Archive for ‘News’

Fall-Friendly Whites to Sip & Savor

Posted in News

Summer vacation time may be over, but the opportunity to travel the world and sample unique wines is a year-round luxury at Phoenicia! Before Phoodies naturally turn to drink more reds in the late fall and winter weather, we decided to highlight a few unique whites to pair with fall soups, salads and snacks made with fresh seasonal ingredients we all love.

The Wolftrap White – South Africa
Plum, apple and fresh green almond flavor come out clearly in this beautiful blend of grapes commonly used by South African vintners (Viognier/Chenin Blanc/Grenache Blanc Blend). Screams “pair me” with a seasonal salad topped with toasted pumpkin seeds or delicious Italian-style fried zucchini slices.

Becker Family Pinot Blanc – Germany
Crisp, clean and refreshing with melon and stone fruit taste, finished nicely with marvelous minerals. Arugula, pomegranate and fresh goat cheese salad sounds like a nice partner for this gem.

Aegerter Chardonnay – France
Rich wine with pear notes rounded out with white peach. Classic-styled white Burgundy that is a joy to drink year round. Try a comforting bowl of butternut squash soup with this French trademark.

Meet Michael Bateman

Posted in News

A native Houstonian, Michael Bateman traveled the world only to return to his favorite spot: Phoenicia! He’s lived in many different places, and as the son of a military family, Michael became immersed in distinctive cultures and customs early in life. His great appreciation for diversity and unique background make him an important part of the Phoenicia management team.

Graduating from high school at the tender age of 16, Michael attended the University of Mississippi and the University of Houston, where he studied history. With deep roots in the military, he felt a calling to serve his country and joined the Air Force. Michael was stationed in South Korea, the Philippines, Europe and several locations in the U.S.

After completing his duty with the Air Force, he returned to Houston and promptly joined the Army. In both military branches, Michael served in the military police, where his aim and purpose was to protect and serve. The Army sent him back to Europe, then returned him stateside where he married his long-time love and began his family. Michael beams with pride as he talks about his children, who are currently carrying on the family’s military tradition. His son, Robert, currently serves in the Coast Guard in Virginia Beach and his daughter, Christine, is at the Air Force Academy in Officer Candidate School.

When his wife enlisted in the military, Michael supported her and moved to Wiesbaden, Germany, a favorite spot because he loves bratwurst and brötchen! Michael eventually came back to the States and worked for the school district at Fort Riley as a computer proctor. A return to Houston soon followed where Michael worked as a sales manager for a tool company. Houston was experiencing an economic downturn and the tool company was facing impending layoffs. Anxious for a fresh start, Michael took the advice of a coworker who suggested he contact a long-time friend who was a manager at Phoenicia. The simple referral led to his perfect job and Michael has now been with Phoenicia for five years.

Michael becomes very thoughtful when he talks about his love for his job. The employees, office team and Tcholakian family mean a lot to him. He is especially appreciative of the family and their generosity, their loyalty to employees, and the caring environment they provide for their employees. His passion for Phoenicia is evident when he talks about his job. “When I go home, I feel good about the job I do. All of it!”

When asked to reveal his favorite food at Phoenicia, he laughs and says, “Everything!” He’s established himself as a bona fide taster, earning the nickname “Honey Badger” because he will eat anything. Lucky for Michael everything at Phoenicia is YUMMY!

“Love Street, the Houston Scene, Market and First Ward Editions” Artist Exhibition

Posted in Downtown Market, Events, MKT BAR, News

An ode to Houston’s creative community, “Love Street, the Houston Scene, Market and First Ward Editions,” is a one-of-a-kind, collaborative exhibit located in Phoenicia Specialty Foods Downtown and MKT BAR from September 6-November 2, 2014.


Named for Love Street Light Circus Feel Good Machine, the classic ’60s psychedelic bar on lower Westheimer where Houston’s creative community flourished at the time, the “Love Street” exhibit will feature more than 20 artists. Through contemporary art, multimedia, photography, installations, sculpture and mixed media, the exhibiting artists will share their profound love of and appreciation for Houston’s support of its local arts community.

Local artists including Patrick Renner, creator of the Funnel Tunnel on Montrose Boulevard, and David Graeve, creator of the balloon installation at Discovery Green, will fill both floors of  Phoenicia Specialty Foods and in MKT BAR. A series of artist receptions and events with many of the artists in attendance will take place throughout the course of the exhibition as well. All artwork will be available for purchase.

The exhibition coincides with the Texas Contemporary Art Fair at the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Houston Fine Art Fair at NRG Center. The collaborative exhibit will embody Bayou City soul by focusing on works by Houston-based artists and artists that once called Houston home. Exhibition curated by Michael Macedo Meazell.

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Featured Artists: David A. Brown, Suzan Budge, Michael De La Cerda, Craig Dunn Clark, Kristen Cliburn, Gallery Homeland, GONZO247, David Graeve, Kimberly Gremillion, Merideth Jack, Kelli Scott Kelley, Laura Lark, Felipe Lopez, Lester Marks, MOD Museum of Drawing, Michael Macedo Meazell, Nate Nash, Mark Ponder, Patrick Renner, Alfredo Scaroina, and Stephanie Villareal

Host Committee: Catherine Anspon, Kirk Baxter & Dave Waller, Adam Brackman, Norman Ewart, Whitney Garibay & Chance O’Dell, Lindsey George & Will Walsh, Terrence Hobdy, Henry Hunt & Donna Tennant, Dave Hess & Lori Laria de Hess, Lester & Penelope Marks, Michael Macedo Meazell, Michel Muylle, Nyala & Brian Nolan, James Phelan, Michelle Sacks, Irfan Shaikh & Amanda Beven Shaikh, Ann-Marie Tcholakian, Haig Tcholakian, Donnie Vendivel and Dr. Jennifer McQuade, Miri Wilkins & Marshal Welch, White Space, and Josh & Tina Zulu

Sponsors (as of 8/22/14): White Space Houston, Gallery Homeland, The MOD, Glazer’s, Pioneer Wine Company, New Pencil Design, Phoenicia Specialty Foods, Saint Arnold Brewing Company and MKT BAR


EXTENDED! On View: Saturday, September 6 – Sunday, November 2, 2014

Market Edition Opening Reception:Saturday, September 6th, 12-6PM at Phoenicia Specialty Foods Downtown, 1001 Austin Street, Houston 77010

First Ward Edition Opening Reception: Saturday, September 13th, 12-6PM at Michael Macedo Meazell Art, 1517 Shearn Street, Houston 77007

Love Street Beginning Again Reception: Saturday, September 20th, 12-6PM at Phoenicia Specialty Foods Downtown, 1001 Austin Street, Houston 77010

Phoenicia Speciality Foods Hours
Monday – Friday: 7AM – 9PM
Saturday – Sunday: 9AM – 8PM

Monday-Wednesday: 7AM-10PM
Thursday-Friday: 7AM-2AM
Saturday: 9AM-2AM
Sunday: 9AM-8PM

The exhibition and receptions are free events.

Phoenicia Specialty Foods Downtown and MKT BAR
1001 Austin Street (across the street from Discovery Green)
Houston, Texas 77010

Complimentary parking is available in the One Park Place garage on a first-come, first-served basis. Enter garage on McKinney.

Beta Bracket Stand-up Comedy Competition at MKT BAR

Posted in Events, News


Laugh, vote, and repeat during The Beta Bracket, Beta Theater’s stand-up comedy competition. Sponsored by MKT BAR, Heights Vinyl and Dinolion, the audience-judged tournament will take place at 9PM every Friday through October 3rd. To make event-goers laugh, ten hometown comics will go toe-to-toe in 5, 10 and eventually 20-minute sets for a chance to advance and ultimately claim $100, $500 or $2000 in winnings.

Enjoy free admission and MKT BAR food and drinks for purchase.

WHAT: Beta Bracket Stand-up Comedy Competition

WHEN: Fridays through October 3rd at 9PM

WHERE: MKT BAR at Phoenicia Specialty Foods Downtown

1001 Austin Street (across the street from Discovery Green)

Houston, Texas 77010


Complimentary parking is available in the One Park Place garage on a first-come, first-served basis. Enter garage on McKinney.



YUMMY! Crew Spotlight: Lateefah Johnson

Posted in Downtown Market, News

It was a lucky day for Phoenicia when Lateefah came to a job fair, with her mom, just before the opening of the downtown store. Her sunny smile and bright eyes stood out as a beacon and she was hired to be a waitress by the MKT BAR manager. Her mom was also hired, but at orientation the first day, Lateefah felt more connected to the grocery store and asked if she could be reassigned there as a cashier. That was Lateefah’s first jump into the sea of success she has earned at Phoenicia.

Working at Phoenicia was a culture shock. Growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, Lateefah never thought she would be exposed to so many cultures, languages or foods from other countries. She’s a Southern belle at heart, who has lived all her life in the South. While living in Memphis, Tennessee, she saw Elvis’ house and decided it was time to go home. She moved to Houston to be closer to her family. Lateefah embraced Houston and its cultural diversity, and once she was here, she knew she found the place for her sons to grow up. Mentioning her two young sons, Lateefah’s face lights up. They are the light of her life and the driving force behind her success.

Lateefah keeps the store on steady course by making sure that all of our great products make it to the shelves and into our customer’s happy hands. She oversees the process from the delivery of the items to stocking of the shelves, monitors the cashiers as they sell and even maintains the stock. Lateefah’s work ethic is unrivaled and she is indispensible.

The most interesting thing she has learned while working here–and that she will always carry forward in her life–is how a family business works. She loves how the Tcholakian family cares about their employees and how they work hard to help everyone be successful. Here at Phoenicia, she feels everyone counts.

This fall, Lateefah will go to school for nursing. She is excited about her science classes, especially her favorite course of biology. We are excited to support her and know that with her careful determination and caring nature, she will make an amazing nurse.

When asked about her favorite foods at Phoenicia, Lateefah flashes a gigantic smile and without a moment’s hesitation says, “Chicken Shawarma and Haig’s Nut Mix!”

“Infinite Light” Art Exhibition by Artists Jehnifer Henderson, Darcy Rosenberger and Sam Sartorius

Posted in MKT BAR, News

Be among the first to experience Infinite Light, a multimedia exhibit that showcases the work of Jehnifer Henderson, Darcy Rosenberger and Sam Sartorius. The three Houston-based artists come together and present their ability to create beauty from intangible and often unnoticed moments by focusing on intimate depictions of color and light.


Employing a technique called Photomicrograph, Henderson snaps photographs of tiny subjects using a camera and a microscope to explore unseen natural beauty. Rosenberger uses drawing and photography to create works that are both intricate and playful, and Sartorius’ imaginative paintings depict other-worldly abstractions of landscapes.

For more artist information, visit, and

OPENING RECEPTION w/ VINYL NIGHT: Meet the artists on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 7-10PM

Fresh Arts’ Jenni Stephens is our featured Vinyl Night DJ on this same evening! Mention “Fresh Arts” and enjoy $5 cocktails and $2 off MKT BAR artisan pizzas. Vinyl Night is sponsored by Cactus Music. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit Fresh Arts.

EXHIBITION: Through August 29, 2014

COST: Free admission. All artwork will be available for purchase.

Exhibition organized by Fresh Arts’ Sarah Schellenberg and Jenni Stephenson, and MKT BAR Art Coordinator Megan Badger.

Free customer parking is available in the One Park Place garage on a first-come, first-served basis. Enter garage on McKinney.

Big Tree Studio Exhibition by Artist Yan Lee

Posted in MKT BAR, News

Be among the first to experience the character of famous and historic trees through an exhibition featuring the pen-and-ink portraits of Artist Yan Lee.

Lee attained the degree of Ph.D. in geophysics at Texas A&M University. It was there that he became enamored with “The Century Tree” on campus that has shaded tens of thousands of Aggies since 1898. Lee vowed to draw it for posterity. This experience was so personally overwhelming that he resolved to search out and immortalize the famous and historic trees in America.

Lee’s pen-and-ink portraits of famous and historic trees are sketched in minute detail with delicate precision. When each portrait is completed, the tree appears living, exquisite and unique, and will remain so for all time.

Lee captures the beauty and character of trees that live among us. Like a transcendentalist poet, Lee says, “You see my pictures, you want to see the trees. You see the trees, you want to see my pictures. I let these trees live in your home.” Capturing details that take viewers’ breath away, he is known to spend one hour on just one square inch of his art, capturing the character of each tree he meets. Come see the life Lee captures in his art.

Lee lives with his wife, Lu, in Spring, Texas. For more information, visit his website at

EXHIBITION: Through July 4, 2014
COST: Free admission. Food, drinks and all artwork will be available for purchase.

Free customer parking is available in the One Park Place garage on a first-come, first-served basis. Enter garage on McKinney.

Mother’s Day Top Ten List

Posted in Downtown Market, MKT BAR, News

Top 10 Ways to Make Mother’s Day YUMMY!
at Phoenicia Specialty Foods and MKT BAR

It’s all about the experience and enjoying time with Mom.

Number 10: A Chip Off the Old Feta Block
Educate your palate by tasting 10 different types of feta: Greek Sheep’s Milk, Greek Goat’s Milk, Domiati Danish, Hungarian Double Cream, Bulgarian, Romanian, French, Turkish Sheep’s Milk, Egyptian, Egyptian Creamy, Cyprus Sheep & Goat’s Milk, and Domestic.

Number 9: Spice Rack Tutorial
Fill both your spice racks and let her teach you family recipes again for the first time! Try our spectacular and versatile Phoenicia mixes like Ras el Hanout, Zohrab’s Mideast Zaatar, Zohrab’s Greek, and Arpi’s Beef & Chicken Shawarma.

Number 8: Olive Branch Out
Create your very own international olive oil tasting with our baked-fresh-daily baguettes!  Discover the unique characteristics of our oils from Europe, the Mediterranean and South America.

Number 7: What’s the Scoop?
Enjoy a sweet conversation and a cup of Phoenicia gelato together. Perhaps, even pair with our signature Turkish Coffee, Apple Baklava or Pistachio Orange Blossom-flavored gelato as you reminisce about chasing the ice cream truck in the neighborhood and playing in the sprinklers.

Number 6: The Great Chocolate Scavenger Hunt
First one to find chocolates from five different countries gets to try them first! Our selection is vast, so the competition will be over really fast!

Number 5: Sharing a Slice
Mothers bring comfort to our lives, and what says comfort more than sharing a pizza? Try our own ready-to-go doughs. Our flat bread Tannour or puffy Barbari bread go perfectly with any topping or cheese. For something with Phoenicia flair, pick up some Armenian String Cheese, oil-cured Moroccan olives and walnuts to top your own custom pie. Just pop them in the oven, get the right crisp, let the good stuff melt, and voilà!

Number 4: Jam On
For breakfast or snack time with Mom, try new jellies, jams, spreads and preserves from around the globe on a fresh loaf of pita. Or, try our Morello sour cherry on vanilla ice cream.  It’s okay to share with your siblings (if you want to).

Number 3: Tea Time
Nothing says quality time like “Tea Time.” From Ceylon and Rooibos to Apple and Yerba Mate, warm and toasty is what you will feel with Mama.

Number 2: Go-Go Gadgets
Explore our housewares section with items such as olive pitters, nut crackers, Bulgarian and Polish ceramics, and fine French cookware that will impress Mom.

Number 1: Weekend Brunch at MKT BAR
With classic favorites like Hill Country Fried Chicken & Waffles, Black Pepper Waffle with braised lamb and Pecorino Romano, Egg Piperade or Aleppo Roasted Potatoes, Mom’s taste buds will be tempted. Add her favorite cocktail or a refreshing mimosa while enjoying live music by Cesar Tello on Sunday, May 11th, and she’ll be convinced you hung the moon. See the menu.

And if you just can’t decide on the perfect goodie to give her, a Phoenicia gift card is always sure to please!

Easter Brunch at MKT BAR

Posted in News

MKT Brunch makes every bunny feel like a V.I.Peep, every weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 10AM-3PM. Enjoy live music every Sunday during brunch from noon-3PM.

On Sunday, April 20, we’re pleased to present the talented Jazz duo of Ernesto Vega, playing the saxophone and clarinet, and David Ramirez on the piano.

On our culinary line-up, choose from classic favorites such as Hill Country Fried Chicken & Waffles, Black Pepper Waffle with Braised Lamb and Pecorino Romano, Egg Piperade or Aleppo Roasted Potatoes. Also, savor these Easter specials on Saturday, April 19 and Sunday, April 20:

Fried Catfish
with jalapeño grits

Pecan Praline Waffles
with fresh peaches and whipped cream

Seafood Frittata
shrimp, crab, tomatoes and artichoke hearts with fresh herbs

Make any dish eggsceptionally YUMMY! by pairing it with a signature coffee or gelato, hoppy craft beers, mimosas, white sangria or other refreshing cocktail of your choice, such as our:

Basil Rita
fresh basil steeped in simple syrup & lime juice, finished with sparkling wine, seltzer & chopped basil, with a salted rim

Raspberry MKT Mojito
raspberry simple syrup & mint, shaken with apple juice & our house rosé

Sangria Blanca
seasonal berries, fruit & citrus marinated overnight w/ our sommelier’s white wine blend
carafe offered

Pomegranate Mimosa
light & effervescent pomegranate juice with Prosecco sparkling wine
carafe offered

YUMMY! Crew Spotlight: Richard Willis

Posted in Downtown Market, News

With a warm, kind nature that makes everyone feel welcome, Richard works as a Customer Service Specialist in our hot grille downtown. He enjoys a simple life that began in Cincinnati, and after a few detours, brought him to Texas.

One of those detours was a move to Flint, Michigan, in 1977. After attending a friend’s wedding, Richard decided he liked the area and was going to stay. With only the clothes in his suitcase and $10.00 in his pocket, he never looked back as he began to carve out a life in a new city.

Richard quickly landed a job with General Motors, and in short order, met the woman of his dreams. He was introduced to his future wife, Terry, through a former girlfriend. They were married in 1979 and started their family. While his family was thriving–blessed with one son and two daughters–things were winding down at General Motors. Richard and his family moved to Atlanta, where they lived for several years until Terry became homesick for her family, who was beginning to settle in Texas. They made the big move to Texas and Richard decided to explore his passion for cooking.

Newly arrived in Houston, Richard worked for Pappadeaux and after a two-week training period, was placed in one of their busier restaurants. He decided Pappadeaux wasn’t for him and longed for a better place to work. He had driven by Phoenicia several times and had left an application, but had yet to hear back from anyone. He was becoming anxious. Once while driving by Phoenicia, he pointed out to his wife, “I interviewed there and they never called me!” Then, as Richard fondly recalls, divine intervention stepped in and changed his life. No sooner were those words out of his mouth than his cell phone rang. Phoenicia called to ask if he would like a job!

With that foretelling phone call, Richard knew Phoenicia was where he needed to be and started working right away. He recalls how different the environment was from any job he’d ever had, and embraced his diverse surroundings. He learned to appreciate different cultures and is thankful for the friends he made from all different walks of life. Now an eager ambassador, Richard helps people step out of their comfort zone to try food with which they may not be familiar. His boundless energy and exuberant personality make him a shining star at Phoenicia!

Richard loves the Tcholakian family and counts them among his blessings. Very proud and honored to work for them, he glows when he talks about his encounters with each family member.

Hands down, Richard’s favorite dishes are Arpi’s salad with chicken shawarma and BREAKFAST. He especially likes our grits and eggs and encourages everyone to come visit him early for breakfast downtown.

The only flaw Richard seems to have is a love for the Cincinnati Bengals. Maybe a Texans’ winning season will sway him?