Image result for just dinner dunlavy

This is a different post than usual, but as Matt said in his very first blog post, the Homemade Chef is our culinary journey and most of our blog posts focus on recipes and cooking techniques.  However, every once in awhile we will post other unique aspects of our journey – so much of cooking is being inspired by others.  Today I am posting about the most special restaurant to us in Houston, where Matt and I got engaged.  Unfortunately it is leaving us at the end of the year, and I wanted to tell the world about this special little place.

I cannot believe we are less then a month away from our sixth year anniversary of getting engaged.  I originally purchased an engagement ring as Matt made it very clear he wanted the diamonds. The initial plan was getting engaged during an upcoming cruise we were taking in March; knowing that a five year old can keep a secret better then I can, I decided March was too long and scrambled to find an alternative engagement idea in January.  That is how I found Just Dinner.

Just Dinner is a cozy romantic restaurant located in one of the very few historical buildings left in Midtown/Montrose Houston.  It only has a couple of tables due to the small size of the house.  Midtown/Montrose like many other neighborhoods in Houston and around the country has been transforming into a townhouse Mecca.  Just Dinner is a zen like escape inside our bustling city.

Just Dinner provided the Reiser household with so many memories.  As I mentioned, the first night we visited was the night we got engaged.  I called ahead of time to tell them my plan and despite being a new customer they could not have been more accommodating.  Matt said “yes” and you all know he is a bit particular so the food must have been good.  We began taking our out of town guests to Just Dinner including our mothers, extended family and friends.  Matt and I got married in Maine, but we insisted on having dinner at Just Dinner on the way to the airport for our wedding. We’ve been going ever since.

Building memories

Our dear friend Lila Rivas (pictured below with her husband Cruz) took it over in 2011.  Their menu changes every season and they truly earned their name “Just Dinner” by focusing on local and fresh ingredients that were always divine.  Because Lila and her team were so focused on delicious foods, Just Dinner was also BYOB.

Lila Rivas with her husband, Cruz.

Lila wanted her guests to enjoy each other’s company, eat fabulous food and drink their favorite wines, because to her it was all about building memories.  To ensure everyone enjoyed their time the staff did what very few restaurants in Houston do and NOT rush us.  We usually spent almost 2 hours dining and enjoying each other’s company.

Tomato Bisque (has the reputation you could bathe in it!)

I don’t even love pork, but omg!

Saying goodbye is always hard, but we both smile just thinking about all the amazing memories we were able to build thanks to Lila and her staff.  Restaurants come and go, but Just Dinner will never be replaced.  It wasn’t just the food (although the food was amazing), but it was also the environment, Lila and her amazing staff and love that was rampant inside the restaurant.

Had to write Lila a letter telling her and the staff at Just Dinner how much they mean to us.

Thank you Lila and Just Dinner for everything.  We will miss your fine food, but excited for your upcoming adventures!

Just Dinner with a bottle of Brunello?  Yes! Why drink anything else? 

Matt and I would love to hear about restaurants that are special to you too! Please comment.

Sous Chef Andrew

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