Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Adair Downtown Debuts, Buff Burger Shutters Two Locations

Photo by Kerry Kirk Photography
Cocktails glow in the bar at Adair Downtown.

Adair Downtown, 1000 Louisiana, opened January 27 in Wells Fargo Plaza. The new concept offers four different areas: a full service restaurant, a gourmet coffee bar, a cocktail bar and patio, plus a grab and go market.

The restaurant's menu features some of the items from Eloise Nichols and Adair Kitchen, two other restaurants in the Adair Concepts portfolio.  The new restaurant will have dishes like the Super Foods Bowl, Lemon Artichoke Soup and Joe's Hot Chicken and Caramelized Brussel Sprouts. There will be new dishes from Executive Chef Roberto Ozaeta including Avocado Chorizo Toast and Chicken and Waffles for breakfast. The lunch menu offers things like a steak sandwich, the Kitchen Burger and Snapper Tacos. There's also a bar bites menu with a trio of sliders, fried asparagus, and calamari. The restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch and cocktails, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

click to enlarge All lined up and ready to go. - PHOTO BY KERRY KIRK PHOTOGRAPHY
All lined up and ready to go.
Photo by Kerry Kirk Photography
The decor is reminiscent of an American bistro with classic subway tiles welcoming guests in the coffee bar while wood-paneled walls and herringbone-patterned wood floors create a more power lunch feel in the main dining room. The bar is enhanced by a 60-foot long, white calacatta waterfall bar which extends out to the outdoor patio.

Adair Concepts is a family-owned  hospitality group based in Houston with partners Gary Adair, Nick Adair and Katie Adair Barnhart. It was founded in 1988 and operates thirteen restaurants including, Los Tios Mexican Food, Betsy's in Evelyn Park and Skeeters Mesquite Grill.

click to enlarge Buff Burger and fries can still be had in Memorial. - PHOTO BY ROBERT LERMA
Buff Burger and fries can still be had in Memorial.
Photo by Robert Lerma
 Buff Burger, 10550 Westheimer and 1540 W. Alabama, have shuttered. The Memorial location at 1014 Wirt is still open. We have reached out, but there is no word yet as to why two of the locations are permanently closed. There was a lockout notice on the door of the Montrose location for failure to pay rent, according to the Houston Chronicle. The first Buff Burger opened in 2015 in Memorial, followed by the Alabama spot in March 2018 and the Westheimer restaurant in January 2019.

The burger restaurant from Paul "Buff" and Sara Burden uses beef from local vendor 44 Farms and sources other ingredients locally from producers such as Houston's Dairymaids. They offer a menu of gourmet burgers such as the Truffle, with truffle cheese, caramelized onions, truffle frisee and truffle aioli. There's also the Avocado with fire-roasted poblanos, avocado, smoked jalapeno gouda and Fresno chili mayo. The Buff Burger is for those who like their burgers with the basics.  Buff Burger was chosen as the Houston Press: Best Burger 2019.

The souffles at Rise  Houston have sunk. - PHOTO BY TROY FIELDS
The souffles at Rise Houston have sunk.
Photo by Troy Fields
Rise No. 2, 1700 Post Oak Boulevard, closed January 28. According to its Facebook page, the Dallas-based restaurant made the "difficult, but necessary decision" to close the Houston location. There are two other locations in Dallas and Fort Worth with Rise No. 4 planned for Austin in the fall of 2020. Yelpers loved it with four and a half stars and one would think its Uptown location was a perfect fit for the slightly pricey salon de souffle and wine bar. However, the eggy, fluffy clouds of its sweet and savory souffles have left Houston and will rise again in Austin.

Bar Louie of Sun Capital Partners has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to Restaurant Business Online. It has already closed 38 locations,including the restaurant at 2000 Willowbrook Mall. Four Houston-area locations still remain open at Baybrook Mall, Sugar Land, The Woodlands and Katy.

click to enlarge ZOA Moroccan Kitchen will color your world. - PHOTO BY BRIAN MCKENNEY
ZOA Moroccan Kitchen will color your world.
Photo by Brian McKenney

ZOA Moroccan Kitchen, 4710 Lillian, will open late February or early March, according to a press release. The new fast-casual concept comes from local restaurateur Youssef Naffaa of Bella Restaurants Group, the company behind Houston favorites such as Mia Bella, CoCo Crepes and Mi Luna.

Youssef says of the new restaurant, “I started with ZOA Moroccan because it is the food of my childhood. The food my grandmother and mother cooked. The food my brothers and I ate on the streets on my way from our farm to school every day.”

Youssef Nafaa is going back to his roots with ZOA. - PHOTO BY BRIAN MCKENNEY
Youssef Nafaa is going back to his roots with ZOA.
Photo by Brian McKenney
The Moroccan flavors of cinnamon, paprika, cilantro and saffron are evident in the menu options, which include 30 ingredients, much of which is organic or locally sourced.

Guests can choose from signature favorites or create their own sandwiches and bowls. It starts with a choice of pita, couscous, lentils, saffron rice, white beans or greens as a base. Protein choices include beef tagine, chicken chermoula, lamb, kefta (meatballs) and Moroccan shrimp. Toppings such as eggplant, feta and cinnamon carrots are available along with a variety of sauces like red harissa, mint avocado yogurt and garlic aioli.

Youssef plans to open more ZOA restaurants in the future, each featuring a different cuisine.

click to enlarge The fried chicken at Jollibee is known as "chicken joy." - PHOTO BY CUC LAM
The fried chicken at Jollibee is known as "chicken joy."
Photo by Cuc lam

Jollibee will open two new locations in the Houston area, as reported by the Houston Chronicle. The Filipino chain opened its first Houston location in 2013 at 8001 S. Main near NRG Park. A second location is planned for this spring at 6127 State Highway 6 North in Missouri City. A posting on shows that the restaurant is already seeking staff members for that location. The third is planned for 3347 Westheimer this summer.

Jollibee is hugely popular in the Phillipines and has grown to more than 1,300 stores globally. There are currently 37 locations in the United States. Known for its "chickenjoy" or fried Filipino chicken, it also serves a sweet-style (pinoy) spaghetti which is similar to Bolognese sauce except that its sweetened with either banana ketchup or brown sugar and has ham and sliced hot dogs mixed in. It is a Filipino comfort food popular with children.

The dark-meat fried chicken can be ordered as combos or family-sized buckets plus there are chicken sandwiches, burgers, palabok noodles and burger steaks with mushroom gravy. Peach mango pies and the multi-layered Filipino dessert concoction, Halo Halo, are on the dessert menu.

click to enlarge You can have a beer and a burger at Shake Shack. - PHOTO BY CHEYENNE COHEN
You can have a beer and a burger at Shake Shack.
Photo by Cheyenne Cohen
Shake Shack, 1201 Lake Woodlands, will open in late summer 2020 at The Woodlands Mall in a stand-alone building. The burger restaurant was originally a hot dog stand before becoming a kiosk-style restaurant in Madison Square Garden as part of the conservation effort in 2004. Though the original intention was never to expand the concept, it is now the largest part of Union Square Hospitality Group.

This will be the fifth Houston area location for the burger chain and the first foray into the wilds of the Houston suburbs. Besides its 100 percent Angus beef burgers, griddled flat-top hot dogs, crinkle fries and chicken sandwiches, it also serves shakes, beer, wine and frozen custard concretes.

H-E-B Meyerland Market, 4955 Beechnut, opened January 29. The new two-story, 95,000 square foot grocery replaces the previous H-E-B, which closed in 2017 after it was flooded by Hurricane Harvey. The store opened in Meyerland 25 years ago and, like the rest of the area, flooded several times. Fortunately for the community, the grocery chain is not abandoning its residents. Instead, it has designed a store more in keeping with the community it serves. The Meyerland area has been a center of Houston's Jewish community since the land was developed for a subdivision in 1955. The new H-E-B will offer a huge selection of kosher foods and goods. It was certified kosher by Houston Kashrut Association and Mehadrin Kashrut of Texas, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The new store will also feature a large wine selection and a diverse offering of international foods. There's also plenty of parking in the two story garage.

click to enlarge Dumpling Haus was packed for its grand opening. - PHOTO BY ANNA LI
Dumpling Haus was packed for its grand opening.
Photo by Anna Li
Dumpling Haus, 2313 Edwards, had its grand opening January 25 with a Lunar New Year celebration.  The food truck is popular with patrons of Axelrad and the Urban Harvest market with owner Elaine Won and daughters Ashley and Amiley Lai usually dishing out the dumplings and noodles. It now has its own permanent spot at Sawyer Yards, but will continue to operate its food truck as well.

It offers pan-fried dumplings with a choice of pork, chicken or vegan. In fact, vegan options abound at Dumpling Haus, including the Stir-fried Glass Noodles which is also gluten-free. The Chili Garlic Noodles made with chili garlic sauce, spicy pickled mustard greens, bok choy and cilantro can be served with chicken or tofu.

El Paraiso Mexican Restaurant, 2320 Crocker is closing Friday, January 31. The Montrose restaurant has been in operation since 1978. We reached out to make sure the rumors were true and were told by owner Beatriz Torres that " Forty-one years is a long time". She told the Houston Press that many regular customers have made their way to El Paraiso this week to say goodbye. Your last chance to do so will be today. The restaurant will be open regular hours so you can hop in for migas at breakfast, have an enchilada combo for lunch, then fajitas and ritas for dinner. Make it an all day affair since it's your final opportunity to say adios to paradise.

Photo by Julia Keim/Giant Noise

JuiceLand, 1709 Dryden, will celebrate its grand opening February 6 in the Medical Center at 7 a.m. Be there bright and early as the first 50 customers will receive a JuiceLand tumbler. What's so great about the tumbler, you ask? Well, it gets you 50 cents off your drink purchase each time you bring it in. That's pretty great. And there's more. There will be a prize wheel for the grand opening, so you will have a chance to win some JuiceLand swag. Plus, there will be half-off drink specials and other sweet deals.

This is the fifth Houston area location for the juice and healthy food concept which was founded in Austin by Matt Shook in 2011. There are now thirty-five independently owned stores in Texas.

The beverages are all plant-based and include fresh cold-pressed juices, smoothies and superfoood lattes. The protein smoothies are made with house-made hemp milk and the green smoothies have organic greens and root veggies. There are acai and dragonfruit bowls, vegan wraps, salads and plenty of gluten-free menu items. So, you can get back on your clean-eating plan that you fell off of in mid-January.

click to enlarge Tell them you love'em with a doughnut heart. - PHOTO BY ARIEL PASTORE-SEBRING
Tell them you love'em with a doughnut heart.
Photo by Ariel Pastore-Sebring

Voodoo Doughnuts, 3715 Washington, will have two special doughnuts for Valentine's Day February 14 through February 16. The Conversation Heart ($3.25) is a raised yeast heart-shaped doughnut filled with Bavarian cream and frosted with vanilla icing, bearing a romantic message. For less romantic overtures, there's the VD Sprinkles ($1.25), a plain cake doughnut with vanilla frosting and Valentine sprinkles.

Openings Reported for January 2020:

Antone's Famous Po'boys, 6618 Fannin, opened early January
Chicken Salad Chick, 30129 Rock Creek, opened January 21
Crumbl Cookies, 28610 U.S. 290, opened January 17
Dak & Bop, 1805 W. 18th, opened mid-January
El Tiempo, 6777 Woodlands Parkway, opened December 23
El Topo, 6119 Edloe, opened January 10
Fluff Bake Bar 314 W. Gray, closed for relocation January 18
Genghis Grill, 9300 Six Pines, reopened January 21
The Local Bar, 10615 Fry, opened December 20
Lost & Found, 160 W. Gray, opened december 27
Mutiny Wine Room, 1124 Usener, opened January 18
Pluckers Wing Bar, 12469 Southwest Freeway, opened January 27
Randalls, closed five Houston stores in January
The Sauer Kraut Grill, 734 Crabb River Road, opened January 21
Shabang Crawfish and Mi Quang, 13734 TX-249, opened December 30
Sticky's Chicken, 2313 Edwards, had its grand opening January 11
The Sunset Rooftop Lounge, 2119 Dallas, opened January 17
Susiecakes, 1711 Dryden, opened January 16
Taco Cabana, closed five Houston locations in January
Tarka Indian Kitchen, 3701 S. Shepherd, opened January 29
Texadelphia, 1321 N. Westgreen, opened December 20
Thirsty Bee Meadery, 108 Commerce, opened early January
1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza, 4057 Riley Fuzzel, opened January 2
Voodoo Doughnuts, 3715 Washington, opened January 15
Wicked Boxer Brewing, 8190 Barker Cypress, reopened December 21

Closings Reported for January 2020:

Andes Cafe, 2311 Canal, closed January 5
Belden's Food Market, closed mid-January
Buck's BBQ, 801 Postoffice, closed January 14
Conservatory 1010 Prairie, closed for relocation December 31
Hubcap Grill, 111 Prairie, closed December 31
The Next Door, 2020 Waugh, closed January 11
Theo's Restaurant, 812 Westheimer, closed January 5
Yauatcha, 5045 Westheimer, will close February 16