Restaurant Spotlight: Benjy’s in Rice Village

Upstairs Patio at Benjy's in Rice Village | Photo courtesy of Benjy's

Choose your flavor at either of two locations of the classic Houston restaurant Benjy’s in Rice Village.

When it opened, Benjy’s was ahead of its time for seasonal, market-driven menus for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Rounding out that combo are their fun, intimate lounge spaces that have served as people-watching destinations for years.

Upstairs Lounge at Benjy’s in Rice Village | Photo courtesy of Benjy’s

Hip, Modern American Cuisine

Benjy Levit’s vision was born from several years managing restaurants in New York’s Greenwich Village and Upper East Side in the ’90s. That followed his studies at the Natural Gourmet Cooking School and an internship with an upscale, chef-driven vegan restaurant. While he worked, he gathered ideas for his Houston concept.

Known for light, healthy comfort food with big flavors, Benjy’s continues to wow diners while the upstairs lounge spaces remain hotspots filled with eclectic wine lists, creative concoctions, and a funky, intimate aesthetic.

Expect to see business lunches by day and dates, families, and group celebrations by night at both. Each also offers a lively weekend brunch.

Benjy’s Famous French Toast | Photo courtesy of Benjy’s

22 Years in Rice Village

In late 2015, the Rice Village location celebrated its 20 years with a facelift including a custom mural along with an overall brighter, bolder color palette, plus mosaic tile on the two-story pizza oven.

The original differentiates itself from its younger sibling on Washington by offering brunch seven days a week and unique menus.

Executive Chef Mike Potowski’s menus changes seasonally, but features items like creative “bowls” including the salmon option with coconut, spinach, apple, seeds and honey balsamic alongside a number of mocktail and cocktail options.

For dinner, try appetizers like the fire roasted rainbow carrots with mozzarella, celery, and Dukkah spice with a douse of sherry vinegar or the delicious grilled Portuguese octopus with adobo spice and roasted peppers.

Entrée choices run the gamut from a Texas buffalo burger, blackened local catch of the day, creamy seafood risotto or a variety of quality pizzas from the wood-burning oven.

Benjy’s in Rice Village | Photo: Julie Soefer


Benjy’s Happy Hour

Benjy’s features a great happy hour program every Monday to Saturday from 4pm until 7pm in the lounge and bar areas.

Select $6 cocktails include the Citrus Blossom with Nue vodka, elderflower liquor and grapefruit or a Blood Orange Margarita, and others.

You’ll also find $5 wines by the glass, specially-priced bottles of wine, $3 craft beer, $6 appetizers, and $8 personal pizzas.

Upstairs Patio at Benjy’s in Rice Village | Photo courtesy of Benjy’s

The Original Benjy’s in Rice Village

  • Chef: Mike Potowski
  • Location: 2424 Dunstan, Houston, TX 77005
  • Phone: 713-522-7602
  • Reservations: Click here to make reservations
  • Restaurant Hours:
    • Monday brunch 10:45am to 3pm; dinner 5pm to 9pm
    • Tuesday to Saturday brunch 10:45am to 3pm; dinner 5pm to 10pm
    • Sunday brunch 10am to 4pm. dinner 5pm to 9pm
  • Lounge Hours:
    • Monday 4pm to 10pm
    • Tuesday to Saturday 4pm to 11pm
Benjy’s Smoked Salmon Toast | Photo courtesy of Benjy’s
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Jodie Eisenhardt is a marketing consultant, food writer and dog rescue advocate in Houston, Texas. Passionate about all things culinary, canine and song, she loves to travel in search of the perfect bite, followed by a performance by one of her favorite bands on tour. Find Jodie on Instagram and Twitter @foodiehouston.