Openings & Closings: Confusion at Osteria Mazzantini

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Osteria Mazzantini will close on Saturday after being in operation for less than a year.
Unlike past weeks, this week was filled with upsetting and shocking closings. First, let's start with Osteria Mazzantini. On Tuesday, July 1, chef and owner John Sheely informed CultureMap Houston that his newest restaurant, Osteria Mazzantini, which opened in August 2013, would serve its last meal on Saturday, July 5. Sheely explained that the 2200 Post Oak Boulevard space would be replaced with a new concept from Green Cafe Management, called Ruggles Kitchen. But, in a turn of events, Sheely informed CultureMap's Eric Sandler that the restaurant would not be closing. In a text message to Sandler, Sheely wrote, "We are staying open. No further comments. Thanks."

Jarro Cafe, located at 1521 Gessner in Spring Branch, quietly closed at the end of June. One commenter mentioned the Mexican restaurant might have shut its doors, and Houstonia's Katharine Shilcutt confirmed the speculations. Jarro Cafe placed a sign on the front door stating, "Closed due to the poor infrastructure of the building. Sorry Jarro Cafe." Shilcutt also reported that the building was mostly empty as a lot of the furniture and décor had been removed. The taco truck remains open, though.

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Texas Blizzard Shave Ice Receives a Proclamation from the (Dairy) Queen

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo courtesy Texas Blizzard Shave Ice
The company is taking the cease and desist letter in stride.
blizzard (bliz´erd) n. 1 a severe thunderstorm characterized by colt temperatures and heavy drifting of snow 2 an overwhelming number or amount; deluge 3 a frozen treat made by Dairy Queen and only Dairy Queen.

No, wait, that third definition isn't accurate, though it may soon be if the fast food restaurant gets its way. The creator of the Blizzard, a blended ice cream treat introduced in 1946, sent a cease and desist letter to a local company, Texas Blizzard Shave Ice, on June 16 citing trademark infringement. Because the term "Blizzard" referring to a frozen treat is trademarked by Dairy Queen, the company feels that Texas Blizzard Shave Ice is illegally using their name.

CultureMap reported the incident earlier this week, and Lluvia Fernandez, the public relations coordinator for Texas Blizzard Shave Ice reached out to us to clear some things up.

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Roll Call! Bernie's Burger Bus Brick & Mortar Restaurant Now Open

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo courtesy Bernie's Burger Bus
Chef/owner Justin Turner is happy to announce his first brick and mortar restaurant is OPEN!
For a couple of weeks now, Bernie's Burger Bus--the restaurant, not the fleet of burger-flinging school buses roaming the city--has been holding a very quiet soft opening. No announcements were made, but the doors were unlocked, and if you wandered in for a bite, chances are the cooks would take the opportunity to practice and serve you whatever you wanted from the new menu.

Well, now it's official. The first bell has rung, and Bernie's Burger Bus is open for business!

The announcement came via Instagram around noon today, when chef/owner Justin Turner posted a photo with text reading "ROLECALL" and featuring the new restaurant's hours.

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Openings & Closings: The Honeymoon Is Open

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Molly Dunn
From left: Matt Toomey, Charlotte Mitchell and Brad Moore -- business partners who established The Honeymoon Cafe & Bar.
Boil House, located at 606 East 11th Street in the Heights, closed just as quickly as it opened. The crawfish restaurant opened its doors on May 9, but because crawfish season has ended, Boil House decided to close until mudbugs become available again, a.k.a. next year. On June 20, Boil House posted the announcement on Facebook, "Beloved fellow Boil House enthusiast, we have decided to close for the remainder of the season but look forward to serving you the best crawfish in Houston next year."

But, in happier news, The Honeymoon opened at 300 Main Street on Monday, June 23. Currently, The Honeymoon only serves coffee from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., but cocktails and late night libations are on the way. And when those aperitifs are offered, The Honeymoon will be the perfect spot to sip on a drink and share a house-made dessert, or cheese and charcuterie plate with friends. Until then, downtown workers can stop by The Honeymoon for their morning cup of Joe or afternoon caffeine pick-me-up.

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UPDATED: Ex-Boyfriend of "Enchilada Queen" Sylvia Casares Pleads Guilty to 2012 Shooting

Categories: Restaurant News

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Photo by Mai Pham
Since the shooting, Sylvia Casares has made a full recovery.
In March 2012, Sylvia Casares, chef and owner of Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen, was shot in the stomach by her then-boyfriend Michael Warren, police said. Warren, a regular cook at Casares's food truck, No Borders, and a partner in the Sylvia's restaurant chain fled in Casares car after the shooting, which took place outside her home near Fulshear. Casares was taken by life flight to Memorial Hermann Hospital before being transferred to another undisclosed hospital where she underwent surgery for her injury. Warren was eventually arrested, and Casares made a full recovery.

After a jury was selected for the trial, Warren pleaded guilty Tuesday to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, his lawyer, Emily Detoto, confirms. She says his sentence could be anywhere from two years of probation to ten years in prison.

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Openings & Closings: Ice Cream & Hot Dogs Are a Match Made in Heaven

Categories: Restaurant News

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Summer is a time for ice cream and cold treats, and folks headed to Galveston for a day on the beach should definitely check out Hey Mikey's Ice Cream at 2120 Postoffice Street. The ice cream parlor opened on June 7 and features a multitude of sundaes with hot fudge and brownies, banana splits, and ice cream "nachos" made with crushed waffle cones. The ice cream parlor originally began in Middleton, Idaho, as an ice cream trailer, but the owner decided to move his business to Galveston.

After HtownCheapEats mentioned in last week's openings and closings report Mozelle's Cajun Seafood Market had closed, we called the business (no one answered) and checked out the website, only to find an announcement on the home page stating, "We are closed for business." The 126 Heights Boulevard seafood market provided customers with scallops, crabs, etouffee, gumbo and crawfish pies to "geaux." All of this was served fresh, frozen and prepared.

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Corner Table Announces Ja'Nel Witt as New Executive Chef

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Photo courtesy Corner Table
Ja'Nel Witt has joined Corner Table as executive chef.
On the heels of chef/partner Bruce Molzan's "amicable" departure from Corner Table comes news that the restaurant has hired former Hell's Kitchen winner Ja'Nel Witt to take over as executive chef.

According to a press release sent out Thursday morning, Witt joined Corner Table on Monday, June 16.

"We are thrilled to have Ja'Nel join our team," says Michelle Coopwood, co-owner of Corner Table, in a statement. "Corner Table has had a tremendous first year, and with Ja'Nel's help, we are confident the restaurant will be elevated to the next level and offer an even better experience to our customers."

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Bruce Molzan Leaves Corner Table While Restaurant Faces Partial Closure

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Photo by Troy Fields
Chef Bruce Molzan is out at Corner Table.
CultureMap first reported Monday morning that controversial chef Bruce Molzan has left Corner Table, the restaurant he's helmed since it opened in December of 2012.

We called Corner Table for comment and received pretty much the same recited statement as CultureMap: "Corner Table and chef Molzan have amicably parted ways. Both parties are excited about the adventures that lie ahead." The representative for Corner Table went on to say that the restaurant, located at the corner of Westheimer and Virginia in Upper Kirby, will remain open and the owners, Darla Lexington and Michelle Coopwood will be announcing a new chef soon.

Molzan opened Corner Table after he was forced to close his well-known restaurant Ruggles Grill following a walkout by workers protesting non-payment of tips. At the time, the waitstaff at Ruggles Grill filed a claim with the Texas Workforce Commission, alleging that they were owed thousands of dollars in back wages. Molzan eventually admitted that his workers were indeed owed back wages, but not before his reputation became somewhat tarnished in the restaurant industry.

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Openings & Closings: Juice & Crepes Come to Washington Avenue

Categories: Restaurant News

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The State Bar & Lounge inside the Rice Hotel closed last week, but Swamplot reports a new tenant will be taking over the space soon, Lawless Kitchen and Spirits. This new bar will offer cocktails alongside a "chef-driven" menu; it will also be designed to reflect the history of the Rice Hotel, which used to be the Capitol of the Republic of Texas.

In February of this year, Downing Street Pub decided to eliminate the cigar smoking privilege it gave to its customers. CultureMap reports this week that the bar appears to be closed. One employee of a nearby business told CultureMap that the bar "was locked up all day Wednesday." We called Downing Street Pub for a statement on the operation status, but at this time the bar has no comment on the rumored closure.

Swamplot notes that the four bars comprising Live! at Bayou Place have closed: PBR Houston, Lucie's Liquors, Shark Bar and Chapel Spirits.

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First Look at Regal Seafood: Watch This Chef Carve a Duck

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Photo by Mai Pham
Regal Seafood is a new Cantonese restaurant in Stafford, owned by the people who opened E-Tao in the Galleria.

If you're looking for a new place to sample Cantonese cuisine, venture out of the loop to Stafford and visit the new Regal Seafood (12350 Southwest Fwy, Stafford, TX) restaurant. Owned by the same people who opened up E-Tao in the Galleria, Regal quietly opened a few months ago on the southbound Southwest Freeway feeder, just past the West Airport exit.

The interior of the restaurant is attractively appointed, with a swanky modern feel. To the left of the entrance, a square shaped bar beckons, with yellowish-gold chairs and a television playing the latest sport match. As you are guided to your table, you're greeted by crystal chandeliers and rows of booths separated by flat, curved gold partitions that extend to the ceiling. The main dining room is large and open, with plenty of large round tables to accommodate larger groups and families, while off to the side, there are private dining rooms to host large parties.


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