The owners in front of the entrance to Henderson and Kane General Store.EXPAND
The owners in front of the entrance to Henderson and Kane General Store.
Photo courtesy of El Burro and The Bull

Openings & Closings: El Burro and The Bull Team Open a Gourmet General Store

John and Veronica Avila, the husband and wife team behind El Burro and the Bull, a barbecue eatery located in the downtown underground food hall, Conservatory, will open a retail store selling their meats and products in January 2018. Henderson and Kane General Store, 715 Henderson, is located in an old Sixth Ward historical building which formerly housed a 1930s mercantile.

The store will offer house-cured deli meats, barbecue sauces and a number of specialty products, including El Burro and the Bull’s signature tamales smoked with Prime beef tallow. There will also be a barista, a curated wine selection, and artisanal goods made by separate vendors. A sneak peek at the products and early Christmas shopping will be available on November 5 at its holiday pop-up market from noon to 6 p.m. There will be wine, light bites and live music.

The 16 oz. Prime ribeye at Delta Blues.EXPAND
The 16 oz. Prime ribeye at Delta Blues.
Photo by Julie Soefer

Pappas BBQ celebrated its fiftieth anniversary this past October and the 18-location empire is expanding with a new, refined concept. Delta Blues Smokehouse, 19901 Gulf Freeway, officially opened November 1 in Webster. Defined as “Southern classic meets sophisticated barbecue”, expect an extensive bar menu and innovative takes on traditional southern sides, such as deviled eggs and fried green tomatoes.

Spicy Girl, a new Sichuan eatery specializing in mouth-tingling cuisine — and tamer Chinese dishes for the timid — is now softly open at 917 Winbern, Unit B, as reported here in the Houston Press. A huge ‘soft opening’ menu features almost 90 items, beer and wine is available, and juice and smoothies are planned for after the grand opening, the date of which is unknown.

Openings & Closings: El Burro and The Bull Team Open a Gourmet General Store
Photo by Houston Press

After 37 years of serving Houstonians traditional Italian fare, Carmelo’s, 14795 Memorial, will serve its final meal on December 25, 2017, ending its run with the popular Christmas buffet, as reported here in the Press. Carmelo Maura came from Sicily in 1978 and opened the Houston location in 1981. According to Austin 360, the Austin location of Carmelo’s closed this summer with skyrocketing property taxes potentially to blame, keeping Austin expensive rather than weird.

Pappy’s Cafe, as the Press reported, is relocating in spring 2018. The new, larger restaurant will open at 12313 Katy Freeway, less than five miles from the original. Owners Paul and Lydia Braden decided to move the establishment once its lease expires. The current location, 9041 Katy Freeway, is still open, serving Texas comfort food and $4 margaritas.

Main Squeeze Juice Co. will open its first Houston location at 6825 South Fry in December, according to the Houston Chronicle. The Lake Charles-based juice and smoothie bar plans to expand its concept through franchising and corporate-owned stores, with a possible 10 to 15 locations in the Houston area alone. The business opened in 2016, offering packaged juices, smoothies, and a cleanse program, a trend that seems to be on the rise.

If fruit in ice cream form is more your thing, Brick Shavers, 6176 Highway 6 North, has a variety of crepes, ice creams, and fresh fruit toppings, along with the usual candy add-ons. The shop opened September 28 and has tot-sized tables and chairs and a chalkboard easel for wee ones.

Tarka Indian Kitchen, 2168 Spring Stuebner, opened its second Houston location on October 15. Started in 2009 in Austin, this fast-casual Indian restaurant serves curries, biryani, and vegetarian dishes. It’s a “green restaurant” that recycles old cooking oil, composts, and uses eco-friendly to-go packaging. Beer and wine are available. The Press took a first look at the Heights location, 721 W. 19th, over the summer and found it to be pretty tasty and affordable.

Another location of 85C Bakery Cafe opened in Sugar Land on November 3, according to the Chronicle. This is the third ‘Starbucks of Taiwan’ for Houston, with booming locations in Chinatown and Katy that opened over the summer.

In more unfortunate bakery news, Midtown hotspot Fluff Bake Bar, 314 Gray, is currently closed for a renovation after “a tenant in a third floor unit busted a pipe while moving,” according to CultureMap, destroying the dining area. The kitchen is still up and running with wholesale, and is expected to launch holiday pie sales soon. No word on how long the actual shop will be closed to retail customers.

Mini empanadas are a perfect appetizer at Pastel Gourmet.
Mini empanadas are a perfect appetizer at Pastel Gourmet.
Photo courtesy of Pastel Gourmet

After the chaos of Harvey, more businesses are reopening after cleaning and repairs. Pastel Gourmet, 6944 Cypresswood, is located in Champions, an area particularly hard hit by Harvey. This little Venezuelan bakery is attached to a gas station, but its exterior is cute and the South American fare keeps a regular clientele coming back for the empanadas and pasteles. Owner Marlon Urbina says, “Starting over is never easy...we decided to smile and move forward. We feel it was like a trim you give to a tree to let new branches come out greener and stronger.”

The cafe is now serving a new lunch menu and is reaching out to more customers with UberEats.

Give some amore to Cavatore's reopened restaurant.
Give some amore to Cavatore's reopened restaurant.
Photo courtesy of Cavatore's

Cavatore’s Italian Restaurant, 2120 Ella, has finished its renovations after Hurricane Harvey left two feet of water in the restaurant. The sentimental favorite reopened September 20. With the combined decor of an old Texas barn moved from Bastrop, along with Italian photos and memorabilia, it’s been a popular date night destination for many a Houstonian, especially when there is a piano player, for 33 years. If you want to share a spaghetti noodle a la “Lady and the Tramp”, a red-checkered table at Cavatore’s is the spot.

Meanwhile, in the Warehouse District, brewery 160ft Beerworks, 1310 Nance, has shuttered for good. According to Eater Houston, this is also due to Harvey damage, or rather the way the landlord dealt with it. The brewery told fans on Facebook: “We were unable to accept the quality of our building owners remediation effort.”

Farther north, Harvey left a number of small businesses with big damage. Kolaches and Donut Express, 11808 Barker Cypress, reopened October 15. Its operating hours are 5 a.m. to noon, so get there early for a sausage and cheese kolache, a favorite of a tipster in Cypress.

Get a kick from the Sultan's Mule.
Get a kick from the Sultan's Mule.
Photo courtesy of Doco Grill and Bar

Doco Grill and Bar, 25551 Kingsland, opened September 12 in Katy, according to Community Impact. The Mediterranean restaurant serves doner, hummus, falafel, and Turkish inspired cuisine. There is also a full bar serving cocktails such as the Sultan’s Mule, made with Turkey’s distilled anise-flavored spirit raki instead of vodka. A couple of those and you may feel like you got kicked by the Sultan’s mule.

Yokohamaya Japanese Restaurant, 27200 U.S. 290, opened October 10 in Cypress. The restaurant is located in a strip center, but its interior is beautifully done in gorgeous wood, with a collection of teapots and bamboo plants. Its artfully-plated food and fresh sushi is getting rave reviews, accompanied by gorgeous photos on Yelp.

The food and decor are a pleasure for the senses at Yokohamaya.
The food and decor are a pleasure for the senses at Yokohamaya.
Photo courtesy of Yokohamaya

Flipping Pizza, 30340 FM 2978, had its grand opening September 21. The Magnolia pizza joint serves very thin New York-style pizza, by pie and slice, and offers online ordering. Beer and wine are available, also.

Joy Love Burgers, 22625 Highway 249, opened October 10. The burger joint offers chicken and other sandwiches as well. If you like your buns buttered and toasted, this is the place for you. The signature Joy Love burger consists of an Angus beef patty, grilled chicken tender, avocado, and grilled onions. Love and joy can’t come to you. You have to drive out to Tomball to get it.

JJIGAE, 990 Rayford, opened October 12. This Korean eatery offers those in the Spring and Woodlands area a much closer drive for bibimbap, a traditional Korean dish of rice, vegetables, and protein such as fried egg. The dish came about as a way to use leftovers, like so many other tasty comfort foods.

Fadi’s Mediterranean Grill, 8383 Westheimer, has closed, apparently due to a lease termination with close to $71,000 due in back rent, as reported by Swamplot. This leaves seven remaining Fadi’s restaurants, including three Dallas franchises and one coming soon to the former Bosta Kitchen location in the Museum District.

H-E-B is expected to announce the construction of a 100,000-square-foot grocery store at 610 and Beechnut in the Meyerland Plaza retail center, but a spokesperson says no contract has been signed,  according to Realty News Report. Hurricane Harvey flooded the H-E-B location at 5417 S. Braeswood, resulting in a permanent closure. H-E-B is also constructing a two-story store in Northwest Bellaire set to open in 2018.

Another Starbucks is opening in Houston. Starbucks No. 48023 is about ready to open at 1801 Richmond, as reported by as reported by Swamplot. Just in time for pumpkin-spice latte madness.

And ThroughGood Coffee at 732 W. 27th in the Heights adds a food truck out front, Soul Taco, on November 4, that, like the coffee shop, will be run by Beyonce’s pastor Rudy Rasmus, as Eater Houston reports.

That's it for this week's Openings & Closings. Leave a comment if we missed something big in your neighborhood.

Reported as Open in October:

Artesano Coffee Shop and Panini, 25115 Gosling, opened August 11
Bay Fusion Vietnamese Asian Kitchen, 1650 Louetta, grand opening September 25
BB’s Cafe, 26010 Hempstead,opened October 24
Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, 7459 Southwest Freeway, opened October 5
Bundt Cake-A-Holic, 16940 Ella, grand opening October 27
Cafe Johnny’s, 3104 FM 528, opened September 9
Cafetopia, 2825 Wilcrest, opened August 14
Cajun Stop, 2130 Jefferson, grand reopening October 15
Casian Crawfish, 5314 Telephone, opened June 3
Cast Iron Southern Grill, 28533 Spring Trails, opened late July
Christian’s Tailgate, 5114 Kirby, grand opening October 23
Chuy’s, 3525 E. Sam Houston Parkway, grand reopening October 10
Dish Society, 12525 Memorial, soft opening October 9
Evo Taco, 12637 Westheimer, opened September 3
Feges BBQ, Greenway Plaza Food court, early 2018
Five Boroughs Italian Cuisine and New York Pizza, 14642 Memorial, opened October 10
44 Farms, 1509 S. Highway 36, opened October 21
Fresco Cafe Italiano, 3277 Southwest Freeway, opened August 8
Graziana’s Pizza and Pasta, 10730 Barker Cypress, grand opening September 9
Hawi Hawaiian BBQ Express, 12254 FM 1960, opened October 1
JB Pho and Grill, 7955 Barker Cypress, grand opening October 21
Julia’s, 6126 Highway 6, opened October 26
Krav’n Cajun, 3730 FM 2920, opened October 6
Laki Fish, 9889 Bellaire, grand opening October
Luna Pizzeria, 7705 Westheimer, opened October 1
Maribelli Italian Ristorante, 12620 FM 1960, opened September 12
Melange Creperie, 714 Yale, opened October 16
Mia Bella Trattoria, 3773 Richmond, grand opening October 12
Mikki’s Cafe and Catering, 375 Greens, opened July 28
Nekter Juice bar, 4747 Research Forest, grand opening September 30
Night Market Thai, 9630 Clarewood, opened October 3
Over the Moon, 238 W. 19th, opened October
Pacific Yard House, 101 Metcalf, opened September 1
Pappa Gyros, 23255 Kingsland, opened early August
Pepe’s Mexican Food, 544 Sawdust, grand opening September 25
Pho Con Bo, 11403 Bellaire, opened August 25
Popbar, Baybrook Mall, opened October 25
Pop-Top Burgers, 1702 FM 528, opened late September
Red Wok, 3758 S. Gessner, opened September 2
Roadhouse 2920 Restaurant, Bar and Grill, 21835 FM 2920, opened August 16
Sapporo Japanese Steakhouse and Bar, 9814 Fry, opened mid-September
Seoul Pig Korean BBQ, 2510 Smith Ranch, soft opening early September
Snooze, 23501 Cinco Ranch, opened October 25
Southern Stand, 21328 Highway 249, grand opening October 20
Spring Street Beer and Wine Garden, 1920 Houston Avenue, opened October 27
Star Cinema Grill, 8920 Fry, opened November 3
Tarim Grill, 11660 Westheimer, opened October 15
The French Fry House, 3221 Ennis
Theodore Rex, 1302 Nance, opened October 5
Tropical Smoothie Cafe, 28610 U.S. 290, opened October 14
Viet Nom Noms, 5221 Bellaire, grand opening October 21
Wicklow Heights, 1027 W. 19th, grand opening November 4
White Lightning Dancehall and Saloon, 9522 North Sam Houston Parkway, grand opening October 11
Wiki Poki, 9889 Bellaire, opened October 11

Reported as closed in October:
Bosta Kitchen, closed October 9
California Pizza Kitchen, 1997 W. Gray
H-E-B, 5417 South Braeswood, closed August 29
Holley’s Seafood and Oyster Bar, 3201 Louisiana, closed October 1
Mellow Mushroom, 16000 Stuebner Airline, temporarily closed due to Hurricane Harvey
Nick’s Pub, 1448 Wilcrest, closed due to fire, September 29
SaltAir Seafood Kitchen, 3029 Kirby, closed October 27

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