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 Jonathan Levine, chef and owner of Jonathan’s The Rub. The restaurant, a family affair, is managed by his son Sam at the Original BYOB location, and his daughter Jessica manages the new Memorial Green location that opened in 2018.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Jonathan Levine
- Romano’s Pizza – For my quarterly cheat, once every three months I break my Keto diet and pig out and carb overload at Romano’s Pizza on West Gray in Montrose. Large, plain, crispy, NY-style crust, hand-pulled dough. Simple elegance.
- Central Market – When in need of inspiration for menu ideas, I seem to migrate to Central Market to tour the shelves, sample great olive oils, chocolate, coffee and more. I always keep an eye out for new sauces and rubs and I always stop by the bakery to pick out the sample pieces of bread to pair with their great soft butter.
- Houston Zoo – I love the elephant exhibit at the Houston Zoo. I’m very lucky that my team gets to cook at all the zoo charity events so I’ve gotten to tour the grounds extensively. It’s a wonderful place to experience God’s creatures. It’s an oasis for the body/soul and plus, my grandkids love it, too.
- Houston Rockets – I am a Houston Rockets fan and love to go to their games. We are lucky to get invited now and again by Coach Mike D’Antoni and his lovely wife Laurel. I sit next to Laurel and we watch Mike do his thing on the court. I enjoy peanuts and a Diet Coke while we cheer on the team.
- Heights Cigar Lounge – I am a big cigar fan. This place is great because it’s BYOB –bring your own Bourbon– so I load my flask and head over there for my daily cigar. Patron Nicaraguan Anniversary, natural wrapper, 6X50 Cigar with a Woodford Reserve Double Oak Bourbon. It’s a life-is-good moment.
About Jonathan Levine
The native New Yorker did not grow up in the restaurant business or have dreams of being a chef or restaurateur, but while a sophomore at Northeastern University in Boston, he had three college roommates who were, as college kids tend to be, always hungry. And to their good fortune, Levine could cook. After graduation, he worked in the commodity world for a few years and then left to open a restaurant, eventually owning three on the East Coast before moving to Houston in 2000. He first cooked for specialty events and even worked offshore, until he decided to launch a personal chef business and catering company. He shared a kitchen with a next-door restaurant, and in 2008 when they departed quickly, he decided to take over the space. Jonathan’s The Rub was born. A second location opened in 2018. The restaurant is a family affair −his son Sam manages at the Original BYOB location, and daughter Jessica manages the new Memorial Green location.