Openings and Closings: BuffBurger Opens in Montrose, Feges is Now Open

Local Bull Makes Good.
Local Bull Makes Good. Photo courtesy of BuffBurger

,1540 West Alabama, opened March 11. This is the second location of the popular burger restaurant for owners Sara and Paul "Buff" Burden.With the tagline, " Better in the Buff", the Burdens are delivering tasty burgers and salads using beef from 44 Farms and buns from Slow Dough Bread Co. The new Montrose location is a welcome addition to pedestrians in the neighborhood, but there is also plenty of parking in the back private lot, which is not always the case for Montrose businesses. There is a comfortable patio for the gorgeous spring weather we are having, so get out there now.

Sara Burden is a native Houstonian and her husband Paul is from London. The couple decided to settle in Houston and opened the first Buff Burger, 1014 Wirt, in 2015. Paul uses his love of travel to influence the menu, while being sustainable and supporting local vendors.

For beer lovers, there are 15 taps with different rotating local and craft brews. The current line-up is available on its Facebook page. There are four wines available and a full bar. For non-alcoholic treats, BuffBurger has $5 milkshakes made with Amy's Ice Creams.

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Buff burger or buff abs- you decide.
Photo courtesy of BuffBurger
Diners can choose from a variety of gourmet burgers or create your own with different toppings, cheeses and sauces. Try the bourbon onion jam or piquillo pesto for something a little different or stick with the buff burger for a simply pure taste of 44 Farms awesome beef. If you're lucky enough to have a sister-in-law who likes to share and sample with you, as I do, you can have a field day trying different variations.

There are vegetarian and gluten-free options as well, including GF buns and salads with the house-made avocado vinaigrette. Or you can order the "in the Buff" burger wrapped in lettuce.

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Photo courtesy of BuffBurger
The burger eatery is kid friendly with a special Kids Eat Free on Mondays with adult purchase of a meal, dine-in only. Besides thick milkshakes, there are sodas like Saint Arnold's root beer and Mexican Coke.

Feges BBQ, 3 Greenway Plaza, Suite C210, opened March 22. We have been reporting on the much-anticipated opening of the first barbecue restaurant from couple Erin Smith and Patrick Feges for a while now. Both are industry professionals who met while working at Chris Shepherd's restaurant, Underbelly. You can read more about the couple and their new restaurant here in the Houston Press.

Expect great smoked barbecue from pitmaster Feges and creative, seasonal sides from Smith. Also, expect long lines. Folks have been waiting a long time for the couple's new venture.

With the opening of high-quality burger joints in Houston, it's sad to see an old favorite say goodbye. Most native Houstonians have cut their burger teeth on a Prince's Hamburger at some point in their life. Unfortunately, the last prince standing has finally closed. Prince's Hamburger, 3425 Ella, has shuttered, according to the Houston Chronicle.

A Houston burger institution for 84 years, owner John Broussard partnered with Elizabeth Flores, a former Prince's carhop turned owner, after she was considering closing Prince's Drive Inn. They reopened it in the 1980's and John took over after she retired, now running operations with his son Brad.

Unfortunately, Hurricane Harvey not only caused some minor damage at the Ella location but the bastardly hurricane also caused major flooding and extensive damage to John and Patti Broussard's home.

Though this final outpost of Prince's Hamburgers is closed, John Broussard told the Chronicle that he's looking to open a new location later this year. The exact location remains to be seen, but posts on its Facebook page hint at a 2920/ I-45 location. Prince's catering business is still in operation.

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When you are hungry and you need something healthy, you can always go...Downtown.
Photo courtesy of Snappy Salads
Snappy Salads, 1000 Main, is expected to open in mid-April. The third Houston area location for the salad restaurant will be located in the downtown tunnel system offering nutritious, yet substantial salads, wraps and soups to the many office workers looking for a healthy option.

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Grilled avocado is a delicious vegetarian option.
Photo courtesy of Snappy Salads
" Snapsters", as loyal Sappy Salads diners are called, can munch on dishes like the grilled avocado salad with chipotle-lime vinaigrette, which is the Texas chain's No. 1 selling salad. There are a variety of ingredients to choose from when creating your own salad, with proteins such as wild-caught sockeye salmon, grass-fed beef tenderloin, all-natural chicken, falafel, and more. The omnivore's dilemma here is simply making a decision. For vegans and vegetarians, the choices are bountiful as well. This isn't rabbit food.

The company prides itself on its sustainability, using reclaimed wood, energy-efficient lighting, recycling light bulbs, and using biodegradable takeout containers, utensils and paper straws.

There are 18 locations in Texas, mostly around the Dallas area. The other Houston stores are located in Katy and Briargrove.

The downtown restaurant will be open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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It's all about the beef, 'bout the beef, no veggies. Okay, a few veggies.
Photo courtesy of Guard and Grace

Guard and Grace, One Allen Center, is coming to downtown Houston in the summer of 2019. The modern American steakhouse comes from chef and restaurateur, Troy Guard, owner of TAG Restaurant Group.The first location of Guard and Grace opened in 2014 at another Brookfield Building in downtown Denver, Colorado.

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Chef Troy Guard is bringing his steakhouse to Houston.
Photo courtesy of Guard and Grace
The steakhouse will be housed in One Allen Center's glass box with views over " The Acre's" central lawn.

Guard, who was born in Hawaii and has lived and traveled all over the United States and the world, has a number of Denver area restaurants with varying cuisines like Los Chingones  (badass Mexican), FNG (rock 'n roll American) and TAG (continental social food).

He worked as a dishwasher, line cook and eventually landed in the kitchen with James Beard Award-winning Roy Yamaguchi, the Japanese-born chef known for his Pacific Rim cuisine. Yamaguchi became his mentor and made him executive chef at Yamaguchi's restaurant, Roy's China Max in Hong Kong, according to Westword. He went on to open up more Asian outposts of the concept and then moved on to New York, working with Richard Sandoval, a renowned New York restaurateur behind places like Zengo and Houston's Bayou and Bottle.

Guard is a superstar chef and restaurateur in Denver, so it should be interesting to see what his steakhouse conception brings to a city already brimming with les maisons de biftek.

For those who would rather " Eat Mor Chiken", as the billboard cows would prefer you do,  a new Chik-Fil-A is opening mid-May at 8510 Spring Cypress. If we need to tell you that they serve chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, you need to get out more.

The Provisioner's Tale, 317 Gentry, is moving to a different building in Old Town Spring, according to Community Impact. The restaurant for bibliophiles opened in January 2017. Owner and chef Clay Alling will open the restaurant in the new space called OTS Border Haus, which will have a beer garden, event space, and a bar called " Haus Pour". Construction is still underway, but plans are for an April opening.

Hasta la Pasta, 6915 Cypresswood, reopened March 7. The restaurant was one of a number of Champions area businesses that received three to four feet of water from Hurricane Harvey. Brothers Jeff and Allan Smith opened the first Hasta La Pasta in Humble in 1999. That one is no longer around, but there is a location in Katy at 1450 Grand Parkway.

Mellow Mushroom, 16000 Stuebner Airline, is nearing completion on its repairs and renovations after major flooding from Hurricane Harvey. ( I am getting sick of talking about that jerk. He's like an ex-boyfriend that still bothers you). No definite opening date yet, but mid-April is a possibility.

Broken Yolk,
7019 Barker Cypress, will be the first Texas location of the much-loved Californian breakfast chain that started in 1979 in Pacific Beach. No word yet on an opening date, so you'll have to dream of its chicken and waffles Benedict a little while longer. We'll keep an eye out for you.

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Sunny days are on the way for patio fun.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero

Torchy's Tacos, 9975 Barker Cypress, is set to open April 3. The Austin-based taco chain is known for its " Damn Good" tacos like The Democrat, The Republican, and The Independent. They also have taco of the month specials. This month it's The Roscoe, a taco with crispy waffle, fried egg, fried chicken and a slice of bacon, drizzled with maple syrup. That sounds messed up, but in a good way.

The newest location at Boardwalk at Towne Lake offers a patio with a nice view of the lake, perfect for queso and margaritas. Do it before the heat, humidity and skeeters arrive. If you want to get a preview of the new Cypress Torchy's, head out there on April 2 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and try to score some free samples.

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There's cappuccino and vino at Giant Leap Coffee.
Photo by Pat Laughrey

For folks in the East End of Houston, there are brews of the caffeinated kind at Giant Leap Coffee, 3302 Canal. The cafe celebrated its grand opening February 17, according to Eater Houston. Logan Beck and co-owner Lauren Ferrante opened the space-themed coffee shop on January 14 for its soft opening. The interior was designed and built by rootlab, a local design and fabrication company.

The split Macchiato Flight.
Photo courtesy of Giant Leap Coffee
The coffee, from Amaya, is the main draw, and Giant Leap also has its own cold brew concentrate, Star Cruiser, made with Cruiser Coffee. Draft beers and wine are available, plus Kickin' Kombucha, pastries and breakfast tacos from El Topo.

In partnership with Half Moon Kitchen, the coffee shop offers healthy grab and go lunches like hummus veggie wraps and charcuterie packs. For a portable dessert, try the mason jar parfaits.

If you're an astronaut, you might just drink for free.

South Beach, 810 Pacific, has temporarily closed for remodeling according to the Houston Chronicle. Charles Armstrong opened the LGBT club in 2001 after the previous hotspot, Heaven, was destroyed in a fire. The nightclub has hosted Saturday Night appearances by "Ru Paul's Drag Race" contestants as well as a weekly amateur drag contest called " So You Think You Can Drag." Until it reopens, good luck finding another club with as many shirtless patrons.

Is there a better way to enjoy breakfast?
Photo courtesy of Tout Suite
Tout Suite, 303 Memorial City, closed its mall kiosk March 1. The East Downtown location at 2001 Commerce is still open and serving its delicious macarons and pastries, along with coffees and carafes of sangria and mimosas for brunch.

Macarons. That's the magic word.
Photo courtesy of Tout Suite
The owners felt that the mass environment of the mall made it difficult to compete with the conglomerates and large chains and didn't fit with their family-business vibe. " We decided to venture into the mall with the aspiration of starting a new era of local food and coffee inside of a Houston mall, completely out of our comfort zone and key audience," according to its Instagram page. Tout Suite will be integrating employees from the Memorial location to its downtown restaurant.

They are now putting their focus on the remaining restaurant, with new plans and concepts for the future.

According to Houston Press writer, Jeff Balke, Tout Suite makes a great grilled cheese sandwich. You can read about it here in the Press.

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Photo courtesy of Kenny and Ziggy's New York Delicatessen
Kenny and Ziggy's New York Delicatessen, 5172 Buffalo Speedway and 2327 Post Oak, has added alcohol-light cocktails to its menu. The cocktails are made with wine and wine vodka. If you have never heard of wine vodka, you are not alone. We looked it up and it's for real. Wine vodka is made from grapes, instead of grain and it is distilled a number of times, unlike grappa, which is distilled once.

What kind of craziness is this? Well, we think some seriously fun kind of crazy. How about K&Z's signature Schmojito? It is a cleverly-named twist on the Cuban cocktail made with mint simple syrup, lime juice and wine vodka. There's also the Deli Mary, with spicy tomato juice, wine vodka and a salami garnish. If the plus-sized sandwiches and potato salad doesn't fill you up ( and if it doesn't, what's wrong with you?), try the Guinness Float, a chocolatey treat made with Guinness beer and Amy's Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream. Hopefully, there won't be any accidents from buttons popping off customer's pants. At Kenny and Ziggy's, elastic is your friend.

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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.