Downtown’s Newest Hot Spot Brings Country Roots and Live Music to Avenida
by Stefanie Pascacio • February 26, 2019
PHOTO: JAMES COREAS
Strap on your boots, Houston. Downtown’s newest Texas-centric restaurant, The Rustic, has set its country roots at 1836 Polk and celebrates all things Texas in a go-big or go-home kind of way. The 25,000-square-foot venue boasts an open concept kitchen with wood-burning grills, an expansive backyard patio, complete with cornhole boards, a signature u-shaped bar, a retractable roof and a half-a-million-dollar sound system that accommodates anything from an intimate acoustic set to large acts. Décor wise, the interior stays true to its name with an attractive blend of wood and copper finishes, splashed with a dab of western accents.
The restaurant brings the Texas heat when it comes to their delicious selection of homestyle cuisine. Must-try items include their zesty wild-boar meatballs, the signature Rustic burger, and the Drunk Chick – a beer-can game hen, topped with jalapeño spoon bread and chile-lime butter. Trust us when we say that the presentation is as impressive as the entrée itself. If you’re feeling bold, order the calf fries with buttermilk dip. Just make sure to leave room for dessert. A scoop of The Rustic’s house-made banana pudding or their enormous peanut butter pie (which feeds you and five of your friends) is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Weekend brunch is also a must. The family-style Jam + Toast brunch is made-up of locally sourced products and features smoked cheddar grits, their Butchershop Skillet and other southwestern favorites. Patrons can embrace the lively atmosphere while spending quality time with the family, so come hungry!
But a great experience goes far beyond the delicious food and friendly staff. Aside from a Texas-fueled menu, this locale offers an extensive selection of draft beer and hosts free live music seven days a week—two key ingredients that make this party destination unique. There is no bad seat in the house, especially during happy hour, when all beer, frosé and house wine is $3 at 3 p.m., $4 at 4 p.m. and $5 at 5 p.m. Revelers can choose from over 40 beers on tap or enjoy The Rustics Rimy Rita – a concoction of Dulce Vida Lime, raspberry liqueur, sangria popsicle and frozen margarita.
As for the music selection, on most nights, expect to sing along to the best Texas country, but don’t be surprised to hear indie-rock, gospel, soul, and bluegrass sounds lighting up the stage as well. The only thing better than that is grabbing a few of your closest friends and reserving VIP seats onstage for the ultimate rock star experience.
While The Rustic prides itself as being a restaurant first, the idea of fusing great food and drinks with entertainment became clear to restaurateur and co-owner, Kyle Noonan, during a fun bachelor party outing with his now business partner, Josh Sepkowitz. “We were sitting around the fire under the Texas sky, grilling food with some music playing when we had the idea,” says Noonan. “We wanted to replicate that same feeling of great music, food and drinks surrounded by great company.” Before bringing the fun to Houston last November, the dynamic duo launched their first outpost in Dallas back in 2013, followed by a second location in San Antonio. Texas country icon (and stakeholder) Pat Greene kicked off Houston’s grand opening in style.
According to Noonan, Houston is a leader as a Texas food city, and the native Houstonian was excited to bring The Rustic experience to Downtown. “Being surrounded by so many attractions like the Toyota Center and George R. Brown Convention Center brings in visitors and tourists,” confirms Noonan. “The live music, cold drinks and amazing food paired with great company makes for an infectious atmosphere we know people will want to come back for more.”