Whether you have a hankering for Wagyu steak frites, a Pizza Margherita fresh out of the oven or a box of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes cereal, it’s “NP” (no problem). NoPo has you covered.
NoPo — an acronym for North Post Oak — was termed by Berg Hospitality Group owner and founder, Benjamin Berg. The Houston-based restaurateur uses the nickname for the up-and-coming Houston area and also for the name of his most recent concept, which he opened recently through a collaboration with Clay Development & Construction, Inc.
NoPo Café, Market & Bar serves breakfast, lunch and dinner along with a market designed to provide staples to nearby residents, including cereal, peanut butter, gourmet dog treats and even home essentials like toilet paper, as well as lovely and delicious meal and bakery items cooked or baked on site.
Located at 1244 North Post Oak Rd., on the southeast edge of the Spring Branch Management District, NoPo’s location isn’t just convenient for the tenants of North Post Oak Lofts, located across the street. It’s also convenient for the developers. The Berg Hospitality Group and Clay Development have their headquarters in the same development as NoPo Café.
“I see huge growth as it is currently transitioning from an industrial area to a more residential neighborhood area with several apartments, houses and offices being built every day,” Berg told the Houston Chronicle.
“It really is an ideal, central location that is affordable and very easy to get to with its close proximity to the Heights and the Galleria area.”
Berg Hospitality Group moved into its corporate office in May 2020, next door to NoPo Café, Market & Bar, which opened in June 2021.
Berg told us: “The location really chose us because Robert Clay of Clay Development & Construction, Inc., a longtime supporter and investor in The Annie (restaurant), reached out to me. He knew we were interested in moving our corporate office and was in the process of developing new office buildings on North Post Oak. It also gave us the opportunity to create a fresh neighborhood dining experience for a rapidly growing area that is really underserved by restaurants and bars.”
Berg Hospitality Group also includes B&B Butchers & Restaurant in Houston and Fort Worth, B.B. Lemon, B.B. Italia Kitchen & Bar, The Annie Café & Bar, Turner’s and Trattoria Sofia, which is set to open in the Houston Heights.
In the Spring Branch District, the 2,600-square-foot NoPo space features café seating in the front and a 36-seat dining room in the back along with a 6-seat full-service bar. The rustic yet bright, French country design includes white birch floors, high ceilings with chandeliers, vintage rodeo wall décor and a custom-made pewter bar.
NoPo’s menu offers a variety of egg dishes, pastries and juices for breakfast; lunch options of soup, sandwiches, salads and pizza; and dinner options of salads, appetizers and an array of fish, chicken, pork and steak entrées. In addition to the retail provisions mentioned, NoPo offers grab-and-go meals.
“The neighborhood immediately took to the concept, which we are so excited about,” Berg said, adding that the restaurant quickly realized the need for weekend brunch, which they plan to launch Saturday, July 10. Brunch will be served Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Happy hour will launch September 2021. Also, despite just opening, NoPo will participate in Houston Restaurant Weeks from Aug. 2-Sept. 6 with a lunch and dinner menu.
Guests enter NoPo through the cafe and market, where you can stop for a coffee and pastries or to pick up items to go. Continue on, though, and you enter a cozy yet lovely bar area and dining room, bright with the sun pouring in through the large windows.
On the other side of the windows, bright red umbrellas provide shade for patio tables and, when viewed from the street, provide bursts of color against the brick facade of the building, with greenery in white planters enclosing the patio area. When it’s not so Houston hot, the patio is the ideal place to stop in for a drink after work or share a pizza.
On the day of our dinner time visit, it was hot and about to storm, so the dining room was the place to be. Fresh flowers and candles on each table make the meal feel fancy, but the ambiance is far from stuffy. You could easily celebrate a special occasion with a full dinner or come in for beers and to watch a game on the TV over the bar, all in the same room.
Our teen daughter had only one thing on her mind our visit— the pizza.
We’re pretty sure she has tried every pizza margherita available in the Houston area, as well as in several other states, and it’s always an anticipatory moment as we watch her take her first bite, trying to get an early review via her facial expressions as she quickly compares this pizza bite with the dozens of others she has tried.
At NoPo, I looked away for a few moments as the waiter placed my lovely meal and glass of wine in front of me, and, when I looked back again, one slice of the Pizza Margherita was already devoured and a second piece was about to be.
“Good. Light with just the right amount of cheese,” was the official review. Not one slice made it home or onto any other plates at our table.
I shared my Lump Crab pizza with the table, but I really wanted to keep it all to myself as well. Topped with basil pesto, ricotta, jalapeños, sun-dried tomatoes and, of course, lump crab, the pizza came recommended by the waiter and it paired nicely with a glass of Villa Alpini Pinot Grigio.
Also a hit at our table was the Shrimp Tagliatelle. While the dish features beautifully cooked shrimp, the pasta was the star of the show tossed with tomatoes, spinach, asparagus, garlic and extra virgin olive oil.
If you’re looking for a cocktail that stands up to this Houston heat, the Northside (Hendrick’s, lime juice, simple syrup, cucumber and mint) was light and refreshing.
On the dessert menu, the Cookies & Milk is delicious and most definitely shareable. Two massive cookies, one chocolate chip and one chocolate-chocolate chip, arrived with a mug of cold milk. Everyone at the table got a cookie sample, and there was some left to bring home.
So, save room for dessert. Or don’t. You pass through the café and market on the way out, where you can pick up something for later.
NoPo Café, Market & Bar
1244 North Post Oak Rd.
— by Dorothy Puch Lillig
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