PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston December 2023

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Page 42 of 91

On at the T wo-time James Beard award finalist Chris Williams — chef and owner of Lucille's, established in the Museum District more than a decade ago — steps forward with another bold entrée via his involvement in the reimagining of Project Row Houses' Eldorado Ballroom in Houston's historic Third Ward and the launch of the retail and restaurant spaces beneath it. In the past three years, Williams has gained notoriety not only for his Southern soul-inspired fare but for his charitable nonprofit Lucille's 1913, which he launched during the pandemic. It's named for this By Laurann Claridge. Photography Pär Bengtsson, David "Odiwams" Wright. Our Radar Rado great-grandmother, Lucille B. Smith — a caterer and creator of the first box roll mix invented in this country, who raised funds for service projects in her Fort Worth community. (The number 1913 is a nod to the year the nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.) In 2020, her great-grandson followed in her footsteps and launched his much-needed nonprofit, which provides more than 686 meals daily to under-served families in Sunnyside, Acres Homes, and the Fifth and Third Wards. Lucille's 1913 not only combats food insecurity but creates training and employment opportunities in traditionally under-resourced communities. Expanding its reach in the Third Ward, just across the street from Emancipation Park, Lucille's Hospitality Group is the official managing operator of Eldorado Ballroom and its in-house market and eatery, The Rado Market. This hybrid all-day café and market was designed to serve its neighbors with culturally conscious prepared foods and locally sourced products, many created by enterprising black creatives in the community. Much of Williams' produce is picked at Lucille's 1913's nonprofit farm less than 50 miles away in Kendleton, while the cafe's refrigerated retail case is stocked with fresh Kendleton- grown vegetables as well. On weekends, break your fast with coffee and a fried chicken roll smothered with honey butter ($9), tacos ($4 - $8), or perhaps a healthful coconut yogurt bowl with house- made granola and berries ($11). Tuesday through Sunday, try such entrees as the farm-fresh Blodgett Harvest, a vegetable- forward sandwich assembled with roasted squash, peppers, and collard green pesto, vegan ricotta, and red pepper aioli on a hoagie roll ($14) or the decadent grilled cheese and gumbo, where two slices of Texas toast are layered with poblano- spiked pimento cheese, cheddar, and provolone with a demitasse of green gumbo for dipping ($16). You can enjoy your repast at the restaurant, but Williams encourages you to take advantage of their proximity to Emancipation Park. Picnic supplies are available for purchase, as well as a curated library of books from neighboring Kindred Stories bookstore, should you wish to read under the canopy of an old oak. (Even some of Williams' vintage cookbooks are for sale.) Of course, a picnic isn't a picnic without a bottle of wine or beer. The edited wine selection reflects the culture and tastes of the community, and notable neighbors and friends such as Williams' own dad, Connie Williams, and Carl Chargois, Anita Smith, Ernest Walker, and Iris Allen who have spelled out their personal wine predilections on a placard above the wine racks. As a platform for community-based entrepreneurs, the Rado also has shelves stocked with foodstuffs such as Beeing Murray local raw honey, craft-style hot sauces made by Houston Sauce Co., and decadent sweets such as mini strawberry cream Bundt cakes and banana pudding from The Peach Cobbler Lady. Open 7 am to 4 pm Tuesday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday. The Rado Market, 2310 Elgin St., Chef Chris Williams at the Eldorado Ballroom The Rado Market 33

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