Where to Eat in Downtown Houston, with Kids: MKT BAR at Phoenicia Specialty Foods

Address: 1001 Austin St, Houston, TX 77010

This is the place we like to go when we’re at downtown at Discovery Green… MKT BAR at Phoenicia Specialty Foods. But I have to say, it’s a little unusual.

On the ground floor of the One Park Place high rise, right across from Discovery Green, is Phoenicia. Half of it is a fancy grocery store and half of it is a restaurant called MKT BAR (or Market Bar). Both are casual and family friendly (even with the “BAR” in the name).

On weekdays, MKT BAR does not open until 2:00pm… so what you do (and a whole lot of people do each day) is go to the grocery section and pick up something from the deli. There are hot and cold options and they are all really good.  (The falafel sandwich is my favorite!)  You can pay for it and then take the food to the tables in the restaurant.

After 2:00pm and on weekends, you go to the restaurant, order from the menu and tip your waitress or waiter.  The good thing about going to the restaurant is that there is a kids menu… and it’s a good one.  Just check out the kids chicken below… it’s not your dinosaur shaped nuggets!

The restaurant also has high chairs and coloring sheets.  (I do like to go early because MKT BAR becomes a little louder and more bar-like as the night goes on.)

MKT BAR has a lot of fun weekly events, like Steak Night, and seasonal events like heart shaped pizza.

Free Phoenicia parking is available in the Park Place parking garage or you can pay for metered street parking.


MKT Bar - Phoenicia Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Plan your no mess, fun for mom & kids, YUMMY! Mother’s Day Weekend at MKT BAR+ $100 Giftcard Giveaway for Houston Moms!

MKT BAR Yum for Mum Pizza with gold potatoes, roasted garlic, brie, bacon and fresh parsley 6
For Mother’s Day, I want something that is leaves absolutely no mess for me to clean up.

I love to share my special day with the little people that made me a mom, but the very best gift would be no dirty dishes, no sticky art supplies and no need to tiptoe across family room full of toys and treasure.

So for this year, I’m making the plans for a great day with my favorite (and often messy) people.  And if you follow BigKidSmallCity, you know that one of my favorite ways to spend a day is in Downtown Houston.

Play at Discovery Green, watch the trains, look for art… and for a special Mother’s Day… Brunch or dinner at one of our favorite Houston restaurants!

MKT BAR, inside the cool Phoenicia Specialty Foods, is on our Top 10 Kid-Friendly Restaurants list.  It’s hip but casual, has a kids menu… and even offers kid’s cooking classes… so you know they like families!  It’s a place that mom and kids can both enjoy.

What I like even better is that on May 8, 9 and 10, moms are being celebrated.  You can bring the kids, not worry about the “dirty looks” at some “fancy” restaurants, enjoy brunch, dinner and even live music on Sunday!

Parking in Downtown can be tough… but it’s free and easy when you eat at MKT Bar.  Complimentary parking is available in the One Park Place garage. Garage entrance is located on McKinney St. between Austin and La Branch.

AND, MKT Bar is giving a BigKidSmallCity family a $100 MKT BAR gift card!  Look below to register for the giveaway!

Make your plans for your no mess, fun for mom and fun for kids, Mother’s Day in Downtown Houston:

Friday, May 8 – Dinner 2:00pm-11:00pm
Saturday, May 9 – Brunch 10:00am-3:00pm, Dinner 2:00pm-11:00pm
Sunday, May 10 – Brunch 10:00am-3:00pm, Dinner 2:00pm-8:00pm, Live Music by Idol Gossip jazz band 12:00pm-3:00pm

UPDATE:  Congratulations to Elizabeth G!  She is the winner of the $100 gift card!!

Giveaway closes on May 8, 2015 at 6:00pm.
Gift card has no expiration date.
Official Rules: http://wp.me/P2efXF-6EZ

Phoenicia and their wonderful casual restaurant: MKT BAR – Our Search for Houston’s Best Restaurants for Kids!

Update: See the latest post HERE!

Phoenicia MKT Bar Pizza
Location: 1001 Austin St. 77010
Age Appropriate: All ages!
Price: $-$$

Update: See the latest post HERE!

Hi, I’m Juliette! My husband, my 6-year-old and I love going out to eat and we are sharing our restaurant finds with you.

Saturday morning, we headed downtown to Discovery Green for their FUNomenal Family Festival where our favorite blogger had a booth! We played, strolled through the park and even greeted the BKSC fans and then we got hungry! So we crossed the street from the park and headed to the Phoenicia and their wonderful casual restaurant: MKT Bar.

[Read more…]

Looking for some fun? Here are some things to do with your kids in downtown Houston.

My kids love Downtown Houston. When I ask them what they want to do, they usually don’t say the zoo or the museum. They say, “Downtown!”.

Likely they pick Downtown because we take METRORail there. Riding the train is an adventure all its own. Parking is easy at Hermann Park or near Natachee’s at Main Street and Berry. At the station you can use cash or credit card to buy a $1.25 one way ticket. Kids under 5 ride free. If you have not mapped out your own trip, jump off at Main Street Square. It’s centrally located in Downtown and close to most of the fun.

If you decide to drive instead, there is metered parking on the streets that is free after 6:00pm and on Sundays. Parking can get tight from 4:00pm-6:00pm since it’s prohibited on many streets for rush hour. Here is a map of parking options in Downtown.

How ever you get there, check out this MAP to get familiar with Downtown.  METRORail runs Northeast up Main Street. To simplify the instructions, I call it plain North.

Discovery Green is always a good destination when visiting Downtown. There is a playground, splashpad, green space and tons of events. Check the Discovery Green calendar HERE. Discovery Green is about 5 blocks east of the Main Street Square METRORail station.

Just a couple blocks north of Discovery Green is Southern Pacific Steam Engine 982. This steam engine is in the middle of a construction zone now, but worth a walk-by for the train lover in your family.

If you go back to Discovery Green, and walk one block west towards the train tracks, you can find Phoenicia Specialty Foods on the ground level of One Park Place. It is a grocery store and deli where you can pick up some items for lunch, a cookie, a drink or take the kids to the clean restroom. You can eat at tables in the store or take a picnic back to Discovery Green.

Want to check out the Downtown Tunnel System? Check out the map HERE. They system is huge and connects most of Downtown. If you are a little intimidated, start at Macy’s. Back at the Main Street Square METRORail station you will see Macy’s. Take the elevator or escalator to the basement. Here you can walk through a tunnel to an underground food court.  You can check the map on the wall and explore the two connecting tunnels or just head up to ground level. The tunnels are open on weekdays, during working hours.

If it is a weekday, don’t miss the free observation deck in the JP Morgan Chase Building. From Main Street Square, walk one block west and a few blocks north to Travis and Capitol. From the lobby you can take the elevators to the 60th floor and highest public observation area in Downtown Houston.

While on the west side of the train tracks, don’t miss the theater district and civic center. From the JP Morgan building, just walk west on Capitol. Once you hit Smith, head south to see  Tranquility Park and City Hall. One block south of here, you can stop in the Downtown Central Library or the Julia Ideson Library. The Julia Ideson building was recently renovated and has amazing architectural details inside. You cannot check out books here, but you can visit the children’s reading room and enjoy a story with your child.

If you are interested in visiting the Downtown Aquarium, go back north on Smith, past Capitol, and go west on Preston. This will take you over Buffalo Bayou and to the Aquarium.  While you are on the Preston Street bridge, you need to find the Mysterious Red Button.

Need more information? Head over to DowntownHouston.org.  Looking for an event? Check HERE. Hungry? Check out the list of restaurants.  We can personally recommend El Rey, Bombay Pizza, Jason’s Deli, Bangkok Chef, Phoenicia and The Shops at Houston Center.

Whether you want to do a little or a lot, we recommend spending some time in downtown. We were intimidated by the scene the first time we went, but once we started using the train tracks as a reference point, we were able to confidently navigate around our city. Now we spend most of our free time there and my kids just can’t get enough of Downtown Houston!

Phoenicia Specialty Foods

Address: 1001 Austin Street, Houston, TX 77010 and 12141 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77077
Cost: Reasonable
Appropriate Age: Any age
Phoenicia Specialty Foods is a food lover’s grocery store that has surprisingly reasonable prices and food that can please any kid. The new location, across from Discovery Green, has been a favorite of ours for a pre-park bite. The store is located at street level of the One Park Place residential high rise, directly across from Discovery Green. The entrance is on Austin Street.

Phoenicia is full of freshly baked breads, ready to eat meals, imports, coffee and more. One of our favorite things to see is the pita bread conveyer belt bringing down hot pitas from the second floor. The store is small but you could spend a long time looking at all the colorful options on the simple shelves. At Phoenicia you can buy your goods to-go or enjoy them at the dining tables. You can also visit their coffee shop and MKT Bar.

Phoenicia has a parking garage and metered street parking. It is also a short walk from the Main Street Square stop if you take METRORail, which is our favorite way to travel. My kids and I have stopped in several times before heading to Discovery Green. Each time I hustle my kids back to the clean bathroom and then let them pick out our picnic lunch. Last time we were in, we grabbed po-boys for $3.99 and headed to the movie at the park.   We split the turkey and swiss po-boy and the pesto chicken po-boy.  Both were good, but the pesto chicken was fantastic.  The time before that we got curry chicken salad from the deli and a box of crackers and enjoyed it in the store. It was awesome. Next time we are in, we’re getting humus and those hot pitas flying in from the second floor.  And I’ll get some tabbouleh.   Oh, and salad and olives from the bar.  And….  Lucky for me, there are a lot of events at Discovery Green and a lot of opportunities for me to get to Phoenicia Specialty Foods.

I’ve never considered myself a foodie. In fact, I’ve considered meal time to be a bit of a burden… and not worth the time (unless there were chocolate chip cookies). That said, after spending some time in Phoenicia, I find myself ordering The Ultimate Food Lover’s Guide to Houston, a Second Edition. How’d that happen?