Introducing the Award for Best Houston Transplant

Yesterday we opened for your nominations the first 2 categories in this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate, both of which have been included in some form every year we’ve run the Swampies: Favorite Houston Design Cliché and Best Demolition. Today, we introduce a brand-new category for 2013: Best Houston Transplant.

Houston is a city of transplants. Not just its residents, but our restaurants, home designs, medical techniques, implants, styles, self-image, ideas. Our city’s distinctive personality comes directly from all the notions and facets and concepts we’ve purloined at some point or other from other places; they’re what make Houston Houston. Returning the favor, so much of the rest of the country has grown to seem more and more like . . . us!

With that in mind, what do you think deserves recognition as the Best Houston Transplant? Is it something we’ve brought to the rest of the world, or something the world has brought to us? Tell us in the comments section below or in an email before midnight on Monday, December 9. As always, more complete instructions covering the nominating process can be found on this page. But don’t forget to tell us why you’re nominating what you’re nominating. And if you use your nomination to give this category a twist, sell your vision!

The 2013 Swampies

25 Comment

  • Bork. Sure, it’s technically not here yet, and for a while many presumed it fictitious, but this Russian-based home appliance store has piqued our curiosity since it first appeared in a rendering of the forthcoming Galleria III expansion. So I nominate Bork based merely on the prospect of transplanting to Houston. Architectural drawings never let us down, right?

  • Bork. Seconded.

  • I’d like to nominate Torchy’s Tacos – they brought their delicious Austin tacos to Houston and managed to maintain Austin’s signature parking issues and slow, snarky service

  • @jefe
    I, for once, actually did lol when I read your comment.

    For an honest choice, however, I would like to nominate Uchi.

  • Forgot to sell it:
    Uchi Houston named one of the “Twelve Best New Restaurants” —GQ March 2013……
    A place like this seems so out of place in a city like Austin. In Houston, it fits right in with our world class and diverse cuisine.
    Uchi, it’s not native to Houston, but it got here as fast as it could.

  • I hate googling stuff like Bork to be led back to Swamplot’s original article.

  • Craft Beer Microbreweries. While Houston has had St. Arnolds for a while, it is only recently that the kind of microbrew scene has landed in Houston that has been anything close to what folks in Colorado and the West Coast have had for a long time. Karbach, Buffalo Bayou, 8th Wonder, Southern Star, No Label, Lone Pint and soon to be Town in City have livened up Houston’s bar scene and grocery store aisles in a big way. It has long been a missing element in a city with such a vibrant food scene.

  • @DNAguy Your comment either speaks to an ignorance of Austin’s dining scene, or a pretentious relative estimation of Houston’s. Your pick.

  • Coffee. It’s not grown in Texas much, but we roast a ton of it in Houston, and we make it well, going back long before the Port of Houston’s certified coffee exchange port. Even the bag of national brand coffee that you bought at the grocery store was probably roasted very recently recently by Maximus Coffee or Duncan Coffee Company, and it’s easy to get something special from Katz, Java Pura, and House of Coffee Beans, among others local roasters. We’re such a coffee town, we don’t even think about how much we’re a coffee town.

  • Torchy’s Tacos!

  • Dwight Howard

  • Me. (do we get to do that?)

    I arrived in the back of a seafoam green Plymouth Sport Suburban wagon on April 1, 1964.

    The date has always seemed vaguely appropriate.

  • @ Semper
    Ouch. Why so touchy?
    Maybe I am a little out of touch when it comes to Austin’s scene as I haven’t lived there in close to 7 years. However, I do go at least 2-3 times a year and do not find anything close to the quality + diversity in their food offerings. Let’s remember that Austin’s metro area is close to 3.5 times smaller in population than Houston’s. So I don’t think it’s a surprise that this would be the case.
    That’s not to say that Austin doesn’t have some gems and some great overall offerings.
    I really don’t think Austin needs ppl defending it against Houston. They’ve already won that PR battle. So let’s be a little less sensitive and give Houston’s its do. Houston’s food scene >> Austin’s food scene.

  • @Dnaguy I don’t need to be less sensitive. I’m here to correct you on something you don’t know much about. Houston has a great and diverse dining scene, befitting a large and diverse city. No disagreement there. But you need to learn, so does Austin. I’ll give you some names to research: Qui, Uchi/Uchiko, Franklin, Barley Swine, Odd Duck, Congress, Swift’s Attic, Ramen Tatsuya, Noble Pig. That’s a start. All nationally and internationally recognized places. Some people think Threadgills is still the only place to eat in Austin, and that misapprehension begs correction.

  • @SemperFudge
    Nah, you really do need to be less sensitive. DNA’s only point was that Houston’s food scene is collectively of a higher quality and is more diverse than Austin’s. I didn’t read his comments as suggesting that Austin has no nationally or internationally recgonized restaurants and I certainly didn’t think they merited accusations of ignorance and/or pretentiousness. But that’s just my reading.

  • Grocery stores (new, expansions, etc.)!
    Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Aldi’s – pick your flavor… I love how all of these “specialty” stores are tapping into the Houston market given places like Randall’s, Kroger, Whole Foods, and HEB a run for their money and/or to step up their game. :)
    PS – Would appreciate it if someone would fix up/put out of its misery that Kroger on 20th and Yale, pleeeease.

  • Dont know how yall missed this one, but my vote is for the Houston Fecal Transplant!

  • Maine’ly Sandwiches…… a native new Engander, it was a complete surprise to me to see this open in Greenspoint. Not half bad, eyuh!

  • Rebayouification. We only recently took hints from other cities with better focus on creating/preserving urban greenspaces, and started in earnest to address the opportunity offered by our bayous. From the city-wide hike and bike trail system, to the total overhaul of Buffalo Bayou, we are finally turning ugly scars on the landscape into desirable amenities.

  • @Rex
    That’s the sh*ttiest suggestion that I’ve seen yet

  • The new Siemens light rail cars that started carry carrying passengers down Main Street in April. They’re a double transplant. The S70 car was originally designed for Houston when the Main Street line opened, but the design was transplanted elsewhere and it’s now running in San Diego, Portland, Charlotte, Norfolk, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City; there’s even a variant in Paris. No other light rail vehicle is running in that many different places. Then the design got transplanted back when METRO piggybacked on a Salt Lake City order to get 19 new Buy American compliant cars quickly. They’ve all arrived from the plant in Sacramento, CA and are in operation; they’ve brought more 2-car trains to Main Street, making the ride less crowded, and they’re why the North Line can open December 21.

  • Kombucha…it’s even being sold in Krogers and Costco now! My favorite is Buddha’s Brew out of Austin. Also, is Trader Joes so 2012? I remember many people geeking out on these boards about Trader Joes coming to town.

  • @jwood – Trader Joe’s opened it’s Memorial location this year and announced another store to open near Katy. However, my nomination was directed at all the grocery stores that are expanding and/or opening in 2013 (Fresh Market is another one!). Lots of good competition for shops to step it up! :)

  • @coconutbutter…I actually hadn’t seen your post when I made my comment. I was surprised at the lack of nominations for TJ’s after the lovefest over the last calendar year.