Every week “My Top 5” highlights an enterprising Houstonian who is shaping our great city. In turn, each shares his own favorite things to do during their downtime. This week, we’re very pleased to feature Chef Chris Williams, owner and executive chef at Lucille’s Restaurant in the Museum District.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Chef Chris Williams
- Half Price Books – I spend a lot of time at bookstores with my two boys (Tracy, 6 and Daylen, 5). Half Price Books in Montrose and Pearland are our most frequent stops, and we go to Barnes & Noble all the time as well. My sons love going to them – always to the Kids section first, and now they’re going to graphic novels. But we always start and finish in the cooking section. I’m constantly looking at different cookbooks, just trying to get new ideas and stay current, get inspiration to create new things – get down some new tricks and learn about new ingredients and different techniques and stay in the know. A couple of my favorite cookbooks are Sean Brock’s Heritage, Hugh Acheson’s A New Turn in the South and a couple of different books from Laurent Tourondel.
- City parks – My wife Christal and I go to parks whenever we can as a family outing. Two of our favorites are Spotts Park off Memorial and the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. We’re constantly exploring to find new parks, because my sons will run one through the ground and then they want to go to a different spot. They like to slide down the hills, go on the swings, play Frisbee, explore the little play sets and run around and just be kids – look at bugs, climb trees, pick up dirt, you name it.
- Bike riding – My wife, boys and I like to ride the trail from Spotts Park to the Aquarium downtown and back. We ride along Buffalo Bayou and ride in the Heights a lot. I also ride my bike to work whenever I can, a nice 13-mile ride from our home on the southwest side. It’s great for the exercise, and we’re a real outdoorsy-oriented kind of family, so we just like to when we can get out and get some fresh air and get away from the computer screen – and get the kids away from it as well.
- Bubba’s Burger Shack – My boys’ favorite thing in life is burgers; it’s all they want to eat. I like to explore restaurants all over town, and Bubba’s is just a laidback feel. It’s cool for my kids to be right there under that bridge. I like how simple it is – just a cool shack, you sit outside, listen to the cars and talk over some greasy little burgers. We all order the Buffalo Burger with cheese and chips and lemonade.
- Golf at Hermann Park – On Thursdays right after lunch and before dinner service, my Chef de Cuisine Khang Hoang and I go right down the street to Hermann Park and try to get in nine holes of terrible golf. I’m definitely worse than him, by far, but it’s a blast. I have a terrible slice and have to literally aim hard right if I want any chance of getting on the fairway, and I play left-handed, too. The good thing is, my friend Maggie Noel is an instructor and said she’s going to give me lessons. But it’s good to get out of the restaurant and just leave the phones alone, leave it all behind and hit nine holes.
About Chef Chris Williams
Christopher Erroll Williams spent his youth cooking and learning about food, especially during his early childhood summers were at the Brenham home of Josie Williams, his grandmother on his dad’s side. After graduating from the Le Cordon Blue in Austin, he traveled around the world, working in Lithuania, London and Washington, DC. When he learned about the culinary career of his great grandmother, Lucille Bishop Smith, his career became focused. She owned U.S. Smith’s Famous BBQ in Fort Worth where she published sets of recipes for home cooks and served her famous chili biscuits on American Airlines, and to such notables as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Eleanor Roosevelt. Along with his brother Ben, Chris co-founded Lucille’s Restaurant, introducing many of their grandmother’s recipes and philosophies to a modern Houston audience.