Hallelujah! Kirby House of Pies Reopens

Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Been missing your Bayou Goo? Well, all is back to normal now at House of Pies, which was damaged in a fire in November of 2013.

It happened back in November of 2013: A fire damaged the beloved House of Pies on Kirby, and it was forced to close its doors, giving untold numbers of Bayou Goo addicts severe anxiety attacks.

Well, after much construction and renovation, a new and improved House of Pies has reopened, so you can now make your way over there and sit for a spell with your favorite slice. And be sure to tell the staff hello, because most of them are back as well.

The owners of the restaurant carried out extensive work on the interior space, and have even added a patio for outdoor dining. In addition, the kitchen is home to new and improved appliances and equipment. (But don't worry, the pies will still be the same ones you fell in love with all those years ago.)

Rest of the Best 2013: The Top 10 Late-Night Restaurants in Houston

Photo by Gary J. Wood
Eat great, even late. Wait, no, that's Wendy's...
Our 2013 Best of Houston® winners have been announced, but in many cases picking the best item in any category was no easy task. In order to show off all the culinary greatness Houston has to offer, we'll be rounding up the "rest of the best" in some of our favorite categories during the next several months. Bon appétit!

It's 2:15 in the morning. The bar has just closed, and you know you're going to be in trouble tomorrow unless you find somewhere with food that will help soak up all the booze you inadvertently gladly consumed. Where do you go?

In the past, we've rounded up the best late-night restaurants in Houston, but this year, we're taking it a step further. We're compiling a list of the best restaurants that stay open even after the bars have closed. You think midnight is late? Amateur. Some of these restaurants are open until 4 a.m. or, better yet, 24 hours.

And the best thing about this list? These eateries are all over town. No matter where you find yourself hungry in the middle of the night, there's bound to be a surefire spot nearby, ready and waiting to serve up some hangover-healing grub.

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Late-Night Fire Shutters House of Pies; No Injuries Reported

Photos by Kaitlin Steinberg
The fire was limited to the roof area at the Kirby House of Pies.
A fire broke out at the popular and beloved House of Pies on Kirby last night around 10:45 as the result of an electrical fire that started in the ceiling.

According to Khaled Khalaf, whose family has owned the eatery since 1992, there were about 70 or 80 customers in the building when the fire started. The cooks and diners smelled smoke, and shortly thereafter someone came in and notified management that smoke was coming out of the roof.

The fire department was able to contain the blaze by 11 p.m. and has tentatively called it an accidental electrical fire, though they're still investigating the exact cause.

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Male Dancers Getting Wet at Meteor Video Lounge

Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Technically, you aren't supposed to take photos here...
Look, it's not that I purposely put myself in situations where someone is going to be flaunting a generally covered-up body part for ravenous customers to enjoy. These things just happen. You have a gay friend and it's his birthday, and besides, you heard all the male dancers are straight anyway. And there's no harm in looking, right? Right?

And so I ended up at Meteor Urban Video Lounge on a Saturday night, surrounded by gay men, a few straight women and some dancers with questionable intentions and absolutely no shame.

I had been to the club/bar/strip joint before, and I'm gonna be honest: I liked what I saw. I got a little tipsy, got pulled up on a dance platform by a muscular Latin man, strutted my stuff a bit and greatly enjoyed watching strapping young men wantonly throw themselves at seated customers for a few bucks. Everyone remained clothed, everyone remained cordial, the night was pleasant.

However, my most recent foray into the world of the dancing Adonis was less, um, PG-13. And not in an "Oh, what a pleasant use of nudity and adult language" kind of way. It got raunchy real fast.

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Top 10 Late-Night Coffee Shops in Houston

Photo by Molly Dunn
Get an iced or hot coffee at this No. 1 late-night coffee shop.

Houston's love affair with coffee shops doesn't seem to be in any danger of dying out. And this time of year, with classes at colleges and high schools starting up again and students looking for places to study (or not), coffee shops are swinging back into high gear -- especially those open into the early morning hours.

Here's what we think are the ten best late-night coffee shops in Houston.

Note: There are tons of wonderful coffee houses, like Catalina Coffee, Dirk's and Revival Market, but these (along with others) are not open late at night. We do love their coffee, but this is a list of coffee shops that don't go to bed so early.

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"Club Apple" Rocks Applebee's Late Night Around the Country, But Not in Houston...Yet

Photo from clubapplebees.com
These people cannot be old enough to club. Thank God for Club Apple!
If you're one of the connoisseurs of fine cuisine people who eats at Applebee's on a regular basis, you might have noticed that they remain open until 2 a.m. all over Houston. Why would a family dining establishment stay open that late? Because at night, Applebee's transforms into a lively bar scene with black light parties, karaoke and some pretty risqué dancing. Or at least, it's rumored to.

A few years ago, some rather scandalous photos began circulating the Internet of a late-night party at Applebee's. This, the photos seemed to announce to the world, is not your mother's Applebee's. There were scantily clad women spraying whipped cream all over their bodies and making out with each other while dancing on the bar. It seemed like a good time, but, according to Applebee's representative Dan Smith, not indicative of the Applebee's late night concept across the country.

Locally, I couldn't find any Applebee's that transform into party scenes after dinner hours, but I was assured that something akin to a Club Applebee's might be in Houston's future.

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Good Eats for a Good Cause at OKRA Charity Saloon

Late night bites at OKRA
By now, unless you've been living under a rock, you've explored that block of downtown Houston that's revitalizing, re-energizing and restoring downtown to the height of its glory. Anchoring the change was OKRA (Organized Kollaboration on Restaurant Affairs) Charity Saloon, one of the first establishments to breathe life back into that corner of Travis and Congress.

With a beautiful space, a relaxed atmosphere, a simple but sophisticated bar menu -- you wouldn't expect any less with the owner of Anvil at the helm -- and a concept that is really working (Corridor Rescue and The Houston Area Women's Center have been beneficiaries of the proceeds in the past months), OKRA is a guilt-free way to spend an evening. And get this -- the food is pretty darn good too.

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My No-Fail Late-Night Order at Mai's

Mai's bo luc lac is perfect every time.
It starts out innocently enough. With a long day spent squinting at a computer screen behind us and the glistening sun beckoning us to one of Houston's many patios, we find ourselves letting loose at a happy hour with friends. Fast-forward a few buckets of beer and a handful of increasingly sloppy games of bags later, and we realize we've gotten a little too loose and have completely "forgotten" dinner once again. Enter Mai's -- the land of post-party misfits in dire need of some grub.

And excellent grub at that. While some may have their woes with the midtown Vietnamese restaurant, I love it each and every time I visit (and yes, that includes non-intoxicated meals). Perhaps, though, that's because I know what I like -- and I get it every single time.

You probably should, too, because it's freaking fantastic.

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Welcome to The Good Life

Photos by Minh T Truong
House pickles at The Good Life.
I'm not sure if co-owners Jeff and Darren Van Delden were inspired by Kanye West's song "Good Life" when they named their new Midtown bar, but I can't say the name of their spot without singing the hook and wanting to make it rain. If you have been to the Van Deldens' other properties, Saint Genevieve and Red Door, this image isn't far off, but where those bars are swanky and high maintenance, The Good Life - Midtown Bar and Kitchen is the more down-to-earth younger sibling.

Housed in the end of a strip mall on the corner of Smith and West Gray, the location was once longtime bar Deco Lounge before becoming another short-lived club. It's an ideal spot, in the heart of Midtown, in a walkable area of town among the young and ready-to-party. After Deco closed, I wondered what could take over and really work. I think The Good Life may be it.

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A Proper Buffalo Wing, and Other Discoveries at Katz's Deli

Photos by Christina Uticone
It says a lot about the sheer number of restaurants in Houston, I think, that I live 1.9 miles from Katz's Deli on Westheimer, and went for the very first time just a couple of months ago. (I've lived here since 2009.) My husband is a big fan of Kenny & Ziggy's, and I'm partial to the New York Bagel Shop over in Meyerland, so Katz's was always one of those places we would drive by and say, "Next time!"

Finally, "next time" became "this time," and we zipped over for a late-afternoon lunch on a day when I had the flu and nothing in the house could tempt me to eat. I have to admit, nothing on the menu really tempted me to eat, either, but I needed something after three days of chicken soup and Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese, so I agreed to share some Buffalo wings with my husband and ordered a Veggie Hero to stare at and/or take home to eat when I felt better.

While we waited for our order, Josh and I spent some time rolling our eyes and discussing the likelihood that, once again, a Buffalo wing ordered outside of Upstate New York would disappoint.

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