Peli Peli Kitchen features South African fast casual fare in an fabulous 80's inspired space.EXPAND
Peli Peli Kitchen features South African fast casual fare in an fabulous 80's inspired space.
Photo by Cuc Lam

Openings & Closings: Hello, Hello Peli Peli Kitchen

After a week of soft openings, Peli Peli Kitchen (PPK) officially opened its doors on October 18. The restaurant enlisted local artist, Jon Garner to add painted murals of pop icons to the space at 1010 Campbell. Everything from the LED lighting system and ‘80s new wave and pop playlist to the black-light readied canvases on walls and floors, PPK looks and feels like no other fast casual restaurant in Houston. On a soft opening evening, Chef Paul Friedman showed the Houston Press some personal photos of his latest visit to South Africa to explain the choice of distressed wood and metal for the dining tables, “look at the rooftops of all the homes in this village,” he said. The intention was to create a visual (albeit subtle) representation of that village in the dining area of PPK. Most notable on the menu is the line of rostis (sandwiches presented in freshly toasted naan) and the Peli Peli Chicken, the restaurant’s signature dish is a rotisserie roasted chicken with crispy skin drenched in a spicy citrusy house sauce.

The Union Kitchen opened its fourth location at 3452 Ella on October 17. The restaurant, just north of 34th in the Garden Oaks/Oak Forest area can accommodate 220 guests, with outdoor patio seating for up to 80 additional guests. According to a press release, lunch, brunch and dinner service will include menu favorites like the “Lobster Grilled Cheese with lobster, avocado, brie, sun dried tomato and pesto served with tomato basil bisque and the Elvis Waffle with peanut butter, bananas fosters sauce and Texas pecan bacon, topped with whipped cream and chopped pecans.” The restaurant also has a wide selection of wines, hand-crafted cocktails and ten beer taps including several local craft beers.

Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Happy hour is offered daily from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and brunch will be served on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

It appears that 55 Bar & Restaurant at 5510 Morningside in Rice Village will shutter in early November. One of the Village’s best Tuesday night steak nights since 2012 is only available for a few more weeks. For $15.99, guests can choose a dinner of prime rib with blue cheese and a house salad or a chargrilled ribeye with a loaded baked potato.

The tonkotsu ramen at NAO is sure to be one of the popular items.EXPAND
The tonkotsu ramen at NAO is sure to be one of the popular items.
Photo courtesy of NAO Ramen House

Coming into the space left by 55 is a noodle concept from restaurateur, Piran Esfahani (of Tarakaan, which closed in July in Midtown). The restaurant made it on In the Know Houston’s radar a few weeks ago when the blog discovered a Facebook page for NAO Ramen House. The Press talked to Esfahani about what he anticipates to be the best-selling items on the menu. “We have been experimenting and believe that our signature dishes will be our Shoyu Beef Ramen with braised short rib, shiitake mushrooms, pickled red onion, negi, and bacon crisp and our Red Curry Chicken Ramen, both recommended with a 63-degree egg,” he said. Eater Houston reported that the opening date is set for early December. Esfahani confirmed with the Press that he hopes to open NAO by December 1.

Providence Bar in the Heights is soft opening this week. In the space that was occupied by popular neighborhood sports bar, Roeder’s Pub at 1308 West 20th, Providence will feature “barbecue-influenced, concession-style food and a great beverage program. Owner, Sheila Jares (who also owned Roeder’s) told the Press. “We are excited to present a menu by local chef John Avila (currently of The Burro & The Bull in the Conservatory).” Avila, who has also worked with nationally acclaimed Austin-based Franklin’s BBQ, created a menu that is “simple, fun concession and stadium sports related for the restaurant. A grand opening party is on the books in two weeks. The sports bar also has a big covered outdoor patio with plenty of seating and a game room with games like Golden Tee. Jares said she is “very proud of the new look and feel of Providence.” “The feedback is good so far and the neighborhood has been very excited about our opening.” 

The Green Lane juice bar is so much more than just a juice bar, offering lunch and dinner bowls.
The Green Lane juice bar is so much more than just a juice bar, offering lunch and dinner bowls.
Photo courtesy of Green Lane

A Facebook post alerted the Press about a new juice bar in West Houston: Green Lane at 10455 Briar Forest. The owners of Luchi and Joey’s Tacos, Joey and Luchi Sigueroa have turned the popular taco truck into a couple of Tex-Mex counters in downtown Houston (above ground and in the tunnels). In February 2016, they added a full-service restaurant in the Memorial area and now have opened another full-service location to sell its line of fresh fruit juices, smoothies and other healthy options. For years, Green Lane has been selling its cold-pressed juices at area farmers markets. Joey said that he thinks the lunch and dinner bowls at the new location are going to be a hit with customers looking for a healthy option with plenty of protein like salmon, tuna or beef. Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed on Sunday.

In the Know Houston mentioned another restaurant and bar that opened this week. Judging from posts on its Facebook page, Edison at 4203 Edison Street celebrated a pre-soft and soft opening the first two weekends in October. The restaurant announced (on its Facebook page) that it is officially opening doors at 5 p.m. on Thursday, October 20. Feedback reads favorably so far, boasting of great food and a fun atmosphere. The restaurant appears to have a semi-covered outdoor unpaved patio.

CultureMap Houston reported that Presidio (previously to be named 60 Pioneers), going into the former site of Java cafe at 11th is set to open in November in the Heights. The restaurant, helmed by Pax Americana’s Executive Chef Adam Dorris will offer sandwiches and salads at lunch and “reinvented takes on Texas and regional classics” at dinner. The space also has a large patio, a stage for live music, a full bar with 20 taps for craft beer, wine and cocktails.

The patio deck is spacious with large picnic tables, cornhole games and a six-person adult swing set.
The patio deck is spacious with large picnic tables, cornhole games and a six-person adult swing set.
Photo courtesy of McIntyre's

McIntyre’s Spirits & Friends, 1235 West 19th, soft opened in the Heights over the weekend. The sports-themed bar has forty 55-inch or more television sets, 24 seasonally rotating taps with some great local favorite craft beers including Brash, Eureka Heights, Saint Arnold’s and Karbach, a large selection of reds, whites and rosé, as well as, an extensive list of cocktails. A peek at the cocktail menu shows an option for a Mule Express, which means the mule can be created with a choice of vodka, gin, bourbon, tequila or ginger beer. Co-owner Chase McIntyre told the Press that the bar itself will not be serving food, however, a few local food trucks, like Koagie Hots and Coreanos, will always be parked in the lot. The grand opening was scheduled for Thursday, October 20.

Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight, Friday, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sundays, 11 a.m. to midnight

A look at the Houston Architecture Info Forum revealed plans for something stirring in an unoccupied lot at 1433 North Shepherd. The following day, Swamplot reported that the masterminds behind Wooster’s Garden, The Kirby Group have plans to start a new cocktail project called Worcester’s Annex at the site of the former Longhorn Motor Company. The new bar will be right next to the anticipated Height’s Bier Garten.

The cheeseburgers and shakes are favorites, but don't forget to try Willy Burger's hand-dipped, battered onion rings, fried fresh to order.
The cheeseburgers and shakes are favorites, but don't forget to try Willy Burger's hand-dipped, battered onion rings, fried fresh to order.
Photo courtesy of Willy Burger

Thanks again to In the Know Houston’s now open report, the Press followed up on a lead of a new burger joint that opened on October 12 in Katy. Willy Burger, 6191 Highway, suite 101, is the second location in Texas. A representative of Willy Burger said that “customer favorites on the menu include cheeseburgers, funnel cakes, malts and shakes, but you have to try the homemade hand-dipped onion rings!” According to its website, the restaurant grinds its meat fresh every day in an open-concept kitchen, serves old-fashioned soft serve ice cream and even offers gluten-free options.

A reader’s tip said that the Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar finally opened its doors on October 17 after months of anticipation. The Press told readers about the Dallas-based restaurant coming to Katy back in April of this year. The reader kept her eyes fixed on any movement and happily shared a Facebook post from the Whiskey Cake Facebook page that read, “Good news, everyone! We're finally open!” According to its profile, the restaurant offers farm-to-kitchen dishes using locally and regionally-sourced farms and markets and features wood-grill, spit and smoker-cooked foods.

Swamplot Houston reported that the owner of The Breakfast Klub, Marcus Davis has plans to remodel the space at 5404 Almeda into a new restaurant and bar. The article said that if all goes well, the place could open by early next year.

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.

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