Em­brac­ing One of South Hous­ton’s Finest Com­mu­ni­ties

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - ZEST -

The en­clave com­mu­nity of Bel­laire of­fers the con­ve­niences of a large city and the neigh­borly feel of a tight-knit vil­lage. To truly live like a Bel­laire lo­cal means em­brac­ing small-town charm in the heart of H-town cul­ture.

Day 1: Par­take in the Bel­laire Life­style

Start your day early at the Dan­de­lion Café, where you can prop­erly en­joy break­fast clas­sics like freshly squeezed juice and stuffed French toast. Once pow­ered up, pop into the lo­cal Recre­ation Cen­ter for Jazzer­cise Bel­laire. This en­er­giz­ing group hosts Dance Mixx classes, al­low­ing you to sweat off calo­ries to a hip-swing­ing playlist. Drive east on Bel­laire Blvd to spot a zany store­front with psy­che­delic graf­fiti work. This ec­cen­tric sight is iBurn, one of the largest hot sauce stores in Amer­ica. For a dose of the area’s rich his­tory, pay a visit to the Bel­laire Street Car Line. Now re­stored, the Toon­erville Trol­ley makes a beau­ti­ful back­drop for self­ies or fam­ily pho­tos.

A late lunch is your op­por­tu­nity for a well-sto­ried Hous­ton burger. Bernie’s Burger Bus op­er­ated for years out of ren­o­vated school buses be­fore set­tling down in its first brick-and-mor­tar restau­rant. In­sider’s tip: up­grade to truf­fle-laced fries; your taste buds will thank you.

Day 2: Un­wind in the City of Homes

Bel­laire’s ori­gin was as a pre­de­mon­i­nantly res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood, caus­ing it to be nick­named the “City of Homes.” De­spite its roots, Bel­laire has evolved into much more than a bed­room com­mu­nity. To­day, we’re rec­om­mend­ing Bel­laire Cof­fee Shop—a straight-up, old-school diner that trades in all frills for 1950’s min­i­mal­ist dé­cor. Linger com­fort­ably or grab a quick cof­fee and jet.

Eve­lyn’s Park Con­ser­vancy not only hosts play­grounds and gravel walk­ing paths, but you can in­ter­act with whim­si­cal bronze stat­ues recre­at­ing the Mad Hat­ter’s tea party from Al­ice in Won­der­land. Round out your morn­ing at Mag­pies Gifts, a trea­sure trove of dis­tinc­tive items. You’ll want to wind through the shop and en­joy the warm at­mos­phere.

Head to lunch at the Union Kitchen, where the ex­ec­u­tive chef sources fresh in­gre­di­ents from lo­cal farm­ers mar­kets and trans­forms them into el­e­gant ver­sions of clas­sic Amer­i­can fare. Our don’t-miss pick is the shrimp and grits with tasso gravy.

If Bel­laire Res­i­dent Has a Nice Ring to It…

A cou­ple days could never be enough time to fully ex­plore this cor­ner of the Hous­ton area. If any of these lo­cal ac­tiv­i­ties whet­ted your ap­petite to make a move, Martha Turner Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty is ready to help you land your for­ever home.

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