Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Ron Powers gave an emotional speech about his family’s struggles with mental illness at the Hope and Healing Center & Institute’s Chrysalis Award luncheon. … Career and Recovery Resources’ Barrier Breaker Award lunch, honoring Ed and Gwen Emmett and Philamena and Arthur Baird, raised more than $250K. … A lively Sunday brunch at the Four Seasons doubled as a fundraiser for the Great Age Movement, which promotes learning and socialization among seniors. Jazz performances and ballroom dancing dazzled the crowd of 200. … Designer David Peck and his wife chaired the Judy’s Mission Possible lunch at the Houstonian, raising funds for early-detection and ovarian cancer research at MD Anderson. … The Latin Women’s Initiative’s annual fashion show lunch was as festive as ever, featuring designs by Andrés Otálora — and tequila shots. … At River Oaks Country Club, the Mayor’s Literacy Breakfast honored the Houston Dynamo and Dash teams.
These CityBook partners are among the best eateries in the most deliciously diverse city.
Infused with the charm of a bustling Parisian café, Berg Hospitality’s newest concept is in Autry Park on Buffalo Bayou. Anticipate modern French cuisine — brunch, lunch and dinner — served in a very pretty space with picturesque views of the park. 811 Buffalo Park Dr.
Venture in for the deep-fried A5 Wagyu katsu sando, or similarly stacked deli sandwich in the adjoining butcher shop, at this boutique steakhouse. A rooftop terrace makes B&B a premiere Sunday brunch destination. 1814 Washington Ave.
Find classic Italian-American food with modern twists in a lively setting, in the heart of Sugar Land’s Town Square. 16250 City Walk
The old-fashioned-yet-upscale bar setting, complete with green-checkered tablecloths and tufted leather banquettes, serves starters like blue-crab beignets, chili and New England clam chowder. 1809 Washington Ave.
Bringing to mind Chinese restaurants in Ben Berg’s native New York, from the menu to the decor, Benny Chows is a delight. With Chinese-born exec chef Shirong Mei at the helm, it serves dishes both familiar — dim sum, Peking Duck — and uniquely Texan, a la the Smoked Brisket Egg Roll starring Truth BBQ. 1818 Washington Ave.
Wine with lunch and bubbles with brunch is the norm at this sceney River Oaks spot. Situated in the center of a busy shopping strip, it’s reminiscent of a Parisian sidewalk café. 1962 W. Gray St.
At this speakeasy lounge reminiscent of a 1950s Cuban club, guests can enjoy cocktails designed by Alba Huerta, chef-driven small plates, as well as nightly live “bossa nova style” music and tunes by local DJs on weekend nights. 1800 Post Oak Blvd.
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. The eatery is also known for its catering services, private events and putting on amazing wine dinners at the Memorial Green location. Multiple locations
An all-day café from Ben Berg, NoPo offers a menu of classics like a piled-high club sandwich, pizzas and more. In the front, find unique local provisions, premade meals and freshly baked pastries to-go. New happy-hour specials and cocktail list! 1244 N. Post Oak Rd.
Chef Danny Trace’s handmade pastas come with the option of tableside truffle service, and baguettes and pastries are made in house by pastry chef David Berg. A supremely sexy cocktail lounge serves as a festive gathering area with a happy hour to boot. 1515 Texas Ave.
Under new ownership, the upscale spot on the Westheimer Curve is an elegant space touting a richly classic menu — lobster tortellini, stuffed lambchops — that now includes killer pizzas and dessert staples like cannoli. One of the best bread baskets in town. Brunch is lovely. 415 Westheimer Rd.
A steakhouse standout delivers in its rich side dishes — the Hasselback potatoes are excellent — and desserts. Crowds of pretty people pour in early and stay late, so reservations are recommended. In River Oaks District
Polished and glamorous, Tavola on Post Oak aims to be the next see-and-be scene in a neighborhood known for them. Chef Luca Di Benedetto’s wild-boar ragu is a must-try. 1800 Post Oak Blvd.
A fine-dining stalwart for decades, The Annie Café & Bar has ample private-event spaces and impeccably executed white-tablecloth service. 1800 Post Oak Blvd.
The restaurant inside storied Montrose hotel La Colombe d’Or boasts eclectic but sophisticated European dishes with Southern touches. Be sure to check out the cocktail lounge, Bar No. 3. 3410 Montrose Blvd.
An Italian-American spot from Berg Hospitality looks like a trattoria you might stumble upon in rural Italy, with enchanting and spacious indoor and garden seating. 911 W. 11th St.
At hidden-gem Turner’s, the food is as decadent as the environment (which is kicked up a notch further with live vocalists accompanying the pianist on weekends). 1800 Post Oak Blvd.
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ACROSS 610 FROM his Post Oak Hotel at Uptown, Tilman Fertitta has just purchased the 14-acre mixed-use River Oaks District development. The acquisition is his second luxury-property purchase in recent months; the Rockets owner bought the Montage Laguna Beach for $650 million in November 2022.
According to a source cited by the Houston Chronicle, Fertitta paid close to $450 million for River Oaks District, which has retail offerings including Cartier, Balmain, Zimmerman, Brunello Cucinelli and Dior, plus more than 67,000 square feet of office space, and 279 apartment units. The development was previously owned by "an entity tied to JPMorgan Asset Management, which bought the center for $550 million in 2016," per the Chronicle.
“Adding River Oaks District to our Post Oak Hotel family of offerings seamlessly complements the curated experience we have created for the luxury-seeking consumer,” said Fertitta in a statement. “This is the perfect moment in time to add this premier mixed-use development to our luxury portfolio, creating incredible cross-promotional opportunities and elevating the standard for luxury dining and shopping for Houstonians and international travelers alike.”
The statement touted the "synergy" among Fertitta's award-winning Post Oak Hotel, adjacent Post Oak Motor Cars, his high-end Uptown restaurants, and his latest acquisition of River Oaks District.
River Oaks District (photo by Francisco Ramos)
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FOR ANNA SWEET, the hunger for sugar, carbs, and fat is much like the art world’s hunger for art — especially art made by attractive, colorful, larger-than-life individuals.
With her movie-star-meets-punk-rock-platinum blond hair, Sweet (the surname is real) is certainly all that and a bag of donuts. But within her glamorous Instagram-worthy persona beats the heart of an artist, whose working-class roots and formidable work ethic continue to inspire her meticulously crafted, double-edged artwork.
Sweet’s hand-sculpted “DotNut” sculptures, each dripping with Day-Glo frosting, covered in sprinkles and other surprises, and mounted on wooden panels in uniform patterns, are available at Avant-Art Gallery. They’re delectable, a bit weird, and speak to her mixed feelings about the art world.
“I wanted to see what else I could do and push myself and have more meaning in my work,” says Sweet of the DotNuts — an unexpected pivot for a highly successful photographer whose underwater images of scantily clad women frolicking beneath the waves inspired hundreds of imitators.
After encountering artist Damien Hirst’s stupefying, million-dollar-selling “spot” paintings, each consisting of hand-painted colored circles symmetrically arranged against a light background, Sweet pondered the difference between price and the value of art, and decided donuts were far more intriguing than spots. But they’re a lot harder to make than you might think. “It’s not something you can just search for on YouTube and figure out!” says Sweet of the process, which she perfected after much trial and error, and ultimately wishes to keep secret for fear of being copied.
Sweet will say each inimitable donut is sculpted by hand, after which a mold is created and injected with different materials, depending on whether the final work will stand alone or be mounted as part of a grid. She’s also created a series of translucent Pooh-bears, their tummies bulging with DotNuts. “The yummy bear is the art collector,” says Sweet.
As one of nine children raised by a single mom who supported the family by restoring and selling paintings and antiques, Sweet endeavored to do the same for herself and her loved ones. Now 36, married, and the mother of two daughters, her hard work has paid off. “I’m creating to create,” says Sweet. “Now that I can afford to sit back a little bit, I feel like I’m starting to grow up as an artist and realize what I’m capable of doing.”