Todo con Queso

Houston's 10 best Tex-Mex restaurants.

Openings and Closings
New concepts abound for beloved chefs.

Katharine Shilcutt

Let's pull the Band-aid off and list the bad news first: Jeannine's Bistro officially closed this past week after a temporary closure became permanent. On its Facebook page, the Belgian restaurant posted the following farewell:

A huge lunch spread at Don Carlos comes cheap.
Katharine Shilcutt
A huge lunch spread at Don Carlos comes cheap.
Parts one and two of the three-part Mexico City plate at Molina's.
Katharine Shilcutt
Parts one and two of the three-part Mexico City plate at Molina's.

"We've sadly decided to close, and wanted to thank all our friends & patrons for their support during the past 4 years. You were the reasons we were here & want you to know that you were appreciated. We will miss you all, as well as our staff tremendously!"

Meanwhile in the Shepherd Plaza area, Azteca's closed quietly last weekend. Moving trucks were spotted outside the Tex-Mex restaurant two Sundays ago, and the phone has been forwarded straight to voicemail. No word on why the restaurant, well-known for its patio and inexpensive margaritas, closed its doors or if it plans to move elsewhere. Azteca's has not yet returned a call for comment.

In happier news, the Heights saw more activity last week as Ruggles Green finally reopened at the corner of 11th and Studewood after extensive renovations to the old structure that houses the restaurant. The restaurant will also feature extended hours, as Charlotte Aguilar reported in The Leader: "Ruggles Green's biggest change in the Heights will be to offer a weekend breakfast," she wrote, "not available at its other locations."

Not too far away, the refurbished D&T Drive-Inn is almost open following a change in ownership. Chris Cusack, who also owns nearby Down House, took over D&T in January and plans to unveil its new look in a few weeks. "Down House bartender Jason Moore will run D&T, which will feature 55 craft taps," writes Eater Houston editor Eric Sandler, who also reports D&T will have a small food menu.

Chronicle real estate reporter Nancy Sarnoff gave foodies plenty to discuss earlier this week when she revealed the list of tenants set for a new Rice Village development. "A half dozen restaurants will open soon in Hanover Rice Village," Sarnoff wrote, "the high-end apartment and retail complex at 2455 Dunstan." Among them are pastry chef Chris Leung's ice cream shop — Cloud 10 Creamery — and two new concepts from restaurateurs Charles Clark and Grant Cooper: Coppa Osteria and Punk's Simple Southern Food.

Finally, chef John Sheely — owner of Mockingbird Bistro — shared photos on Facebook this week of his newest project: Osteria Mazzantini, opening this year in the Galleria area at 2200 Post Oak Boulevard. When asked how long the build-out would take, Sheely replied: "120 days to opening."

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I have two questions: How did El Real make this list? I only went there once, not long after it opened. Perhaps things have changed for the better since then, but when I went, the food was bland and unmemorable. Maybe I should give El Real another shot, but there are too many other good places. Why bother?And speaking of better places, why didn't Spanish Flowers make the list? It's walking distance from Teotihuacan. How could you miss it, let alone not even mention it?