Openings & Closings in Houston: Trading Spaces, Restaurant-Style

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Troy Fields
Eatsie Boys cafe is closing, but another well-regarded, Montrose-based cook is taking over the space.

The big news in this week's Openings and Closings are the various Montrose restaurants opening, closing and taking each other's spaces.

Eric Sandler of Culturemap Houston reports that Eatsie Boys is closing on May 1 and the news is being received by Houston diners with mixed emotions. The little café, which opened in 2013, has been met with success and critical acclaim.

However, the partners of Eatsie Boys are also the owners of 8th Wonder Brewing Company, which is growing by leaps and bounds. The brewery just signed an agreement with Silver Eagle distributing company, which will put their beers--including Intellectuale, Hopston and Dome Faux'm--into even more bars and restaurants around town. Also in the works are plans to start packaging the beers in bottles and a new brewery and tasting room is under consideration, too.

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First Look at Peska Seafood Culture in Houston

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Photo by Mai Pham
Ahi tuna poke by chef Omar Pereney at Peska Seafood Culture is extremely fresh and delicious.

A common misconception about Peska Seafood Culture, the new seafood restaurant located in the BLVD place next to True Food Kitchen, is that it's a Mexican seafood restaurant much like Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught's Caracol. The confusion arises mainly because the owners, Maite Ysita and her brother Diego Ysita, are from Mexico, where they own and operate two successful seafood restaurants, La Trainera, in Mexico City and Acapulco.

Perhaps that's why they decided to name their first Houston restaurant Peska Seafood Culture, a name which in itself tells the story about the food that they serve. "At Peska Seafood Culture, our concept is a seafood market. So we carry seafood from all around the world, and we try to make preparations related with where we get our product from," says Omar Pereney, the 20-year-old chef wunderkind and executive chef of the restaurant.


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Openings & Closings: Landlord Is Kicking Out The Stag's Head Pub

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo courtesy of Ula's Tex-Mex
Ula's opens in the former Coppa Ristorante space at 5555 Washington on April 20.

The Stag's Head Pub's landlord has chosen not to renew the bar's lease at 2128 Portsmouth. According to a note forwarded to the Houston Press, owner Michael Holliday tried to negotiate a short-term lease but was declined. The note goes on to say:

"I have been looking to move The Stags to another location for some time but have been unable to find a suitable site. Please keep in touch as I hoping to reopen in the not too distant future in another location

"I wish to thank all our great customers and staff for fifteen great years of many fond memories. Hope to see you before we close. "

That happens at the end of this month, so now is a good time to show your support if you're a fan.

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After The Review: BCN Taste & Tradition

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Beauty, refinement and balance is the name of the game at BCN Taste & Tradition.
Spanish restaurant BCN Taste & Tradition is ensconced in a sophisticated, Mediterranean-style mansion just off Montrose. Inside, there's a subtle, elegant cream-on-white color scheme. Original art by Spanish artists Picasso and Joan Miro lend brilliant bursts of color here and there.

Of the eight restaurants I wrote reviews of in 2014, only three earned glowing ones. BCN Taste & Tradition was one of them. (The other two were Pax Americana and Dosi.)

It wasn't complaint-free, though. BCN is ideally set up for a romantic date night over a sophisticated dinner. At the time, though, the roaring noise levels were quite a dampener on any flaring sparks.

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Openings & Closings: Hugs & Donuts Is Now Open

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Phaedra Cook
Cute shop Hugs & Donuts includes donut-shaped tables and cheery orange chairs.

The folks behind the H-Town Streats food truck and defunct The Bird House have opened their new donut shop. Hugs & Donuts is at 1901 North Shepherd right next door to Fat Cat Creamery. The small, cute shop has both sweet and savory options, but if you want to land one of the savory ones, like a Gatlin's BBQ brisket kolache, get there early. Hugs & Donuts opens at 7 a.m. We dropped in and loved the "everything bagel" with a cream cheese center topped with lox. There were also plain glazed, blueberry and chocolate-covered "birthday cake" donuts on our visit. The shop serves Katz Coffee to go alongside and plans to get three "milk taps" up and running with plain, chocolate and strawberry flavors.

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Openings & Closings: Good-bye to Museum Park Cafe

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Troy Fields
It seemed like an April Fools' joke to get a press release stating that Museum Park Cafe would close and turn into a Barnaby's. It wasn't.

It was somewhat predictable that after losing high-profile chef Justin Basye, Museum Park Cafe at 1801 Binz might have a rocky road. However, it was apparently even rockier than expected, even with well-regarded Jason White (formerly of Voice and Oxheart) in the kitchen. Its last day of service is April 11. According to a a press release from by Balcor Commercial, the existing lease is being taken over by a Barnaby's.

Christopher Balat, who operates both Balcor Commercial and Balcor Hospitality, said via a press release, "We are very excited about the opportunity to bring Barnaby's to the Museum District. We have always felt that Barnaby's would be the perfect fit for this neighborhood."

Museum Park Cafe was No. 13 on our list of the 25 Top New Restaurants of 2014, but earned a middling review from Houston Press freelance restaurant reviewer Mai Pham shortly before Justin Basye's departure.

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

Categories: Restaurant News

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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 dish@houstonpress.com. See you next week!

A Preview of Bernadine's Restaurant Coming to Houston

Categories: Restaurant News

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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

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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

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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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