Openings & Closings: MF Sushi (Or Something Like It) Will Ride Again

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Troy Fields
Respected sushi chef Chris Kinjo is establishing a new (and hopefully stable) place in the Museum District.

He may be Houston's unluckiest chef when it comes to keeping a restaurant open, but it looks like sushi master Chris "Magic Fingers" Kinjo of MF Sushi, will ultimately find stable ground. Alison Cook at the Houston Chronicle reports that he has signed a lease on his own sleek, modern restaurant in the Museum District at 1401 Binz. It will be located in the mixed-use Museum Point Professional Building.

MF Sushi has been a weird, wild ride. It opened to acclaim in the Galleria area in December 2012. Just 10 months later, it was damaged after a fire and shut down. This past spring, MF Sushi finally reopened and critics and sushi fans alike rejoiced, only to be crushed again when it closed this past October for "reorganization." MF Sushi is open again, but this time it's without Kinjo in the kitchen.

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The Chicken Ranch Is Delivering For Lights In The Heights

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Out during Lights In The Heights tomorrow (or maybe stuck inside hiding from humanity)? All of this can be brought to your door.

If you find you're in The Heights tomorrow night and feeling a little peckish (or even a lot peckish), The Chicken Ranch, 6500 N. Main, wants to help. Tomorrow night during Lights In The Heights from 4 to 10 p.m., they'll be out delivering fried chicken and sides to the area on their Stella scooter.

You may have to suppress some giggles ordering, though. Here are the offerings:

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Openings & Closings: El Cantina Superior Gets New Owners and Menu

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
El Cantina Superior has new ownership and is getting a new menu, too.
This one is something of a closing and a re-opening: a press release from restaurant group F.E.E.D TX says they are partnering with Ken Bridge of Delicious Concepts restaurant group to make over El Cantina Superior, which was apparently struggling. (It was the site of the Houston Press Tequila & Tamales throwdown that was held a mere two weeks ago.). F.E.E.D TX's other projects include Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette as well as BRC, which Delicious Concepts is behind places such as Witchcraft Tavern and Pink's Pizza. The restaurant, located at 602 Studewood near Fitzgerald's, will relaunch with a new menu in place late next week. A representative from F.E.E.D TX says the menu, "will be Tex-Mex with our view of how food should be done. Don't be surprised to see a chicken fried steak on the menu or a juicy, delicious burger." 

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MF Sushi's Chris Kinjo Announces Plans for A New Restaurant in the Museum District

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Mai Pham
Sushi Chef Chris Kinjo will be opening a new restaurant in the Museum District in Spring 2015.

Fans of MF Sushi may have wondered why chef Chris Kinjo hasn't been at his MF Sushi location on Westheimer. "We parted ways in late October," says Kinjo of he and his former partner. "I'm no longer affiliated with that location."

The acclaimed sushi chef, who relocated to Houston from Atlanta, opened MF Sushi in December 2012, only to close it several months later when his restaurant burned down in a fire. He successfully re-opened again in May of this year, but in early October, the restaurant abruptly closed down. When it opened again, Kinjo was no longer part of the picture.

A call to the MF Sushi Westheimer location in late October revealed that they would be operating as usual, without Kinjo. "He's moved on to other projects," a young man who answered the phone said.

This week, Kinjo confirmed his plans to open a new restaurant in a contemporary building at 1401 Binz Street in the Museum District. The lease was signed late Tuesday afternoon, and architectural plans are being submitted within the week.

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Openings & Closings: Urban Eats Is Now
In Soft Opening

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by The Epicurean Publicist
Proud owner and culinary director Levi Rollins stands in front of the newly-opened Urban Eats.

Urban Eats, 3414 Washington will officially open on Monday, December 15, but you can visit now. Be kind, as they're still in their soft opening phase. The interesting concept has three parts to it: a full service bistro and bar, fast-casual eatery and a specialty market. The market section sells fresh-baked breads, cheese, cured meats and other specialty products. The fast-casual eatery part downstairs will focus on coffee, espresso, bakery items such as muffins and croissants. For lunchtime, there are sandwiches, salads and other pre-prepared dishes.

The upstairs is a bistro with a full-service bar. Urban Eats is promising 50 beers (with a heavy focus on Texas), a wine list and craft cocktails. There's a rooftop patio as well, with live jazz and blues on Fridays and Saturdays after 9 p.m. It sounds like a lot of fun and well worth a visit. Houstonia has a first look here.

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Openings & Closings: Pretty Is As Pretty Does

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo courtesy of La Madeline
Be one of the first 50 visitors to the new La Madeline in Tanglewood and score a year's worth of free bread.

As recounted on Monday, Eater Houston found information on Yelp that tipped them off that Fish & The Knife is closing after a mere nine months of being in business. Many people said the restaurant design was gorgeous, but looks aren't everything. Customers found the restaurant/nightclub combination be confusing and off-putting. So far, the owners are staying mum on what the new concept will be. Eater Houston expected to receive a statement on November 25, but it has so far not been posted.

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UPDATED: High Profile Houston Bartender Leaves Sanctuari Within a Month of Opening

Photo by Phaedra Cook
Competition-winning bartender Leslie Ross has made an abrupt departure from the brand-new Sanctuari bar at Triniti Restuarant

Updated 11/26/14, 6:16 p.m.: Two industry insiders have independently contacted me, saying that Ross has left Sanctuari/Triniti to join Treadsack, the group behind Down House, D&T Drive Inn and the forthcoming restaurants Hunky Dory, Foreign Correspondents and the just-announced Bernadine's.

Additionally, information has been relayed to the Houston Press that Treadsack is also the entity leasing the space that was formerly The Boom Boom Room, which closed last Saturday. It is unclear whether the space will be used for the forthcoming Foreign Correspondents restaurant or a new, unannounced project. Caroline May, director of public relations for Treadsack, responded this afternoon to an emailed inquiry saying she is "unable to confirm anything at this time."

A reader tipped off the Houston Press that Leslie Ross, a high-profile bartender who co-headed the new Sanctuari Bar at Triniti, has left the bar mere weeks after its grand opening. The information has since been confirmed by an industry insider.

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Fish & The Knife's Owners Close It To Rethink Its Life

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Mai Pham
This beautiful restaurant got off on the wrong foot and it's already closing after only nine months.

Life is full of odd coincidences. I was at brunch with friends on Saturday. We were talking about restaurants, as we often do. One mentioned the Fish & The Knife and asked if I'd ever been. I replied that I had not. "Oh, it's just awful," she lamented, "and they have this weird nightclub thing going, too. Don't even bother."

Apparently, my friend is not the only one who was not impressed. Eater Houston found a Yelp review from a woman who had a holiday party scheduled for December. She received a text message from a manager who said she'd have to find a different location for her event because the restaurant is closing.

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Openings & Closings: Is the Old Stella Sola Location Cursed?

Categories: Restaurant News

Thumbnail image for stella-sola-4.6530205.131.jpg
Photo by Troy Fields
At the rate things are going, Stella Sola may be the last restaurant name to grace the building at 1001 Studewood.

Will there ever be a restaurant at 1001 Studewood Street again? The building, which was originally constructed to house Robert Gadsby's Bedford in 2008, has sat vacant since subsequent tenant Stella Sola closed in May 2012. There were plans for a while for it to be a second Killen's Steakhouse location, but negotiations fell through. Now, Eater Houston is reporting that the folks behind Yucatan Taco Stand have changed their minds about using that space as well. Perhaps it's time to just rethink that building and start over?

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Doc's Motorworks Westheimer Offers Quality Bar Food and Drink in a Unique Venue

Photo by Kelli Durham
The outside of Doc's Motorworks Westheimer. This shot covers less than half of the spacious patio.
Doc's, a small chain started in Austin with three locations, has expanded to Houston. Last night, there was a soft opening at Doc's Motorworks Westheimer with food, drinks and a staff ready to answer questions about their new restaurant.

The decor was labeled as a "DYI" aesthetic: Much of the bar's inside is decorated in wood and tin; at least some of the wood, repurposed from an old barn. Some of the tables and seating in one section were handmade, the seats designed from old oil barrels, and the tables from spindles. It's a neat twist on the more wood-and-metal, industrial-throwback aesthetic seen in other relatively new bars and coffeehouses around town.

The seating available at the location that was formerly home to a Wendy's is surprisingly large. It's aided by a deceptively large patio that wraps around three (well, more like two and a half) sides of the bar. When the weather permits, the large glass doors can open to let fresh air in, similar to how the "indoor" space opens directly to the outside at, say, Cottonwood. Eventually, they'll be offering more bar games, such as shuffleboard and a life-size Connect Four.

For sports fans, televisions are plentiful and the sound system is set up in a way that different sections of the bar are supposed to be able to have sound from different games.

Of course, decor is nice, but it means little if the food and drink isn't of a piece. And Doc's is impressive in that regard, not only for the sheer variety of the options, but for their quality.

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