These Houston restaurants are sticking with masks, reduced capacity – Houston Chronicle

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Eduardo Francisco garnishes a plate as he and others all wear masks as they work at The Union Kitchen in Katy.
Some restaurants in Houston will still require guests to wear masks when not eating or drinking.
When Governor Abbott suddenly announced Tuesday that he would lift the state mask mandate and allow restaurants and bars to open at 100% capacity, my social media timelines erupted with concern rather than celebration.
While some operators rejoiced to be able to fill their dining rooms and drinking establishments when the new standards kick in next Wednesday, as my colleague Greg Morago reported, I soon noticed others voicing concerns for their staffs and customers.
Only 6.8% of Texans had received two vaccination doses by the time of Abbott’s announcement;  12.9% had received one dose, which put us 45th among the 50 states. Houston had just acquired the distinction of being the first city in the country to host all three of the new COVID variants that are creating medical questions right now: the UK, the South African and the Brazilian mutations of the virus.
There is still uncertainty about what the COVID variants will do here if they take hold, whether they’ll trigger another surge in cases. The bulk of Houstonians haven’t had a single shot yet.  Getting them together in a crowded indoor setting where they’d be generating infectious aerosols by talking and laughing, eating and drinking, seemed highly problematic to me.
Judging from the worried comments I scrolled through, I was far from alone. People were hungry for information about which restaurants would ramp up to 100% occupancy and which would stick to the current 50% level, with its better odds of CDC-recommended social distance between tables. They also wanted to know where mask requirements would remain in place, both for staff and for guests.
So this list was born, gleaned largely from Tweets and the many Instagram posts that sprang up within a couple of hours, detailing the plans Houston restaurants and bars were making for themselves, their staffs, and their guests. It’s a work in progress that my colleagues and I will add to as more information becomes available.
These are the establishments that have gone on record early to set their own standards for masking and dining room capacity. I hope it will be a useful risk assessment guide for the many Houstonians trying to navigate the new reality.
When I cast a net for responses, my favorite reply came from the proprietress of the venerable Christie’s Seafood on Westheimer, a family restaurant which has been around in one form or another since 1917, and which makes the deviled crabs of my dreams.
“We will continue to space tables apart, stay at 50% capacity and require guests and staff to wear masks,” one of the Christies wrote. “We already survived the last pandemic, we will survive this one too.”
The ‘401 Table and Tap 
The Bellaire spot will continue to require all guests to wear masks when entering the restaurant and moving about the dining room, and will continue to operate at a reduced capacity until further notice. The kids room will remain closed.
Al’s Quick Stop
The much-loved Montrose corner grocery serving Mediterranean fare continues to require masks for guests shopping and ordering inside the store. Proprietor Mohammed Elsaadi says they’re not allowing dine-yet, but that there’s a handful tables outside on the patio.
Amsterdam Coffee
This Shady Acres coffee shop with a CBD twist says, “no mask, no service.”
Anvil Bar & Refuge 
As the foundation of Bobby Heugel’s mini-empire, this high-level cocktail bar with a food menu has the same policy as the rest of his properties: “You want these martinis? You gotta wear a mask.” That’s what Heugel posted on Instagram on Tuesday. As before, all staff will be masked, all service will be seated and at reduced capacity.
Axelrad Beer Garden 
The hip, sprawling beer garden on the far eastern edge of Midtown continues to limit capacity and require masks inside and while ordering.
Backstreet Cafe
The original Montrose linchpin of Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught’s H Town restaurant group follows their collective policy: continuing to operate at 50% capacity; limiting large groups; and requiring face masks for staff and for guests when entering or moving about the dining rooms.
Bagel Shop Bakery/New York Deli & Coffee Shop 
“We will continue to observe respectful distancing and wear our masks,” the businesses posted on Facebook.
Better Luck Tomorrow
Like other Bobby Heugel projects, this meticulous cocktail bar and patio with food from James Beard winner Justin Yu will keep operating with mask requirements for staff and guests who aren’t seated, with seating capacity at 50% to maintain social distance of six feet between tables.
Bistro Menil 
Chef Greg Martin’s handsome Euro-American cafe on the grounds of the Menil museum complex will continue at 50% occupancy for both indoor and outdoor dining. Masks will be required for staff and for patrons who are not seated. Tables will remain six feet apart. And there’s a lovely patio.
This pacesetting coffeeshop from David Buehrer of Greenway Coffee fame remains firm on masking policy for staff and guests. “No mask, no service.”
Blind Goat
Chef Christine Ha’s modern Vietnamese gastropub, a kiosk inside Bravery Chef Hall downtown, continues to require masks for staff and guests when not seated.
The casual cafe, coffee house and local-art gallery that’s a longtime favorite in its East End neighborhood will stick to outdoor patio dining only, augmented by takeout and delivery. Masks remain required for staff and for guests when they are ordering or not seated at their tables. They’re not ready to start booking  live music shows yet, either.
Boomtown Coffee Heights
The homey Heights coffee shop will stay to-go only, with no dine-in, and will remain strict on masking for both staff and guests.
Brasserie 1895
Chef Kris Jakob’s eclectic brasserie will continue to operate on a reduced schedule, with curbside and to-go earlier in the week supplemented by dinner service Thursday through Saturday. They are keeping their safety protocols in place, and ask that all customers continue to wear masks while not seated.
Brasserie 19
Clark Cooper Concepts’ longest standing venture, this see-and-be-seen French spot near River Oaks,  will continue to abide by its “No Mask, No Service” policy. While they will continue to operate at limited capacity – keeping tables and bar spots safely spaced out inside, a scenic and newly extended patio provides outdoor options for diners who are not yet comfortable dining inside.
Bravery Chef Hall 
The sleek, cavernous downtown collection of food kiosks and bars will stick to its existing protocols. Masks are required for staff, and guests must mask walking around the hall. Social distancing signage and table spacing will remain as is, and counter seating at individual kiosks is limited.
Brisket House 
At this Tanglewood barbecue stalwart and its sister locations in Deer Park and Cypress, social distancing and masks are still required while waiting in line to order food. They will continue to limit seating.
Cafe Poetes
Will continue to operate at reduced capacity. Staff will wear masks, and the restaurant “will recommend” guests wear a mask when entering the restaurant until seated and while) moving within the dining room.
Cajun Kitchen
“We are not rescinding the safety practices that we established at the onset of the pandemic,” the Viet-Cajun restaurant posted on Facebook. “Until most Americans are vaccinated, we will continue to require masks to enter our restaurant. … We will continue to take all reasonable steps to safeguard the health and lives of our staff and our customers.”
“We will continue to operate at a limited capacity while requiring staff to wear masks and ask that our guests continue to wear masks as they move around our spaces.”
The H Town group’s policy obtains at this svelte Galleria-area “Mexican Coastal Kitchen” headed up by Hugo Ortega. They’ll continue to operate at 50% capacity; limit large groups; and require face masks for staff and for guests when entering or moving about the dining rooms.
Christie’s Seafood
This wonderfully old-fashioned Gulf Coast seafood spot, owned by the Christie family for over a century, will stick to its current policies of 50% capacity, socially distanced tables and masks for both staff and guests, unless seated. “If you do not want to wear a mask, we encourage you to order online for curbside.”
City Acre Brewing 
The northeast side brewery taproom and cafe sits on an acre of bucolic grounds, so they can continue to keep their outdoor tables at least 20 feet apart. (They have kept indoor seating closed during the pandemic and don’t plan to reopen it until they deem it safe.) Staff will still be required to mask, as will guests when not seated.
The beloved Heights neighborhood Italian restaurant posted on Facebook: “Masks are required when entering or moving about and capacity will continue to be limited. We will adjust as things develop.”
Common Bond
The popular bakery/cafes — with locations in Montrose, the Medical Center, the Heights and Spring — will continue to require staff to wear masks and receive daily temperature checks. Customers will be required to wear a mask unless seated. Seating capacity will remain limited.
Coppa Osteria
This neighborhood spot located in Rice Village, a Clark Cooper Concepts project, will continue to require all guests and staff to wear masks and to operate at limited capacity. Coppa’s extensive patio – equipped with lots of heaters – provides an option for any diners who wish to dine outside.
Costa Brava Bistro
The upscale Spanish restaurant with French inflections, a rewarding Bellaire destination spot, will continue to follow CDC and federal health guidelines about masking and distancing until all of their employees are vaccinated. Chef Kitty Bailey and GM Angeles Dueñas, the co-owners, say their 15-table spot, with its small bar and trio of outdoor tables, will remain serious about spacing.
The ambitious new Spring Branch tasting-menu room and cocktail bar duo from chef Brandon Silva and beverage director Steven Salazar will maintain current precautions for the time being. Masks for staff will be required, and guests who want to try Silva’s Spanish/Mexican cuisine with its Japanese aesthetic must wear masks when not seated. Social distancing, plexiglass dividers between parties and temperature checks will stay in place.
Dessert Gallery Bakery & Cafe 
The Upper Kirby sweets mecca will still be requiring masks and social distancing for all employees and customers. For the time being, its whitewashed cafe space will remain closed for dine-in, but you order online and do carryout.
The Montrose cult favorite Italian restaurant and all-Italian wine bar, now in its 20th year, will keep its dining room running at 50% capacity. Masks are still required for staff and for guests when entering or moving through the dining room.
Dolce Neve Gelato 
This great little Heights scoop shop will continue to require face masks for guests at all times. Staff, too.
Chef David Skinner’s avant-garde farm-to-table tasting menus, choreographed with scent and music at his Kemah restaurant, will proceed by reservation only Thursday through Saturday under all his current safety protocols. To wit: reduced dining room capacity, tables socially distanced, and masks required for both staff and guests who are not seated.
Etoile Cuisine et Bar/ Brasserie du Parc
These Uptown and downtown French siblings from chef Philippe Verpiand will continue to follow CDC safety precautions. At both locations, staff will be required to wear masks, as will guests who are not seated. The restaurants will operated at about 50% capacity to keep tables socially distanced.
Eddie O’s BBQ
“No mask no bbq” warns an Instagram post from pitmaster Eddie Ortiz, who works in an artisanal Tejano mode out of various weekend farmers markets. You can procure his tacos, salsas and bagged “Magic Beans from the Sunday Houston Heights Market, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 2706 White Oak Dr.; or at the Houston Montose Market, Saturdays from 10-2 at 819 W. Alabama. He’ll be wearing a mask, and so should you.
Eighth Wonder Brewery 
The rustic EaDo taproom and beer garden, complete with Eatsie Boys food truck, says they’ll continue to follow CDC guidelines and maintain the current mask and social distancing policies.
Feges BBQ
“Nothing changes. We’re not even going to consider changing our mask policy until everyone on our team is eligible for the vaccine,” posted pitmaster Patrick Feges and his wife, chef Erin Smith. While they wait for their new Spring Branch location to open, they’re selling serious ‘cue and inventive sides across the counter curbside at their Greenway Plaza shop. You wear your mask; they’ll wear theirs.
The delightfully Old School Latin steak-and-seafood house in Sugar Land, a low-key white-tablecloth retreat from chef Fernando Echeverria, will continue to operate at 35% capacity, with tables comfortably spaced out. Employees will be wearing masks, and when you’re not seated, you probably should, too.
Fluff Bake Bar 
Chef Rebecca Masson’s snug Heights bake shop will keep requiring masks for guests, and she will continue to offer no indoor seating. Says Masson, “It’s just too small to do that without masks. We have tables outside for those who want to hang out.”
Flying Saucer Draught Emporium 
Downtown’s original beer mecca will continue as they were, operating at less than 50% capacity and with masks still required for service. They’ll be opening their second floor area to maximize customer distancing.
FM Kitchen & Bar
This contemporary Texas ice house and gastropub just off the Washington corridor will continue at 50% of its seating capacity, with six feet between dining tables. Masks will be worn by staff and unseated guests. There’s a covered patio and expansive dog-friendly beer garden with picnic tables for those who prefer.
Giacomo’s Cibo e Vino
“Seating will remain at 50% for social distancing and masks will be mandatory for staff and customers,” the River Oaks Italian restaurant posted on Facebook. “We will not resume pre-pandemic operations until our entire staff, customers, vendors, delivery, and service personnel have received their vaccines.
Good Dog Houston
“We will continue to operate as we have been,” says chef and co-owner Amalia Pferd, who makes the food at this modest Heights fave so special. Their tables are set to seat at 50%-75% capacity inside (includes bar stools), guests required to wear masks while not at their tables, and staff is masked at all times. Socially distanced inside and out on the patio, too.”
Grand Prize Bar
“We’re still listening to our neighbors in the Medical Center,” posted this divey cocktail bar where Montrose meets the Museum District. So they’ll still operate at a reduced capacity, facilitate social distancing, limit large groups, and require guests to mask up. “If that’s not your vibe, that’s ok. There are other bars that might be.”
Harold’s in the Heights
Alli Jarrett of Harold’s in the Heights says her two-story setup on 19th street, with its bar and rooftop terrace, will continue to offer its local farm-to-table menu at 50% seating capacity. Masks will be required for staff and unseated guests. In addition to open-air rooftop seating, they have outdoor tables on 19th and around the corner, by the south parking lot entrance. Bonus: weather permitting, they fling open the double doors upstairs for increased air circulation.
The grand interior-Mexican flagship of the Vaught & Ortega H Town group will follow the collective company policy. As in: They’ll continue to operate at 50% capacity; limit large groups; and require face masks for staff and for guests when entering or moving about the dining rooms.
Katz’s Deli and Bar 
This 24-hour New-York-style deli near the intersection of Westheimer and Montrose —along with its siblings in The Woodlands and an upcoming Heights location — in will continue to require masks for staff and for guest when they’re not seated. They will also maintain reduced seating capacity and other safety protocols.
Kenny & Ziggy’s 
The landmark Jewish deli near the Galleria will continue to require all guests to wear facial coverings except when they are seated at their tables. All of employees will continue to be masked and gloved. They’ll continue to follow social distancing protocols and procedures while remaining at 50% capacity.
This intriguing EaDo bakery-cafe from chef Vanarin Kuch springboards off his Cambodian roots into a wealth of modern, Houston-specific ideas. They’ll continue to offer outdoor dining only on their back patio. If you wish to gaze upon their baked goods and order serious coffees, teas and breakfast or lunch items, you must wear a mask inside their midcentury-industrial space.
La Fisheria
The downtown spot for Mexican coastal cuisine, with its focus on ceviches, raw preparations and agave-based cocktails, will continue to require masks for its staff and limit the dining room’s seating capacity. They also ask guests to wear masks when they are not seated.
Liberty Kitchen
“We are excited that we continue to move closer to getting back to normal at some point soon,” said Jason Ostrow, vice president of Culinary Khancepts and Star Cinema Grill. “At this time, we are not making any modifications to our procedures and safety protocols at any of our businesses. The safety of our associates and guests will continue to be something we take very seriously and will make adjustments as we see fit in the coming weeks and months.”
Local Foods
The same requirement for masks, social distancing requirements and limited capacity will be in effect.
Chef Chris Williams’ Museum District outpost of modern Southern soul will continue to enforce their “No Mask, No Service” policy. Seating capacity will remain limited and by reservation only, the better to achieve social distancing. “This restaurant is our home, and we’re happy to have you here as long as you’re masked up and following our guidelines.”
McGonigel’s Mucky Duck 
Will keep all safety measures in place.
Melange Creperie
“No thank you,”  was chef Sean Carroll’s response to Governor Abbott’’s open-up orders. He and his wife Tish Ochoa will keep their charming, locally minded Heights crepe shop operating at 50% occupancy, and masks will continue to be mandatory for staff and guest who are not seated.
Nancy’s Hustle
 “Our seating and mask rules aren’t changing,” read the Instagram post for this EaDo bistro, where spirited cooking, interesting cocktails, shrewdly chosen wines and tunes on vinyl have won a loyal following. They’ll continue with reduced indoor seating capacity, appropriately spaced tables, and masks for both staff and guests when not seated. New patio, too.
NETT bar
This dog-friendly, games-oriented neighborhood bar on Nett Street, in the old West End district, says they’ve been enforcing mask wearing and social distancing since March 2020 — and they won’t stop until they consider it safe to do so. If you’d like to visit their big gravel patio, hoist a beer at a picnic table, or order from a visiting food truck, “We kindly ask that you still follow all of our social distancing guidelines or you wll be asked to leave.”
93 ’Til
Chefs Gary Ly and Lung Ly’s eclectic new restaurant and record bar in Montrose posted a succinct message: “Mask will still be required.” That’s for staff and guests who aren’t seated alike. A big outdoor patio is a great place to enjoy a cocktail, a glass of natural wine and some thought-provoking small plates.
This Montrose Greek staple with outposts downtown and in Memorial/Spring Branch plans to operate as they were: masked staff, reduced capacity. “We will not bring back in our tables we took out to allow spacing,” says chef and owner Dimitrios Fetokakis, who makes some of the city’s best French fries. “Plus you never know if they will go back down to 75 or 50 percent  again,”  he points out. He’s putting more trust in curbside for now.
The easygoing, highly personal Montrose restaurant from chef Martin Stayer has taken a firm stance: masks will be required “until our staff has been allowed to receive the vaccine.” Nobie’s will continue with socially spaced seating both indoors and outdoors. They’re not looking to argue, either. “To be clear we DO REQUIRE MASKS and those who disagree are in no way required to join us at our establishments.”
Ouisie’s Table 
At this genteel River Oaks outpost of thoughtful Texas cooking, masks remain required for all staff and for guests entering, leaving or moving about the restaurant. Seating will continue to adhere to social distancing recommendations. They may expand from 50% capacity closer to 75%, but only if the distancing stays intact.
This casual Italian cafe and its adjoining wine bar, both of them Montrose staples, will continue to operate at a limited capacity while requiring staff to wear masks. They ask that guests continue to wear masks as they move around the spaces.
Phoenicia Deli, Phoenicia Foods, Market Bar
Both downtown and westside outposts of this kaleidoscopic world grocery market and Mediterranean-influenced deli will still require staff and customers to wear masks. That goes for downtown’s spacious Market Bar + Restaurant adjoining the grocery store, too, where capacity will stay limited and tables distanced.
Picos Restaurant
Chef Arnaldo Richards’ handsome regional Mexican restaurant and stellar bar will continue to require mask wearing by staff and by guests when they are not seated. The dining rooms will operate at 75% capacity, with tables socially distanced. All other safety precautions will remain in place.
The spiffy pizzeria in Midtown, which has spawned a second location in Memorial,  will continue to socially distance its tables. If you want one if their thin-crusted, wood-fired pies — some with South American touches, which is where the Italy-based chain has had its greatest success – you’ll need to wear a mask when not seated, as the staff does.
Anita Jaisinghani’s modern Indian “all day diner,” with everything from breakfast to thali feasts to vivid cocktails, will operate at 50% capacity with masks required for staff and guests who are not seated. Social distancing reminders for ordering at the counter remain in place. Tables will remain 6 feet apart, and there’s expanded patio seating out front in the cobbled courtyard.
Rainbow Lodge 
Donnette Hansen, impresario of the historic Shady Acres log cabin with its lush creekside gardens, says the game-oriented restaurant will stick with masks for staff and for unseated guests. They will be operating at 50% capacity through March, with tables well distanced — including on their scenic outdoor patio and rambling dining decks.
Red Dessert Dive  
This up-to-the-minute bakery-cafe (funfetti cheesecake or a slice of Fat Elvis cake, anyone?) and coffee bar in the Heights will continue to operate as a to-go bakery only, with no inside seating in its vest-pocket dining room. To order inside, you will need to wear a mask.
Chef Ryan Lachaine’s unique Montrose blend of Gulf Coast, Canadian, Asian and Ukrainian influences will continue all the same health and safety protocols that have been in place. Staff will be wearing masks, and they ask that customers continue to wear masks when they enter the restaurant. “We know everybody won’t agree with that,” they posted, but they’re not budging until their staff gets vaccinated.
This meticulous Bay Area cocktail bar, which matches any craft cocktail joint inside the Loop, posted that “the gang still plans to follow COVID protocols.” That means 50% capacity seating, social distancing, masks all around for staff and guests who aren’t seated. “The whole deal.”
Rosie Cannonball 
The vibrant Italianesque restaurant and bar from Goodnight Hospitality’s cluster of Upper Westheimer spots will hold steady at 50% capacity. Staff will be masked, as will patrons unless seated. They’ve added a few outdoor tables in front, and just around the corner, a covered outdoor area hosts a delightful “Spritz Patio” with its own casual menu, complete with drinks and wines from the talented bar.
Saint Arnold Brewing Company 
Houston’s pioneering craft brewery will continue to operate at a reduced capacity in its spectacular outdoor beer garden, with its partial cover and its soaring views of downtown. Tables will be spaced more than 6 feet apart and masking will be required for staff and for guests when they’re not seated. The indoor beer hall and dining room remain closed.
SeaSide Poke 
This downtown counter-serve that uses locally farmed ingredients in its poke bowls says that on March 10, “nothing will change for us.  Masks will still be required until seated, temperatures still taken upon entry, and tables will still be 6 feet apart with limited capacity.”
Shri Balaji Bhavan
This spunky South Indian vegetarian fave in the Mathatma Gandhi District will continue to operate at about 30% capacity, the better to facilitate social distancing in the line for counter service and in the dining room. The staff will continue to mask up at all times, and they will request that guests wear a mask, too — “but we won’t force anyone to wear it.”
Sonoma Wine Bar
Both the Upper Kirby and Heights locations of this comfortable, upscale wine-and-food bar will continue to seat at 50% capacity and require employees and guests to wear masks. To finesse the seating limitations, they recommend making a reservation through Open Table.
Southern Yankee Beer Co
“We still require mask wearing for customers and employees when not seated, as we have in recent months. And bonus, we will continue providing table service!”
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This Euro-American bistro from Bobby Heugel and Justin Yu, along with talented chef Mark Clayton, will proceed at 50% seating capacity, with masks required for staff and for guests who aren’t seated. The long covered patio makes this Heights hotspot even more appealing for the safety-minded.
State Fare Kitchen & Bar
“We are excited that we continue to move closer to getting back to normal at some point soon,” said Jason Ostrow, vice president of Culinary Khancepts and Star Cinema Grill. At this time, we are not making any modifications to our procedures and safety protocols at any of our businesses. The safety of our associates and guests will continue to be something we take very seriously and will make adjustments as we see fit in the coming weeks and months.”
Street to Kitchen Thai
The promising new East End Thai spot with a drive-thru window for carryout pickup will continue to mask up internally and maintain strict health and cleaning protocols. Chef Benchawan Painter and her husband, Graham Painter,  are still open for dine-out and takeaway only, but in fine weather there’s a picnic table outside where you can BYOB wine to go with your scratch-made curries.
Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen  
Both the Tanglewood and Energy Corridor locations of chef Sylvia Casares’ accomplished, border-influenced Tex-Mex restaurants will continue to follow CDC guidelines. Staff are required to mask, as are guests when entering, leaving or moving about the space. Capacity will remain at about 50% to maintain social distance between tables.
Tea + Victory 
This well-stocked board-game coffeehouse and cafe in Shady Acres will continue to require that masks be worn inside the building, and anytime a guest is not eating or drinking. They’ll still be operating at 50% capacity to maintain social distancing. “We will kindly be turning away folks who do not wish to wear masks in our establishment.”
Tiny Champions 
The fun new EaDo pizza spot from the folks at Nancy’s Hustle will keep seating at 50% capacity  “until there’s open access to vaccines for all our homies.” They’ll keep enforcing their mask requirements for staff and for guests who aren’t seated, too.
Toasted Coconut 
The Montrose tiki bar that’s a sibling to Nobie’s restaurant will follow the same policy: namely, requiring masks for staff and for guests who aren’t seated until such time as their employees are allowed to get vaccinated. So if you want to enjoy the clever cocktails of bartender Sarah Troxell, mask up to enter the spacious palapa-covered patio.
The Katy sushi bar and restaurant in Cinco Ranch’s La Centerra complex will remain at 50% capacity, with six feet between its tables in the dining room. They do health monitoring on their staff, who will stay masked at all times. For guests, they “still politely ask that you wear a mask when entering and exiting and also moving about the restaurant.”
Tongue Cut Sparrow
Will keep operating with mask requirements for staff and guests, with reduced seating capacity. 

Tribute at the Houstonian  
The upscale restaurant in the posh Houstonian Club, which draws on Texas, Louisiana and Mexico for its regional menu, will require masks for staff and for guests when not seated. They’ve added a few tables back into the dining room, but will maintain a seating capacity of 50-75% for purposes of social distancing.
Truth BBQ  
The Botello family’s wildly popular smokehouse will operate at 75% capacity, with masks required for all staff and unseated guests. No more than 10 people are allowed inside in the ordering line in order to socially distance, a policy that has been in place all year. They’ve posted they won’t return to 100% capacity until their staff can get vaccinated.
Two Guys One Pit BBQ, Tomball 
The Tomball barbecue outfit will continue to require masks for its staff and maintain social distancing for ordering. They’ll keep occupancy at 50% and tables will stay spaced out. There’s a patio, too.
The ever-popular Houston outpost of chef Tyson Cole’s Uchi, with its contemporary Japanese stylings and cutting-edge sushi bar, will continue to operate at 50% of their seating capacity. They’ll require masks for staff and guests who aren’t seated. They also offer four outdoor tables for those who prefer.
Underbelly Hospitality (One Fifth, Georgia James, UB Preserv, Hay Merchant, Blacksmith)
Chris Shepherd’s restaurants will continue to require masks and operate at 50 percent capacity. According to a spokesperson, the restaurants “may add a few tables here or there but won’t get to 75 any time soon.” More of their precautions can be found on their website.
Under the Volcano 
This Rice Village area pioneer in the city’s craft cocktail movement will continue to operate at 25% capacity. Masks will be required for staff and for guests when they are not seated. Tables in the color drenched room with a Latin American theme will remain socially distanced.
Urban Eats
This combo bistro, bar and locally-oriented food market along the Washington Corridor will continue at 50% capacity for dine-in, with 6 feet between tables. Masks are required upon entry and while up and about in the industrial-chic space; and all employees will be required to wear masks at all times. Garden patio is a plus.
Chef Sunil Srivastava’s posh, contemporary Indian restaurant in Upper Kirby will continue at its current 50% capacity with masks required for staff and for guests when they are not seated.  Tables will remain socially distanced, and CDC guidelines govern the safety precautions.
Xin Chao
At the Sixth Ward’s new Xin Chao, a modern Vietnamese project from chefs Christine Ha and Tony Nguyen, the pristine food and cocktails can be had on a spacious outdoor patio, or in a socially distanced dining room where staff will be masked. They’re asking guests to mask when not seated.
The downtown Oaxacan jewel in chef Hugo Ortega’s crown will follow its parent HTown group’s policies of sticking to 50% capacity; limiting large groups; and requiring face masks for staff and for guests when entering or moving about the dining rooms. Don’t forget the patio overlooking Discovery Green, either.

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