Openings & Closings: Cuchara Slices Up a Soft Opening and the Gift Horse Lounge Opens Its Mouth

Categories: Restaurant News

August 20 026.jpg
Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
It's been a busy week, so straight to the dish: Cuchara, the Montrose restaurant at the corner of Taft and Fairview that's been under construction since February, is set to have its soft opening this coming Sunday. I peeked in one afternoon this week and saw an open, semi-industrial dining room with a fantastic street art-style mural on one wall, as well as a big sign out front letting passersby know that Cuchara will be serving "Mexico City food." You know what that means, guys: Don't get all pissy if the place doesn't automatically serve chips and salsa.

Nearby, the two-story building at 607 West Gray that recently housed both Bibas and Kitbar in short succession is undergoing a serious facelift. A renovation appears to be gutting the entire space, while a sign draped across the construction zone indicates that a new restaurant will be coming soon.

Also coming soon: Not one, but two new ventures from the Moon Tower Inn guys -- who are finally reopening Moon Tower itself next month.

Along with the reopening of the hot-dogs-and-beer joint -- which should happen in September, if all goes well -- owners Evan Shannon and Brandon Young are seriously investing in their East End neighborhood. The first of the new spots from the guys to open will be The Gift Horse Lounge, of which Young excitedly said on his Facebook page: "WE'VE GOT A PROPER BAR COMING TO EASTWOOD SOON MOFO'S!!!!"

"The lounge will be a small neighborhood bar with good drinks and great prices," says Young of The Gift Horse, "as well as the best jukebox in H-town." Young and Shannon will also be opening a pizza place nearby -- The Slice and Foam Co. -- where the pies will come in two sizes only.

"The Slice and Foam Co. will be big New York-style slices as well as extra large pies only," says Young. "Carry out or dine in (for now). We'll also have some taps and a shit pile of cans -- all, of course, good beer -- as well as a stage for some local shows and maybe even some surprise guests passing through."

With new restaurants and bars alongside adventurous live music venues such as Walter's, Super Happy Fun Land, The White Swan and, hell, even House of Creeps already in the area, the East End is shaping up to be Houston's new Montrose within a few years, now that Montrose is getting all fresh and fancy.

Location Info


Moon Tower Inn

3004 Canal, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Dolce Vita Pizzeria & Enoteca

500 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Pepper Jack's - CLOSED

419 Travis St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


214 Fairview St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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paval topcommenter

Cucharas soft opening was actually a little hard on the restaurant and they ran out of food by 9pm. Probably cannot complain though, its a good soft opening if people come in you did not expect at all.

Must try:

- Grilled nopales with panela cheese

- quesadillas de huitlacoche

- chilatole, a corn veloute with some nice spice

- grilled cecina

- huaraches and sopes

- never thought I would ever write something positive about a margarita, but this one is made without nasty and artificial sweet and sour. quite refreshing and tasty

- indio beer. one of the few places that has this fantastic mexican beer


People should note that Dolce Vita's website shows they have changed their hours since the fire and are now open for lunch only Th-Sun.  They are still closed all day Monday.

Timothy Black
Timothy Black

Meh. MTI will be back open in February kids. No wait. May. No wait. July. Early August guaranteed. Whatever.


So happy ~sob~ Dolce Vita is back!


For a second I thought the restaurant was named chicharra. Either way, I can't get the association out of my head. If you don't know what a chicharra  is, google image it. You have been warned. 

paval topcommenter

Besh to Houston. That would be awesome. He is US-wide one of my favorite chefs and his 20.12 USD three course lunch menu at August is unbeatable. I usually spend well over 100 USD when in NOLA at august. Hopefully they will transplant the lunch special to Houston too.

Danielle Stillman-Diederich
Danielle Stillman-Diederich

I think it's been pretty well established that the Moon Tower guys are better at coming up with ideas than executing them...

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