Three generations of the Hamilton family own and operate The Artist Within.org, a boutique studio that encourages artists of all ability levels to try their hands at painting in a communal environment. The studio provides all the necessary materials for recreating specific projects that include Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Monet’s Bridge and over a Pond of Water Lilies, and it only requires that students bring their own wine, goodies, and Bob Ross wigs. In addition to public painting classes, the Hamiltons also host private events such as bachelorette and birthday parties and can create custom paintings for groups to reimagine.
The Terrace Cafe's multitalented owner and chef, whose grandparents started Sonny's Place, whips up delectable, contemporary American fare in an atmosphere geared toward the entire family. Plunge cutlery into the café's signature Tex-Mex pasta, thick with noodles buried beneath a hearty heap of homemade chili, zesty jalapeños, gooey cheese, and crunchy nacho chips ($15.95 for a half order), or sample the eatery's signature, multigenerational recipe for spaghetti with meat sauce ($14.95 for a half order). The double-meat, bacon-swiss burger ($10.95) quells carnivorous cravings, and the bacon-swiss-chicken melt ($11.95) reminds taste buds how much owners need them. Feast on the Shrimp Artery Clogger ($13.95) to delight in Jacques Cousteau's greatest gift to humanity: deep-fried shrimp.
In 2011, King’s first year in business, owner Johann Sitter had to expand his space from a 40-seat dining room to a 200-seat restaurant and beer garden. The customer response aligned with the press response: That same year, Houston Press included King’s sausage sampler on their list of 100 Favorite Dishes and in 2012, GermanDeli.com voted King's the Best German Restaurant in America. They were excited to find the restaurant served “the kind of hearty yet fresh sausages and schnitzels that Houston has long lacked,” and singled out the weisswurst for having “the texture of sifted pate, light and airy.”
In addition to meals built from family recipes, patrons can revel in an extensive selection of German brews. Beer tour samplers allow guests to sip on four or all of the draft beers, but those ready to commit to a single draft can sign a marriage certificate for a 3-liter das boot. Thursday through Saturday, groups can listen to live music from German house bands on the beer garden.
At Snap Fitness, members can stomp the exercise bug at any time—24 hours a day, seven days a week. Inside the all-hours gym, cardio equipment, free weights, and Cybex plate-loaded machinery inspire more sweat than a lie-detector machine installed at the rim of an active volcano. During staffed hours, members can tap into the professional expertise of personal trainers or find inspiration in numbers during small-group boot-camp classes. Snap Fitness’s online contacts can help its members to uncover nutrition plans and training ideas as well.
Over his 25-year career in snapshottery, Jimmy Loyd has accumulated an impressive list of skills as freelance photojournalist for the Houston Chronicle, portraitist, and studio owner. An early adapter to the digital-camera revolution, he can capture digital or analog family portraits, professional headshots, and in-the-moment sports images with ease. Loyd also employs his expertise in intermittently scheduled classes and photo tours, which might occur on-location at the Houston Zoo or, for more candid shots, out in the wilderness where animals don't have access to stylists.