A Houston Lunch Adventure
My friends Lorrie and Shari, let me pick a place for a birthday lunch.
None of us had been to Harold's, but it sounded like a fun place with a good story. The purple Chef Gator on the wall got me excited as we approached. And the retro "Harolds" sign appealed to my love of anything authentically retro!
History in The Heights
The Heights is a good place to find real retro, since it's one of the oldest neighborhoods in Houston. What an adventure to eat in a spiffy modern restaurant, housed in what was once a well-loved clothing store. For nearly 60 years, Harold Weisenthal sold suits to locals. Two clients happened to be US presidents.
Finding our way to Harold's (on the second floor) was the first adventure. There was a little construction happening on the new Tap Room, so we entered through the Pizzeria. I had to pause and absorb the fun feel of this colorful space, which obviously welcomes small people!
We headed out a side door and followed the correct arrow up some stairs. We paused to admire an unusual piece of art that seemed to float beside the brick wall. Sorry I didn't take a picture.
We were the first to arrive, so I snapped a few photos before I annoyed anyone. We were given a great table beside the window.
The inside bar looked appealing with comfy stools, but the outside terrace with strings of lights and a fireplace for cool nights, looked fun. Evidently it gets very popular in the evenings.
On the terrace I spotted another Harolds sign. The sign does not have an apostrophe. (You'd never know from this photo) Anyway, I just keep going back and forth, using an apostrophe here and not there, in my write up. I'm confused. The store did belong to Harold, after all.
We were pretty delighted when Allie Jarret greeted our table. She had waved to us when we passed through the pizzeria earlier and then Shari recognized her image on the back of a tee-shirt. Allie, who owns the pizzeria and Harold's, filled us in.
The "American Gothic" image shows Allie with Chef, Antoine Ware.The words, "We Know Our Farmers" is a reminder that Harold's partners with local vendors for the produce, meats... even grains, cheese and berries that go into their food.
... and Maneul
It would be just rude to only show Manuel's back. After all, he kept our water glasses full and gave good guidance for the restroom. He was very pleasant and I just now noticed... his Harold's shirt has an apostrophe!
Wood and Brick
Allie pointed to some exposed brick that was original to the building. Then below she explained how she brought a little of her South Carolina roots to the walls. The beautiful boards came from a barn floor, of a South Carolina cotton farm. The same wonderful wood (with a greenish tint) was underneath the glossy finish of the tables.
From South Carolina to Texas
Allie said she moved from South Carolina to the area about 16 years ago and bought a suit at Harold's. The store had a small women's department, but they had a gigantic mirror in the dressing area. I'm sorry I never got to experience a Harold's shopping spree, but at least I got to pose in front of the mirror.
A restroom visit revealed some fun history about Harold and his business that began in 1950. Harold was just 21 when he and his brother of 23, opened the clothing shop.
Table with a View
Our waiter graciously snapped a picture of us with our food... and our view!
High and Dry in The Heights
Shari and I were quite amused when we were asked for identification after ordering wine. I'm almost a decade older than Shari, so this was much more exciting for me! Honestly, we knew we weren't being carded.
There was quite an artistic, pewter-looking list of the names of Harold's Club Charter Members. Shari and I paid no fee, so I'm afraid we won't be seeing our names on display.
Sandwiches and Wine!
I don't think I've ever ordered a glass of wine with a sandwich, but it all worked. Lorrie and Shari had chicken salad on cranberry nut bread. Yum! I had a pimento cheese sandwich on toasted sour dough. (It was National Grilled Cheese Day) It had a rich, spicy zing to it, which I loved. The chips were homemade and plentiful!
Bottom Line... A Good Mix
I liked the mix of old and new, from the vintage storefront photograph to the colorful painted cow. It was a great atmosphere to chat and linger and eat very yummy food. I had a great time Harold's...or Harolds!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.