Openings & Closings: Bidding Adieu to Absinthe, Hello Third Coast

Third Coast opened on October 6 with a brand new menu under the direction of Chef Jon Buchanan.EXPAND
Third Coast opened on October 6 with a brand new menu under the direction of Chef Jon Buchanan.
Photo by Cuc Lam

Italian gourmet restaurant Trevisio in the Texas Medical Center, 6550 Bertner closed temporarily over five months ago to remodel and re-brand with a new name and concept. On October 6, Third Coast officially opened for breakfast service at 7 a.m. According to the press release, the new restaurant features signature dishes created by Executive Chef Jon Buchanan (who has been the executive chef for the past 11 years at Trevisio). The “modern Houstonian” menu includes “different flavor profiles from the local community and culture, while sourcing from local vendors.” Hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday.

In a conversation with Mai Pham for the Houston Press, Travis Lenig (who recently left the F.E.E.D. TX Restaurant Group) shared details about Fields & Tides, a new upscale casual concept he and his partner, Christopher “Chico” Ramirez (the former director of operations for F.E.E.D. TX) are aiming to open before Christmas this year. Having already signed the lease in the Heights for the space that was formerly Zelko Bistro (705 East 11th) and an adjacent gas station, Lenig told Pham that he and Ramirez are both feeling “scared excitement,” and that the new restaurant will focus on “American cuisine” both from greens and proteins from the “fields” to Gulf Coast seafood from the “tides.”

Speaking of Zelko, Eric Sandler of CultureMap Houston reported that owners Jamie and Dalia Zelko will be ready to open Ivy & James in Evelyn’s Park Conservancy in Bellaire by next Spring. Dining options for the new restaurant will include picnics in the park as well as indoor dining at the cafe.

A Facebook tip from a reader reported that Absinthe Brasserie, 609 Richmond changed ownership this past Friday, September 30. A post on his wall read, “Having a little bit of the green stuff for the last time and saying goodbye the right way to a Houston institution.” The reader added that owner Karen [Racine] shared that she sold the bar but still owns Community Bar. The word is that the new owners want to keep the name and business but plan to change the concept. The Press sent a message to Racine asking if this was indeed a closure or change in ownership only. Racine’s response was simple, “we closed on Friday.”

James Beard Award winner, Chris Shepherd recently announced plans to open an exciting new concept called One Fifth where Mark’s American Cuisine used to stand. Shepherd is partnering with Kevin Floyd of Anvil & Hay Merchant, financial expert Steve Flippo, and Houston Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus to bring a long-term version of a pop-up restaurant to Montrose.

According to the press release, One Fifth is Shepherd’s five-year project to deliver five different restaurant concepts, each opening on September 1 and closing on July 31. At the (concept) year’s end, the space will close for the month of August for renovations, including a complete change of décor, menus, wine lists, even uniforms. The first three concepts will be One Fifth Steak, One Fifth Romance Languages and One Fifth Fish. The final two concepts will be announced at a later date. The first concept of One Fifth is expected to open in January 2017.

The Frio Hill Country Grill has a country store feel with a large front porch.
The Frio Hill Country Grill has a country store feel with a large front porch.
Photom courtesy of The Frio Hill Country Grill

A press release announced that the owners of Lucky’s Pub are opening a new concept called The Frio Hill Country Grill at 16410 Mueschke in Cypress by the end of the month. The restaurant will feature home-cooked flavors of the Texas Hill Country with an upscale comfort-food menu, extensive wine list and relaxed outdoor seating, according to the website. Items on the preliminary menu include shrimp corn dogs, a watermelon salad and cast iron fried chicken. Judging from photos of the build-out, the restaurant has a country-store and red barn feel.

According to Digital Journal, Katz’s Deli & Bar announced plans to expand across Houston, opening four to six more restaurants in Katy, West University, the Heights, Sugar Land and Pearland. Owner Barry Katz has teamed up with local architecture firm Mirador Group to design the new restaurants. He added that the group will bring “a more stylish Brooklyn inspired neighborhood feel to the Katz’s concept, while retaining the bustling and authentic deli experience of our original Westheimer location.” With plans for a bar at each location and offering more local craft beers on tap, Katz hopes to appeal to a broader, younger market of Houstonians.

Currently there are two locations, Katz’s Deli & Bar at 616 Westheimer in Montrose (open 24 hours a day) and Katz’s Express at 19075 Interstate 45 in the Portofino Shopping Center in Conroe.

The La Calle street tacos are authentic and the cost is reasonable.EXPAND
The La Calle street tacos are authentic and the cost is reasonable.
Photo courtesy of La Calle Tacos & Tortas

La Calle Tacos & Tortas, 909 Franklin posted a picture of its first paying customers on September 26 with the caption, “Our first paying customers. They came for lunch on Thursday, then for lunch on Friday and again for dinner!! GRACIAS!!” Sandler of CultureMap Houston reported that the "prices are reasonable," ordering five corn tortillas with different meats will "cost about $9."

The Houston Business Journal reported that the lease for Nit Noi at 6395 Woodway will end on December 1 and Tony and Russell Masraff (of Masraff’s at 1753 Post Oak Blvd) will be moving in with plans to open Maclane’s Cafe around March 2017. According to the article, Russell Masraff named the restaurant after his daughter, Maclane. He told HBJ that he wants this restaurant to have the feel of “something between a cafeteria and a modern-looking space,” adding that this is the first of several Maclane’s planned for the future. At this time, the menu is not complete, but Masraff is excited about his burger, which he hopes to be “the city’s finest.”

The new Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers will have seating for 100 guests, an outdoor patio and a drive-thru.EXPAND
The new Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers will have seating for 100 guests, an outdoor patio and a drive-thru.
Photo courtesy of Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

Another Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is scheduled to open in early 2017 at the Beltway 8 and Crenshaw in Pasadena. Franchise owner Padden Nelson said in a press release that “we’re excited to make Freddy’s a more convenient dining option for eastern Houston metro market residents.” The fast casual franchise will seat 100 guests, with additional seating on the patio with drive-thru service available. Freddy’s is known for its cooked-to-order steakburgers and premium frozen custard made fresh throughout the day. Currently there are seven Freddy’s locations on the west side of town with an eighth under construction at 21420 Kuykendahl in Spring, which is slated for a fall opening.

On October 5, Denny’s celebrated the opening of its newest location on 8401 Westheimer with all day specials including diner classics at a reduced price (from $2.99 - $5.99) and a prize wheel with a chance to spin and win hundreds of Denny’s brand prizes. According to the press release, this “new diner will have a significant impact on the Houston community by creating more than 90 jobs for local residents and is conveniently located near Walmart and Verizon in the Galleria/Westchase area.

Sandler of CultureMap Houston reported that Kitchen 713 has signed a lease for the space at 4601 Washington, home to the former Commonwealth (which closed over a year ago). Chefs Ross Coleman and James Haywood have created a menu that features southern dishes inspired by Asian flavors. In the article, Coleman shares that the restaurant submitted an application for its liquor license on September 27 and hopes it will be ready to open by December 1.

The dining area inside Ramen Bar Ichi is contemporary and stylish.EXPAND
The dining area inside Ramen Bar Ichi is contemporary and stylish.
Photo courtesy of Ramen Bar Ichi

Ramen Bar Ichi plans to open in late November at 1801 South Dairy Ashford, suite 108, in the Seiwa Shopping Center in Westchase. The restaurant will feature Japanese style ramen noodle bowls, appetizers and the owner Kenichi Ota told the Press that he may add some sushi to the menu later on. He also mentioned that the restaurant is currently looking to add members to the kitchen and service team. Interested parties can inquire within.

Pasta del Giglio is now open inside at Nundini Chef's Table at 500 North Shepherd. A Facebook post reported that now you can pick up tagliatelle, pappardelle all'uovo and spinach and ricotta ravioli by the pound on the market side of the restaurant. For a limited time, patrons can order from the special hand-crafted pasta menu available at Nundini’s.

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, let's take a look all of the Openings & Closings that were reported in September:

Reported Opened or Plans to Open:

AGU Ramen, 7340 Washington (December 2016)
Avenu Coffee, 6211 Edloe, inside Avenu Fit (early September 2016)
Bacon Brothers - Public House, construction started with plans to open in December 2016)
Bayou & Bottle, 1300 Lamar, inside Four Seasons Hotel (January 2017)
Buda Juice, 2437 University (fall 2016)
Burger Joint, 2002 North Shepherd (Spring 2017)
Cafeza, 1720 Houston Avenue (mid-September 2016)
Chop Ice Cream, 11200 Broadway, suite 1050 (August 27, 2016)
Cobblestone Market Café, 14838 East Park Row (September 12, 2016)
Corner Bakery Café, 10420 Louetta Road #120 (August 29, 2016)
Dandelion Café, 5405 Bellaire (end of August, 2016)
Down the Road Burgers & Brews, 41902 FM 1774 in Magnolia (mid-October 2016)
El Rey, 219 West 28th (unknown date at this time)
Eloise Nichols Grill & Liquors, 2400 Mid Lane, suite 100 (October 3, 2016)
Fadi’s Kitchen, 10403 Katy Freeway, suite 150 (September 22, 2016)
Fig & Olive, 5115 Westheimer in Galleria (fall 2017)
Good Dog, 1312 West Alabama (October 15, 2016)
Han Kook Kwan, 9140 Bellaire, suite B (early August 2016)
Hopdoddy, 5510 Morningside (unknown date at this time)
Hungry’s Café, 2356 Rice Boulevard (to be expanded and opened by fall 2016)
Indigo, North Lindale area, (January 2017)
Juice Girl, 214 Fairview, suite 102 (mid October 2016)
Little Cajun Kitchen, 12805 Cullen, suite B-A (June 2016)
Martha’s Mexican Grill, 2611 FM 1463, suite 400 (August 22, 2016)
Melange Creperie, Yale & 7th in Heights Mercantile project (early 2017)
Nobie’s, 2048 Colquitt (mid to late fall 2016)
Oakwood Social Club, 2736 Virginia (late 2016)
Ocean Boulevard, 1200 Marina in Montgomery (early September 2016)
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, Avenida Houston (January 2017)
Peli, 2nd Street District in Austin (April 2017)
Peña’s Donuts & Diner, 10555 Pearland Parkway (September 20, 2016)
Pinstripes, 3200 Kirby inside the Kirby Collection (late 2017)
Pluckers, 10407 Katy Freeway (unknown date at this time)
Popbar, unknown location at this time (early 2017)
Riel, 1927 Fairview (November 2016)
Sigma Brewing Company, 3118 Harrisburg (September 30, 2016)
Sozo Sushi & Lounge, 1700 Post Oak, suite 250 (August 29, 2016)
STQ, 2231 Voss (end of October 2016))
Tärka Indian Kitchen (early 2017)
Teriyaki House, 6340 North Eldridge Parkway, suite H (August 21, 2016)
The Melt, inside Baybrook Mall (November 2016)
The Original Neal’s Restaurant, 4750 FM 2920 Road, suite 12, in Spring (August 9, 2016)
The Rustic, across the street from the George R. Brown Convention Center downtown (unknown date at this time)
Time for Thai, 930 Main under the McKinney Place Garage (late July 2016)
Tony Luke’s, 9762 Katy Freeway (unknown date at this time)

Reported Closed or Plans to Close:

Corner Table, 2736 Virginia (closed temporarily, plans to re-open in December 2016)
Dry Creek Cafe, 544 Yale (August 31, 2016)
El Rey, 3330 Ella (end of 2016)
Frenchy’s, 3919 Scott (exact date unknown)
Joe’s Crab Shack, 2000 Wharf in Galveston (end of August 2016)
Montrose Mining Company, 805 Pacific (mid-September 2016)
Pappas Meat Co., 12010 East Freeway (September 5, 2016)

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