What began as a marketing exercise in 2005 to brand the area east of downtown Houston with a name that would herald its arrival has caught on—much like the place itself. In other words, EaDo is booming. According to Houston Properties, developers have invested more than $250 million in EaDo in just the last few years.
“It is still an area which is growing,” said Realtor Becky Davis. “There’s a lot of opportunity for value, and it’s just a fun place to live.”
A triangle demarcated by U.S. Highway 59, Interstate 45 and the BNSF rail line, EaDo is a stone’s throw from the George R. Brown Convention Center and Discovery Green. It used to be heavily industrial but is increasingly becoming more residential and entertainment oriented. The former home of Houston’s Chinatown before many Asians moved their businesses to the southwest, EaDo still reflects this heritage.
About 6,000 people live here, many of whom are young professionals and empty nesters drawn to its walkability and funky esthetic, although about a quarter of residents are raising kids here too.
Jessica Bacorn, executive director of the EaDo management district, recently told Paper City Magazine that there are several infrastructure and beautification projects on the horizon, including hike and bike trails, street art, sidewalk enhancement and pedestrian amenities such as benches, trash cans and lighting.
Hotel RL is also planning a location near BBVA Compass Stadium, slated for 2023 and Lovett Commercial bought a 99,000-square-foot warehouse, which will be a mixed-use development.
"EaDo is a lot like Houston," Method Architecture Managing Partner Jake Donaldson said at a 2019 Future of EaDo event in Houston. "It has an underdog reputation. People don't really get it until they get here. It grows on you over time."
It is the street art scene, including Graffiti Park, which gives EaDo a lot of its character. At the corner of Leeland and Saint Emanuel streets, you can see a number of murals, both on the walls of working businesses and decorating empty buildings. There are a few that remain untouched, but most are a work in progress. If you are there on the first Sunday of the month, revel in the Hip Hop Vintage Flea Market.
Local artist Donkeeboy is the resident artist at 8th Wonder Brewery (2202 Dallas St.) and has decorated the interior and the large beer garden of 8th Wonder Brewery. He also does many of the beer labels.
The Sun Young Taoist Temple, formerly the Tien Hou Temple (1507 Delano St.), doesn’t draw the crowds that it once did but is still a place of beauty and peace. During festivals and holidays, the traffic does pick up a bit.
The biggest do in EaDo has got to be the Houston Dynamos (2200 Texas Ave.), who have played their matches in the geometrically awesome BBVA Compass Stadium since 2012. And also the Houston Dash, a women’s professional soccer team who made their own splash in 2014.
For a unique perspective on the area, bring your bike to Columbia Tap Rail Trail, which begins at Walker and Delano near the BBVA Compass Stadium. At the southern end, the Columbia Tap Rail-Trail connects with the Brays Bayou Hike and Bike Trail, a 16.4-mile trail providing access to Hermann Park, the Houston Zoo and the museum district.
Check out EaDo Fitness (2955 Gulf Fwy.) which bills itself as the “the largest and friendliest fitness community in Texas.” With more than 25,000 square feet of space, it’s certainly big enough to host a multitude of classes.
On another planet altogether is Super Happy Fun Land (3801 Polk St.). In this case, the fun is experimental electronic music, underground jazz and outsider art.
Bigger name acts like Public Enemy, and Tegan & Sara take the stage at Warehouse Live (813 St Emanuel St.), which in a former life was—you guessed it—a warehouse. The intimate vibe and excellent acoustics of both Warehouse stages are pluses. They feature a lot of indie bands and up-and-comers, too.
The Asian influence in EaDo is alive and well at Café Th (2108 Pease St.). Whether it’s the Café Sudat (chicory coffee with condensed milk) or the Bánh mì thịt (baguette with grilled meat), you can’t go wrong. Another Vietnamese standout is Huynh Restaurant (912 St Emanuel St.), which does big business for lunch, but also offers dinner and is BYOB. Try the Phoenix chicken or duck salad. The beef or chicken pho should also be on your radar.
Former Houston Dynamo player Brian Ching opened his second EaDo establishment, following Pitch 25 Beer Park, called East End Backyard (1105 Sampson St.). It offers a 20,000 square foot outdoor patio, plus a 3,500 square foot dog park. There are 25 beers and ciders on tap with food served up by a number of changing food trucks.
Chef Vanarin Kuch also recently opened a new bakery, Koffeteria (1110 Hutchins Street), where you can get both your sweet and savory on.
Little Woodrows (2019 Walker St.) and Lucky’s Lodge (2024 Rusk St.) are especially lively on Dynamo game days when everybody looks good in orange after a few beers.
For a delicious change of pace, hit the Cajun Stop (2130 Jefferson St.), where the po-boys make a claim for supremacy in Houston (it’s the bread, but don’t ask owner and former Louisiana resident Lisa Carnley for her secret because she’s not telling).