pastries at Cafe Leonelli

CAFE LEONELLI IS now open inside the MFAH's Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, the stunning new wing that first opened in November.

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Food

Abbie Preston Edmonson gives a special presentation this weekend

DESPITE SOME APRIL showers, there's still plenty of fun to be had! From art-centric and Earth Day activities to family-friendly fests, check out a rundown of the weekend's best bets.

LEARN FROM AN ARTIST Tune in tonight for an hour-long talk by ceramicist and Houston Center for Contemporary Craft resident artist Abbie Preston Edmonson about her creative process. She'll give a virtual presentation about her work and a special demonstration in her studio space.

Brennen's exec chef Joey Chavez (photo by Kimberly Park)

TAKE A VIRTUAL PAINTING LESSON OR COOKING CLASS Be inspired by the great state of Texas during a virtual painting lesson hosted by Honey Art Cafe on Friday night. For only $20, stream a two-hour virtual lesson and make a series of stylized mini paintings inspired by West Texas and Big Bend National Park. Honey Art Cafe also has supply kits available for purchase for beginners or artists low on supplies.

And if painting isn't quite your speed, see what you can cook up in the kitchen! Brennen's exec chef Joey Chavez leads a "date night" cooking lesson for couples on Friday at 6:30pm. Hosted at the restaurant, the socially distanced demonstration, which costs $150, includes a reception, followed by an interactive demonstration and seated dinner.

CELEBRATE EARTH DAY! Join the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center from 10am-4pm on Saturday for a fun- and information-filled day! Explore informative booths, nature hikes, fun displays in the Discovery Room, and Earth-friendly take-home activities. Or join Discovery Green on Sunday from 12-5pm, when the park will screen a series of short films about Houston's environment, host a panel about February's freeze, and showcase a live painting demo by local artists working on murals to decorate the park.

GO ON AN OUT-OF-THIS WORLD ADVENTURE Fifty-one years ago, the Apollo 13 crew splashed down safely back on Earth after their famously harrowing mission to the moon and back. Space Center Houston is celebrating that anniversary on Saturday, hosting two livestreamed panel discussions with current NASA experts as well as Apollo-era legends.And now through May 2, local NASA and Apollo 13 fans can check out the center's new spring exhibition, titled "Apollo: When We Went to the Moon," that looks at the legacy of the Apollo era through the lens of the engineers and astronauts who actually lived the experience.

FIND FUN AT THE INTERNATIONAL KIDS FEST Traders Village hosts Kids Fest on Sunday, with games, activities, interactive shows, live music, acrobats, magicians, clowns and more. Parking is $5, but the event itself is free, sure to keep the whole family entertained from 12-4pm.

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