Sportress of Blogitude

James Harden set to open restaurant in Houston in wake of trade to Nets

James Harden finally got his wish Wednesday when the Houston Rockets gave up any hope of keeping the disgruntled superstar by agreeing to a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets.

As Harden makes his way out of town, some unfinished business remains for him in Houston, and it has nothing to do with the one-time MVP failing to lead the Rockets to an NBA title.

Harden is believed to be going forward with plans to open a new restaurant in Houston next week, and it goes without saying that doing so is nothing short of a quintessentially awkward example of awful timing.

The restaurant, named Thirteen in honor of Harden’s jersey number, is regarded as “one of Houston’s most high-profile restaurant openings this year,” and is still set to open its doors on Jan. 22.

In the aftermath of Harden’s trade to the Nets that came together in stunningly quick fashion, Thirteen spokeswoman Sherrie Handrinos insisted Wednesday that there are no plans whatsoever to make any changes.

“Thirteen Restaurant will still be opening at the end of this month. Our entire staff and team is looking forward to providing top notch service and bringing a one of a kind dining experience to Houston,” Handrinos told the Houston Chronicle. “We are looking forward to sharing our extensive menu and beautiful restaurant with the city.”

While the new restaurant undoubtedly is saddled with a challenge given Harden is skipping town leaving little goodwill in his wake, the menu at Thirteen certainly lends to the notion that the food will not be why diners fail to sow up.

“As far as the menu at Thirteen is concerned, look forward to decadent, upscale riffs on comfort food dishes like fries spiced with Old Bay and drenched in Maryland crab cream sauce, deep-fried red snapper, and a Harden-inspired dish called the Sun Devil, which involves roasted oysters topped with creamed collard greens and candied bacon,” a writeup in Eater reads.

To no surprise, the backlash to Harden’s churlish, disruptive antics that followed his trade demands ahead of the season came fast and furious, as evidenced by what a Houston car wash is already up to in the aftermath of the deal.

As if it’s not difficult enough for an upstart restaurant to turn into a successful endeavor — especially during the pandemic — it goes without saying Harden’s restaurant faces an uphill climb as it becomes part of Houston’s dining scene.

Best of luck, Thirteen.