Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Karne Korean Heights, Lupo Caffe Lake Houston

It's a "karnivore's" dream at Karne.
It's a "karnivore's" dream at Karne. Photo by Jenn Duncan
Karne Korean Steakhouse, 2805 White Oak, softly opened November 1 with an official opening planned for November 11. The modernist Korean Steakhouse comes from restaurateur Jason Cho (Dak & Bop) and Chef Yurum "KP" Nam, the former owner/chef at New York City's Korean restaurant, Zusik. The duo are bringing Korean fine dining to the Heights with prime beef, American and Japanese Wagyu, and meats that are dry-aged in house. Guests will have well-trained experts tableside to cook their choices to order. The restaurant will also have private dining rooms for a multi-course chef's tasting menu, by reservation only.

While the vibe is one of a contemporary big city, it's countered with the Korean spirit of Jeong, which is a feeling of friendship, warmth and communal dining experiences. For the opening menu, there's the Karnivore Platter for $60 per person, with a two person minimum per table. It offers five chef's choice cuts plus accompaniments like Ssam, scallion salad, a side soup choice, egg souffle, kimchi and more.
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The Korean Land and Sea is a decadent plate.
Photo by Jenn Duncan
Seafood items like jumbo marinated shrimp, jumbo tiger shrimp and oysters are available a la carte, along with cold or hot seafood towers at market price. There are appetizers like the Black Sesame K.F.C., which is a playful twist on popcorn chicken, and Red Wine Mussels. Authentic Korean dishes such as Ribeye Hotpot Hot Stone Bibimbap round out the menu.

There is a curated cocktail menu plus a wine list of 173 choices.
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That's a heckuva breakfast sandwich.
Photo by Lupo Caffe
Lupo Caffe, 250 Assay, opened November 4 at Generation Park's Redemption Square. The space previously housed Lupo Pizzeria which opened in January 2021, along with another Gastropub Productions concept, Bocca Italian Kitchen . Now, the pizzeria has been transformed into a counter-service cafe and coffeeshop with Italian-inspired dishes plus a selection of grab-and-go products from the cafe's market.

Readers will remember that Justin Turner, the owner and founder of Bernie's Burger Bus, became the Director of Hospitality at McCord's Gastropub Productions after closing all five of his burger operations in May 2020, due to the pandemic. He opened Bocca and Lupo Pizzeria with McCord in January 2021.
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Justin Turner looks happy to be doing it Italian style.
Photo by McCord Development

Turner says of the new concept, "We saw an opportunity to serve the Lake Houston community with a great coffee shop and Italian cafe that overlooks an amazing green space perfect for picnics and kids to roam." Turner added that there will be fresh pastas, homemade pasta sauces, cheeses, wine and fresh squeezed juices from the market as well as the hot food items at the cafe.

Lupo Caffe will be open for breakfast and lunch so early risers can start the day with hot or cold craft coffee from local roaster Avi Katz of Katz Coffee. There will also be cold brew, nitro coffees, tea and seasonally-changing flavors. Breakfast items include pastries, breakfast tacos and build-your-own power bowls.

For lunch there is a menu of paninis, wraps, soups, salads and pizza. A well-rounded wine list includes Old World wines, and varietals from California, Oregon and Washington. There's also a cocktail menu of eight Italian-inspired creations. A gelato case offers a tempting selection of frozen treats.
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Clyde Cannon, center, revives his role as "First Customer".
Photo by Three Brothers Bakery
Three Brothers Bakery, 574 Chimney Rock, quietly opened recently and the owners are now ready to make it official. It's the fourth store for the family-owned bakery business. Its new location was teased back in April of this year. The team kept the opening secret to make sure everything was ready. In keeping with a longtime tradition, its first customer was Clyde Cannon, who has had that honor since the original location opened in 1949.

The new store design is part of an evolving branding for Three Brothers Bakery, designed by Gensler. Matt Stovall of Stovall Interests was the architect and contractor.

Bobby Jucker, fifth generation baker and co-owner with wife Janice Jucker said in a press release, "We're proud to finally be growing again and adding jobs to the community...Additionally, the response from the Tanglewood Community has been so incredibly welcoming. We're thrilled to be in this neighborhood and look forward to becoming a part of the fabric of Tanglewood."

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Christine Ha will bring her goat curry to Spring Branch.
Photo by Mai Pham
The Blind Goat, 8147 Long Point, is on track for a soft opening in mid-December, barring any construction or permitting delays. We reported on the expansion of Chef Christine Ha's first restaurant concept to Long Branch in November 2021.

In addition to the much larger version of The Blind Goat, Ha and her husband John Suh are planning another new concept, Stuffed Belly, which is slated to open in March 2023. Unlike The Blind Goat and her Vietnamese concept with chef Tony Nguyen, Xin Chao, the newest concept will be primarily a drive-thru/take-way business with comfort food and sandwiches that reflect Ha's Vietnamese heritage and American roots.
Christine Ha has lots to smile about.
Photo by Julie Soefer
Ha and Suh have brought in Nick Wong, former chef at Underbelly Hospitality's now-shuttered UB Preserv and more recently, Georgia James Tavern, which Wong left in April 2022. Wong will serve as chef consultant to help open both The Blind Goat Spring Branch and Stuffed Belly. Ha admits that despite her championship win on Fox's Master Chef Season 3 and her skills as a chef, she still considers herself green when it comes to opening and running restaurants.

She told the Houston Press, "I am good at menu conception and development, branding and marketing and being the restaurateur and steering the ship, but I'm still learning the fine details of what it takes to execute in the details. So that's where Nick has graciously offered to step in."

Ha says she and Wong will take her recipes and work through them together. "I am very open to his feedback and would love to have him contribute as much or as little as he'd like to the menu. But Nick and I are both of the understanding that these are my concepts.'
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The Blue Lagoon offers bites and bevs lagoon-side.
Photo by Shannon O'Hara

Blue Lagoon Bar & Grill, 12930 Crystal View Boulevard, officially opens November 11 in Texas City. The new restaurant and bar is a collaboration between Houston restaurant designers Candice and Lonnie Schiller, architect Craig Schuster of H3D Hospitality Design and American Resort Management. The weekend fun actually begins on Thursday November 10 with festivities through November 13.

With its lagoon and white sand beaches, the new coastal-inspired concept will offer guests a resort experience. There's a patio with views over the quarter-mile lagoon and guests can rent a table on the beach itself. A wrap-around bar, state-of-the-art wood-fired pizza oven and wooden porch swing add to the resort ambiance. In addition to the 100-seat patio and interior dining room for 60 guests, there are two private dining rooms for up to 8 people. For larger gatherings there is a banquet rom that can seat 80 or accommodate 500 guests standing.
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Blue Lagoon will offer a Sunday Jazz Brunch.
Photo by Shannon O'Hara
The menu will offer fresh fish and oysters plus appetizers such as Jumbo Shrimp Cocktails, Boudin Egg Rolls, Shellfish Fondue and Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos. There will be burgers and sandwiches plus dishes such as Creole Gumbo and New Orleans Redfish. A Sunday Jazz Brunch will offer items like Quiche Lorraine, Chicken and Waffles, Shrimp and Grits and Creole Omelet as guests enjoy the live music and coastal vibes.

And adding to the vacation feel will be craft cocktails like its signature Blue Lagoon made with Blue Chair Bay Coconut, blue Curacao, and house-made lemonade. There's also the Vida Paloma, a creation of El Jimador tequila, Chambord, grapefruit, lime, agave and Q ginger beer.

Candice Schiller said in a press release, "We knew that we needed to make Blue Lagoon a destination for not only the residents of Lago Mar, but for the surrounding community as well. Situated on the edge of one of Land Tejas’s largest crystal-clear lagoons, it became the ideal setting for a casually upscale venue looking out at the blue water, but also with outdoor seating overlooking the adjacent lagoon."

Blanc & Noir, 3100 McKinney, is currently in crowdfunding mode and the craft coffee house and speakeasy has Miami Dolphins Linebacker Elandon Roberts championing its mission. Roberts, a former University of Houston student athlete and two-time NFL Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, is partnering with owners Nick Ozuna, William Felix III, Ulysses Grant and Ishme Allah to bring the concept to life. Part of the quartet's Noir Hospitality & Management group, Blanc & Noir is a dual concept, with Blanc being the daytime concept with Cavo Coffee and Cleo Roasting Company goods and Noir being the upscale bar and restaurant to end the day (or night) with friends.

The crowdfunding began October 20 at republic.com/blanc-noir.
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Fogo de Chao brings the churrasco experience to Friendswood.
Photo by Marcos Travers
Fogo de Chao, 700 Baybrook Mall, opened September 29 in Friendswood. The Brazilian steakhouse is an internationally-known brand founded in Southern Brazil in 1979.  The new Baybrook Mall location makes the 70th worldwide and joins The Woodlands and the Westheimer locations as the third in the Houston area.

The new restaurant overlooks The Lawn at Baybrook, the shopping center's outdoor space which often hosts live music and events and it has an expansive outdoor patio for dining al fresco.

Inside the churrasco experience is highlighted with an open-air grill in the center of the dining room where Gaucho chefs butcher, prep and grill a wide variety of proteins (meat!) over the open fires. Guests can indulge in the carnivorous feast with selections of beef ribeye, lamb chops and the house specialty, picanha, the prime cut of the top sirloin. There are different prices and experiences for lunch and dinner from the Full Churrasco Experience to the Indulgent Cuts with cuts like the 20-ounce Wagyu New York Strip or the massive dry-aged 32-ounce Long Bone Tomahawk Ribeye.
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You'll need a cocktail to wash it all down.
Photo by Marco Travers
There are weekday lunch deals for the seasonal Market Table and Feijoda Bar with family-style Brazilian side dishes for $15 per person. Diners can add meat for an additional cost. There's a Brazilian Brunch on the weekends and seafood dishes are available a la carte. The All-Day Happy Hour includes $9 Brazilian-inspired cocktails, $7 glasses of South American wines and $5 beers.
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Chef Gina Antimo is making authentic Mexican dishes and she has the trophy to prove it.
Photo by Jaime Reverte
Mexican Mom Cocina Tradicional, 1027 Sawdust, opened September 21 in Spring. The menu offers authentic Mexican fare from owner/chef Gina Antimo who has years of experience in catering. The dishes are influenced by different states across Mexico and some of the items from the weekly changing menu include the already popular Chile en Nogada, Mole Oaxaqueno and Tacos de Canasta plus Antimo's Mexican Mom Chicken which won the Antimo Best Chef of the Rio Grande Valley in a televised competition against 20 other chefs.
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The interior at Mexican Mom is homey with a couple of couches for those who want to linger.
Photo by Jaime Reverte
In addition to the rotating menu, there are a la carte items available all year long such as a selection of empanadas, enchiladas and chilaquiles. Other rotating menu items might include pozole, pescado de Veracruzana and tacos de Chilorio.

Queen's Bar-B-Que, 3428 Avenue S, has been bought by The Creek Group, as reported by The Galveston County Daily News.  The Houston hospitality company operates concepts that include Onion Creek, Cedar Creek, Canyon Creek, Cactus Cove and Piggy's Kitchen & Bar. 

We have reached out to The Creek Group for more information and will keep readers updated.
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This is why Gayot named them one of the Top 10 Pizza Restaurants in the U.S.A.
Photo by Ray Salti
Bollo Woodfired Pizza, 1223 W. 34th, is shooting to open mid-December at The Stomping Grounds, according to owner Ray Salti. Unlike its original full-service pizzeria and restaurant on W. Alabama, the new location will be pizza only and will not offer dine-in service. Instead, the pizza menu will be available for Stomping Grounds customers, take-out orders and third-party deliveries.
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The wood-fired oven will start cranking out pizzas in December.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero

Recently, Bollo Woodfired Pizza, 2202 W. Alabama, was voted one of the Top 10 Pizza Restaurants in the U.S.A. 2022 by travel and dining guide, GAYOT, with the Bianco pizzas getting especially high praise.
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Vegetarians, avert your eyes.
Photo by Emily Jaschke
Butcher's Ball 2022 will return, after a brief COVID pandemic hiatus, for its 5th annual festival November 12 through November 13 at Rockin' Star Ranch, 8002 Fuelburg in Brenham. The two-day foodie extravaganza is the state's largest annual culinary and educational festival and it promises to be even bigger than before with dozens of chefs from Houston, Austin, San Antonio and the rural Hill Country. The event benefits Houston's local non-profit, Urban Harvest, which provides community garden programming, farmers markets, gardening classes and youth education.
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Ranchers and restaurateurs Felix and Jeanette Florez stand next to their live fire roaster.
Photo by Emily Jaschke
This year, attendees will enjoy an open air experience with a multitude of Texas farmers, ranchers, chefs, bartenders and industry experts as they highlight the importance of ethical and sustainable food production. More than 50 renowned chefs will offer samples of their delicious cuisine while professional mixologists will be pouring cocktails and mocktails for attendees. There will also be butchery demonstrations, along with panel discussions on sustainable and local production practices.

Entertainment includes live musical performances from Texas artists including Garrett T. Capps and local DJs. The Golden Cleaver Competition will allow guests to choose the People's Choice for best bite of the day.

For more information on the chef line-up and ticket availability, go to butchersball.com.

Behind Closed Doors, 310 Main, opened earlier this week. We are currently working to get more information about the newly opened downtown bar.

Restaurants Reported Open October 2022:


Burger Bodega, 4520 Washington, softly opened late October
Cabo Bob's, 740 S. Mason, opened September 28
The Cheesecake Factory, 5000 Katy Mills, opened September 20
Daddy's Chicken Shack, 1223 W. 11th, opened October 13
Daquiri Corner, 401 Franklin, opened mid-October
Dog Haus, 2115 Spring Stuebner, opened October 22
Emilia's Havana, 1800 Post Oak Boulevard, opened October 28
EZ's Liquor Lounge, 3302 White Oak, opened October 24
First Watch, 2799 Katy Freeway, opened October 10
Gatsby's Prime Seafood, 1212 Waugh, opened October 11
James Coney Island, 5745 Westheimer, closed early October
Lyric Market, 411 Smith, opened October 13
North Italia, 1201 Lake Woodlands, opened October 5
Playa Azul, 9630 Jones, reopened November 1
Salata Salad Kitchen, 6209 FM 1488, opened October 20
Slim Chickens, 11919 Westheimer, opened October 24
Sweet Greek Pastries, 8320 Louetta, opened late August
Velvet Taco, 10201 Katy Freeway, opened October 3
Winfield's Chocolate Bar, 2411 W. Alabama, opened October 11
Zalat Pizza (Kroger), 9703 Barker Cypress, opened October 21

Restaurants Reported Closed October 2022:

Brewingz, 28320 Highway 290, closed August 24
Just GRK, 11325 Katy Freeway, closed early October
Verna Mae's, 16010 West, closed October 25
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Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.