In “My Top 5” we turn the spotlight on Houstonians who are helping to shape our city and its culture. This week, we’re very pleased to feature Mike Raymond of Reserve 101, and share his favorite things to do in Houston.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Mike Raymond
- Memorial Park Golf Course – So, 15 years ago a buddy and I hopped in a U-Haul and moved to Houston. I came to the city sight unseen, with no job but a lot of hospitality experience and the idea of playing all day and bartending all night. The golf course at Memorial Park was (and still is) my home course. We have a plethora of great fancy courses here, but I’m a Muni track kind of guy and you can’t beat $38 with a cart during the week. Now if only the bar would run itself.
- Great Burgers – Anyone who knows me knows I like burgers – a lot. I’m just going to have to give a list because they are all great in their own way: Bernie’s Burger Bus, Down House, Hubcap Grill, and Lankford Grocery.
- Mexican Food – Tex-Mex, Mex-Mex, Mex-fusion… call it whatever you want, I call it delicious. My favorites are Chuy’s, Pistoleros and El Big Bad. At the last two, I usually mix in some Mescal and decide it would be a great idea to adopt another dog (I have two rescue dogs at home now) – needless to say, the wife doesn’t allow me at PetSmart on weekends anymore.
- Mark’s American Cuisine – Sometimes we need to get a little fancy – you know, family in from out of town or you decide to get engaged. For me, the best place is Mark’s American Cuisine. From the time you pull up ‘til you walk out the door, it’s always an incredible experience. Never pass on the $20 milkshake! Close second is Brennan’s; Richard at the bar always makes for a great night.
- Katz Coffee – Every day starts with Katz Coffee. No one, and I mean no one, wants to be around me if I haven’t had a cup. Sometimes I need a midday pick-me-up so I’ll grab a Caphin, a dangerously tasty RTD Vietnamese coffee.
About Mike Raymond
Mike Raymond is the co-founder and co-owner of Reserve 101, which he opened in Downtown Houston in 2008 with his childhood friend Steve Long. The deliberately unpretentious bar offers more than 330 whiskeys from 12 different countries, ranging from the Glenmorangie Pride 1978 ($750/shot) to more than 100 whiskeys for $10 or less. Reserve features a full bar stocked with vodka, rum, gin and more than 40 bottled and draft beers, with Happy Hour on Monday-Saturday from 2-6 p.m. Born in Massachusetts, and raised in New York and New Jersey, Raymond graduated from the Atlanta College of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1997. He moved to Houston in 2000, spent three years at Champps Americana sports bar and grill, and worked at the Strip House steakhouse downtown before opening Reserve.