Inside Juliet: The Black-Owned Speakeasy In Houston Serving 24K Gold Steak – Travel Noire

Juliet is a Black-owned Speakeasy in Houston that’s doing more than serving cocktails behind what appears to be a movie theater. While most speakeasies are known for their signature cocktails behind hidden doors, Houston’s Juliet is known for its 24K gold Tomahawk steak.

“Not many people know this, but Juliet is a steakhouse,” owner Jamie Allen tells Travel Noire.

The golden steak is not the exception, but the standard of an unforgettable culinary experience Allen says people can expect during their visit.

“We have the best macaroni and cheese of any steakhouse,” Allen says. “I feel very confident saying that. If it’s not the best, it’s definitely the top three. Besides the phenomenal food, we have good service and, all around, a great atmosphere.”

Beyond the steaks, other signature items are the honey truffle chicken and the blackened salmon, usually paired with Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and its well-known macaroni and cheese. The macaroni and cheese can be served in several different ways. Guests can add bacon, truffle, or lobster or have it served as a trio with all three.

Photo Credit: Jamie Allen

A Speakeasy Inspired By World Travel

Juliet is not Allen’s first rodeo in the restaurant business, as he owns Candy Shack Daiquiris. He opened the speakeasy in 2021 to bring a different experience to Houston inspired by his travel adventures. 

“As I traveled worldwide, I came across a speakeasy concept in cities such as London, Dubai, and Los Angeles, but I only saw it in bars. I thought it would be really cool if we did it for a restaurant,” he says. “When you come inside, you’ll get a feel of L.A., New York City, London, Toronto, and Dubai. I put all my favorite restaurants into one and brought it into Juliet.”

Juliet is a collection of some of Allen’s favorite places regarding the design, atmosphere, and favorite food items from other steakhouses he visited worldwide. One key element he’s bringing to Juliet is the entertainment with music. 

“Here in Houston, the vibe at steakhouses is boring. The restaurants are playing elevator music, and the design is full of millwork and wood. Many are old school, and there’s nothing really hip and new about it. “

He adds, “Us millennials, we still love to go out and eat, and we love nice restaurants. I created a fine dining space for the millennial.”

Juliet is located at 5857 Westheimer Rd Suite P in Houston. Be sure to book reservations early, as seats inside fill up quickly on weekdays and weekends, especially for Brunch.

Photo Credit: Jamie Allen

10 Must Reads For Real Estate Investors To End The Week (Sept. 29, 2023)

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Preferred equity providers are increasingly looking to close financing gaps in the multifamily sector, according to Multi-Housing News. CoStar News looks into how the proliferation of AI is driving data center growth beyond their usual markets. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. ‘Record Collapse:’ New Report Shows Extent of Regional Bank Pullback in CRE Lending “In the months after three shocking bank failures, regional banks began a lending pullback of historic proportions — one that promises to continue. In the second quarter, regional banks accounted for 25% of all new commercial real estate loans worth at least $2.5 million, a 900-basis-point drop from the first quarter, according to data published Wednesday by capital markets research firm MSCI.” (Bisnow)
  2. Preferred Equity Is Pouring into Multifamily “As traditional lenders hold back on funds and leverage due to rising interest rates, regulatory pressures, and a higher perception of risk, multifamily sponsors are facing significant ‘gaps’ in financing, noted Jacob Feingold, a managing director at Canyon Partners Real Estate. That creates vast opportunities for investors to assist with construction loans, bridge loans, permanent financings and refinancings.” (Multi-Housing News)
  3. Las Vegas and its Big, Big Ambitions “Round-the-clock construction makes every excursion a dice roll with traffic, and these days everyone seems a loser. I turn right on Sands Avenue, just before the golden tower of the Wynn Las Vegas, and am so stunned by what I see that I join three dozen other cars illegally parked next to the crowded sidewalk. Some people are sitting on the concrete divider to gawk, camera phones pointed toward an otherworldly spectacle: a colossal eye seemingly the size of the Death Star staring down the street at us. The eye is so large and glaring that the neon-lit hotels and casinos are mere shadows.” (The New York Times)
  4. Six Questions on the $33B Signature Loan Portfolio “Tom Galli, a partner at Duane Morris, represented more bidders on loan portfolios sold by the FDIC than perhaps any other lawyer in this country.  He talked with about loan portfolio sales, including the $33 billion Signature real estate loan portfolio being marketed by the FDIC. Why should real estate industry participants pay attention to the Signature Bank loan portfolio transactions and other FDIC structured transactions if they otherwise have no interest in investing in them?” (
  5. ‘Wanting to See the Change:’ New Organization AEC Unites to Launch in Support of Black Talent in CRE “AEC Unites seeks to build more opportunities for Black talent and Black-owned businesses within these fields. Set to officially launch on Oct. 3 at an event in Washington, D.C., the organization will include 12 founding firms, including Gensler, Turner Construction Co. and McKissack & McKissack. ‘I think the good news is that we do have, especially in our industry, CEOs who do want to see this change,’ said AEC Unites Board Chair and President Deryl McKissack, president and CEO of DC-based AEC firm McKissack & McKissack.” (Bisnow)
  6. AI Drives Growth in Data Centers Beyond Usual Markets “Record demand for data center space is expected through the second half of this year and into 2024, according to a recent report from real estate firm JLL. But the trend, driven by the rapid adoption of artificial intelligence, is affecting local markets differently. Phoenix and Salt Lake City outpaced the largest data center market, Northern Virginia, as the leaders in demand for the first six months of 2023, JLL said. Data center property trends are assessed not by square footage but by megawatts, the standard unit for measuring their power handling capabilities. One megawatt is equivalent to 1 million watts, or the power output of about 10 car engines.” (CoStar News)
  7. Trump Real Estate Ruling Puts Scrutiny on the Subjectivity of Commercial Property Valuations “First off, there is no such thing as objective value; it would make a great book title. The Trump organization stands by its assessment of value because, well, who knows how much the Trump brand is worth (or at least was worth back then). They then defend what they are using to come to these valuations, the fixed assets approach. This is a valuation technique typically used for businesses, not real estate, and therefore explains how they got their numbers that were at times 700 percent more than the real estate appraisers estimated. All of these defenses might be valid, but I can certainly see it being hard to convince a judge or a jury.” (Propmodo)
  8. This California City Has More Warehouses Than People. Here’s How It’s Trying to Change. “In one of California’s smallest cities, heavy trucks rumble past the low-slung industrial buildings along Santa Fe Avenue, a major thoroughfare in the heart of Vernon. Instead of homes, shops and parks, gray warehouse structures with loading docks and parking lots dominate nearly every block in this city, four miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. Industrial buildings outnumber full-time residents nearly four to one, according to CoStar data. But city officials hope to modify that industrial dominance, looking to quintuple the population and bring in millions of new investment dollars.” (CoStar News)
  9. Great Recession Was Turning Point for Region’s Housing Shortage, Report Says “The 2007-2008 mortgage crisis and subsequent recession marked a “clear demarcation” point for the tristate area’s severe housing shortage, according to a new report from the Regional Plan Association.” (Crain’s New York Business)
  10. Decades Later, Closed Military Bases Remain a Toxic Menace “At more than 1,000 sites within the closed bases, the land is so badly contaminated that no one will ever be allowed to live on it. Sites that were supposed to be clean were later found full of asbestos, radioactivity and other health threats. In most cases, fixing up the bases is costing far more than expected and taking longer, federal reports show. The Government Accountability Office found last year that the projected costs for closing the bases had escalated to $65 billion from $43 billion.” (The New York Times)


Black-Owned Restaurant Struggles To Pay More Than $100K In Damages Following Vandalism

Black woman-owned restaurant Winnie’s International Takeout is receiving no restitution for damages after a group of suspects described as “thugs” vandalized the location.

Twimonisha Mason, owner of the soul food restaurant in Massapequa, New York, has been hard at work trying to open the location since 2019, according to the GoFundMe page set up by Taisha Mason.

“For everyone wondering why we haven’t opened yet, we have been dealing with a few setbacks,” a statement read on Winnie’s Instagram page.

She has been unable to open because the restaurant was vandalized several times.

According to a GoFundMe page, the perpetrators left Twimonisha with over $100,000 in damages since she moved her business from its previous location in Long Island’s Amityville Village. To add to the issue, the store’s $2 million insurance policy only covered $5,000 worth of damages “due to a clause on page 87,” the fundraising page states. All other costs are coming out of the owner’s pocket.

Multiple videos have been posted to the restaurant’s social media page, including one that shows the young vandals’ parents, whose information was not released to Twimonisha by police.

“They refused to give us the parents’ information, so we couldn’t sue them either,” the fundraiser page included from the video’s Instagram caption.

The restaurant posted a video showing the dumpster crowded with debris from the vandalism at its Sunrise Highway location, including a tree stump allegedly dumped onto their property, another cost that had to be paid out of pocket. In the video, two young vandals are seen climbing from the restaurant’s roof.

The takeout restaurant has been hit before by intruders, which caused the owner to spend thousands of dollars on previous repairs.

“The fact that the first kids got off with just trespassing when they should have been charged with vandalism is the reason these thugs keep coming back time and time again,” the caption read.

Taisha launched the GoFundMe for Winnie’s International Takeout to collect funds for repairs and to keep the restaurant running as they work to “hire an attorney to fight Nassau County police department on the mishandling of the crimes against the store.”

The Mason family also claims members have been “stopped and harassed” by police over 15 times at the location. According to the Masons, they are beginning to feel like their lives are in danger but remain resilient in seeking justice.

RELATED CONTENT: Workers at A Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurant in Texas Discover Sign Vandalized With the N-Word


Retired Nurse Reaches Tampa Bay’s Black Community Through ‘The Color Of Wellness’

After not seeing Black people represented in medical magazines, Michelle Greene Rhodes decided to change that.

TAMPA, Fla. — A local entrepreneur is using her retired career as a nurse to ensure health and wellness. Michelle Greene Rhodes serves a marginalized audience through her magazine, The Color of Wellness. 

She said her mother inspired her to pursue a career as a nurse.

“She would say, ‘keep going. Go as far as you can go,’” Greene Rhodes said.

Greene Rhodes recently retired, but says through her years of survival, little has changed regarding a widespread concern for the health of Black people.

“I didn’t see anything for communities of color. And I said, ‘What are we doing? We’re Black nurses. Where are we in all of this,’” she said. “Being in that position for over 20 years, I saw data.”

She said she also wondered why she rarely saw images of Black people in medical magazines.

“Studies show people who look like you who you can relate to, there’s an elevated level of trust. Which leads to elevated outcomes,” Greene Rhodes said.

That is why she created The Color of Wellness. Greene Rhodes released the publication at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Black nurses are the answer. I believe that with all my heart. We’re on the forefront. Caring. A lot of them don’t get moved into leadership positions. That’s a whole other situation. So, we’re on the frontlines, we’re in the community,” Greene Rhodes said.

Greene Rhodes was able to get The Color of Wellness up and running due in part to the Minority Empowerment Program (MEP), run by the Tampa Bay Chamber. 

The Chamber says MEP “is an initiative of the Chamber designed to bring Black and Hispanic owned and led businesses and nonprofits into the community conversation through Chamber membership, resulting in a more inclusive environment and approach toward business growth throughout the region.”

The program is accepting applications through Nov. 5. A link to the application can be found here. 


You’ve Heard About Deep Ellum’s Fabled Past. Now You Can Experience Some Of It.

Published September 28, 2023 at 5:00 AM CDT




Deep Ellum hosts restaurants and bars as well as avant-garde theater companies like the Undermain. But it’s still perhaps best known as a home for Texas blues, jazz, punk and western swing.

The new Deep Ellum Community Center on Elm Street near Good-Latimer opens Friday with three exhibitions curated by Dallas historian-filmmakerAlan Govenar. And for the opening, there’ll be singing performances by the Light Crust Doughboys and Akin Babatunde(who played the title character in Govenar’s plays, Blind Lemon Blues and Lonesome Blues).

In fact, this is a big month for both Deep Ellum and Govenar. In addition to these three shows, the third edition of his history of the area, Deep Ellum and Central Track, co-written with Jay Brakefield, has just been released, and so has his new biography of Blind Lemon Jefferson, See That My Grave is Kept Clean.

On top of all that, Govenar will have two exhibitions opening at theAfrican-American Museumin November — both of them also about Deep Ellum and Blind Lemon Jefferson. All of these are the culmination of decades of research and writing about the area, its artists and culture.

Documentary Arts

Newspaper ad for the Paramount recording of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s “‘Lectric Chair Blues” from the Chicago Defender in the late ’20s
    Louis Paeth was so prolific as a commercial artist, a Print magazine feature on his life and work declared him simply “ubiquitous.” If you’ve seen newsprint ads and illustrations, even corporate trademarks from the ’20s through the ’60s, you’ve likely seen his work.

With Deep Ellum, Paeth’s influence came in the form of print ads for “race records,” the recording industry’s term for songs sold to a Black audience. The exhibition, “Unlikely Blues,” displays selections from his many ads for Blind Lemon Jefferson’s Paramount music releases.

Texas African American Photography Archive

Drummer Herbert Cowens in Deep Ellum in 1926. Filmmaker-historian Alan Govenar chose this image for the cover of the first edition of the history of Deep Ellum he co-wrote with Jay Brakefield

Even at the time, these ads’ images of Black life and Black musicians incited pushback: The portrayal of Jefferson in his songs’ situations (“Worried Blues,” “Lectric Chair Blues”) can be condescending. But from 1926 to1930, The Chicago Defender — the nationally prominent Black newspaper — ran 44 advertisements for Jefferson’s recordings. They were practically industry standards.

    The permanent exhibition, “When You Go Down in Deep Ellum,” features a listening room and a functioning, 78 rpm recording studio. As something of a historic replica and an arts installation, it evokes the makeshift audio set-ups many early blues and country-western artists recorded in.

But the studio is only one part of the extensive, 150-year history covered in “When You Go.” It’s an exhibition built around music, migration, business and culture — with contributions from former Dallas Morning News columnist Norma Adams-Wade, folk music historian Kip Lornell (Exploring American Folk Music) and Govenar’s co-author Jay Brakefield, who’s leading walking tours of Deep Ellum every Saturday beginning Sept. 30.

    An outdoor art installation, “Invisible Deep Ellum” uses the concrete columns beneath the I-345 overpass of Central Expressway to display advertisements and pages from early 20th-century Black business directories. They’ll be bringing back – in somewhat ghostly fashion — the chunk of Deep Ellum that was leveled in 1973 for the elevated freeway.

Deep Ellum Foundation

Breony Lee, president of the Deep Ellum Community Association, and historian-filmmaker-curator Alan Govenar in the Deep Ellum Community Center with the exhibition, “When You Go Down in Deep Ellum.”


Many North Texans have heard of Deep Ellum, but few know of Central Track, which was also called Stringtown. Central Track basically linked Deep Ellum with Freedman Town, the area that — with the development of the Crescent and surrounding properties — was re-christened Uptown.

A primary reason Central Track is not well known or documented is that much of it was destroyed over the years with the construction of Central Expressway. As a replacement of the old Houston and Texas Central Railway , this started in the ’20s but really took off only in the early ’50s.

Curated by Govenar and Phillip Collins, “Central Track” features items never seen before — about the array of Black-owned businesses including street venders, movie theaters and drugstores. The curators’ hope is that the exhibition will inspire people to come forward with more items and documentation.

Photographs by Alan Govenar

Blind Lemon Jefferson was from Wortham, Texas, about an hour south of Dallas. It’s where he’s buried. In 1987, Alan Govenar had to work just to find the musician’s grave.

The subject of one of Jefferson’s most famous songs (“See That My Grave is Kept Clean”) was just a slab with a small 1967 plaque from the Texas Historical Association. Today, the graveyard is the Blind Lemon Memorial Cemetery.

“Seeing a World Blind Lemon Saw” is a compilation of photos Govenar took over three years throughout that area of East Texas — whether the scenery remained rural or had been developed and modernized: “The sense of place that emerges through these images offers a lens on the past by visualizing the present in a manner that is at once confounding and ironic.”

  • Information on the Deep Ellum Community Center’s grand opening

Jerome Weeks is the Art&Seek producer-reporter for KERA. A professional critic for more than two decades, he was the book columnist for The Dallas Morning News for ten years and the paper’s theater critic for ten years before that. His writing has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, American Theatre and Men’s Vogue magazines.


Power Up Spartanburg Awarded $500,000 In Loans And Grants, With More To Give

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (FOX Carolina) – Last March, OneSpartanburg made a commitment to invest millions of dollars into small businesses across the county over the next 5 years. Already, Power Up Spartanburg has awarded half a million dollars in small business loans and also a few grants.

They say they have much more to give and they’ve hoping the funds will be a big boost for entrepreneurs who need it the most. The goal is simple—

“We want to make Spartanburg County, the number one place for small business in America,” said Jay Jenkins, the Director of Small and Minority Business for OneSpartanburg.

The goal is easier said than done.

“Whether that means access to capital, education, access to subject matter experts, whatever they want, we want to be able to provide that,” he said.

1,100 entrepreneurs in the county have already applied for either low-interest loans or grants. It’s open to anyone, but 30 percent of all funding is dedicated to women and minority-owned businesses.

“There’s data that shows that minority owned businesses, especially Black-owned businesses, have not been given equal share when it comes to access to capital and other things that help businesses. So we want to change that,” said Jenkins.

“I thought it was too good to be true,” said Shaunna Thomas, the owner of BASIC Training & Event Space.

She started as a non-profit working with the youth during the pandemic. Eventually she opened it as an event space too.

“I feel like I faced a few challenges with just trying to find resources or information to help me,” she said.

Thomas is one of the first of 8 awarded a Power Up grant.

“I was so excited I flew to the bank,” she laughed. “[The space] was starting to look worn and as clients came in you could tell that, you know maybe they didn’t want to have it here or it wasn’t good enough to have certain events. So upon receiving the funding, the first thing we did was the floors and upgrades and the events picked right back up,” Jenkins said.

Helping her business thrive, exactly what Jenkins says the funds are made to do.

“There are grants to help businesses that have been in business for at least two years to grow, expand,” he said.

Even if you aren’t awarded a grant or loan, Power Up Spartanburg is a 9-step initiative. Soon they’ll announce other resources entrepreneurs can use. Eligibility for Power Up Funding requires participating businesses to fill out a Power Up Spartanburg intake form. Detailed information about each funding option and more can be found at

Funding opportunities are as follows:

  • Existing Business Loans of up to $50,000 for small and minority businesses in business for more than two years. Administered by Carolina Foothills Federal Credit Union
  • Start-Up Loans of up to $50,000 for small and minority businesses in business for less than two years, including start-ups and entrepreneurs. Administered by The CLIMB Fund
  • Existing Business Grants for small and minority businesses operating for two or more years. Administered by The National Development Council
  • Businesses with between $25,000 and $150,000 in revenue can apply for up to $5,000.
  • Businesses with between $150,000 and $3 million in revenue can apply for up to $10,000.

Copyright 2023 WHNS. All rights reserved.


Duke Energy Convention Center Renovation Plan To Include 30-40% Of Bids For Minority-, Women-Owned Groups

. An event Wednesday night gave minority and women-owned companies a chance to interact with people from the teams leading the Duke Energy Convention Center renovations.

CINCINNATI — 3CDC partnered with the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce for a kickoff event with the goal of connecting minority-owned and women-owned businesses to the construction management for Duke Energy Convention Center renovations.

“So we’re trying to get for the project 30-40% for African American or minority-owned businesses as well as women-owned businesses,” said Eric Kearney, president/CEO of the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce.

3CDC is leading the project. Messer Construction, TriVersity Construction, and Jostin Construction are a part of the construction management team. The event Wednesday night gave minority and women-owned companies a chance to interact with people from these teams.

RELATED | Plans bring downtown convention district dreams closer to reality

“This is a huge career boost to anyone who is looking to get into the construction trade,” said Darrick Dansby, a full-time real estate agent who just started a new company called Dansby Development.

Dansby said he plans on bidding to be a part of this project.

“I would like to get involved in doing some painting work,” Dansby said. “I think that painting as well as other smaller jobs that are available are a perfect fit for minority contractors like myself who are just getting started and looking to expand their role in the area of development as well as in the construction trade.”

County and city leaders say inclusion is key for this project to succeed.

“These are folks who want an opportunity and haven’t felt the outreach so that’s what tonight is all about,” said Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus.

Driehaus said several minority and women business owners told her this meeting made them feel seen for the first time.

“They’re saying it’s unique too now. They haven’t felt like they’ve been able to come to the table until this,” Driehaus said.

RELATED | Black Developers Conference aims to increase minority involvement in city’s economic development

Cincinnati City Council member Reggie Harris said he’s confident they’ll reach their goal of 30-40% of the bids going to minority and women-owned businesses.

“Well, we’re not going to fall short of that goal. We have all of the resources at our disposal between the city and the county. We have the political will. We have the talent. We have a project manager that understands the importance of this,” Harris said.

Kearney added there will be more meetings in the future for minority and women-owned businesses to meet with the construction team and learn more about the project. He noted these meetings will allow companies to prepare if they get the bid.

Copyright 2023 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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