In just one month at the Spring Branch District’s Warehouse 72 restaurant, you can gather with friends to play some trivia, join girlfriends to make flower crowns, paint art and sip wine with neighbors, enjoy a strolling magic show as part of daddy-daughter date night or network during happy hour.
And, of course, you can also have a delicious dinner.
Richard Howell, operating partner at Warehouse 72, said special events he has planned in recent months have allowed Warehouse 72 to continue building a relationship with the community despite COVID-19.
“The mindset is to build a relationship, create a brand ambassador, give a ‘wow’ experience,” Howell said.
While most come to Warehouse 72 for the food, some “dinnertainment” never hurts to bring back repeat customers or newbies looking for an interactive experience, Howell said.
Ian Flanigan, Top Three finisher on NBC’s “The Voice” was going to be the ultimate dinner entertainment, a ticketed concert planned for this month, until — due to unforeseen circumstances — the artist had to cancel.
The concert will be rescheduled for the fall, though, Flanigan said in a note of apology posted to the Warehouse 72 social media pages. The intimate evening show appeared to be popular with just a few seated tickets and standing room tickets left at the time of cancellation.
Guests will just have to wait a little longer to hear Flanigan sing, “Bring It on Home.”
For Howell and Executive Chef Jaime Salazar, named by Zagat in 2018 as one of Houston’s “Under-the-Radar Chefs to Know,” Warehouse 72 is home.
“You’re a guest in our home,” Howell said. “Chef and I are here 12 to 14 hours a day.” And they’ve been working to get to know the neighbors, he said.
“Community involvement is big for us,” said Howell, referring to recent events where the restaurant, located at the MarqE Entertainment Centre, has provided meals for the community in times of need, starting with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The eatery had to close but was able to provide meals to various elementary schools in the area. They helped again most recently when winter storm Uri came through.
“We also think of being community involved by creating these experiences that people can get involved in,” Howell said, adding that he and his partners try to keep the dinners and events affordable.
“For people who come, they keep coming back,” he said. “Then they tell two friends.”
Warehouse 72 started out with a creative flair, featuring murals throughout the restaurant, but Howell said they had to be even more creative to find ways to overcome the inevitable downturn in business caused by the pandemic.
The murals led to the creation of art classes, including “paint and sip” nights. One of the artists featured in the murals taught a painting class, another hosted a flower crown class.
There have been and will be wine classes, chef’s cooking classes, daddy-daughter date nights, networking happy hours and trivia, Howell said, adding that the restaurant’s happy hour menu is available all night at these special events.
Future events include, of course, special holiday brunches — book your Mother’s Day brunch table now — but also father-son nights and more.
MarqE Entertainment Centre is undergoing a transformation, with plans for a new 49,000-square-foot building occupied by new restaurants and retailers, as well as new shaded structures for outdoor seating.
But just walking into Warehouse 72 already transports you from the concrete parking lot and the noise of I-10 as you take in the massive, colorful murals and a steel tree sculpture in the main dining room representing — appropriately — strength, growth and rebirth.
7620 Katy Freeway, Suite 305
— by Dorothy Puch Lillig