Kipper Club Test Kitchen To Host Forbes Five-Star Chef Zachary Ladwig

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Photos by Mai Pham
From left, clockwise: Chef Zachary Ladwig will guest chef at Kipper Club this Friday; beet salad; a study on fennel.
It's early days still in the life of the Kipper Club Test Kitchen. The kitchen space by the Treadsack Group (Down House, D&T Drive Inn, Sugar & Rice Magazine) launched quietly in August, where it has been playing host to a rotating roster of guest chefs.

"We built it as a space that the chefs could work in while they wait for construction to be completed on Hunky Dory and Foreign Correspondents," says Graham Laborde, Kipper Club Test Kitchen's director, who is also a trained chef. "We also wanted it to be a creative space, where we could bring in younger chefs and chefs we really admire, and give them free reign do the food however they want to do it."

Since August, Kipper Club has hosted six pop-up dinners. "The response has been extremely positive," says Laborde, who adds "We already have regulars who sign up for every event." This past weekend they hosted a dinner called the "Contenders Series," which featured Bobby Matos (Ciao Bello), Patrick Feges (Killen's BBQ), and Erin Smith (Main Kitchen).

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Say Good-bye to Hollywood Vietnamese and Chinese Restaurant in Houston

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Jeff Balke
Where will Houstonians go to sober up now?

Let's face it: People don't go to Hollywood Vietnamese and Chinese Restaurant because it's serving the best examples of either cuisine. In fact, the place got written up and temporarily shut down by health inspectors this past August, as reported by KPRC Channel 2 .

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Openings & Closings: Only Two Weeks Left For Houston's Most Dog-Friendly Bar

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Angelica Leicht
Dog park lovers and rescue organizations alike are going to mourn the loss of Boneyard Drinkery. Enjoy it while it lasts.
There's awful news for Houston dog owners. As initially noted by Syd Kearney at the Houston Chronicle, pup-friendly bar Boneyard Drinkery announced on its Facebook page that it is closing on November 30. It was Houston's first combination bar and dog park. It's another sad chapter in a story we're hearing far too often these days: bars and restaurants closing due to owners selling the land to capitalize on higher property values.

Boneyard is not expecting to reopen, saying "Due to the size of property needed for this concept, and the outrageous increase of property value in Houston over the last few years, we will not be relocating."

They're doing good deeds until the very end. There's one last Boneyard Bash scheduled for November 16 from 1 to 7 p.m. It's the 25th and final fundraiser event for animal rescue organizations. The beneficiary will be Great Dane Rescue of Southeast Texas. Microchipping services will be available on-site and there will be vendors, a food truck and a raffle. Bring your furry friend for one last romp in the play yard.

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First Look at Radio Milano, a New Italian Concept Inside the Hotel Sorella at CityCentre

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Photo by Mai Pham
Jose Hernandez (right) is executive chef at the new Italan concept, Radio Milano, at Hotel Sorella in CityCentre.
Just barely two weeks old, Radio Milano, the new new Italian concept taking over the spot that used to house Bistro Alex in the Hotel Sorella at CityCentre, is giving established Italian restaurants in Houston a run for their money.

A lot of it has to do with the restaurant's executive chef, Jose Hernandez. A pastry chef by training, Hernandez is known among foodie circles for his incredible pastries. Cutting his teeth in Mexico City under Viennese master Olivier Lombard at the Hotel Presidente Intercontinental in Mexico City, he moved to New York, where he got his first job under Philippe Schmit. When Schmit moved to Houston to open Bistro Moderne at the Hotel Derek, Hernandez moved with him as pastry chef. His career took him back to Manhattan to work at the one-star Michelin Fiamma under Fabio Trabochhi and the iconic Four Seasons Restaurant, before returning to Houston to head the pastry program of Philippe Restaurant + Lounge.


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Picos Reveals Its New Logo and Plans for a Holiday Tamale Stand

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Phaedra Cook
Pico's big new sign makes it much easier to find the restaurant on Kirby Drive now.

It's about to get easier than ever to pick up tamales from Picos for the holidays.

The news came during the rollout celebration of a bigger, bolder Picos logo yesterday. The tamale stand will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on November 28-30, the weekends of December 6 and 13 and then again from December 20-24. It will be set up in the parking lot, so it will be easy for guests to phone in their order, roll in, get tamales by the dozen and then head off to their holiday gatherings. The number to call and place orders is 832-831-9940.

It's going to be easier to find the place now, too. The new sign, sporting a burgundy background, an agave plant and the restaurant name in a bold, rustic font, replaces the old white one at Kirby at Richmond Avenue. While undoubtedly some of us will be nostalgic for the old toucan logo, an eye-catching change is likely a good move. Kirby Drive has not exactly been kind to restaurants over the past year.

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Triniti Offers Us Sanctuari -- and Great Cocktails

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Photo by Christina Uticone
Bitter, Brown, & Stirred on the left; Debutante on the right.
The only people busier than the bartenders at last week's opening of Sanctuari Bar at Triniti were the valets. Were there more people pouring through the front door than cocktails into glasses? It's entirely possible -- by 8 p.m., after our media preview had ended, the new bar space was wall-to-wall with patrons, wait staff were carrying glasses on trays held high above the crowd, and the valets were playing a pretty intense version of Tetris in the parking lot.

If you haven't been to Triniti in a while, Sanctuari Bar is certainly a good reason to return. A newly redesigned bar and lounge--courtesy of Dennis Brackeen Design Group--transforms the space, with a leather banquette and slipper chairs providing cozy seating at low cocktail tables that practically beg you to show up early for your dinner reservation.


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Openings & Closings: The Washington Restaurant Exodus Continues

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
The opening of The Chicken Ranch is a bright spot in a week marred by multiple restaurant closings.

This past Wednesday marked the third restaurant closing on Washington Avenue in a month. It started with Coppa Ristorante Italiano on October 4. Polovina followed on October 30 and on November 5, TQLA joined the list of the fallen.

A partner in TQLA, Scott Lindsey, told the Houston Chronicle that, "due to higher food costs and the decreased traffic flow on Washington we just couldn't continue to provide the quality of service and fresh quality product that our customers have come to expect from TQLA."

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TQLA: Another Washington Avenue Restaurant Closes

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Troy Fields
TQLA on Washington Avenue joins the ranks of the shuttered.

If you're looking for a place to eat on Washington Avenue, it might be more difficult than it used to be. A few weeks ago, Coppa Ristorante closed. Last week, we reported that Polovina was locked out for not paying the rent. (Houston Chronicle has since confirmed that it is indeed closed.) Polovina's owner confirmed to Cleverly Stone on her CBS SportsRadio 650 show that Polovina is indeed closed. Eater Houston has a recap of that conversation.

Close by in the Montrose, 1308 El Tiempo Cantina is being forced to move because the landlord wants to sell to a developer who wants to put apartment buildings on the lot.

Add TQLA, the Southwestern restaurant and agave bar, to the list. November 10 would have been its four-year anniversary.

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Claims and Counterclaims, Complete With Lawsuit, in El Tiempo Land

Categories: Restaurant News
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Photo by Carla Soriano
It's been a tough week for El Tiempo and their associates.

It's been a bad week for the Laurenzos. Earlier this week came the news that their El Tiempo 1308 Cantina on Montrose is closing within the next few months due the land being sold out from under them by the landlord.

Now comes a press release from Roland Laurenzo via their public relations firm, The Epicurean Publicist, stating that they're pulling the El Tiempo name from what they are saying would have been their sole licensed location, which was planned for the Webster area.


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Openings & Closings: Real Estate Realities Vs. El Tiempo 1308 Cantina

Categories: Restaurant News

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And all across Montrose, a heavy sigh was heard.

When other parts of the country have suffered economic downturns in recent years, Houston's economy has fortunately remained stable. One ironic and sad side effect of that durability is the climbing real estate prices. There are more profitable things that landowners can do than lease restaurants.

As reported yesterday, El Tiempo 1308 Cantina is probably going to have to move sometime after January 1 because the land is being sold. Apartments will be built in its place. The Montrose location of the popular local chain opened back in 2007. On the plus side, at least there are other El Tiempo locations in town to tide over diners who get a hankering for its freshly-made guacamole.


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