Openings & Closings: Blind Items and Other "Fun" Activities

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Troy Fields
Say "salud" to the beautiful Samba Grille.
A busier week than last gives us some bad news, some intriguing news, some good news and a couple of interesting blind items. Let's get that bad news out of the way first.

Samba Grille closed last Saturday evening after service. The downtown restaurant -- which won our 2011 Best of Houston® award for Best Steakhouse -- had always struggled to find the right amount of traffic with its Bayou Place location. The closure comes just as Bayou Place had been made "whole" again by Napoli filling the long-vacant Mingalone location next door.

Said chef David Guerrero on his Facebook wall last Friday evening: "I left my soul, heart and passion in this place. Thanks to everybody who showed me love and support and who believes in this cuisine." CultureMap indicates that Samba Grille may be reopening in a new space, however, citing rumors that the investors are looking for a spot which could offer better crowds to the deserving restaurant. Guerrero's own post on Facebook seemed to indicate a return, too: ""We'll be back soon," the chef wrote on Friday. "Salud."

In better news, Alison Cook takes time away from reviewing at the Chronicle to report a bit of breaking news: Fantastic French restaurant Aura is moving from Missouri City into Sugar Land's Town Square. But what will happen to the old Aura location?

"When Aura Sugar Land opens this fall, [owner Frederic Perrier's] Missouri City restaurant will become an Italian restaurant with French Riviera overtones," reports Cook, "superintended by Perrier's onetime colleague Jose Alem, whom he is bringing in from Austin." The new Sugar Land location will be styled Aura Brasserie Moderne and hopes to open this fall.

Also opening soon is the first Houston location of Elevation Burger on Kirby near Highway 59. According to a tip left on Swamplot, the opening has been delayed while the structure housing the burger joint has been thoroughly remodeled. Which is great and all, but...where is the parking, again?

Swamplot also reports that the construction of the giant new Alamo Tamale Company facility is underway in Northside off the Hardy Tollroad. Writes the real estate blog: "The 23,000-sq.-ft. Alamo Tamale Company development at 809 Berry Rd. just west of Irvington will include a bakery, a reception hall, a restaurant and cantina, a dessert bar, and -- yes -- an on-site tamale-construction facility. Plus: a drive-thru meant to accommodate about 20 tamale-pickup vehicles."

Location Info

Samba Grille - CLOSED

530 Texas Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Aura Restaurant

15997 City Walk, Sugar Land, TX

Category: Restaurant

Bambolino's - CLOSED

1525 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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Another opening this week, Bonefish Grill in Webster. It's the first of three locations to open in Houston over the next year. Sad news about Nabi. I really enjoyed everything about the restaurant, especially the food.


Surprisingly enough, the restaurant for sale is Nabi.  Wow.  That didn't take long.  A quick internet search provided the listing. 

kshilcutt moderator editor

 @iMidget If I stick my fingers in my ears and yell "LA LA LA LA LA," will that make this untrue?

gossamersixteen topcommenter

 @iMidget Not surprised at all, it's not the food (which is pretty good) it's the lousy service people get there, and it only takes once and you don't get return customers (myself included)..

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