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Politan Row Opens in Rice Village

Pooja Salhotra
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Tim Shanahan, Henry Shanahan

Chef-turned-realtor Tim Shanahan checked out Politan Row Houston with son Henry and wife Jenn on opening day. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

The highly-anticipated Politan Row – a chef-driven food hall – opened with a bang in Rice Village over the weekend. 

Located at 2445 Times Boulevard, the 7,350-square-foot interior features a uniquely curated range of global cuisines, including Egyptian fare at Torshi, Japanese-Peruvian fusion at PACHA Nikkei and Southeast Asian cuisine at Kin. Currently housing eight dining concepts and one bar that occupies the center space, Politan Row Houston opened to the public on Friday, Nov. 9. Throughout the weekend, the food hall welcomed heavy foot traffic from passionate foodies and from curious passerbys alike. 

“It’s awesome, I’ve been to three stalls in 10 minutes, and I’ve ordered something at every one,” said Tim Shanahan, a chef-turned-realtor who was excited to visit the food hall on opening day along with his wife Jenn and three-year-old son Henry. Tim, who lives in the Willowbend neighborhood, was proud to share he was the first customer at Nice Sprout, the hall’s vegan-friendly joint offering cold-pressed juices, smoothies and salads. 

Patty Dudderar, Jeannie Bustillo, Dee Dee Heslop

Friends (from left) Patty Dudderar, Jeannie Bustillo and Dee Dee Heslop wandered into Politan Row after shopping in Rice Village on Friday afternoon. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra) 

“There’s definitely something for everyone,” said Patty Dudderar who wandered into the food hall with her two girlfriends Jeannie Bustillo and Dee Dee Heslop. They were shopping at Talbots across the street and overheard someone talking about the new food hall. 

Politan Row joins four other food halls already open in Houston: Conservatory, Finn Hall, Bravery Chef Hall and Understory. But Politan Row is the first to open outside of downtown, right in the heart of the West University neighborhood. It therefore reaches a different audience – including families living in nearby residential areas, students at Rice University and professionals in the medical district. 

“We like this area because fundamentally, we are a dining product, not a convenience space product,” said Will Donaldson, CEO and Founder of Politan Row Group. “We want people to come in and dine in and really enjoy the experience. Rice Village was the right spot for that.” 

Politan Row Houston

Located at 2445 Times Boulevard, Politan Row Houston was designed by Bell Butler Design & Architecture. (Photo: Jenn Duncan)

Will says he and his team at Politan Row Group are “senior citizens in the food hall business.” They first opened St. Roch Market in New Orleans in 2014 and then followed with similar concepts in Miami and Chicago. Will was eager to come to Houston to be a part of its thriving food scene. 

“I’ve been familiar with the city and the food scene for quite some time and was super excited to find a home here,” he said. “The food scene here is so fun and so eclectic and that’s a really special thing we wanted to be a part of.” 

The nine vendors currently featured at Politan Row Houston went through an extensive application process, where they presented a menu to the Politan Row culinary team, offered a tasting and then created a menu specifically for the food hall. Selecting vendors was a year-long process, says Will.

Cochinita & Co

Victoria Elizondo, owner and chef at Cochinita & Co, prepares authentic Mexican cuisine. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

The vendors the team landed on are: Bar Politan, Breaking Bao, Cochinita & Co, Susu Kopi and Boba, Kin, Torshi, Nice Sprout, PACAH Nikkei and Ate Kitchen. A few spots remain open for new vendors and potential pop-ups. 

Politan Row Houston is open Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. and 7 a.m.-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. 

  • Pulpo al olivo

    This dish, Pulpo al olivo, is available at PACHA. It’s made with braised Spanish octopus, botija olive leche de tigre, pickled shimeji mushrooms, micro shiso, baby arugula, chorizo powder and olive oil. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

  • Cecile Cao, Caroline Buhay, Eliot Chambers

    Cecile Cao, Caroline Buhay and Eliot Chambers enjoyed lunch at Politan Row on opening day. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

  • Bar Politan

    Sonia Narezo and Kerrie Boullt try a craft cocktail at Bar Politan. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

  • Torshi

    Torshi, which first opened in New Orleans, brings Mediterranean and Egyptian cuisine to Politan Row Houston. (Photo: Denny Culbert) 

  • Pulpo al olivo
  • Cecile Cao, Caroline Buhay, Eliot Chambers
  • Bar Politan
  • Torshi

Pulpo al olivo

This dish, Pulpo al olivo, is available at PACHA. It’s made with braised Spanish octopus, botija olive leche de tigre, pickled shimeji mushrooms, micro shiso, baby arugula, chorizo powder and olive oil. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

Cecile Cao, Caroline Buhay, Eliot Chambers

Cecile Cao, Caroline Buhay and Eliot Chambers enjoyed lunch at Politan Row on opening day. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

Bar Politan

Sonia Narezo and Kerrie Boullt try a craft cocktail at Bar Politan. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

Torshi

Torshi, which first opened in New Orleans, brings Mediterranean and Egyptian cuisine to Politan Row Houston. (Photo: Denny Culbert) 

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