Top 10 Restaurants in EaDo (a.k.a. Old Chinatown, a.k.a. East Downtown)
So you're not comfortable with the EaDo sobriquet. I don't care. The damn thing has stuck. It's short, easy and to the point. (Besides, the more important question is what to call that weird DMZ area on South Shepherd that's not quite Montrose, not quite Upper Kirby, not quite River Oaks and not quite anything else. I suggest SoSh, as in, "Let's go get sloshed on SoSh!" I'll see myself out, thanks.)
Photo by Alex Luster
Regardless, EaDo already has a website -- which is like the modern-day equivalent of establishing countries through the cunning use of flags -- so the battle is over. Accept it and move on. EaDo is drawing people east for the first time in a long while, and I'm going to embrace that change.
Besides the spiffy new BBVA Compass Stadium (for the Dynamo) and a light-rail line that will eventually run through EaDo and down Harrisburg into the East End, the area is attracting everything from Aerosol Warfare's homebase and craft breweries -- the Eatsie Boys are opening 8th Wonder soon -- to wine bars and restaurants. Music venue Warehouse Live is still one of the best in town at attracting interesting touring acts,and that little intersection of The Lofts at the Ballpark, Minute Maid Park, the Dynamo home and all of the bars surrounding Warehouse Live is just about the closest Houston comes to having a seriously dense and walkable urban presence.
Note: For the purposes of this post, EaDo is defined as the triangle bounded by Highway 59 to the northwest, Interstate 45 to the southwest and the lines of freight railroad that stretch from Commerce to Cullen.
10. Not Jus' Donuts
Not Jus' Donuts is an appropriate name for a place that doesn't sell any donuts at all, right? It's not like the name implies that there are other things besides donuts here but also donuts. Regardless, the goodies that Not
Jus' Donuts bakes every day make up for the weird donut deficit. For 13 years, Myrtle Zachary-Jackson has been making some of the city's favorite pound cakes, cupcakes, wedding cakes and cookies -- just remember that you'll need to order ahead for the big stuff.
Some may scoff at the inclusion of this restaurant on the list, to which I say: Dude, there are only about 15 restaurants in EaDo right now. Give it some time. Also: Texas Bar-B-Que house has outlasted a lot of restaurants in the area, having served barbecue to downtown workers for over 50 years. It's not the best barbecue in town, but it's a good spot for a chopped beef sandwich on fluffy white bread surrounded by people from every walk of life -- suits to hard hats and everything in between.
District 7 -- sister restaurant to the chrome-plated diner underneath the Pierce Elevated in Midtown, as well as Table 7 Bistro downtown -- is so well-hidden on its side street in EaDo, you'd never know the cozy cafe was there unless you were looking for it. District 7 is only open for lunch during the week, but it's packed during those five days with downtown workers looking to indulge in its huge menu of burgers (everything from beef and buffalo to salmon and seared tuna) and tandoori pizzas on naan.
7. Kim Son
Photo by Dawn McGee Kim Son's elegant entryway.
Since 1982, after she fled her first restaurant in Vinh Long, Vietnam, Mama La has been sharing authentic Vietnamese food with Houstonians. Kim Son sparked our love affair with Vietnamese food, so even if you think the massive restaurant is passe, show a little respect. A sumptuous interior is as comfortable as the food itself. The charbroiled Vietnamese fajitas are a fusion of both the old and new worlds, and the Vietnamese crepes, garlic butter fried shrimp and sugarcane shrimp are not to be missed.