Each week, our My Top 5 series highlights a Houstonian who is shaping the culture of the city and making an out-sized impact on its character. In turn, each shares their own favorite things to do in Houston when not hard at work. This week, we’re very pleased to feature Anthony Calleo, chef and owner of Pi Pizza in The Heights.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Chef Anthony Calleo
- Zaback’s Mediterranean Cafe – This is the best falafel ever. They used to be Mother’s (or Mama’s) on Hillcroft and Richmond, but reopened as Zaback’s. I’ve been all over and tried everyone’s version of the “best falafel,” but nobody comes close to Zaback’s. Whenever I get out on that side of town which is not enough and never (because I work all the time), you can find me at Zaback’s. Large falafel spicy with no tomatoes is how I do it.
- Grand Prize Bar – When it comes to drinks, it’s Grand Prize all day. This Montrose mainstay is like home to me. I had my sandwich shop out of their kitchen for a good while, too. The jukebox is great, the kitchen is delicious, the cocktail menu is fantastic, and if you need a place to grab a Lonestar and a shot of Jäger, nobody’s pretentious, either.
- BooTown – This group throw multiple hilarious monthly series and have been going strong since 2007. In a nutshell, the team behind Bootown create original performance events that combine the traditions of theater and performance art with hilarious modern methods. Check out Grown-up Storytime at Rudyard’s every third Tuesday of the month (with two shows per night) for storytelling from a rotating crack-squad who show up the night-of and read crowd-sourced stories. Or check out Neo-Benshi at The Secret Group every first Tuesday of the month where the team takes four to six-minute clips and hilariously reinterpret the scenes for the audience. Both events are just $5, too.
- Flores Spices & Herbs – The spices from large food producers versus this mom and pop shop on Airline is the difference between throwing a bullet and shooting it. This is hands down of my favorite hidden gems in the city and if you love to cook you need to shop here. Whether you’re looking to be adventurous with your pantry or play it safe, this is the place for you. Not to mention everything is sold in bulk, so you can purchase small scoops..or buy ten pounds of smoked salt like I do.
- Mi Sombrero Mexican Restaurant – I’ve been eating here since I was a little baby. Located in the Heights at Shepherd and 34th, this is my mom and I’s secret breakfast spot. This is as real-deal OG Texy-Mexy as it gets – It isn’t good, but it’s great. I’ll take this place over restaurants that serve “$12 hand-crafted guacamole made-at-your-table” any day of the week.
About Chef Anthony Calleo
After spending four and a half years working tirelessly in his Pi Pizza Truck, Anthony Calleo officially launched his Pi Pizza brick and mortar restaurant at 181 Heights Boulevard with the help of Cherry Pie Hospitality’s owner and partner Lee Ellis. Since it opened in 2016, Pi Pizza’s menu uses locally sourced, house made, one-of-a-kind ingredients that has kept customers coming back for more.