THE HOTLY ANTICIPATED Ion building is slated to open soon, anchoring a 16-acre "innovation district" in Midtown. It's set in the former flagship Sears building, which opened in 1939 and was among the first air-conditioned buildings in the city, and the first department store in the world with escalators.
Thanks to Rice Management Co., which runs the Rice University endowment, the nearly 300,000-square-foot art-deco masterpiece is being revitalized. The Ion is a major business startup and technology development hub boasting classrooms, offices and workspaces, communal areas — and food and beverage offerings, which were announced today.
Three concepts will open in or around The Ion by early summer. Late August is a new restaurant from chefs Chris Williams and Dawn Burrell, who recently announced their new joint hospitality venture. Late August will be in line with Lucille's Hospitality Group's mission to "honor the past while feeding the future," homaging the bygone department-store era. (The restaurant's name itself is a tribute to when Sears would release its catalog!)
Popular Third Ward food truck STUFF'd Wings will open its first brick-and-mortar at The Ion, a fast-casual concept with addictive bone-in chicken wings and sides like seafood boudain — and, for the first time, milkshakes and loaded fries!
Rounding out the trio of concepts is an outpost of Common Bond On-the-Go, a grab-and-go-style bakery and sandwich spot.
"The new restaurants coming to The Ion and District showcase Houston's deep culinary culture and local flare that Houstonians identify and connect with," says Rice Management Company's Sam Dike. "We're excited for The Ion and District to be a place that celebrates and supports Houston's diverse entrepreneurial community."