Carrying on the Curse: 4 Jinxed Houston Restaurant Locations
La Strada in happier days
Yesterday we looked at seven spots that seemed to have "reversed the curse" by shaking out of the revolving-door patterns of their addresses' previous tenants. Today we have four spots that continue to falter.
322 Westheimer Today: Empty Previously: Don Julio's, Café Bello, La Strada
The fire was probably the harbinger of the curse. When La Strada burned down in 2002, it marked the end of an era. After being closed nearly two years, the once animated spot was unable to reclaim its previous buzz or its notorious Sunday brunch crowds. After a long, slow death, La Strada closed in 2009 after 23 years. Café Bello and Don Julio's followed, then subsequently shuttered without much fanfare. A proposed steakhouse -- because nothing says Montrose like a fucking steakhouse -- was slated for summer 2012 but has yet to materialize.
Here: Look at beautiful food from the bygone Yelapa since no good pictures of this exterior have ever existed.
2303 Richmond Today: Estate Lounge Previously: Yelapa Playa Mexicana, Saute World Bistro, others
Currently repurposed as an upscale-ish night spot, this oddly built-out space never really hit its stride, and the address made its way onto Eating...Our Words' last cursed list while Yelapa was still open in 2009. The nightclub that currently resides in the space has gone whole hog, revamping the quirky interior complete with outdoor decks, both upstairs and down, a full parking lot out back and an odd yet clever men's restroom door that's hidden in a row of library bookshelves. Nightclubs in Houston, however, have a lifespan on par with the fruit flies that inhabit their bartenders' garnish bowls -- so this one may be the sure bet for the NEXT cursed list as well.
Even a stunning garden patio can't quite save 819 West Alabama.
819 West Alabama Today: Empty Previously: Concepcion, Ocean's, Bistro Vino
Despite high hopes and high praise for its last two iterations, the house at 819 West Alabama continues to flounder. Contentions abound regarding Concepcion's recent demise -- owners Jorge and Isaac Alvarez originally claimed the restaurant would continue operating after the departure of chef Jonathan Jones. Whoever opens here next might want to make their first order of business taking down the Oceans sign that remained out front throughout Concepcion's tenure.
The mosaic inlay is so pretty, the next tenant should just leave it there. It worked so well with Oceans...
1001 Studewood Today: Empty Previously: Stella Sola, Bedford
Two shuttered restaurants might not be enough to declare a location cursed, but when the implosions are as grand and far-reaching as the meltdowns at 1001 Studewood, it's certainly a trend. That's not to mention the collapse of the rumored deal to bring Killen's Steakhouse inside the Loop. Given the sheer size and location of this space, it's going to take a very specific tenant to successfully fill the shoes of this Heights address. Hype alone can carry a restaurant for many years, but if history is any indication, the new owners may want to forgo the foodie buzz altogether.
Did we miss any ongoing cursed locations? Tell us about your favorite revolving door in the comments.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.