There’s a sophisticated new restaurant in one of downtown’s most prestigious buildings but you wouldn’t know it from the street. That’s because Adair Downtown is at the tunnel level, connected to Wells Fargo Plaza at 1000 Louisiana by the snaking system of underground pathways.
Quietly open for a few weeks, the restaurant is already being discovered by downtown office workers as a new dining destination with a slick menu that covers breakfast, lunch and after-work happy hour with a full bar offering wines and craft cocktails. Tenants of the 71-story tower — one of Houston’s premier Class A office buildings that is home to Wells Fargo Bank, PwC accounting, and top law firms – now have a handsome dining room with bar and patio to entertain clients.
“We are beyond thrilled to have Adair Downtown in the tower, and we are excited to offer this thoughtfully curated addition to our amenity base for our tenants,” said Marilyn Guion, senior vice president for CBRE, the commercial real estate firm that manages the building.
The building’s owners tapped Adair Concepts (Adair Kitchen, Eloise Nichols Grill & Liquors, Skeeter’s Mesquite Grill, Los Tios Mexican Restaurants, Bebidas, and Betsy’s at Evelyn’s Park) to bring their restaurant know-how to the project designed by Gensler Architects and Houston-based McGarr Design & Interiors. The sophisticated, 4,628-square-foot buildout on the southeast corner of the tower may be at tunnel level but it is washed with natural light. The unusual construction takes advantage of an existing patio space that is accessible both from the street level, the tunnel system and the building’s lobby.
The space includes a coffee bar clad in white subway tiles; a retail area with grab-and-go meals, fresh flowers, and upscale packaged foods; the main dining room with waiter service; a full bar; and a patio. The look is chic: walls of glass, marble and herringbone-patterned hardwood floors, antique mirrors, tufted banquettes, bistro tables, antique mirrors, and globe lighting fixtures. It’s a chic look (perfect for a power lunch) that looks plucked from River Oaks.
“It’s a tunnel restaurant that doesn’t feel like the tunnel,” said Nick Adair, who along with his sister, Katie Adair Barnhart, oversee operations for Adair Concepts. The partners describe the French bistro-looking space as “Eloise Nichols meets Adair Kitchen,” a nod to two of the hospitality company’s brands.
It is those brands that guide Adair Downtown’s food and beverage menus. Breakfast options include avocado toast, breakfast tacos, chicken and waffles, omelets, steel-cut oats with fresh berries, and breakfast bowls filled with rice, kale, sweet potatoes, black beans, avocado, and a poached egg. Lunch includes salads (kale and quinoa salad, Thai chopped salad, citrus Caesar) and bowls (superfoods bowl, tuna poke bowl) as well as lemon artichoke soup and tortilla soup. But there are also entrees such as grilled pesto salmon with cilantro rice; chicken paillard with arugula salad; New York strip steak sandwich on a baguette with peppercorn sauce; turkey club sandwich; and a classic beef burger and a veggie burger. The menu is overseen by executive chef Roberto Ozeata, culinary director for Adair Concepts.
After lunch, the space segues into its bar bites menu to pair with beer, wine, and spirits. The bar menu includes tuna tartare, cheese board, sliders, bruschetta, fried calamari, caramelized Brussels sprouts, fried asparagus with cilantro ranch, beef tenderloin crostini, guacamole and chips, hot chicken with house pickles, and meatballs with garlic bread.
The bar offers cocktails, an extensive collection of bourbon and scotch, wines by the glass ($11-$18) and bottle ($40-$178), and beer including local brews from 8th Wonder, Saint Arnold, and Karbach.
Barnhart said the company has longed to be part of the downtown dining scene. Adair Downtown, she said, offers office workers a place that can be both casual and artisan – “unique to what you’d expect from a downtown dining experience.”
Company founder Gary Adair said that his restaurant businesses were built on “being local and neighborhood-y.” Adair Downtown manages to bring that type of dining experience to a part of town not traditionally seen as local or part of a neighborhood, he added.
Adair Downtown, 1000 Louisiana; adairdowntown.com. Open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (serving breakfast 7 to 11 a.m.; full-service lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; full bar and bar bites 3 to 8 p.m.).