With that list of the top places, only one restaurant that was part of a national restaurant group had been under consideration. That was Vic & Anthony’s from the Landry’s. It won’t make the list or come close now, but if I were doing a compilation for 100 best restaurants, it could very well. The local branch of Nobu and maybe Roka Akor are two others that could crack it, of the top of my head (I’m considering Eunice a local spot, even if that might not be intellectually consistent). The paucity of out-of-towners among the best restaurants, is simply because the best and certainly the most interesting are locally-owned and -operated. Unfortunately, these restaurants are in danger. More than the those with a large corporate parent.
Many states, including Texas, are allowing restaurants to open up to 50% of prior capacity, which might provide an additional shot of business. But, with that still-limited capacity, continued fears of the virus that will keep many former customers away from restaurant dining rooms for a while, and with the high rate of unemployment – there’s less disposable income around – means that revenues will drop by 25% or more at very popular places, or once popular places, opined New York bar-restaurant owner Toby Cecchini in an op-ed piece yesterday in the New York Times. He believes that “there is, quite simply, no possible way for anyone to make those numbers work.” At least at independently run places.
“We’re in a period of a few years where independents lose and chains gain,” a restaurant industry analyst recently surmised in Reuter’s, possibly between 10% to 15% of market share. This is because the larger chains are far better capitalized than independent places and more immune to the dramatic economic vicissitudes. We will likely be left with more crap like Jimmy John’s, Subway, Chick-fil-A, Dominos, Wendy’s, Olive Garden, Chili’s, and the like. In a city like Houston, where the dining scene, led nearly solely by home-grown establishments, has become a hallmark, a source of pride for locals, a great avenue of entertainment, somewhat of an insight into other cultures, and a provider of accessible, simple joy, the near-future might be filled a lot of disappointments. Try to support these if you can. I am daily, if still strictly take-out.
A very delectable fish dish at Nancy's Hustle.