On a Friday evening a few months back, my husband and I pulled up to the Lamar Park parking lot, intending to grab dinner and drinks at one of our favorite local spots. We walked in and found there was no available seating — unfortunate for us but wonderful for the establishment. We popped into two of the other restaurants in the shopping center and were met with the same response. We then drove across the street to the neighboring strip of businesses; after attempting unsuccessfully to dine at three other spots, we ultimately decided to pick up a pizza and eat at home. It was then I had the revelation: Corpus Christi is officially a city in which (especially on a Friday night) reservations are required.
While it might not bode well for poor planners with empty stomachs, this thought actually makes me smile. There are plenty of think-pieces on reservation culture and its drawbacks; but to me, this is just another example of how our city is undoubtedly evolving. Passionate entrepreneurs are opening new spots or introducing new menus, and curious diners are pulling up a seat at the table, in greater and greater numbers.
The last time we ran a “Where to Eat Now” feature was in the February 2020 issue — mere weeks before the restaurant industry was forced to completely alter the way business was done. Three years later, diners have returned to their favorite eateries and a thriving food scene is on full display. For this year’s edition of “Where to Eat Now” (pg. 42), the first feature of the sort since, our editorial team — along with a foodie panel comprised of experienced chefs, entrepreneurs and influencers — provides readers with a list of more than 20 places you need to try and what to order when you get there.
As another exciting example of an evolving Coastal Bend, on pg. 56, we take readers inside the recently completed multi-million-dollar Rockport Center for the Arts (RCA) campus. Situated in the heart of downtown Rockport along picturesque Austin Street, the center’s new home is truly a marvel. Rockport has long been recognized for its rich history steeped in the arts, and the new RCA, the first original build for the facility in its 53-year history, is truly at the center of what keeps Rockport a thriving city.
Other stories contributing to the heartbeat of our coastal communities include a conversation with CCPATCH’s first executive director, Cheryl Votzmeyer-Rios, who has eagerly accepted the feat of bringing the restoration of the beloved Ritz Theatre to fruition (pg. 16); a group of our littlest neighbors working to beautify Coastal Bend beaches (pg. 20); an exploration and celebration of Black history through thoughtful programming at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi (pg. 100) and so much more.
I hope you enjoy reading through this month’s issue and meeting the local people within its pages. Perhaps it will inspire you to check out a restaurant you’ve yet to patronize or remind you of an old favorite you haven’t been to in a while. Just don’t forget to make a reservation.
Kylie Cooper, Editor In Chief