Inside Molina's Cantina on Washington.
Inside Molina's Cantina on Washington.
Photo by Mai Pham

Openings and Closings: Say Good-bye to Molina's Cantina on Washington

Molina’s Cantina, the oldest family owned and operated Tex-Mex restaurant in Houston, is closing its 4720 Washington location, as reported by the Houston Press this week. The owners and brothers, Roberto, Ricardo and Raul Molina III, will not be renewing the lease on the space, which opened in 2006 and had become a popular happy hour hotspot due to its expansive bar and patio.

The first Molina’s was started in 1941 by their grandparents, Raul and Mary Molina, in a time when there were only a handful of Tex-Mex restaurants in Houston (imagine that). The last day of service at the Washington location will be on September 30. The owners are planning to transfer some of the staff to the other two locations or assist in placement elsewhere. There are plans to open another location in West Houston.
Meanwhile, the other two locations at 3801 Bellaire and 7901 Westheimer are open to console customers with margaritas.

Spicy miso ramen is one of the new bowls at Republic Diner and Noodle Bar.
Spicy miso ramen is one of the new bowls at Republic Diner and Noodle Bar.
Photo courtesy of Republic Diner and Noodle Bar

Republic Diner and Noodle Bar is slated to reopen October 3 at 1221 W. 11th. The Korean eatery closed temporarily to add some new ramen bowls to the menu such as kimchi and cheese and the more classic tonkotsu. Part of the Delicious Concepts group, which includes Houston favorites including Pinks Pizza and Shepherd Park Draught House, the Heights area restaurant will offer a free bowl of ramen and a limited edition T-shirt to the first 50 customers on opening day.

The Mid-Main development in Midtown has two new restaurants in the works at 917 Winbern, according to Eater Houston. Ramen Jo, which was originally set to open in September, has been delayed. Spicy Girl, a Sichuan restaurant, is nearing completion, but there is no opening date as of yet.

Party like Dionysus at Helen's happy hour.
Party like Dionysus at Helen's happy hour.
Photo courtesy of Helen Greek Food and Wine

Helen Greek Food and Wine has a new happy hour from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The 5 for $5 offers five wines to choose from for five dollars.

Salata, the ever-expanding, gluten-free salad bar chain, is opening its 37th Houston area store in Pasadena at 4531 E. Sam Houston Parkway on September 29. The grand opening will start with a ribbon cutting at 10:30 a.m. The restaurant will open at 11 a.m. and the first 50 dine-in guests eat free. Kids eat free all day for the grand opening.

Tin Roof BBQ, 19819 Town Center, suffered a fire in its kitchen on September 24, according to the Houston Chronicle. Its Facebook page states that the restaurant is closed until further notice and that “the initial assessment isn’t great.” A passerby noticed the fire in the kitchen around 1 a.m. Sunday and alerted authorities. As reported last week in the Press, the business had resumed normal operations after serving many victims of Hurricane Harvey and first responders. We wish them a quick recovery.

Chuy’s at 20502 U.S. 59 suffered extensive damages from Harvey and there is no reopening date as of yet. All other Corpus Christi and Houston locations have resumed business. All Chuy’s restaurants will be selling Texas Strong shirts for $10 with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Chuy’s employees affected by the hurricane and flooding.

Mint Thai Kitchen, 540 Waugh, had its soft opening in August and if its five-star rating on Yelp is any indication, it has been very successful thus far. It also appears that pad see ew is the dish to order. Thai fans on the Northside can get their noodle fix at its original location in the Willowbrook area at 17513 Highway 249.

Third Coast Restaurant, 6550 Bertner at Moursund, is introducing a new executive express lunch menu, including dishes such as Pepper Tuna Black Rice Bowl and the Third Coast Cobb Salad.

We reported last week that Texadelphia was returning to Houston, but there was no opening date as of yet. Well, now there is. The Texas-themed cheesesteak chain will open its new Houston store at 8383 Westheimer on October 2.

Red River BBQ Grill has a big, new home.
Red River BBQ Grill has a big, new home.
Photo courtesy of Red River BBQ Grill

Red River BBQ Grill, a popular family-owned restaurant in League City has moved to its new location, right behind its former spot in the same parking lot. The restaurant closed for a day and reopened in the attractive, newly-built structure at 1911 Main on September 26. Brothers Ric and Kevin Kiersh also own and operate a second Red River BBQ at 1711 Mason in Katy. The restaurant serves barbecue, seafood, and Texas favorites including chicken fried steak and their famous brisket hushpuppies.

First Watch, a restaurant chain that serves breakfast and lunch, opened at 28902 Highway 290 on September 25, according to Community Impact. This is the fifth location from Mac Haik Enterprises. The restaurant serves its full menu from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with dishes such as lemon ricotta pancakes and avocado toast.

Uncle Julio’s, a Mexican restaurant chain started in Dallas in 1986, is finishing its location in Spring at 6835 N. Grand Parkway. We were told that there are plans to open, possibly by November 14. The chain claims to have invented the Swirl margarita, a combination of frozen margarita and sangria. Uncle Julio’s operates 29 restaurants in seven states.

Pizza Shack is relocating from its present spot at 20873 Eva in Montgomery and will reopen at 19132 Stewart Creek in late 2017, as reported by Community Impact. The new facility will have more seating, a larger banquet room, and an outdoor patio. The original location in Willis was started in 1985 by John and Claudia Simmons and is now run by their family. This local favorite serves pizza, pasta, sandwiches and burgers. Co-owner Michael Simmons would like to make it a franchise in the future.

How about sweet maple pancake gelato for breakfast?
How about sweet maple pancake gelato for breakfast?
Photo by Mireya Pena

Sweet Cup Gelato is opening its second store at 3444 Ella, in Garden Oaks on October 7, as reported by as reported by Houstonia. The shop received some minor flooding, but it's back on track to provide creamy concoctions like sweet maple pancakes gelato.

The magazine also reports that Cloud 10 Creamery, an innovative ice cream shop from award-winning chef Chris Leung, has just expanded to 711 Heights Boulevard as well with lots of handcrafted, unique flavors.

Momo Food+Wine, 4104 Fannin, is set for an official opening on October 3, according to Eater Houston. Chef and owner, Moon Jamaluddin, plans to introduce interesting wines along with globally-inspired dishes with Mediterranean, Indian, and Spanish influences. There will be vegetarian options, such as chickpea waffles, but also a Midtown Hot Dog for the meat-eating crowd.

An upcoming coffee shop, Java Lava, is under construction at 1201 Southmore in the Museum District, Swamplot reports. The coffee café will sell KarmaSu organic coffee which is estate grown in Kailua-Kona Hawaii.

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