Openings & Closings: Neapolitan-Style Pizza Is on the Way

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo courtesy of Cane Rosso
Reportedly, the stunning pizza ovens used by Cane Rosso are so big, the Houston one will be installed in the middle of the restaurant.

Foodies familiar with the Dallas area were abuzz this week with the news that Cane Rosso is expanding to better cities with a new Houston location. The Houston Chronicle's Syd Kearney says that it's opening in the same center as the forthcoming Hunky Dory and Bernadine's at 1835 North Shepherd. Cane Rosso currently has four locations and is known for its Neapolitan-style thin-crust pizzas. The chain uses San Marzano tomatoes and local sausage, and also makes pasta and sandwiches.

It looks like a downtown location of Christian's Tailgate is on the way. It's set to open in as little as two months in the Pillot Building at 1012 Congress.

Kearney also reported that a Fellini Gelato & Caffé is opening in CityCentre. It's a partnership between Nash D'Amico and his daughter Brina D'Amico with Salvatore Albelice (a partner in the original Fellini Cafe) and Monica Gonzales. In addition to gelato, espresso drinks and coffee, it will offer salads, panini, Italian pastries, beer and wine.

Last week, reader "justthefacts" let us know that Tony's Barbecue & Steak House at 1225 Travis has closed. The tipster wrote, "Sign on the door stated closed due to lack of customers. It suffered from all the construction nearby." A call to the restaurant's phone number confirmed that it's been disconnected.

Jakesha Wilmore of Eater Houston says that there's another multi-concept place opening, this time in Upper Kirby, which has been bereft of clubs since ROAK, Hendrick's Pub and others shut down last year. VII Kitchen & Craft Cocktails will be downstairs at 2207 Richmond, while SE7EN Ultra Lounge will be upstairs. Both open on March 27.

Yelp indicates that The Republic Smokehouse & Saloon at 1910 Bagby is now open. The menu includes brisket, mac and cheese, Reubens and catfish po-boys. According to Culturemap Houston, the place is like babe-cafe-meets-smokehouse. It has an all-female, shorts-clad waitstaff, but that doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't have good barbecue. The pitmaster is Cedric Williams, who ran Williams Smokehouse until a fire destroyed that business in 2007.

That's it for this edition of Openings & Closings. What did we miss? Leave a comment or send an email to See you next week!

A Preview of Bernadine's Restaurant Coming to Houston

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Bernadine's promises fresh takes on Southern coastal cuisine.

Last week, attendees got a look at what chef Graham Laborde has planned for forthcoming restaurant Bernadine's at a Kipper Club pop-up dinner. It was the second preview dinner, since the one held back in January sold out. It proved to be a fresh take on Gulf Coast cuisine that embraces its lowbrow roots.

Treadsack group has been talking about Richard Knight's forthcoming Hunky Dory and P.J. Stoop's Foreign Correspondents for about two years now and they're finally getting close to realizing those dreams. Bernadine's, however, turned out to be the unexpected baby -- the result of the right person for the right concept being around at the right time.

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Southern Goods Dream Team Evolves With Latest Chef Addition

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Mai Pham
JD Woodward, formerly of Plonk! Bistro and Goro & Gun, has signed on for Southern Goods.

A few weeks ago, chef Lyle Bento and and Charles Bishop of Southern Goods made the surprising announcement that they had added well-regarded barbecue specialist Patrick Feges to their team. (Feges was previously at Killen's Barbecue.)

Today comes another piece of good news for the forthcoming restaurant. Chef JD Woodward, formerly the executive chef of Goro & Gun, has been named chef de cuisine. Ever since Goro & Gun closed last year, Woodward's food, like his roasted, fish-sauce-laden "Hustle Sprouts" and Peking-style roasted duck with moo shu (Mandarin-style pancakes), has been sorely missed. We'd expect to see Southern food from him this time around, of course, but Brussels sprouts can be Southern, right?

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Openings & Closings: Legit Ramen Makes It to Midtown

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Phaedra Cook
Rejoice, for spicy pork ramen has finally come to Midtown!

It takes a long time to make really good tonkotsu ramen broth, and even with the plethora of new ramen specialty shops that have opened in Houston, few have nailed it. JINYA Ramen's Webster location has been doing a phenomenal job for months, but it's been quite a drive for some of us. It's time to rejoice, for its long-awaited Midtown location is finally open at 3201 Louisiana. It's already getting rave reviews on consumer web sites.

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A Sneak Peek at Batanga's Revitalized Food and Bar Program

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Batanga's octopus with sofrito on a layer of potato slices is among those being tweaked by new chef Rishi Singh.

Batanga's menus are getting a bit of a facelift, thanks to newly hired chef Rishi Singh (formerly of Boheme Café and Wine Bar and Dry Creek Café) and bartender Jojo Martinez (who recently worked at The Nightingale Room). We got a peek yesterday on what's in store. (Fun fact: Martinez has been a flair bartender for a decade and competed in professional competitions. It's not uncommon to see her to occasionally perform a signature move when she's making cocktails.)

The revamp is less about change than it is about balancing flavors and tightening up consistency. On the kitchen side, Singh is charged with ensuring the entire kitchen staff is using consistent cooking techniques. The more exciting part of his work though, is tweaking out flavors to make some of the dishes really pop.

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Whole Foods in The Woodlands Is Opening Soon

Photo by Phaedra Cook
Whole Foods in The Woodlands opens on Wednesday, March 18.

Rapidly expanding grocery store chain Whole Foods is set to open its tenth store in The Woodlands at 1925 Hughes Landing on March 18 at 8 a.m. It's the first one in that area.

It has several of the same features as Whole Foods' most recently opened stores, including a beer bar with 24 taps. Wine will also be available, as well as a menu featuring food from the other store departments, such as cheese and charcuterie. The bar has an interesting nostalgic feature. The seats are made from wood reclaimed from the decks of trucks that traveled on Route 66.

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Openings & Closings: Construction Woes Take Down 60 Degrees Mastercrafted

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Troy Fields
60 Degrees Mastercrafted has been closed and sold. Chef Fritz Gitschner is taking time to plan his next move.

60 Degrees Mastercrafted served its last meal on Sunday, March 8. This falls in the "damn shame" category of restaurant closings. Road construction has plagued restaurants and other businesses in the area on Westheimer as well as on Shepherd. Helmed by chef Friz Gitschner , it earned an overall positive review from the Houston Press, two stars from Alison Cook at the Houston Chronicle and was No. 51 on her Top 100 Restaurants list.

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This Week in Houston Food Blogs: Don't Scoff at Canned Beer

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Brian Birzer
Hank On Food takes a look at recently-opened Gray's Public House in Midtown, which specializes in canned beer and pub food.
It's been raining and chilly for the past several days in Houston. When the weather's like this, some of us just want to stay indoors and cook at home. A Southern Fairytale is ready to accommodate that wish with an easy broccoli and beef stir fry . It includes plenty of garlic, hoisin and fresh ginger and there's also some chili sauce to warm you from the inside out. Make plenty so there are leftovers for lunch the next day.

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This Week in Houston Food Events: 1252 Tapas Celebrates Five Years

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Cristina Terrill-Kooker
1252 Tapas in The Woodlands is celebrating five years in business with discounts on sangria and tapas, like this Spanish Grilled Cheese.

Monday, March 9

Domaine Philippe & Vincent Jaboulet Wine Dinner at Aura Brasserie

The wine dinner starts with a reception with passed hors d'oeuvres at 6:30 p.m. Then, dive into a five-course dinner at 7 p.m. that includes Duck Confit Ravioli with Foie Gras Nage and Baby Vegetables paired with Crozes Hermitage Rouge 2009. Dessert is and Blue Cheese Cake, Candied Pecans, Red Wine Poached Strawberries and Buttermilk Gelato alongside Hermitage Rouge 2009. 15977 City Walk. 6:30 p.m. $89 plus tax and gratuity.

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Openings & Closings in Houston: Willowbrook Has Deep Dish Pizza Now

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Maine-ly Sandwiches is regrouping and starting a Kickstarter campaign

The Willowbrook area got its very own Chicago-style deep dish pizza place on February 26. Gino's East at 17116 Tomball Parkway is now open in the former Bikinis spot. (ATX Brands, is the company behind both businesses. They own the Bikinis chain and are a franchisee of the Gino's East brand.)

It's the second Houston-area location, and follows one that opened in The Woodlands in December at 25657 I-45 North. Deep dish pizza takes a long time to bake, so wait times at The Woodlands location have been a regular source of customer complaints. To resolve the issue, the company will add and carry-out service to both places starting on April 1. The Woodlands location will also offer deliver and the Willowbrook one will follow suit on May 1.

The first traditional, free-standing Texas location of PJ's Coffee of New Orleans is opening at 2155 Durham on Monday, March 9. It's run by a native of New Orleans, Jessica Taylor, whose history with the brand goes back to her college days. A press release quotes her as saying, ""When I left New Orleans to attend college at Texas A&M, I began ordering PJ's online to bring that taste of home to Texas." The company's specialty is cold-drip coffee and has over 80 locations in six states.

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