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A Fire at the Broken Spoke

Roy de la Garza on what's next.

The cocktails and bar menu appear to be as much of a draw as the food so far, and it seems as though Cuchara planned it that way: The large, open dining room is split right down the middle, with dining tables on one side and the expansive, warm-toned bar (which has an almost Nordic, mid-century look to it) dominating the other.

Wherever you sit, though, you'll be anchored by the exuberant, Haring-esque murals of artist Cecilia Beaven, sister of co-owner Ana Beaven and Mexico-based muralist — art which keeps intact the tradition of murals inside Mexican restaurants while cheerfully turning that tradition on its ear. Look above you in the bar and you'll even see one suspended from the ceiling.

There's also a small lounge area, which will be instrumental in accommodating the overflow I imagine showing up en masse to Cuchara on weekend evenings. I hear there's already a wait, in fact. And one day soon for brunch, I'll be happily waiting for my next meal at Cuchara, too. Katharine Shilcutt
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Restaurant News

Opening Up
New locations for Pappa Geno's and the Great W'Kana.

The restaurant that Eater Houston called the most anticipated opening of the year is here, so anticipate no more: The Pass & Provisions had its soft opening last week and opened for business last weekend. No surprise there, as the two-in-one restaurant from Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan had its final Health Department inspection the week prior.

As a reminder: The Pass is the more upscale side of the restaurant, which is housed in the old Gravitas/Antone's space on Taft. It plans to offer nightly five- and eight-course tasting menus, while Provisions — the more casual side — will have pastas, pizzas and more low-key fare.

A text from an excited friend who attended last Wednesday's soft opening simply read: "OMG. THE BREAD AND CHEESE OPTIONS AT P&P ARE FUCKING LEGIT. It's a symphony of delicious love. And the CHAR on the PIZZA!"

If you've been to Pappa Geno's for Philly cheesesteaks and seen the rush-hour line at dinner, you'll understand why they're busy opening a second location. The new spot will be located at Bellaire and Mapleridge, smack dab in the heart of Bellaire, the restaurant confirmed last week. Prepare for another short wait, though: The opening is taking awhile — as most things do in Houston — while the owners deal with city permits and other fun red tape.

Speaking of second locations...Good news for fans of the Great W'Kana Cafe in Stafford comes via Alison Cook, who Tweeted: "Great W'Kana Indian restaurant in Stafford Meadows will have a revamped menu in October and Great W'Kana's chef-owner, Sunil Srivastava, has leased a 2nd spot in the strip mall to open an Italian restaurant with a chef from Bombay." The Chronicle food critic continued: "No, it's not gonna be Indian/Italian fusion. Both Srivastiva and his Bombay appointee have cooked Italian for years. Handmade pastas."

The charming Post Office street in Galveston has another new tenant: Farley Girls Cafe (801 Post Office), which recently opened for lunch only during the week. According to the B4-U-Eat newsletter, the owners have their roots in both the Island and in the restaurant biz:

The "girls" are sisters Rosmond Thormahlen and Ryanne Duzich, who grew up in the business as their parents created Fish Tales and Fisherman's Wharf.

Finally, the first of the fall menus hit my inbox yesterday — and it's from Roost, so you know it's a daisy. Chef Kevin Naderi has a lineup of cool weather dishes waiting for fans, such as sweetbread "piccata" with cauliflower puree and veal jus or good, not-so-old-fashioned chicken 'n' dumplings with pot-pie ragout and gnocchi dumplings. Katharine Shilcutt

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