A city within a city on the southwest side of Houston, Bellaire manages to stay its own distinct community while still being entwined with Houston. Surrounded by the larger city, it maintains its own municipal services and more than ten parks—a testament to its longstanding connection to nature. The town continues to protect its green spaces and educate citizens and visitors alike on the importance of nature. Join us as we take a look at some of Bellaire’s parks and unique restaurants.
Explore Bellaire’s Thriving Community
The Nature Discovery Center sits on the north side of Russ Pitman Park, a 3.75-acre plot of land with four different habitat zones: the Pocket Prairie, Deciduous Woodland, Prairie Wetlands, and Cypress Pond. The site was once the Henshaw estate, acquired by the Friends of Bellaire Parks in 1980. Eventually, this organization would come to be known as the Nature Discovery Center. All they have accomplished over the years was largely made possible by volunteers. In fact, almost 40 years later the organization still only has nine employees. Their mission is “to ignite life-long curiosity, understanding, and respect for nature through education”.
Evelyn’s Park Conservancy is the modern incarnation of the Teas Nursery, which shut its doors in 2009 after almost one hundred years of business. The Tea family helped shape Bellaire for many years, so when the business closed the Rubenstein brothers bought it in order to preserve its memory. They gifted the land to the city and the once nursery now serves as a community park and gathering space. Named after the brothers’ mother, Evelyn, the park will fully open in the winter of 2017.
Bellaire-Zindler Park and Loftin Park are sister parks located along Laurel and 5th Street. Between the two they have a tennis court, gazebo, little league baseball field, playground, and a surface trail. There are picnic areas and BBQ pits scattered throughout the area, making it the perfect place for an outing with family or friends. The Bellaire Family Aquatic Center—with lap pool, water slide, and other play areas— is also nearby and is open May through August for a daily admission fee or with an annual membership.
Top Spots for Bellaire Dining
Check out Bellaire’s local coffee shop, Dandelion Cafe, where all food is made in-house or sourced locally. They serve Greenway Coffee, which is a company that prides themselves on supply-chain quality. In addition to coffee and breakfast items, they also offer a small lunch selection, including the Portabella Panini and Super Food Salad, and several juice blends.
Food truck turned sit-down restaurant, Bernie’s Burger Bus, is known for their gourmet black Angus beef burgers served on bread that is baked daily by a local artisanal baker. Initially, they toured the city in their school bus food trucks before opening their flagship restaurant in Bellaire. Now they also have a restaurant location in Katy with another soon to open in the Heights. Wednesdays are $3 slider day and all day happy hour, but the Bellaire location is the only one that currently serves breakfast.
Cafe Piquet is a great spot to grab some authentic Cuban food. It’s been family owned and operated since it opened 18 years ago, and they still use the original recipes from their family in Cuba. The atmosphere is lovely, with a beautiful covered patio available for outdoor seating. You can also try some of their award-winning sangria.
Stop by Fresh & Best Donuts for tasty donuts, breakfast sandwiches, kolaches, and tacos. They’re open daily from 5 am to 1 pm and truly live up to their name. With friendly service and delicious food, what more could you ask for?
Enoteca Rossa is a rustic Italian restaurant and wine bar serving traditional wood-fire pizzas and other classic Italian dishes. They have an amazing wine selection with over 60 different kinds to choose from. Happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 pm, with a special that includes a bottle of wine and a pizza for just $20. They also have a wine club that hosts bi-monthly wine tastings.
Already know some great spots in Bellaire? Share them with us in the comments!
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