#FoodieFriday: Harold’s in the Heights

by Gabi De la Rosa on July 15, 2016 in Food, Living Texas, Houston,
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Harold’s Restaurant, Bar & Terrace is just one more reason to head to the Houston Heights. The restaurant is located on 19th Street in the location of the famed clothing store which was open for 61 years.

“I felt that if he could stay open for 61 years, he must have been doing something right in this location,” said restaurant owner, Alli Jarrett who opened Harold’s three years ago. Harold’s is actually three restaurants all rolled into one location; Alli’s Pizzaria is the family friendly neighborhood pizza joint, the Tap Room is the only bar on 19th Street and boasts a great bar menu, local beer and wine on tap and Harold’s is the restaurant upstairs.

With an amazing atmosphere all around, Harold’s is the place to be. Photos courtesy of Harold’s
With an amazing atmosphere all around, Harold’s is the place to be. Photos courtesy of Harold’s

“I wanted to have a multi-concept location where you can get great food and socialize. You can get fast casual food in the Tap Room, take your family to the pizzeria downstairs or come upstairs for a great sit-down meal,” said Jarrett.

While Jarrett may be the brains behind everything at Harold’s, Executive Chef Antoine Ware is the heart and soul of the food in all three locations. Ware is a New Orleans transplant who started his career in Houston with Chris Shepard at Catalans, moved to Hay Merchant, and then met Alli and became Executive Chef of Harold’s. The menu at Harold’s is a fusion of Creole and Southern favorites. “This is my childhood food, but elevated,” said Ware. “I try to learn something new every day to stay creative and that is why the menu is always evolving.”

Crispy Duck Parts are the most popular appetizer on the menu, and for good reason.
Crispy Duck Parts are the most popular appetizer on the menu, and for good reason.

Both Jarrett and Ware are fully committed to sourcing locally, making the food in-house whenever possible and being as environmentally sustainable as possible. “Once we made that commitment to local food and farmers we didn’t look back,” said Ware. “I have developed relationships with all of the farmers we source from and it makes a difference in the food I cook.”

Although you can’t help but become smitten with Harold’s after meeting Jarrett and Ware you will really fall in love after eating the food, so let’s get started with some duck parts. Crispy Duck Parts are the most popular appetizer on the menu and after tasting the tangy soy, ginger and garlic sauce they are covered in it is easy to see why. There isn’t an easy way to eat them, so I just followed my dinner companions’ lead and picked them up to eat bbq style – they are moist, tender and the sauce is delicious. The House Made Bread Plate is also a fantastic appetizer with Hawaiian rolls, butter, pimento cheese and pickles – all made in-house and all so delicious.

 KG's Double-Brined Cast Iron Chicken is a menu staple at Harold's.
KG’s Double-Brined Cast Iron Chicken is a menu staple at Harold’s.

Menu staple KG’s Double-Brined Cast Iron Chicken is a must try. The chicken goes through a three-day double brining process before being fried which not only adds flavor, but keeps the moisture in. The Gulf Shrimp ‘N’ Grits is another menu staple and a menu stand out, in my opinion. Everything about the dish is wonderful from the presentation of the huge bacon wrapped Gulf Shrimp to the consistency of the grits. I can’t say enough about how good this dish is, but I will say it is what all other shrimp and grit dishes should be compared to.

If you start out with Crispy Duck Parts then you must finish with one of Sous Chef Ryan Swaka’s desserts – the Chocolate Buttermilk Pie or PB&J Bread Pudding are a great way to end any meal. Maybe it’s good luck because of the historic location or maybe it is just hard work, dedication and commitment to quality that make anything you have at Harold’s Restaurant, Bar & Terrace a memorable experience.

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