Former “Habanera” Opens Her Own Heights Mexican Restaurant – Houston Food Finder

Vanessa Lomeli of The 915

Many Houston diners are already familiar with Vanessa Lomeli, perhaps from her cooking at Habanera & The Guero in south Houston or from her appearance on Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible.” On March 23, Lomeli is debuting her own restaurant: The 915, located at 2914 White Oak in the Heights. (Note that there’s not yet a street sign and the restaurant is located behind Pho Binh.)

Initially, The 915 — named for the El Paso area code where Lomeli grew up — is offering only to-go service, but will soon offer dine-in. Third-party delivery is available through Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub.

On the menu, customers will find many hearty El Paso-style Mexican dishes based on Lomeli’s family recipes, and some will be familiar to patrons of her former workplace. “I will have most of the things that I had before but will definitely add some new items: gorditas, sopes, burgers, and my version of Chico’s Tacos (an iconic restaurant in El Paso that you either love or hate),” said Lomeli. 

red chile enchiladas at the 915
Open-face red chile enchiladas with black beans, Mexican rice, lettuce, fried egg and cotija at The 915 in the Heights. Photo by Becca Wright.

On the menu are multiple types of enchiladas, including the open-faced Red Chile with either cheese and diced onion or chicken and cheese (a fried egg on top is highly recommended), Green Chile and Mole

If the excellent Green Chile Queso that Lomeli used to serve at Habanera & The Guero is any indicator, it will be a must-order starter at The 915, too. Other appetizers or starters include Nachos Montadas, spicy or regular guacamole, and Trio of Dips with a choice of black bean dip, queso, guacamole, avocado salsa, salsa quemada, habanero salsa, tomatillo salsa or salsa cruda. 

Those who want to start with something warming might instead opt for Posole Rojo or Sopa Azteca, a spicy soup with a red chile broth base that also includes chicken, avocado, crema, onion, cheese and tortilla chips.

The 3,500-square-foot restaurant space can seat approximately 70 guests and offers a front patio as well as bar seating with a great view of the open kitchen. 

nachos at the 915
The 915’s Nachos Montadas with brisket, beans, queso, grilled tomato and jalapeño, crema and guacamole. Photo by Becca Wright.

Also among the entrée selections are the flautas, which are similar to taquitos or deep-fried rolled enchiladas. There are Red Flautas Ahogadas, filled with a choice of  picadillo, potato, or chicken then sauced with spicy tomato broth and topped with shredded cheese, Green Flautas, which swap in tomatillo sauce and offer a brisket filling option rather than picadillo, and Flautas a la Chuco with the same filling options as the green but instead accompanied by spicy salsa, crema, avocado and charred lime. 

For fun and casual fare, Lomeli also reinvented her Mexi-Dog: a hefty hot dog now topped with bacon, queso, mayo, salsa verde, black beans, grilled onions and fries, and there’s a Juarez Dog, too, which also has bacon, queso, beans and mayo, but swaps in ketchup, salsa, torreado, and charred tomato for the other ingredients. 

Once the dining room opens, it’s likely that The 915 will temporarily be BYOB as the liquor license hasn’t yet been issued. (The press release noted that Charlie Liquor is conveniently just down the street at 3018 White Oak.) 

aqua frescas at The 915
At The 915, Lomeli is debuting her new frozen aqua frescas in a wide variety of flavors. Photo by Becca Wright.

Once the liquor license is received, The 915 will serve the over-the-top frozen and regular margaritas made with fresh fruit — another of Lomeli’s specialties. Non-alcoholic beverages include her new “virgin margaritas”, or frozen variations of agua frescas with a wide variety of flavors: cucumber, mango, cantaloupe, watermelon, raspberry mint, strawberry, tamarind, lemon and dragon fruit. 

The 915 is open Tuesdays through Sundays (closed Monday) from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. There is not a website just yet. 

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