In our series of Must Do Things Around Greater Houston, we take look at Houston’s vast array of neighborhoods to bring you five fun, tasty, and enticing reasons you should give each a visit.
Named for one of the main streets that runs through it (which was named after successful businessman and “The Father of Industrial Texas,” John Henry Kirby), Upper Kirby and the neighboring Greenway Plaza are part of a booming commercial district. With a plethora of restaurants, boutiques, and thriving businesses, there are gems lining every nook and cranny. So let’s take a look at a few.
Note: For the purposes of this list, Upper Kirby and Greenway Plaza are defined by the area covered in this map.
5 Must Do Things in Upper Kirby & Greenway Plaza
- Go fresh at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market – Open Saturdays year round, Urban Harvest’s Eastside Market is hands down the most popular farmers market in the city. It only takes one visit to see why. Packed with fresh and organic produce from new and multi-generation farmers, local artisans crafting everything from seasonal jam and crusty bread to luxurious soaps and fresh-cut flowers, stands fulfilling your morning needs with hot coffee and breakfast tacos (and cupcakes!), live music and the occasional demos from Houston’s top culinary talent, it’s the place to be on Saturday mornings. 8am to noon. Click here for directions.
- Hit Houston’s gold standards of dining – Some of the best spots in town call this neighborhood home. Start with a brunch to remember at Indian-fusion restaurant Pondicheri. Sushi lovers claim Kata Robata to be the greatest in Houston, and who are we to argue? Chef Manabu “Hori” Horiuchi wows with razor sharp cuts and impeccable raw creations, but you won’t want to miss the spicy soy milk ramen, either. There’s no better spot for fancified cocktails and intricately-composed, progressive American plates than Chef Ryan Hildebrand’s Triniti Restaurant & Sanctuari Bar, which sits just on the cusp on the east side of Shepherd. Tiny Boxwoods boasts fresh bistro fare, a picturesque garden, and seasonal outdoor movie screenings, making it perfect for a date night. And those looking for fine dining can treat themselves to a top-notch meal at Tony’s, Chef Tony Vallone’s white table-clothed, Milan-inspired restaurant that boasts exquisite housemade pasta, world-class steaks and chops, and a killer soufflé. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, you’re not a Houstonian until you’ve had a slice of Bayou Goo from the beloved House of Pies.
- Catch a show – Have a drink or two and enjoy outside-the-box live music and sketch comedy at the cabaret showhouse, Music Box Theater. Established in 1990, McGonigel’s Mucky Duck is the spot for live music, boasting a lineup of country, rock, and Americana acts from near and far. As for unique plays that inspire, children’s performances, and year-round workshops check out A.D. Players Theater, which plays home to one of the largest theater companies in Houston. The company has plans to build a new, larger venue in the Galleria that will include a 450-seat main stage theater, a 300-seat children’s theater, and a 150-seat black box theater, but check out the original in the meantime.
- Find the perfect gift – Whether it’s a gift for yourself or a gift for a friend, you’ll most definitely be able to find something in this neighborhood. Kuhl-Linscomb is a shopping mecca, where you’ll find five massive buildings housing a seemingly endless library of antique and modern furniture, houseware, clothing and jewelry, children’s toys, cosmetics, and all kinds thingamabobs that would put Princess Ariel’s collection to shame. Over at West Ave, upscale shops from apparel and decor to beauty and spa, are lined up and waiting. There’s a shop from mod design company Jonathan Adler, men’s American luxury brand Rye 51, the refreshingly awesome Milk + Honey Spa, and the 35,000 square-foot specialty fashion boutique Tootsies, to name a few.
- Unwind with some drinks – For the ultimate laidback hang, chill out at Kirby Ice House, where the crowd sipping local suds in the expansive yard is as relaxed as ever; or head to The Cellar Bar for a night of pool, arcade games, and stiff drinks. If Pinot is more your thing, you’re in luck, because this tiny ‘hood is stacked with wine bars. Get cozy over wonderfully curated selections at the European-style Oporto Café or the California-influenced Sonoma Wine Bar. At the buzzed about new kid on the block, Beckrew Wine House, get wine flights featuring small vineyard choices and sip espresso alongside small plates and pizzas. On Mondays and Tuesdays, you can even get a Margherita pizza free when you buy a bottle of wine. The Napa-style CRÚ Food & Wine Bar runs a similar special on “Pizza Mondays” when the purchase of a bottle earns you any pizza from the menu on the house.