Chefs Tai Nguyen and Vuthy "Tee" Srey of Seaside Poke.EXPAND
Chefs Tai Nguyen and Vuthy "Tee" Srey of Seaside Poke.
Photo courtesy of Seaside Poke

Openings & Closings: Aloha, Seaside Poke

Seaside Poke has announced plans for not just one, but two brick and mortars to open in Houston by 2018. The East Village location in EaDo at 2118 Lamar is scheduled for opening next month and construction on the second will follow soon thereafter in the Heights and is expected to open by year’s end.

Seaside Poke chefs Tai Nguyen (Uchi) and Vuthy "Tee" Srey (Aka Sushi House and MF Sushi) will maintain elements of the popular Hawaiian fare while combining modern techniques and local ingredients to create new dishes. Co-founder, Kristy Nguyen said, "We want to create a menu inspired by culture that speaks to our Houston roots.”

The 1,700 square-foot space in EaDo includes a tree-lined patio where guests can dine outdoors.

Eagle-eyed reader and food lover, Gregory Lin, noted that a new Lanzhou la mian place opened in Chinatown. Niu Yi Zui Laman debuted earlier this month at 9968 Bellaire in the same shopping center as the H Mart. “La mian” is the traditional Chinese art of hand-pulled noodle making.

Many new shops have finally opened in the shopping center at 3645 FM 1960 West alongside the Sun’s Wholesale. The giant Asian superstore that flanks the center opened back in August and is the second location in Houston.

Lin also mentioned a new bakery and noodle shop in the area. Another Six Ping Bakery, opened on April 13 at 3645 FM 1960 West, suite A178, marking the fifth location in Houston offering traditional Chinese baked breads and treats. In the same center, Ramen Fun, 3645 FM 1960 West, suite 228, opened at the beginning of April with a small, but tasty menu of four types of ramen.

A new location of Chez Beignets IV Wings and Boba opened in the center at suite 198 back in February. The chain has three other locations in Southwest Houston. Chez Beignets offers a variety of wings, beignets, coffee and boba drinks.

Dulcia Handcrafted Ice Cream also opened this month at suite 328. The shop uses liquid nitrogen to create cold treats with flavors that include coconut, coffee, mango and peach.

Austin-based Hopdoddy opened on April 25 at 142 Vintage Park Boulevard, suite A, in Vintage Park. The Vintage Park location partners with the Periwinkle Foundation, which seeks to help improve the lives of children and young adults with life-threatening illnesses staying at Texas Children’s Hospital, according to Community Impact.

Cherry Pie Hospitality Group’s latest concept, Starfish, debuted last week at 191 Heights across the way from Pi Pizza, its sister restaurant. Partner Lee Eliis told CultureMap Houston that “there are restaurants in town doing seafood, but I think we’ve gone out of our way to make it special.”

Enjoy steak night at Upstairs at Hungry's every Tuesday night starting in May.
Enjoy steak night at Upstairs at Hungry's every Tuesday night starting in May.
Photo courtesy of Hungry's

Upstairs Bar at Hungry’s in Rice Village is now hosting steak night on Tuesdays starting in May. Available at 6 p.m., a 12-ounce certified Angus rib-eye and hand-cut fries is $16. A press release announced that the bar at 2356 Rice is also introducing a number of new cocktail specials throughout the week, including Mules & Martini Mondays, wine specials on Wednesdays and discounts on all Texas draft beers and spirits on Thursdays.

Eater Houston reported Piggy’s Kitchen & Bar opened at 3412 West Lamar on April 21. The Creek Group’s owner Gary Mosley explained that "the Creeks are known for their great patios, classic food, and bar scenes. Piggy's brings all of those things to the table and more.”

Piggy’s will feature local Houston brews on tap and a selection of tacos, burgers, bar snacks and pizza.

Longtime restaurateur Mosley also owns Cedar Creek at 1034 West 20th, Onion Creek at 3106 White Oak, and Canyon Creek at 6603 Westcott. The group has majority stake in Lowbrow at 1601 West Main and owns Rice Military's Wabash Feed & Garden at 5701 Washington.

Last week, the Houston Press caught up with Willet and Diane Wu Feng about Kuma Burger’s name change. As of May 3, the restaurant will be known as burger-chan (lower-cased on purpose). The Fengs told the Press that “chan” is a designation of cuteness and that a cute new burger may be added to the menu along with a potential new location.

California-based Pokeworks is coming to the Heights.EXPAND
California-based Pokeworks is coming to the Heights.
Photo courtesy of Pokeworks

In mid-December of last year, New York-based Pokéworks announced plans to enter the Houston market sometime in 2017. Last week, CultureMap Houston reported that the franchise signed a lease in a former WhichWich space at 213 Heights, in the same center as a Chipotle, Pi Pizza and latest addition, Starfish, and is scheduled to open in August.

Houston Business Journal reported that franchisee Mike Price announced plans to expand New Orleans-based PJ’s Coffee over the next six years in the Houston area. The coffee shop already has three locations at 2222 West Loop South at the Royal Sonesta, 504 Medical Center at the Conroe Regional Medical Center and 2155 Durham Drive in the Heights.

New locations are set for Conroe, Cypress, Magnolia, Tomball, The Woodlands and Kingwood/Humble.

Around-the-clock New York style deli Katz is replacing its Express location at 19075 Interstate 45 North with a full-blown 24/7 menu with waiter service. Hello Woodlands reported that a relaunch will be celebrated on May 12.

The Woodlands diner will feature a menu similar to the one at the Montrose location, offering full-service dining with oversized-meaty sandwiches, breakfast options and the famous cheesecake milkshake.

Tiny Boxwoods is expanding to Kerby Lane Village in Austin. According to CultureMap Houston, the new location will feature the original menu of salads, pizzas and entrees, as well as new Austin-specific dishes from chef Ava Sonleitner.

New Orleans-based Dat Dog is headed to Houston in 2018. According to a Press article, there are plans for 25 restaurants planned in Houston via franchisee group B&G Food Enterprises, LLC.

The menu features crawfish and alligator sausages, vegan and vegetarian hot dogs, brats, and Cajun favorites like red beans and rice, hand cut fries and a great beer selection.

Future expansion plans also include markets in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and the Florida Panhandle.

A reader spotted signage for Korean Bibimbap Asian Grill next to Yaal Tiffins South Indian Cuisine at 10928 Westheimer in Westchase.

A report on Restaurant Business announced the closure of Pollo Tropical locations in the Texas area, including three in Houston and all stores in the Dallas and Austin market. The report mentions as many as five stores may be rebranded as its sister chain, Taco Cabana.

As part of the restructure, both brands will focus on enhancing delivery and catering sales through technology and a switch to using natural ingredients.

Martha de Leon named executive chef at Pax Americana
Martha de Leon named executive chef at Pax Americana
Photo courtesy of Pax Americana

Pax Americana, 4319 Montrose, announced that chef de cuisine Martha de Leon has been promoted to the position of executive chef. De Leon, whose prior experiences include the kitchens at Café Annie and Pass & Provisions, noted in a press release that, “I’m looking forward to putting my influence on the menu and exploring my style.”

The Montrose/Museum District restaurant has been serving modern American fare since 2014. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m. and Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m.

That's it for this week's restaurant openings and closings! Leave us a comment or send us an email to let us know if we missed something.

Now, here’s a review of the Openings and Closings that were reported in April:

Reported open or plans to open:

Abuelo's Mexican Restaurant, 24600 Katy Freeway - April 10, 2017
Adriatic Café Italian Grill, 19004 Windsor Pointe - April 6, 2017
Better Luck Tomorrow, 544 Yale - late April 2017
Bibimbap Asian Grill, 10928 Westheimer - unknown date
Bush's Chicken, 20311 FM 529 - unknown date
Center Court Pizza & Brew, 2111 West Parkwood - unknown date
Chez Beignets IV Wings and Boba, 3645 FM 1960 West, suite 198 - February 2017
Chick-Fil-A, 12935 Tomball Parkway - April 13, 2017
Ci-Ci's, Cross Creek Common at FM 1463 and South Fry - unknown date
Class 502, 7620 Katy Freeway - April 2017
Cou-yon Seafood House, 11939 Katy Freeway - March 25, 2017
Dat Dog, unknown location - sometime in 2018
Doris Metropolitan, 2815 South Shepherd - late 2017
Dulcia Handcrafted Ice Cream, 645 FM 1960 West, suite 198 - April 2017
Fuddruckers, 8510 Creekside Forest Drive, suite E-200 - April 11, 2017
Halal Guys, 11700 Westheimer - unknown date
Heights Bier Garten, 1433 Shepherd - April 12, 2017
Helen in the Heights, 1111 Studewood - April 11
Hopdoddy, 142 Vintage Park Boulevard, suite A - April 25, 2017
IHOP, Brazos Town Center - unknown date
Il Giardino, Hotel Granduca at 1080 Uptown Park - April 7, 2017
La Vista, 1805 West 18th - late 2017
Laki Fish 9889 Bellaire, Suite D-228 - unknown date
Louie Mueller Barbecue, near Energy Corridor - end of 2018
Newk's Eatery, Town Center, Sugar Land - May 2017
Niu Yi Zui Laman, 9968 Bellaire - April 2017
Piggy’s Kitchen & Bar, 3412 West Lamar - April 21, 2017
Pokeworks, 213 Heights - sometime in 2017
Rim Tanon, 2241 Richmond - March 31, 2017
Rocco's, 811 Collingsworth - late May 2017
Roka Akor, 2929 Weslayan - summer 2017
Russo's New York Pizzeria, 28610 Highway 290 - April 2017
Salata, 16720 Park Row - April 6, 2017
Schlotzky's, 1521 Bay Area - April 27, 2017
Seaside Poke, 2118 Lamar - May 2017
Seaside Poke, The Heights - end of 2017
Shipley Do-nuts, near FM 1463 at The Shops at Woodcreek - October 2017
Six Ping Bakery, 3645 FM 1960 West, suite A178 - April 13, 2017
Starfish, 191 Heights - mid April 2017
SumoMaya, 4444 Westheimer, suite C180 - June 2017
Tacodeli, 1902 Washington - April 11, 2017
Twistee Treat, eight stores by end of the year
Two Bowls Bun Bo Hue, 13080 Bellaire, suite A - June 1, 2017
Uncle Tony's, 314 Sawdust - April 3, 2017
Viet's Express, 403 West Gray - unknown date

Reported closed or plans to close:

Anejos, 1180 - 1 Uptown Park, suite 1 - April 1, 2017
Leibman’s Wine & Fine Foods, 14529 Memorial - March 29, 2017
Pollo Tropical, multiple locations - end of April 2017
Red Ox Bar & Grill, 811 Collingsworth - April 15, 2017

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