Austin Business Journal : Michael Hsu-designed food hall in Houston

The Michael Hsu Office of Architecture has designed another restaurant space — this time a food hall in Houston.

Understory, the 35,000-square-foot community hub and culinary market in the lower levels of Bank of America Tower at 800 Capitol St., began a week of grand opening events on Aug. 12.

Austin-based Michael Hsu Office of Architecture has prior food hall experience: the firm designed the Fareground food hall in Austin, and is also designing a food hall in Overland Park, Kansas. It has also worked on a wide variety of Austin restaurants and was recently tapped as a consultant on another notable project in Houston.

The company did $5.57 million in revenue in 2018 and employed 14 licensed architects among its total staff of 43 people, according to the latest Austin Business Journal data.

The Austin firm’s latest project blended Houston’s street and tunnel levels with features such as the “Great Steps,” a 30-foot-wide staircase and gathering place.

“Traditionally, the downtown tunnel experience has been strictly below ground, with no true street level access. However, we saw the opportunity with Understory’s location — at the center of the tunnel network with five points of access — to transform the tunnel space and create an expansive destination that reflects downtown’s vibrant cultural life,” Matt Damborsky, executive vice president for Skanska USA Commercial Development in Houston, said in a statement.

“For the first time ever, there is a place in the Houston tunnel network that is bright, actively programmed from morning to night, with the best in local culture, commerce and cuisine.”

Tenants at Understory include:

  • East Hampton Sandwich Company
  • Boomtown Coffee
  • Mama Ninfa’s Tacos y Torta’s
  • Mona Fresh Italian Food
  • Flip ‘n Patties
  • Seaside Poke
  • Silver Lining

There’s still one of the culinary market’s seven restaurant stalls yet to be filled.

Originally posted on Austin Business Journal