Dolce Vita Pizzeria & Enoteca re-opened at the end of August after temporarily closing in May to repair fire damage caused by arson. Dolce Vita Pizzeria & Enoteca, 500 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77006, 713-520-8222.
Chef/owner Chris Williams has finally opened his Southern comfort food restaurant in the Museum District after laboring over the Mission-style home and menu for more than a year. The cozy 65-seat eatery is a welcome addition to dining in the district. Named for Williams’s great-grandmother, Lucille’s incorporates some of her downhome recipes with a few updated twists. Opening menu items included braised oxtails, smothered pork and Lucille’s famous chile biscuits. Lucille’s, 5512 La Branch St., Houston, TX 77004, 713-568-2505.
A lot of foodies were surprised when celebrity chef Monica Pope shuttered her ten-year-old T’afia restaurant, but Pope said it was time for a change. And change she did. Sparrow Bar + Cookshop took wing in the old T’afia spot in Midtown, which is also home to her cooking classes and Saturday’s farmers' market. The space was completely redone by Jur van der Oord of Installationsantiques; it has a soft industrial look and looks rustic with its repurposed wood, exposed brick and old farm equipment. The food, notes Pope, is what she would cook in her own home. A longtime fan of local farms and ranches, the seasonal menu features fresh produce, several vegan dishes and staples such as Texas quail, braised short ribs and a Kobe steak. Sparrow Bar + Cookshop, 3701 Travis St., Houston, TX 77002, 713-524-6922.
Opa! The Original Greek Festival Is Back
As summer in Houston finally winds down, foodies are gearing up for one of the city's most popular culinary fests: The Original Greek Festival. Now in its 46th year, this three-day event --- October 4–7 --- features homemade Greek delicacies from the kitchens of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral parishioners. There’s always music and folk dance, children’s activities and craft booths, but the main reason thousands flock to this street party is for the baklava, dolmades, spicy gyros and souvlaki. Buy them by the piece or get a dinner plate for $12 piled high with baked macaroni, cheese puffs, spanikopita and a Greek salad. A $20 ticket covers admission for one plus one dinner plate and a pastry box. Opa!
Caesar Salad Competition Returns
All hail Caesar! The 28th Annual Caesar Salad Competition takes place October 5. The event, sponsored by the Houston Food & Beverage Managers Association and Four Seasons Hotel Houston and benefitting its educational endowment, will be held at the downtown Four Seasons Hotel. The event features some of Houston’s best chefs vying for titles of best classic and contemporary Caesar salad as well as best presentation and consumer’s choice. Chefs often get creative with their tossing stations, decorating tables and even wearing costumes. Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door, but the first ten people who show up in togas will get in for free. Doors open at 5 p.m. and admission includes all food and wine. You can buy ticket on the website at www.caesarsaladcompetitionhouston.com.
Chef Jonathan Jones has announced his departure from Concepción, which opened earlier this year. Concepción, 819 West Alabama St., Houston, TX 77006, 713-520-7744.
Strip House at The Shops at Houston Center has shuttered. The sultry steakhouse featured an all-crimson room enhanced with photos of vintage burlesque stars. Strip House, The Shops at Houston Center, 1200 McKinney St., Houston, TX 77010, no phone.
View our calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in Houston