Dog Friendly Restaurants- Houston

Since I’ve been asked a few times about dog friendly places, I figured I’d write up some recommendations. Houston has a bad rap of not being very dog friendly. While it’s true that the city makes it pretty difficult to have a permit (from what I’ve heard), there are actually a lot of places that allow dogs, even if it’s only on one specific part of the patio. Dan and I are very clearly obsessed with our pup, Barley, and tend to take him everywhere. I’m pretty sure all the Lowe’s employees know him by now. So if a place is a dog-friendly, you better believe we will hit it up more often.

Let’s start with our personal favorites (which also happen to be some Houston favorites):

Onion Creek All the food is delicious, there’s a serious Austin vibe, it’s right off a walking/bike trail, and the drink variety is great (frozen mimosas at brunch, yes please). This is our major go-to if we want to get out of the house and just chill out for a bit. It’s also super shaded by trees, which is perfect for the devilishly hot Houston summers. [Dogs only allowed on concrete portion]

Cottonwood Voted the best patio bar (at least I heard that somewhere?), it delivers. The design is super cool, and while the food is mostly meh (seriously, I’ve tried everything on the menu- Sloppy JoJo is the only excellent thing), this one is a 5 minute walk from our house. AKA, it’s our most frequented spot. The beers on tap are constantly rotating and I love their Too Fresh cocktail. [Dogs only allowed on gravel] TIP: If you’re in the area, and want really tasty food, you should hop over to Shepherd Park Draught House, which is also dog friendly.

West Alabama Ice House This place is just a Houston establishment. It’s been around since the 1920’s and is absolutely no frills. Don’t visit looking for AC, but do visit for the ice cold, cheap beers and laid back vibe. Or if you like to shoot some hoops while drinking said beers. Even fun when your husband crushes you at a game of HORSE, while playing left handed. When he’s right handed. They don’t serve food, but there’s typically a food truck!

Restaurants worthy of a good date night:

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Giacomo’s Cibo e Vino Located in River Oaks, this place is a big favorite within the neighborhood. Fantastic Italian food, with a great wine selection, and a patio that somehow makes you feel like you aren’t sitting right on Westheimer. On top of that, service is great too. It’s nice without being frou-frou or overpriced, which I really appreciate in a restaurant inside the loop.

Zelko Bistro Everything I’ve eaten here is spot on- especially the mussels. The patio isn’t very large and is covered by a white tent that makes it feel intimate, but also like you’re at a wedding. There are also fresh flowers are on each table (when I’ve gone), which I always find charming. Put this at the top of your brunch list too- the sandwiches are all stellar.

Gratifi Set in a cute old house, in the middle of Montrose, this one is a winner. Full disclosure- I called this “Graffiti” for over a year, before realizing it’s actually pronounced like “Gratify”. I recommended it to several people this way, and am now embarrassed. This one has a wonderful brunch as well… leading me to branch out on this top.

For brunch:

Empire Café Super solid, true, breakfast items at an amazing price. Love this place. And so do other Houstonians based on the line that runs out the door every weekend! TIP: If it’s too crazy and you don’t feel like waiting, walk across the street to Brasil. It’s another yummy order at the counter place, with a big hidden patio in the back. Good luck finding the gate.

Backstreet Café Adore this place so much. While I haven’t sucked it up and paid dinner prices yet, Dan and I have enjoyed an absolutely delightful brunch here and I would love to go back (DAN!). They even brought out tiny baked goods with our meal. Someone get me a Backstreet Benedict, STAT.

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Tiny Boxwood’s Without a doubt, the CUTEST restaurant I’ve ever been to and my go-to when out-of-towners visit. It shares a lawn with a plant nursery. (My sis-in-law thought I meant a nursery for babies, so had to make that clear. That’d be an interesting concept…) The charm of this place just oozes and the food & drinks are worth the wait. Don’t worry, they set up a bar outside when they’re busy so you can sip your white wine mojito while you’re in line. Oh, and don’t forget a choco chip cookie. They’re Houston-famous. (Also, LOOK HOW TINY BARLEY IS!!!)

Just for Drinks:

Bar Boheme HUGE outdoor space. Actually, this place is mostly outdoor space. Go for the relaxed vibe, later than normal HH (4-8), and diverse drink options that still has all the classics. And if they have the frozen mojito, get that. And I know I said “just drinks” but do yourself a favor and order the Vietnamese fries too.

Axelrad Newer to Houston, this one is quickly becoming popular. Great local beer selection and they have hammocks, which is novel. Maybe not the best idea when people are drinking, as we witnessed! But amusing to watch people fall out J They also have a couple food trucks on site.

Karbach Brewing Company Probably our favorite Houston brewery. It’s closest to our house and they just do a really solid job with all of their beers. It’s been really fun to see them grow but also crazy how much they’ve expanded since we’ve lived in Houston! The actual restaurant patio isn’t dog friendly, which is weird, but the brewery area is and they usually have food trucks! Or you can order food at the bar in the restaurant and bring it out.

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Eight Row Flint Another newer place people are flocking to! Driving down Yale, it’s hard to resist the call of this patio. It always seems to be bustling, and for good reason. Although the whiskey selection is what they’re known for, the frozen margaritas are some of the best I’ve had. Another perk- they cook all the food out of a truck, but there are actual servers, so no waiting in line! And the chips are to die for.

Cheers to all my pup loving Houstonians!

Being at Home

Oh the joy of being at home. Something that Dan and I never seem to get enough. There is just something too good about waking up sans alarm on a Saturday, in your own bed. Then proceeding to have a cup of coffee on your patio, in the cool January weather, while perusing articles online. And to sum up the best morning ever, hearing your husband call to you that breakfast is ready and going inside to the smell of bacon and Dawes playing over the speakers, as he whisks you around the living room for a quick waltz. Seriously. Such little things make for the greatest morning. Trying to savor every minute of this phase of life.

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Ignore the weeds covering the yard.

Other than idyllic Saturday mornings, two weekends IN A ROW, at home, meant:
Going to the movies. I’m trying to play catch up on all the best picture noms and we are way behind. The Big Short was so stinking good. Thankful for my finance classes. The Revenant was… in terms of cinematography, just beautiful. In general, a film I could appreciate, but not need to see again. And I, along with everyone, hope Leo finally wins an Oscar 😉
Hanging out at some new Houston places, along with some old favorites (El Tiempo, always). Axelrad opened last month and is a very cool beer garden. I loved the simplicity of it, but the colors really amped it up. The tap handles were gorgeous and the beer selection was diverse. We also finally tried Reef, a seafood place in Midtown. Turns out the porkchop ended up being the best dish!
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Axelrad taps

Savoring this sweet, sweet weather. Houston may feel like the pits of hell in the summertime, but winters are on point. Thankful for a park down the street, a fun loving dog, and the best patio bar to relax at. (Cottonwood wins every time.)
Playing catch up! After weeks of not being home much, I cleaned up and cleaned out. So much went to Goodwill and the church. I feel like they are probably overwhelmed every January as people purge for the new year. I definitely felt the urge to purge, and I haven’t even read any Marie Kondo books 😉 Even our fridge got a refresh!
Finally, FRIENDS! Yay for friends (not the show, but yay for that too- we’ve been Netflix binging). Y’all rock. Houston has some fine people.

French Fries

I had french fries for 3 meals this weekend. And Chinese. And pizza. And hamburger(s) and a hot dog. I was feeling pretty miserable. This remodel has got us like, woa. Calories don’t count, we can eat whatever we want, we don’t have a kitchen, whatever! Yuck. Don’t eat that many french fries y’all. Even if they are DELICIOUS.

Bad, delicious, food breakdown. (Maybe just try them once in a weekend instead of all at once?)

Stanton’s City Bites- How have we not tried this place?! It’s right next to our church and now I know I’ll feel it calling to me every Sunday. Waffle fries and bacon and fried egg and Texas toast. Delightful.

Kam’s Fine Chinese Cuisine- A pick by Josh, who I’m going to consider an expert in Chinese restaurants, solely based on the fact that he used to live in Chinatown. Very tasty. And just so nice to actually be in Houston enjoying a meal with friends.

Good Dog- Large variety of creative hot dogs. Locally sourced ingredients. Patios in the front and back (dog friendly, wahoo)! Lots of TX beers on draft. And it’s just darn cute.

Brother’s Pizzeria- I relented and let us get Brother’s instead of Pink’s. Regretted it. While I love all pizza, Pink’s can’t be beat. Although Pizza Hut’s new pizza with the crust that pulls off so you can dip it in marina gave it a run for it’s money. That was real yummy (we also had Pizza Hut last week… don’t judge me).

FYI- I went to Central Market and got only healthy things and we are going to eat super well this week. Almost redeeming? Probably not, but we can try.

FYI #2- I’m writing about food because I still can’t face the rest of our Italy photos, and I REALLY can’t face the remodel at the moment, because it is consuming every other aspect of our lives. Because our house looks likes this: