Zulu Creative

Hungry's Announces Plans for Rice Village Restaurant Expansion and New Upstairs Bar and Lounge Concept

HOUSTON, TEXAS – September 27, 2016 – After 40 years of operation, Hungry’s founder, Fred Sharifi, has set the stage for the future of the neighborhood restaurant by significantly expanding its Rice location and introducing Upstairs, a new bar and lounge nestled among the Boulevard’s stately oak trees. Scheduled to open in phases in fall 2016, the restaurant will open first, to be followed soon after by the bar and lounge.

Sharifi, the visionary and driving force behind the expansion, also a commercial real estate developer and owner of SFT Investments, kept community and sustainable design a top priority throughout the project. "Rice Village has been our home for over four decades and we wanted to enhance the neighborhood with a spacious, attractive and comfortable “third” place to serve the community,” he says. “We hope the expanded Hungry’s will improve the lifestyle of our neighbors by providing a place where they can relax, unwind, dine, celebrate special events and enjoy quality time with family and friends over healthy meals."


The new two-story 12,000-square-foot building at neighboring 2356 Rice Boulevard can accommodate up to 350 guests — nearly tripling the size of the existing restaurant — and includes two new areas of patio seating and two new private event rooms. The current Hungry’s building is set to be demolished and converted to a parking lot, offering plenty of spaces for more self-parking. Complimentary valet will continue to be offered as usual.

Photo Credit: Julie Soefer

The Rice location will be managed by the next-generation husband and wife team of Ashkan and Sue Nowamooz, with Sue as executive chef. Under Sue’s culinary direction, the Hungry’s menu will continue to offer a diverse array of globally-inspired, affordably-priced, healthy comfort food options including seasonal lunch and dinner specials, a plentiful brunch menu and bar bites all made fresh to order. For busy guests short on time, Hungry’s is introducing a new Express Lunch counter service option with an abbreviated menu featuring a selection of fresh salads, sandwiches and entrées that can be prepared quickly without sacrificing the freshness, quality and great taste for which Hungry’s is known.

Photo Credit: Julie Soefer

Hungry’s casual open concept dining room with a partially on-view kitchen and pizza oven offers new counter seating. As the restaurant transitions from lunch or brunch to dinner time and beyond, the setting sun transforms the space through expansive windows. Patio dining beckons patrons with an atmosphere of shady oaks. From picnic table seating to high-end outdoor chairs and ipe wood tables, seating is abundant for Houston’s outdoor dining seasons.

Heading to the Upstairs bar and lounge on the second floor, the ambiance becomes more intimate and elegant. Exposed brick reclaimed from the original building – Melancthon House – meets industrial lighting and soft carpeted surfaces for a sophisticated, cozy character. A striking zinc-topped bar offers visitors a no-nonsense place to kick back and enjoy cask wine, craft beer or Upstairs’ cocktails including the new “Texas Mule,” blended with house-made mint-infused Tito’s Handmade Vodka and ginger beer.

Perched over the patio and among the boulevard’s majestic oak treetops, the expansive outdoor terrace is the crown jewel of Upstairs. The covered terrace is pleasant for year-round use; a wood shade structure and fans subdue the sun while drop-down heaters take the chill out of cooler weather. The sound of the water wall and the birds-eye view of The Village below offer a perfect backdrop for a variety of occasions, from a casual get-together to happy hour sips under the stars.

The building’s primary structure was conceived by Jim Herd of Collaborative Projects. Schooley Design was recruited to design the interiors and outdoor dining spaces, including the selection of all furnishings, finishes and lighting fixtures. Completing a trio of experts, the building team worked to bring the project to fruition. “The new Hungry’s environment in Rice Village offers a classic yet modern experience we think will prove rather timeless,” says architect Palmer Schooley. “Hungry’s is known for its warm welcome, comforting food and family friendliness, all of which are evoked and reinforced throughout the space. At the same time, a new, modern energy makes it a very special hangout.”


Founded in 1975, Hungry’s Concepts is the parent company of Hungry’s restaurants and NextDoor and Upstairs bars/lounges.The company’s portfolio focuses on neighborhood restaurants that have grown to become local institutions as a home-away-from-home with diverse, globally-inspired and affordably-priced comfort food prepared with sauces and dressings made from scratch, fresh herbs (often grown on-site), hand-selected produce, farm-fresh meats and dairy, and fresh seafood. All menu items are available for seated dining and take-out or home/office delivery via phone or online ordering. Market-fresh flavor is also available for large and small events through social and corporate catering, with a variety of rentals and service options available. The company also owns warm, sophisticated neighborhood bars and lounges where relaxed sports den meets intimate cocktail lounge for a place to watch the game, enjoy great food, and comfortably unwind in an interesting, inviting mix of flair and fun.

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