7 Formerly Jinxed Houston Restaurant Locations That Have Reversed the Curse

Categories: Restaurant News

Thumbnail image for sylviastirring.jpg
Sylvia Casares seems to have broken the curse at 6401 Woodway.
Late in 2009, Eating...Our Words took a look at the then-top "jinxed locations" in Houston. The compiled addresses had such a long and storied history of failure they made the Astros look like the Yankees.

Looking back at the list today, there may be hope for hometown baseball. Of the eight restaurants listed -- two of which happened to be carry-overs from another list of cursed locations from 2008 -- six are still in business. That's a damn fine batting average. Here is a look back at some of the survivors from that list and a few more who have "broken the curse."

6401 Woodway Drive
Today: Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen
Previously: Grotto, Mi Cocina, PK's Blue Water Grill

No one would make the mistake of saying Sylvia's has had an easy run of things lately. Owner Sylvia Casares was critically injured when she was allegedly shot by her then-boyfriend Michael Warren back in March. Despite this incredible setback, Sylvia's family and employees pulled together and managed the two Sylvia's locations in her stead. Today, Sylvia has recovered and returned to the kitchen, and Sylvia's Mexican Kitchen soldiers on.

4315 Montrose
Today: Brasserie Max and Julie
Previously: Aries, Pic, Russo's, Café Anthony, 43 Brasserie

Formerly inhabited by not one but two different concepts from the arguable king of curse, Scott Tycer, 4315 Montrose has housed some exceptional talent in the past, including Monica Pope. The second restaurant from owners of Cafe Rabelais in Rice Village, Brasserie Max and Julie is going on its sixth year in business.

1915 Westheimer
Today: Firkin and Phoenix
Previously: Ciro's Italian Grill and Bar, Ohio Grange Cafe, Sabine, Chef G.'s, Epoch Fusion Café

Setting aside my beer nerd qualms about a place with "firkin" in the name that serves very little in the way of craft beer (much less cask beer), there is something to be said for a place that is basically an also-ran Bennigan's surviving at the outer edges of Montrose for going on six years. Clearly it's found a customer base in a spot that -- by last count -- held at least five restaurants prior. That's certainly a respectable achievement.

Photo by Troy Fields
Torchy's has taken over at 2411 S. Shepherd.
2411 S. Shepherd
Today: Torchy's Tacos
Previously: Greatfull Taco, Sabetta, Café Zol, Crostini

Previously home to Greatfull Taco (which, oddly enough, was opened as a sort of homage when a planned Torchy's franchise fell through), this space -- now a Torchy's proper -- finally has a tenant that people will brave the poor parking and ingress to visit. Though I'm pretty middle of the road on Torchy's and their unforgivably bad tortillas, it's good to have what seems like a solid, stable resident as opposed to the revolving door of previous restaurants. Given some of the beautiful dining rooms that came before, who knew Torchy's stark "institution chic" would be the winner? And while 12 months is probably too early to declare the curse broken, the long lines at Torchy's are a safe bet it's here to stay.

2710 Montrose
Today: BB's Cajun Café
Previously: Alfredo's European Grill, others

I spent a long time looking for what used to be housed in the small space behind the Valero at the corner of Westheimer and Montrose. I know this parking lot well; when I was a teenager, our moms would drop us here to hang out at places like Numbers as a compromise and promise that we wouldn't go up to that "horrible area" off Washington Ave that housed places like The Vatican And Mary Jane's. I can't for the life of me remember anything that preceded Alfredo's in that spot, though people assure me it's been many different things. I guess that shows you the problem. BB's has bucked the trend, however, with soulful Cajun food and late-night hours.

3600 Kirby
Today: Kata Robata
Previously: Hue Restaurant, others

Anyone who follows food in Houston probably scoffs at the idea of Kata Robata ever being included on a cursed locations list. Three short years ago, however, someone probably still remembered the names of its predecessors at the corner of Kirby and Richmond. Needless to say, the curse has been lifted. (Too soon to see if it's been dumped on Maggie Rita's across the street, though.)

The Burger Guys Downtown 015.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Honorable Mention:

706 Main
Today: The Burger Guys
Previously: Korma Sutra, Laidback Manor, Yatra Brasserie

If anyone has a shot in the midst of downtown's ongoing construction woes, it's the nearly universally adored Burger Guys. Their far-flung Westchase location attracted steady crowds, so it stands to reason the downtown location will draw strong crowds during lunchtime. How they will fare in the evenings may be another story, but with a handful of resturants and bars planned downtown in the next 18 months, evenings downtown are bound to get a lot more vibrant.

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Location Info

Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen

6401 Woodway Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Phoenix on Westheimer

1915 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Brasserie Max and Julie

4315 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

BB's Cafe

2710 Montrose, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Torchy's Tacos

2411 S. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Kata Robata Sushi & Grill

3600 Kirby, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Burger Guys - CLOSED

706 Main St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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Maureen Demar Hall
Maureen Demar Hall

I loved Canton Seafood, now Kata Robata...I think Canton was forced out with the remodel of the strip!

timblack2 topcommenter

Love me some Burger Guys but waaaaaaaay too soon to call that one.

What about 9350 Westheimer Road? That place was all kinds of disastrous attempts before Chuy's went in there a couple years ago. Packed all day every day now.

FattyFatBastard topcommenter

You can't have this list without 4527 Lomitas St on there.  Hate the new Twin Peaks restaurant all you want (I don't get it, either) but they have turned that place into a profit maker, and for 20 years, other restaurants failed over and over and over again at the same locale.  Hell, it was even a fish store for a while.


I'd add 322 Westheimer. RIPs include:

La Strada--where Aldo Catania thought a great Sunday brunch would carry the remaining 6 days.

Caffe Bello---where Tony Vallone thought he could take on his one-time protege Marco Wiles a few doors down at Dolce Vita.

Don Julio's---where Sam Rivera got a deal too good to be true, and opened his first inner loop Tex Mex.

Joshua Justice
Joshua Justice

Mainly the giant lines out the door everyday and the 2nd and 3rd locations planned, marcos. Chilis sucks, its still busy.


Wasn't there a flower shop in the BB's space on Montrose?


@EatingOurWords reverse the curse!!! #badassburgers


Also Canopy. Space was previously Tony Ruppe's and Quilted Toque and many others previously.


Before Giacomo's, the space at 3215 Westheimer was a revolving door... Sausalito, Pan y Agua, Palazzo's, etc. I hope Giacomo's continues to reverse that curse.


I would add to this list 2712 Richmond.  First it was Prima Pasta, which closed due to a fire, then a bar called The Belmar that no one went to, but now the Queen Vic is there and seems to be doing great.


@TheBurgerGuys see y'all Friday #reversethecurse

Kylejack topcommenter

@ruthiejsf I think I remember it being a coffee shop as well.

texmex01 topcommenter

@txvet it was Mother's Po-Boys many moons ago and then  it was a swingers joint for awhile as I recall

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