Openings & Closings: April 2012
So, while I was gone last week, chef Ryan Hildebrand and his investors announced plans to open yet another restaurant only four short months after Triniti opened on Shepherd. Brande, as the new restaurant will be called when it opens in late 2013, will occupy the old Ruggles space on Lower Westheimer (right across the street from Uchi).
In this photo, we imagine chef Ryan Hildebrand gazing thoughtfully into Lower Westheimer's future.
Said a press release:
The new structure, described as "a contemporary building with a rustic farmhouse feel," will be designed by Houston's MC2 Architects, the same group that helped create Triniti. It will be located at 903 Westheimer, the former home of Ruggles Grill, and will offer an extensive selection of charcuterie, crafted breads, pastries and dry aged meats. On the beverage side, Brande will feature craft cocktails and an eclectic wine and beer list focusing on American producers.
Brande will also apparently lean toward a "masculine" aesthetic, with "richer, darker woods in a more casual setting." (Side note: Although I was previously unaware that restaurant interiors are inherently gender-biased, I was apparently wrong. Ladies don't like rich, dark woods. Pfft.) The sex of the dining room aside, one thing is perfectly clear: Lower Westheimer's gradual evolution into the city's restaurant mecca is moving faster every day, and there's not much we can do about it now.
And speaking of Montrose, get ready for two fun blind items...
Two popular (yet drastically different) Montrose restaurants are looking to expand -- but into different concepts from their current incarnations. One has already inked a deal near the Galleria -- supposedly for a seafood restaurant -- and the other is searching for properties right now.
And just down the street, new restaurant Concepción from Ocean's owner Jorge Alvarez and chef Jonathan Jones is already up and running and hosting preview services tonight and tomorrow night. That means the restaurant will be open for good soon, and surely serving better food than the odd ceviches that Ocean's clumsily foisted on its guests in previous months.
Downtown tunnel dwellers, rejoice, for you have a new restaurant in which to feed your face while you refuse to emerge, mole-like, onto the city streets above for lunch. B4-U-Eat reports that "Brooklyn Meatball Company has changed from their planned Chenevert location to 930 Main St in the tunnels." The meatball manufacturer opened yesterday, May 3.
Last but not least, the once-promising Just-Eat Seafood, Steaks & BBQ has closed despite positive reviews on places like B4-U-Eat and Yelp. High prices in a far-flung Alief location probably didn't help, but here's hoping Chef Luu lands on his feet.
On the next page, review the entire month in restaurant openings and closings...
13602 Bellaire Blvd. @ Eldridge, Houston, TX