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Bivalve Season Is Here

Houston restaurants are ready to get shucking.

This is why I want El Big Bad to open sooner rather than later: The drinks are already stellar.

Complemented by chef-driven Mexican cuisine (think Mexican with unusual twists, such as refried black beans, guacamole topped with caramelized onions, or a kick-ass pozole or menudo as a hangover helper) and a stunning upper deck that wraps around two corners of the building and affords fabulous cityscape views, El Big Bad is poised to become one of the shining stars of a reinvigorated downtown scene.
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Restaurant News

Gilhooley's specializes in oysters cooked any way you like them.
Daniel Kramer
Gilhooley's specializes in oysters cooked any way you like them.
From top left: Hibiscus-infused tequila agua fresca; chimichurri-grilled Texas redfish; fruit margarita; mangalitsa chicken tamale topped with Oaxacan mole
Mai Pham
From top left: Hibiscus-infused tequila agua fresca; chimichurri-grilled Texas redfish; fruit margarita; mangalitsa chicken tamale topped with Oaxacan mole

Openings and Closings
Flora & Muse goes out with a bang; Tiger Den delays its opening.

Molly Dunn

In one of the most surprising, yet epic, ways for a restaurant to close, Flora & Muse informed its customers it would no longer be open for business...and did so during a Greek wine dinner.

On October 28, general manager Evan Turner told guests at the dinner that the restaurant would be shutting its doors forever after the evening's service. The Houston Chronicle's Alison Cook reports that the sudden closure came as a shock to everyone in the crowd and that the restaurant wanted to go out with a bang, so this dinner was its "last hurrah."

B4-U-Eat's newsletter also informed us that Triola's Italian American Grill on FM 1960 closed this week. No news as to why the eatery (which opened only in February) shut its doors — its phone has been disconnected, though.

That's it for closings; let's get to the happy news of what opened this week.

Last week we announced that Little Dipper would open at the end of October, and the bar concept from those behind Poison Girl, Black Hole Coffee House and Antidote Coffee officially opened on October 29. Eater reports that the bar opened with a happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m., during which wells were $2.50 and wines were $4. The owners also bought the first 50 Lone Stars for 50 lucky guests. The establishment focuses on bourbon, and like the owners' other establishments, Little Dipper will serve a variety of libations.

Eater's Darla Guillen announced on October 28 that Dean's Credit Clothing would reopen on Halloween. Guillen reports that Chris Morris, who has experience at The Pass & Provisions and Morton's: The Steakhouse, will be the bar's beverage man — he will choose the cocktail selections and beer list.

A few new sports bars have recently opened or will open soon outside the Loop. We reported a few weeks ago that MasterChef Season 4 contestant James Nelson consulted with the owners and chefs at Revolver in the Willowbrook area. The suburban social restaurant held a soft opening on October 25, according to Eater. The Locker Room also opened in Sugar Land. Eater explains that this sports bar will serve Canadian beers and food. Hockey fans now have a place to follow the puck — The Locker Room hosts NHL game-watch parties. They also show college football and NFL games.

Scott Gertner looks to be making a comeback after both his establishments closed just months apart. Prospect Park will take over the recently closed Scott Gertner's Sports Bar, as reported by CultureMap's Eric Sandler. Maybe Gertner will have better luck this time.

Menchie's Frozen Yogurt opened on November 2. The grand-opening celebrations at both locations (Westheimer and West Gray) awarded ten people from each location free frozen yogurt for a whole year. You read that right — a whole year of free frozen yogurt. It's a dream come true...for me, at least.

Commenter Chic_Chick_Eats states in a report two weeks ago that Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt opened another location in Pearland on Saturday, October 26, and that the winner from Food Network's "Cupcake Wars," Cupcake Cowgirls, opened a second location, on College Park Drive in The Woodlands on Monday, October 28. The cupcakery's other location is in Spring. Both stores are now serving a daily rotating lineup of cupcakes, including special fall flavors: apple pie and pumpkin spice.

The Crawfish Pot & Oyster Bar opened in the Hong Kong Food Market shopping center, as noted by Chic_Chick_Eats. The restaurant will focus on Cajun-seasoned seafood and serve fresh oysters from the Gulf — just in time for oyster season!

Unfortunately, Tiger Den will not officially open until November 12, as reported by Eater. The Chinatown ramen shop had a soft opening two weeks ago, and Mai Pham filled us in on her first meal there. While we were all excited to have a ramen shop and izakaya restaurant in Houston, we'll have to wait a little bit longer until it reopens.

El Big Bad is close to opening — on page 34, Mai Pham takes a sneak peek at what the Tex-Mex restaurant will offer. "We're talking fresh and fruity pink-colored Herradura tequila margaritas made with blueberry, jalapeño and cilantro; peanut flips that tasted like spiked liquid Nutter Butters; gorgeously concocted Acapulco Slims of pineapple-infused Herradura Reposado with fresh pineapple, lime juice and sparkling wine; and even a French press Amaya Roasting coffee served with a "churro" shot of cinnamon and Madagascar vanilla-infused Herradura Añejo," Pham writes. "The drinks, developed by the El Gran Malo team, were all expertly crafted, right down to the glass or vessel that was chosen for each one." El Big Bad needs to hurry it up because we can't wait for it to open. However, patience is a virtue, my friends.

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