Let’s get one thing straight: Chef Chris Shepherd doesn’t sleep. How else can we explain the vast sea of his accomplishments, which range from a 2014 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest to a themed restaurant concept that closes each year, only to unveil an entirely new menu and look one month later?
As many stories do, this one begins with a journey—a forty-minute trip west to the small Texas town of Sealy, where the land is mostly undeveloped and the sky is big and free. Down back roads and across train tracks, there waits a mattress factory. It looms large, tall and white against the Texas sky, with more than one hundred years of memories housed within its wooden walls.
Meeting Brock Wagner at Saint Arnold Brewing Company feels like meeting a kid in a candy store. Never mind that Wagner founded the company 24 years ago and can be found working long hours most days—you get the sense that he’s just as excited to be there as the legions of fans that show up for twice-daily (thrice on Saturday) guided tours. Wagner’s enthusiasm, his belief in what he’s doing, is what allowed Saint Arnold to survive as the first microbrewery in Texas, long before craft beer was even a gleam in the average consumer’s eye. You can taste it in the beers that he and his team create, from the Amber Ale that started it all to more recent efforts, like a collaboration with local James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega.
Odds are, you haven’t met Elaine Turner, the Houston designer and philanthropist who’s reshaping the retail landscape with her fashion and lifestyle brand. But step into one of her eight eponymous storefronts, and you’ll get a pretty good idea of what she’s about—gorgeous, glam, and community-oriented, each Elaine Turner space sparkles with the personality and passion of their founder.
On this day of love, we celebrate not only the special people in our lives, but also the beautiful city in which we make some of our best memories. Houston is a stunning place—a sprawling giant with distinct and memorable corners. It is Space City, where we celebrate the next frontier. It is Bayou City, which sometimes floods but always comes back stronger than ever. It is Clutch City. It is Astros City. It is the city we call home, and the city we’re so proud to welcome you to.
There are so many reasons to love Houston—here are our favorite few:
Each season, we bring you hand-picked selection of some of our favorite Houston hotspots for after-dinner drinks and scrumptious brunches. Enjoy this collection, as seen in our Holiday/Winter 2018 print issue!
There’s a secret sauce bubbling in the Houston restaurant world, a differentiator which sets it apart from the glitzy kitchens of New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.
The hidden ingredient?
“I think, without any doubt, it’s the diversity,” says chef Hugo Ortega, the 2017 James Beard Award-winning chef who rules the city’s enviable culinary scene.