Openings & Closings: Surfing Cowboys and Plenty of Pizza

Categories: Restaurant News

EllaPizza_171.jpg
Photo by Troy Fields
Wipe out: That Pizza Place on Ella closes to make room for Surfing Cowboys.
Last week's roundup was heavy on the closings, but not this week. Although there were some high-profile places that shuttered, this week features mostly good news. But in the grand tradition of breaking news to people, let's go ahead and start with the bad.

First is that Tintos, the tapas joint in River Oaks which featured one of my 100 Favorite Dishes of 2012, is closing. Owner Alberto Alfonzo told Eater Houston that Tintos would close on December 31, but plans to reopen as PESCA: World Seafood one week later.

"PESCA will feature seafood preparations from Mexico, Asia, Spain, Italy and the Caribbean that Alfonzo has learned in his 16 year career," wrote Eater Houston editor Eric Sandler. Interestingly, Alfonzo also told Sandler that he felt Houstonians had a difficult time embracing the concept of tapas -- yet wants to reopen Tintos at a later date and in a different spot in 2013. If it does reopen, those esparragos gratinados had better be on the menu.

That Pizza Place on Ella has closed, and -- like Tintos -- will be reopening as a new concept, albeit under new ownership. "Eater has learned that BRC/Liberty Kitchen chef and co-owner Lance Fegen will be opening a new restaurant called Surfing Cowboys," wrote Eric Sandler, who had all the good scoop this week at Eater Houston. It will be the second surfing-inspired restaurant Fegen has operated, after Glass Wall (which he left in October 2010 to open BRC Gastropub).

That Pizza Place was a promising new addition to the Oak Forest/Garden Oaks area when it opened this past year, offering a huge tap lineup of craft beers, fun specialty pizzas, old-school arcade games and a patio with live music. But the reviews that started rolling in after our own showed a restaurant which quickly slumped under the pressure of so many people crowding in for its evening buffets and beer selection.

In openings, two Houston restaurants have new locations. Luigi's Pizzeria just opened its second location at 4505 Bissonnet in Bellaire. Writes our excited tipster: "Already packing them in. Best pizza in town!!" (We're big fans of Luigi's too -- especially the chicken wings.) Meanwhile, Tradicao Brazilian Steakhouse has a new location near Sugar Land on the Southwest Freeway between Wilcrest and West Airport.

Also open this week: Brooklyn Athletic Club from Lance Fegen's former partner at Glass Wall, Shepard Ross, and the former chef at BRC Gastropub, Jeff Axline.

And in upcoming openings, look for Volare Original Pizzeria to open soon at 2017 S. Shepherd near Welch. The much-anticipated spot promises to contribute to the rise of great pizzas across Houston. Owner Cara Cox teamed up with chef Ara Malekian -- who helped Wolfgang Puck create his own line of pizzas -- to create pizzas that aren't quite Neopolitan and aren't quite NYC-style, but something in between.

"The Volare concept is based on Cara's favorite pizzerias in New York City, but designed with Houstonians' palates in mind," said Malekian in a press release. Expect toppings such as brussels sprouts with house-smoked pork belly, or local venison sausage with wild mushrooms.

In a welcome move, Volare is interested in supporting both local food purveyors as well as bringing in the best ingredients for its pizzas -- local cheeses from the Houston Dairymaids will mingle with San Marzano tomatoes and prosciutto di parma from Italy. Volare also plans to make its own burrata, mozzarella and bread. "Cooking is about respecting ingredients, and Volare's menu items will reflect that," said Malekian.

The 1600-square-foot restaurant will seat 36 indoors and 24 in the outdoor beer garden, situated behind the restaurant. Volare will be open daily, with all day service from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The full-service restaurant, which will feature pizzas, paninis, crostinis, local craft beer and a list of boutique wines created by noted sommelier Antonio Gianola, is slated to open in January 2013.



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Location Info

That Pizza Place on Ella - CLOSED

3322 Ella Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Glass Wall, The Restaurant

933A Studewood, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

BRC Gastropub

519 Shepherd, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Luigi's Pizzeria

3700 Almeda, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Tradicao Brazilian Steakhouse

12000 SW Freeway, Stafford, TX

Category: Restaurant

Brooklyn Athletic Club

601 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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18 comments
montemaggiore
montemaggiore

Michiru Sushi just opened in Greenway Plaza and I've heard really good things....excited to try it this week!

Cheap Eats In Houston
Cheap Eats In Houston

*Pizza L'Vino (was tentatively named DoughVino a few months before it opened) -
pizza, craft beer, and wine restaurant in Montrose that opened last week I believe

* Hank's Crawfish opened another location in NW Houston on 1960 last week.

Opening in January is Warhol's a craft beer bar in Midtown.


jeffbalke
jeffbalke topcommenter

I'm glad a new place with the word Brooklyn in the name is opening. 

templeton
templeton

I hope Molina's doesn't close the rest of their locations

boogercrack
boogercrack

@EatingOurWords what about @nobipub?

LSTEEEEVIC
LSTEEEEVIC

@EatingOurWords Did West Gray Cafe close down?

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

We went to That Pizza Place just once. Good beer selection, but the pizza was just okay, and there was a screaming little league team climbing all over the furniture, running around, and throwing things. Management didn't care.

EatingOurWords
EatingOurWords

@boogercrack @nobipub Whoa. How am I just now hearing about this? AND WHY IS IT SO FAR AWAY FROM ME?

EatingOurWords
EatingOurWords

@LSTEEEEVIC Still not entirely sure. Trying to find out. (Didn't want a repeat of last week's Davenport incident, either.)

grace.fire
grace.fire

@Kylejack Perhaps that was during the pressure-filled days when so many bodies packed the restaurant after the HP review.

CrazyKazi
CrazyKazi

@EatingOurWords When you make the trek to @nobipub, @happyhumanoid & I will meet you there as it is down the street from our casa :)

nobipub
nobipub

@EatingOurWords @boogercrack The banh mi, tacos, wings, and shaking beef are worth the drive. :)

LSTEEEEVIC
LSTEEEEVIC

@EatingOurWords Ok, thanks for the reply! We can't figure it out either... will count on you to keep us posted.

cigar_john
cigar_john

@nobipub @EatingOurWords TOTALLY worth the drive. We came from the heights!!!!

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