Openings & Closings: The End of an ERA

The big closing news of last week happened right after we wrapped up our last Openings & Closings post, because Houston is apparently the city that never stops closing restaurants overnight.

That closing was ERA, the pizzeria on Market Square that had one of our 100 Favorite Dishes of the year, the Chupacabra pizza. The recent brunch service and the fact that parking is free downtown after 6 p.m. and on Sundays sadly did nothing to generate the kind of business that ERA needed, and it closed quietly over the weekend.

In other closings, B4-U-Eat reports that La Parranda -- the popular Mexican grill on Steubner Airline -- chose not to renew its lease at that location. Instead, it's closing temporarily and reopening next month at 10609 Grant Road with a new name: Soto's Cantina.

Next week, however, get ready for a new restaurant to take over the spot where so many closings have occurred in the past...

The Bird & The Bear is the new restaurant from Elouise Adams Jones of Ouisie's Table, opening in the spot at 2810 Westheimer that recently held Tony Mandola's (which moved to its newly constructed standalone building on West Gray a few months ago). Before it was Tony Mandola's, it was Fins. And before it was Fins, it was Rickshaw. But we have a strong suspicion that The Bird & The Bear will be in this space for the long haul.

Although the name may make it sound like a pub, The Bird & The Bear is actually a Southern-influenced bistro, as befitting Jones's popular cuisine at Ouisie's Table. It plans to open this coming Thursday, October 20, but if you can't wait until then, check out Horton Foote's Dividing the Estate at the Alley Theatre. Little known fact: It's based on Jones's Wharton family.

Last but not least, the bizarre news of the week comes in the form of this tidbit from B4-U-Eat: "New owners have taken over the Bibas Diner on West Gray and its new name is Bibas KitBar." The Urban Dictionary defines KitBar as "a backstabbing, nasty, boyfriend stealing bitch." I've got my eye on you, KitBar.

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