Our My Top 5 series showcases Houstonians who are creating the city’s culture and community and asks them to share their own local favorites. This week we’re delighted to feature Mark C. Austin, the owner of the Houston-based music management and promotions company The Convoy Group.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Mark C. Austin
- Mein – There’s no hiding the fact that I like to eat. At this point, the whole planet knows that Houston is a food city. After having lived in Houston for almost 20 years now, its always nice to “discover” a new favorite. I’ve been sitting at the bar taking recommendations directly from the chef at Mein for around 3 years now. It is my absolute favorite restaurant in OG Chinatown. Cantonese at its absolute best. I’m always ordering outside of my comfort zone there and am never disappointed.
- Riel Restaurant – Canadian, Ukranian, Gulf of Mexico meets Texas, you say? If that’s not intriguing to you, you should have your pulse checked. Chef Ryan Lachaine was one of my first friends when I moved to Houston and it has been a wild ride watching him work up to this level. The vibe, the menu, the drinks…it’s just a good family hang at this point. I’m most comfortable here when inside the Loop. Cannot recommend this place enough.
- The Art Car Parade – Arguably the most Houston thing you can do in Houston is to attend the annual Art Car Parade. I’ve got lots of great friends who help put this sucker together and their efforts are greatly appreciated by a large Houston audience. I’ve been countless times and have yet to walk away displeased. Generally with a giant smile on my face. In 2018, Discovery Green let me drive one of their “Art Carts” and it was an “All Time Life Top 5” experience. Hope I get to do it again and again.
- Tacos Tierra Caliente – Like all good Houstonians, I’ve been seeking the “best taco in Houston” since the day I arrived here… and folks, I’ve found it. As far as bang-for-the-buck goes, it just doesn’t get any better. Like the rest of my Top 5, I drag every friend, colleague, visitor, tourist, and foodie friend to this taco truck. I’ve eaten everything on the menu and no matter what you order, you just can’t miss. Grab your sack of tacos, go across the street to West Alabama Ice House, and wash those tacos down with a crazy cheap and super ice cold Lone Star (or choice local brews) and tell me you aren’t a little bit closer to God afterward. Tell me.
- The Heights Theater – I work in music. I love music. I really, really love local music. It is my calling in life. When the Heights Theater came online two years ago, I knew it was something special. The attention to details and the attention to the art is unparalleled and it shows. I’ve seen some amazing events here. I host my charity birthday party here annually, too. If you go to concerts for the concert and not the social aspects, this is the place for you (and me). Pick any show. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
About Mark C. Austin
The manager of six Houston-based musical acts including The Tontons, and Say Girl Say through The Convoy Group, Austin is also the talent buyer for The Kessler Presents and MKT BAR, booking dozens of musical acts monthly across Texas, with venues in Houston, Dallas, and Austin. Mark has booked, produced, and promoted official events for groups such as Sony and SXSW, as well as local events for Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Avenida Houston, Discovery Green, 8th Wonder Brewery, and even the talent buying team for Super Bowl Live in 2017. Before managing and booking, Mark was a music photographer featured in SPIN, Paste, and Rolling Stone, amongst many others. Fun fact: Austin has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and worked in the accounting field for 13 years before breaking into the photography, music, and event industry.