Chef Felipe Riccio is no stranger to the Houston restaurant scene. His résumé is dotted with some of Houston’s most beloved eateries, including four years spent at REEF under the tutelage of Bryan Caswell and successful stints as a member of the opening team at both The Pass & Provisions and Camerata. He became a certified sommelier while working in Houston, and was named one of Eater’s Young Guns in 2014. But two years ago, Riccio left Houston for a culinary trip across the globe, staging at renowned restaurants throughout Italy and in upstate New York to learn from some of the finest chefs in the world. Now he’s back (and better than ever) at Goodnight Charlie’s, a brand new highbrow honky-tonk in the historic Montrose district.
Goodnight Charlie’s, which opened in December from Master Sommelier David Keck and Peter McCarthy, is steeped in Texas tradition. Named after famed 19th-century cattle rancher Charles Goodnight, it boasts a no-nonsense approach that would probably have appealed to Goodnight and other pioneers of the American west. Its rugged exterior could almost be mistaken for that of a barn, albeit a particularly hip and modern one. That vibe carries through to the interior, which features high vaulted ceilings, wooden rafters, and plenty of space to dance a two-step.
The food and drink menus share the same unfussy approach. For the bar, that means a strong focus on Texas beer and whiskey, though Keck, one of only 236 certified Master Sommeliers worldwide, also found room for a few standout Texas wines. Just don’t expect a fancy cocktail from a burnished shaker—all the mixed drinks at Goodnight Charlie’s are either frozen or stirred.
Chef Riccio will oversee a food menu that includes Tex-Mex staples like guacamole, nachos, and elote alongside an array of tacos served on house-made tortillas. It’s a no-frills menu that allows Riccio’s attention to detail and insistence on only the freshest ingredients to shine through. Make no mistake: This is Tex-Mex at its best and most authentic.
Goodnight Charlie’s is open Mondays through Saturdays from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m. and Sundays from noon until midnight. (Breakfast tacos, naturally, will be available into the small hours of the morning.) A new happy hour program takes place every day from 4 until 6 p.m. and includes $3 beer (from cans and bottles), ½ price wine and frozen drinks, and an unbeatable $10 special for a beer and three tacos.
2531 Kuester Street | (832) 986-5151 | goodnightcharlies.com
Cover photo by Ralph Smith Studios.