Openings & Closings in Houston: Niko Niko's, Local Foods & Antone's Sprout New Locations
Houston hotspot Niko Niko's hosted a gyro-eating contest at the 2016 St. Basil Greek Festival. Didn't make it? Don't worry, you can try your hand at gyro-eating at the new Niko Niko's location in Spring Branch.
Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
The big news this week is that John Besh, a James Beard Award-winning chef based in New Orleans, will open a restaurant in Houston next year. Eunice, a Cajun and Creole brasserie, will be located at 3737 Buffalo Speedway, and chef Drake Leonards will relocate from Lüke, another Besh concept in New Orleans, to guide the new restaurant.
Niko Niko's opened its long-awaited Spring Branch location this week at 1040 West Sam Houston Parkway North. For now, the hours are only from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., but lunch service will be added very soon.
Another favorite lunch spot branched out this week; Local Foods opened an outpost at 5740 San Felipe with a similar menu as the Kirby location, plus a few new dishes.
For the first time in many years, Antone's Famous Po'Boys is opening some new storefronts. One of them is a kiosk in the food court at 5 Greenway Plaza near Greenway Coffee and The Rice Box, which will open in July. The other is a brick-and-mortar restaurant at 18006 Park Row, which will open early next year. Not only that, but Antone's has expansion plans in the works that would make its sandwiches available in grocery stores in Austin and Louisiana.
Zelko Bistro, 514 East 11th in The Heights, is for lease– and this time, it might actually be for real, unlike a similar incident involving Zelko Bistro almost exactly two years ago. Eric Sandler of CultureMap reports that the restaurant's lease is up, and the owner already has other tenants interested in the property. When we tried to call the bistro, our calls went unanswered, so it's unclear if the bistro is already closed or still operational. Owner Jamie Zelko is in the process of opening a café at Evelyn's Park Conservancy, so, if Zelko Bistro is truly closed, you'll be able to find her creations elsewhere very soon.
The River Oaks District at 4444 Westheimer welcomes two new restaurants this week; Taverna, a pasta-centric Italian eatery from Dallas, is now open and slinging risotto, wood-fired pizzas and more. It's brought to you by Alberto Lombardi, the same restauranteur behind Toulouse, also in the River Oaks District– which chef Philippe Schmit left this week after a few months of somewhat turbulent reviews. On June 14, Steak 48, an Arizona-based steak- and seafood- house, opens its first Houston location in the River Oaks District, which is complete with extensive raw bar offerings and a behind-the-scenes, refrigerated butchering room where the steaks will be cut just prior to preparation.
Le Colonial, a French-Vietnamese restaurant also located in the River Oaks District, has announced plans to open in August. It will sport a ground floor restaurant and café, plus an upstairs lounge and private dining options.
Another newcomer from Dallas opened this week. Cane Rosso, an incredibly popular Neapolitan-style pizzeria, now has a Houston location at 1835 North Shepherd in The Heights. Currently, it's only serving dinner, but lunch is coming soon.
Relish Restaurant & Bar has announced that it is moving from 3951 San Felipe to 2810 Westheimer, the former The Bird & The Bear spot. The larger space comes with a vast patio, expanded menu and full, sit-down dinner service. The move is expected to take place in August.
Alma Latina, 2203 North Shepherd, caught fire on the morning of Tuesday, June 7 and is temporarily closed. Katharine Shilcutt of Houstonia reports that the restaurant is already undergoing repairs and expects to reopen within a few weeks. Of course, if you need your Alma Latina fix in the meantime, there are three other locations around Houston.
Citing too much Tex-Mex competition in the neighborhood, Rene Hidalgo told Houstonia that he would be closing Maria Selma Restaurant, 1617 Richmond, after business on July 2 and rebranding it into Texas Shrimp Shack, a casual Tex-Mex seafood joint whose menu will center around succulent Gulf shrimp.
We certainly have plenty of Tex-Mex here in Houston, but how about New Mex? It's a growing culinary genre, and Tularosa Southwestern Grill at 1522 Kingwood in Kingwood is ready to help you experience it. Tularosa is a concept created by R.C. Gallegos, an award-winning chef and popular restauranteur, and its menu was inspired by the meals his mother made for him during his childhood in New Mexico.
Justin Yu of Oxheart will be the chef behind American Express's The Centurion Lounge, which will open later this month at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Not only will the lounge have top-notch food and beverage offerings, but also plenty of staff to help travelers with travel-related tasks like adjusting flights, making hotel and restaurant reservations and more. Check out the Houston Chronicle article for more details.
Cecil's Pub, 600 West Gray, is a beloved neighborhood bar for many inner-loopers. Don't panic, Cecil's admirers– yes, the pub is up for sale, but owner Kimberly Blythe told the Chronicle that she's hoping to find a buyer who will continue to operate Cecil's as it is today.
A new Vietnamese restaurant opened this week at 10830 West Bellfort. Simply Viet offers plenty of banh mi, vermicelli bowls, smoothies and teas that will help brighten up your lunch break. Namson Noodles, another Vietnamese eatery, is also now open at 2111 Fannin. Hello Tealicious, a bubble tea joint, opened this week at 969 East Nasa Parkway, as did TEAholic, a similar concept at 10613 Bellaire.
Sushi Hana Japanese Kitchen, 1638 South Mason in Katy, has reopened after a fire damaged the restaurant in January, which led to an extensive repair and remodeling project.
Carry-out, delivery and catering restaurant Desi Express is now open at 5838 New Territory in Sugar Land. The Indian eatery does not offer sit-down dining.
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