My Top 5: Sommelier & Helen Greek Food + Wine Founder Evan Turner

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Photo: Shannon O’Hara

Our weekly “My Top 5” series showcases a different Houston tastemaker every Monday, and gives them the chance to share their own favorite things to do around the City. With this week’s opening of Helen Greek Food + Wine in Rice Village, we pleased to feature its sommelier Evan Turner. As a special treat this week, his list is paired with one from Helen’s Executive Chef William Wright.

My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston

by Evan Turner

  1. Performances by Dance Source Houston – I love to go see dance performances and one of my absolute favorites is Dance Source Houston at The Barn on Preston. They do outstanding work in many genres of dance. They are a shining light in the vibrant art scene in Houston.
  2. Half Price Books – I literally drive around town to various locations. I adore books and records and Half Price is the greatest. If they wanted to close these wonderful stores down they would have to pry them from my cold, dead hands.
  3. Battleship Texas – I am a military history buff and the USS Texas, the oldest surviving U.S. battleship, is incredible. If you can, do the the overnight visit some time. It is an educational experience that should not be missed. You get the to spend the night on the ship which is so cool. My father was in the navy and it was a great way to see what his service was like, even for just a night. Additionally, if you have kids like I do, they’ll love it. The Texas fought in both World Wars and is a part of our history that more people should learn about.
  4. Underbelly’s Late-Night Wine Happy Hour – Half priced wine by the glass from one of the best wine lists in town, food from Chris Shepherd. ‘Nuff said.
  5. Grilling – I moved here from NYC, so being able to head out to the backyard and grill is a joy that never gets old for me. You can grill all year here and that makes Houston basically perfect.

About Evan Turner

Local sommelier and oenophile Evan Turner is a longtime champion of all things Greek in the Houston culinary scene. His restaurant concept Helen Greek Food + Wine was more than five years in the making. Turner’s passion for all things Greek can be traced back to his childhood, when he lived in Thessaloniki. He first began hosting a series of Helen: Greek Food and Wine pop-up dinners in 2013 and, after an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign to launch a restaurant in March 2015, he received a partnership offer from former colleague Sharif Al-Amin and Al-Amin’s friend and business partner Tim Faiola. Turner has served as sommelier at Bank Jean-Georges at Hotel Icon and sommelier at Gravitas. He opened Branch Water Tavern with David Grossman, where me first met Al-Amin. He’s won awards at  Iron Sommelier, been nominated for a My Table award, and says that his guests hate him because “I won’t shut up about Greek food and wine, no matter where I’ve worked.”