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Last May, former Blue Fish and Sushi Raku chef Adison Lee announced his plans to open Kuu in Gateway Memorial City in the fall. The restaurant was supposed to open in the same development as Vallone's Steakhouse and the new Churrascos a couple of months ago, but the debut date has been pushed to January. Kuu will differ from other Japanese restaurants in town by offering upscale tapas instead of tasting menus. Lee recently told Eater that kuu means both "'the art of eating' and 'something that's delicious and tasty.'"
This one is a big ol' maybe, but that doesn't mean we're anticipating it any less. For months, rumors have circulated that the restaurant that made ramen hip in Austin has plans to expand to our fair city. Back in June, we reported, "An inside industry source states Ramen Tatsu-ya chefs/owners Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya 'Tako' Matsumoto have been negotiating a lease for their first Houston location at 11138 Westheimer at Wilcrest." Clearly, we haven't seen any new moves to make Ramen Tatsu-Ya a reality, but we're not abandoning the idea until we get a definitive "no" from on high. We'd rather start the new year with happy dreams of ramen, anyway.
Top 12 saddest restaurant closings of 2013.
A few weeks ago, we brought youa slideshow of the best restaurantsthat opened in the past year. But in the midst of celebrating all the great new places to chow down in the Bayou City, we are reminded of those we lost in 2013.
As you get a start on the new year, why not sit down with a drink and pour a little out for our buddies who are no longer slinging burgers or tacos or sushi?
Check out our full list of 2013 Openings & Closings online to see every notable (and less notable) restaurant that shuttered in the past 12 months. Who were you most sorry to see go?
These are the restaurants we'll miss the most (in alphabetical order).
The Burger Guys
Even after the downtown location shuttered earlier in the year, we were still shocked by the sudden closure with no fanfare of The Burger Guys's flagship Westchase restaurant. By the time anyone figured out they were closing, owner Jake Mazzu had already served his last burger at the shop. He blames the high overhead and lack of support for small business owners in Houston for the demise of The Burger Guys. No word on what Mazzu will be up to next, but he'll likely continue to sell burgers out of a mobile trailer in Beaumont for the time being.
The Chili Shak
Much like The Burger Guys, The Chili Shak closed without any sort of announcement. One day, the space was dark and the phone number was no longer working. The chili-centric restaurant opened in 2011, when Bernard Montgomery finally gave in to years of demands from his family to open a restaurant that would showcase his chili recipe. After he got great reviews from Houstonians (ourselves included), it seemed The Chili Shak would become a Houston institution, but that was not to be. After it closed in September, Montgomery took to Facebook and explained that he was looking for a new space and seeking more customer support.
Farrago World Cuisine and Sweet Lola
These two eateries are listed together because they were next door to each other, and both were forced to close due to rent hikes in Midtown. Farrago, known for its great brunch, closed in late July after 13 years. On Facebook, the owners of Farrago wrote, "We endured the construction, paid parking and towed customers. Alas, the over double rent was more than we could bare [sic]." Only a few months later, frozen yogurt shop Sweet Lola closed, too, also because the rent became too high. Gentrification is all well and good when it benefits the community, but 2013 saw a few too many restaurants pushed out to make way for the new and (supposedly) better.
When Houstonians are polled about the restaurants they miss the most, Feast frequently comes up. The final feast took place on June 14 with a sold-out crowd eager to get one final taste of some offal from the skilled hands of chefs James Silk and Richard Knight. Feast helped raise awareness of nose-to-tail dining in Houston, but a failed concept in New Orleans spelled the beginning of the end for the restaurant. In our coverage of the end of Feast, Phaedra Cook wrote, "The same foodies and writers who waved the banner of Feast so ardently when it first started were now down the road chasing the new hotness, as we do. During the last night of service, Chef Silk said, 'If every night had been like tonight, we wouldn't be closing.'"
Flora & Muse
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. Talk about going out with a bang! In late October, the general manager, Evan Turner, informed guests that the restaurant would be closing for good that night after service. Rather than wasting away with no customers, Flora & Muse went out on its own terms. Props to them for doing so in style.