By Jim Ayres
It’s funny how a simple fact about my life can change in the blink of an eye. I started the last edition of Foodie Diaries by saying I rarely venture downtown.
After Hurricane Harvey, that changed. I’ve been downtown a lot lately, mostly dropping off donations and offering a comforting word or helping hand where I could. It’s been amazing to see this city come together in a time of crisis, as it always does, in good times and bad.
I wondered aloud if this was the right time to write about restaurants. After all, to so many of the faces I saw, getting food—any food—was a top priority. Luckily, some of Houston’s greatest restaurants dedicated the days after Harvey to feeding first responders and those in need. Frank’s Pizza, Reef, Coltivare, The Pass & Provisions and Underbelly are just a few places that opened their kitchens.
Many more are holding fundraisers this month to raise money for Harvey relief.
Want to know where you can eat (and drink) to help the efforts? Check houstonfoodfinder.com, where information is updated regularly.
Back to my dilemma, however. We’ve been resilient, and Houston is slowly but surely returning to a life as normal as it can be after a life-changing storm. People are starting to get out. Then came a note from the MONTROSE STAR’s unsinkable copy editor, Nancy Ford: “Thank goodness we all weathered the storm last week—pun intended. I am so grateful. We’re a tough bunch, ain’t we?”
My mission was clear and my discoveries of newly-opened downtown area eateries continued apace.
It was a quick jaunt underneath 59 (I’m still finding it hard to say I-69) to St. Emanuel, a street I’d previously known for Warehouse Live’s BCBC events and
Huyhn, a terrific Vietnamese restaurant. BBVA Compass Stadium and thousands of apartments have sprung up since, bringing a young professional population that’s hungry and ready to party.
Turn the corner onto Lamar and you’ll find Chapman & Kirby, the shining star of this rising EaDo area. First gaining buzz during the Super Bowl when Drake reserved the facility for his exclusive soirees, its imposing tarnished copper entry reveals a beautiful interior. The lighting, the furnishings… no expense was spared here.
Chapman & Kirby is a gastropub, first and foremost. There’s a selection of specialty cocktails (I recommend any of the tequila-based drinks named after Houston roadways), and beers on tap are all local.
The food menu may read like a bar bites greatest hits, but everything is well prepared and presented. I especially liked the Texas Beer Battered Chicken Tenders, the Mushroom Swiss Bourbon Glaze Burger and the Asian Crunch Salad. And who can resist just a bite of a Candied Bacon appetizer? Not me!
Right now, Chapman & Kirby is open only Wednesday through Saturday, with Sunday Brunch promised soon. It’s a great addition to the neighborhood.
Chapman & Kirby
2118 Lamar Street
Houston, Texas 77003