Restaurant News

Openings & Closings: Oxbow 7 Lands Downtown And Superica Heads To The Heights

Glitzy Tex Mex will abound at upcoming Heights eatery Superica.
Glitzy Tex Mex will abound at upcoming Heights eatery Superica. Photo courtesy of Ford Fry Restaurants
Renowned Houston chef Bryan Caswell and his wife, Jennifer, plan to open the doors to their new restaurant, Oxbow 7, on August 29, in the historic downtown Le Meridien Hotel, 1121 Walker, according to the Houston CultureMap. The restaurant will serve “elevated bayou cuisine,” and the Caswells have assembled a talented crew of industry experts including chef de cuisine Michael Hoffman, formerly of Cafe Annie and Mark’s American Cuisine, and sous chef Sarah Schnitzer,a former pastry chef at Pax Americana. Judith Piotrowski, who has helped open new restaurants such as Coppa Osteria and Weights + Measures, will oversee the bar program for Oxbow 7 and Hoggbirds, the hotel’s rooftop bar.

Caswell, also an owner in REEF, El Real Tex-Mex Cafe and Little Bigs, hopes to break the curse of hotel restaurants in Houston and emulate their success in cities such as New York and Chicago. Meanwhile, Le Meridien Hotel will officially open on September 6.

One Fifth returns on September 1 with paella and neo-Latin wines.
Photo by Mai Pham
James Beard award-winning Houston chef, Chris Shepherd, will reopen his five-year concept restaurant with its second incarnation, One Fifth Romance Languages, 1658 Westheimer, on September 1. This time around the menu will be based on French, Italian and Spanish cuisines. The cast iron-cooked steaks of One Fifth Steak will give way to cast-iron seafood paella, if the photos on its Facebook page are any indication of the much-anticipated and top secret menu. Once opened, Houstonians will have 11 months to enjoy Shepherd’s newest venture, until it is reinvented as One Fifth Fish.

Ruggles Green has rebranded as Bellagreen and will open its sixth location in Houston’s Vintage Marketplace at 10111 Louetta, Suite 500, in late September. The other locations will be rebranded by the end of the year. As Houston’s first certified “green” restaurant, Bellagreen will be eco-conscious with low-impact spaces and will offer dishes crafted with natural ingredients, made to order.

Le Macaron French Pastries hosted a soft opening on August 24 at 10166 Fry Road in Cypress. The patisserie-style franchise sells gluten-free macarons, sweet and savory pastries and gelato.

Twistee Treat at 9720 Jones Road held its grand opening on August 17. Ice cream lovers in Cypress can now get their hands on its ice cream tacos.

Hungry Howie’s Pizza has opened its second Houston area location at 2111 Spring Cypress, according to the Houston Chronicle. The Michigan-based chain, known for its flavored crusts, has more than 550 locations in 21 states. The other Houston location is at 6133 Fry in Katy.

Alamo Tex-Mex Grill opened July 15 at 10130 Grant in Cypress. Its website says it’s “Un Poco Tex. Un Poco Mex.” As of now, the small, family-owned restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. On the menu are tacos, tamales and tortas, with the breakfast tacos getting rave reviews from Yelpers.

Nash D'Amico of D'Amico's Market Café.
Photo by Phaedra Cook
D’Amico’s, 5510 Morningside, is expanding its restaurant space and patio. Over the next several months two new bars will be added, including one that will open to both the interior and patio. There will be 40 new tables and booths, plus a permanent awning to cover the spacious outdoor area. The restaurant and market will continue to be open during construction, which should be completed by early spring 2018.

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop opened a new store August 23 at 8804 N. Highway 146 with a ribbon cutting and grand opening. Fuzzy’s Taco Shop originated in Fort Worth and has more than 100 stores nationwide. Breakfast is served all day, along with jumbo burritos and margaritas. They also sell tacos.

Raising Cane’s, the Louisiana-based chain popular for its “One Love” chicken finger meals has opened another Houston area store, this time at 2015 Shepherd. The grand opening celebration for all the Caniacs out there was August 22.

Fulbrook Ale Works is slated to open this fall in Richmond, at 1125 FM 359 South as first reported by Beer Chronicle. The 12,000-square-foot space previously housed Texian Brewing Co., which closed at the end of July. Jeremiah Ivey, a U.S. Army veteran, is head brewer and partner. The new brewery plans to open as early as October 2017.

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The Northside is getting Ramen.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero

Creapeshun, 13207 Jones, a small Asian fusion cafe, closed its doors in July. Its website says it will reopen with a new name and menu. We spied its new signage which says Koji’s Ramen Bistro. No word yet on an opening date.

Straits, the Singaporean and Pan-Asian restaurant at 800 Sorella Court in City Centre, will close at the end of August, as reported by the Houston Press. According to the location’s manager, this is one of three of the San Francisco-based eateries to recently close.

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What's going on in Cypress and who is Ethel Mae?
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero

Joe Duong, owner of The Shack Burger Resort, opened a third location at 15719 Mueschke in June and launched the Ranch Wine Lounge at the same location in July. However, we are curious as to what’s happening in a stripmall at Barker-Cypress and 290, where we saw a sign for Ethel Mae Bacon and Tap. Parked out front is a rusty antique truck that says the “The Shack #1.” We have reached out to The Shack Burger Resort, but have no word yet on what this new venture might be.

Native Houstonian and man of many restaurants, Ford Fry, is opening a third location of his Georgia-based Tex-Mex restaurant, Superica, in the Houston Heights area. The location at 1801 N. Shepherd was vacated by Hunky Dory and Bernadine’s in May of this year. Superica is set to open in early 2018. There will be a fourth location In Charlotte, North Carolina.

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The Parilla Mixta fajitas at Superica are coming to Houston.
Photo courtesy of Ford Fry Restaurants
Fry says he and Kevin Maxey, native Texan chef and vice-president of culinary operations, set out “to respect the evolution of Tex-Mex, not to reinvent the wheel.” In addition, Fry will debut an annex to Superica inspired by the chicken and oyster dinners at the Old San Jacinto Inn. No name as of yet for the new concept, but it will provide a “relaxed fish camp- style setting” along with fried chicken, raw and wood-grilled oysters and a pharmacy-style burger. We aren’t sure what a pharmacy style burger is — Google led us to a burger joint in Nashville called The Pharmacy — but we’ll see in 2018.

Aside from owning a number of restaurants in Georgia, Fry opened State of Grace at 3258 Westheimer in 2015.

Annam Indian Bistro celebrated the grand opening of its second Cypress location at 1029 Highway 6 North. They serve lunch, dinner, and weekend buffets. They do catering as well.

Urban Eats, 3414 Washington Avenue, is rolling out a fall menu of dinner plates on September 1. Owner and culinary director Levi Rollins says, “Our fall menu is comfortable and approachable.” Look for dishes like pork and pie and ginger hoisin salmon, both at $28.

Market Square Bar and Grill is under new ownership.
Photo courtesy of Market Square Bar and Grill

Market Square Bar and Grill, 311 Travis, is under new ownership. Ziggy Morrow, founder of Dean’s Credit Clothing and The Flat, took over in early August. Morrow says that most of the popular menu items will stay the same, but he hopes to add more locally sourced food items, including seafood.

Morgan Weber, co-owner and beverage director of Agricole Hospitality, has teamed up with master distiller Dave Pickerell (formerly of Maker’s Mark) to launch Indianola Distilling Company. Indianola spirits are being produced at Gulf Coast Distillery in Houston and Castle & Key Distillery in Millville, Kentucky. Each spirit is made using products that have geographical significance to the region, such as Texas gourdseed for Hogshead Texas Bourbon and Texas grapes for the Texas High Plains Gin.

The company is seeking to restore near extinct varieties of grains to create exceptional regionally appropriate distilled spirits.

The spirits will be available at Agricole Hospitality concepts in early 2018, as well as restaurants and retail stores in Houston and Austin.

Skinny Rita’s Grille, 4002 N. Main, is currently closed, according to Swamplot, but a note on the door from management says the location will be rebranding in the next few weeks and is only temporarily closed until then. Skinny Rita’s Cantina, 607 W. Gray, closed in February 2017.

Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp

Yucatan Taco Stand, 3407 Montrose, has closed, as reported by the Press. The Fort Worth-based chain, started by the founder of Fuzzy’s Tacos, opened its Montrose location in July 2016. The Press has reached out for more information, but a call to the Woodland’s location confirmed that the restaurant “wasn’t working out”.

That's it for this week's Openings & Closings.  Did we miss a spot in your neighborhood? Leave a comment and tell us all about it.

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Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.