In your company, are you responsible for booking venues, facilities, restaurants and organizing transportation for meetings and events?
World-Class Dining Experiences in Houston
Houston’s restaurant industry is one of the most varied and comprehensive in the world. The best part about dining in Houston is that guests and planners alike aren’t confined to just one part of town when looking for upscale restaurants. The Galleria area, Midtown and downtown feature some of the best-reviewed dining establishments in the nation. The suburbs and Houston’s satellite cities are also great places to find high-end dining venues, including Pasadena, Clear Lake, Humble, The Woodlands and Kingwood.

Houston-area event planners can utilize the city’s dense concentration of top-tier restaurants to their advantage. Most, if not all, restaurants inside the Loop feature private dining rooms to accommodate groups for both corporate and social gatherings. These days, private dining rooms aren’t just walled-off sections of a restaurant; they’re full-service enclaves that often feature every amenity imaginable for a successful business event.

One tip for booking the restaurant of their choice is that planners should be flexible. If a facility doesn’t have private dining rooms or if all are booked for a particular day, then planners should consider semi-private dining as a viable option. Semi-private dining is usually more readily available than private dining and allows for a more traditional restaurant experience given that guests are not completely blocked from the rest of the facility. If a dining event isn’t going to have a strict business agenda and won’t require any special audiovisual equipment, then semi-private dining might be a better option, especially since this format is more conducive to less formal gatherings.

For many attendees, a nice restaurant is a nice restaurant. Unfortunately, not every guest is going to be as discerning of the care and thought planners expend for the sake of a great dining event. So if you want to leave a lasting impression, you’ll have to get creative in your efforts. A great way to keep the restaurant-going experience fresh and interesting is to choose venues that have a novelty aspect to them, places that make for interesting conversation in and of themselves. And what’s more topical in the event industry than going green? Like the true trailblazer the Houston restaurant industry is, the local community has taken the green concepts of the national scene and has molded them into one-of-a-kind restaurants that both out-of-town and in-town attendees will want to visit.

Green Options
When we first started coving the green event movement several issues ago, we were enchanted with the idea. Organizing world-class events while also being friendly to the environment? Why not? But we did have our worries that the revolutionary ideas of the city’s first green restaurateurs would be nothing more than a passing trend. Fortunately, our fears never came to fruition. It’s 2010 and Houston’s restaurant industry is still making progress with its green initiatives, namely, creating new environmentally friendly facilities and adopting eco-conscious procedures.

We definitely want to point out to our readers that the perception that green establishments somehow provide fewer options when it comes to menus and amenities is decidedly false. Just because a restaurant is concerned about the environment doesn’t mean that their number one priority isn’t their customers. Rather, green dining facilities make it their goal to deliver first-class services without any of the excesses that damage the environment, which in many cases results in lower food costs and inspired decorative choices.

The Grove is one of Houston’s most unique dining concepts and provides the culinary heart of downtown’s Discovery Green. Its innovative architectural design was created by Larry Speck, former Dean of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin. The result is a stunning facility that successfully combines the amenities of a first-class dining experience with the natural beauty of the surrounding park. The 10,000 square-foot glass, wood and steel restaurant provides an intriguing, yet, elegant atmosphere for semi-private or private dining events.

The Grove features three immaculate private dining areas. The Green Room is located on the main floor and is connected to the main dining area. The Green Room offers guests one of the most beautiful views of Discovery Green and has a seating capacity of 30 guests. The Primavera Room is also on the main floor and includes a private deck overlooking the 10,000 square-foot Grace Event Lawn. The room can accommodate up to 100 guests for a seated dinner or groups of up to 150 for an indoor/outdoor cocktail reception. The Vista Room is located on the top floor and features a private balcony highlighted by height-ceiling glass windows. The Vista Room is a completely private space and can accommodate cocktail receptions of up to 180 people and seated dinners for groups of up to 120.

The green facets of the restaurant are extensive. The Grove features its own herb and tomato garden located on the second floor. In addition, the restaurant also uses environmentally conscious materials made from corn, sugarcane and coconut fiber. The Grove also has a fairly extensive recycling program; all paper, cans, plastic, glass and cardboard that passes through its doors is recycled. A compost pile is maintained on a plot of unused land nearby, allowing for an eco-friendly method for disposing of unused produce. To top it all off, the staff are only allowed to use compostable trash and kitchen bags, giving nature a head start in breaking down whatever is sent to a landfill.

Ruggles Green is the first restaurant inside the Loop to be certified by the Green Restaurant Association (GRE). This distinction is notable given the strict criteria for GRE certification. For consideration, a restaurant must develop green initiatives in a number of distinct categories, including chemical and pollution reduction, energy, disposables, waste, water and sustainable furnishings and building materials. Ruggles Green goes above and beyond the green guidelines, even extending its eco-friendly philosophy to its menu options.

Submit an Article
If you have expertise in a particular area relevant to planning meetings and or events, you may submit a 400 to 750 word "how-to" article for possible inclusion in any of our magazines and/or our websites.

If accepted, your submission will be edited for length and clarity. There is no monetary payment if your item is used; instead, you can publicize yourself through a five-line biography with your contact information that will appear at the end of the article.

Send submissions to We will contact you if your submission is chosen.