Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: The Lymbar by David Cordua, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Arrives

The Lymbar should be arriving this fall.
The Lymbar should be arriving this fall. Photo by Gin Design Group
The Lymbar, 4201 Main, is coming to The Ion this fall. The craft cocktail bar and restaurant is bringing Latin and Mediterranean flavors from chef David Cordua, currently executive chef and owner of David + Michael Cordua Events. Cordua is also the former executive chef/owner of Americas and Churrascos. Cordua is partnering with his father Michael Cordua on the new project.

This will be the first brick and mortar concept from father and son since their departure from Cordua Restaurants in  September 2018.  Michael Cordua, a native of Nicaragua, founded the critically acclaimed Churrascos in 1988, introducing Houston to a new wave of Latin cuisine. Son David was born in Houston and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. David helped to oversee the family's restaurant group concepts, Americas, Churrascos, Artista and Amazon Grill from 2007 to 2018. Churrascos and Amazon Grill on the Go are now operated by Churrascos Restaurant Group.

click to enlarge Michael and David Cordua team up for a dazzling new concept. - PHOTO BY SHAWN CHIPPENDALE
Michael and David Cordua team up for a dazzling new concept.
Photo by Shawn Chippendale
The menu at The Lymbar will carry on the duo's culinary traditions but also incorporate David's French cooking techniques from his time in Paris as well as other global influences. Diners can expect roasted meats from the vertical rotisserie in the theater-style open kitchen. The craft cocktail program will emphasize barrel-aged spirits and cocktails that pay tribute to Latin, South American and Mediterranean influences. The Lymbar is the first bar-forward concept for the Corduas with the bar located in front of the floor to ceiling windows of its corner space at The Ion.

click to enlarge The library at The Lymbar offers a cozy, clubby vibe. - PHOTO BY GIN DESIGN GROUP
The library at The Lymbar offers a cozy, clubby vibe.
Photo by Gin Design Group
Gin Braverman of Gin Design Group is designing the space. Braverman has designed a number of restaurants around Houston and is a longtime family friend of the Corduas. Not only will her influence be reflected in the space's design but other former neighbors of the Cordua family on Lymbar Drive will be represented in the menu and the sourcing of ingredients. There will be Lebanese and Mediterranean menu items as a nod to the Droubi family of Droubi's Bakery and Delicatessen and local produce will be sourced from Finca Tres Robles urban farm from the Garcia-Prats family, also former Lymbar Drive residents. So, readers can guess where the restaurant gets its name from.

The Lymbar will join other highly-anticipated concepts at The Ion including Late August from chef partners Chris Williams of Lucille's and Dawn Burrell, a 2020 James Beard Award -winning semifinalist and current Top Chef competitor. The Third ward food truck,  STUFF'd Wings, will join the group with its first brick and mortar location and the ever-expanding Common Bond Cafe will open its on-the-go concept at The Ion in Midtown, also.

click to enlarge Van Leeuwen knows what the Lone Star State likes. - PHOTO BY VAN LEEUWEN ICE CREAM
Van Leeuwen knows what the Lone Star State likes.
Photo by Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream
, 2565 Amherst, will open its first Texas store May 8. For its grand opening, the ice cream purveyor will unveil a brand new flavor, unique to Rice Village. The Yellow Rose Bourbon Pecan Pie will be a partnership flavor with Houston's Yellow Rose Distilling.

There will also be $1 scoops from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. for the May 8 grand opening with extra prizes and surprises throughout the day. On hand will be Houston-based artist Donkeeboy (Alex Roman Jr.) who will be doing an in-person mural. Rice Village residents will also see Van Leeuwen's signature yellow truck popping up through the area ahead of the grand opening.

In fact, Van Leeuwen actually began as a food truck in 2008 in New York City before expanding to grocery stores nationwide and opening retail shops in NYC and Los Angeles. With over 30 dairy and vegan ice cream flavors, the ice cream brand has garnered loyal fans with its high quality ingredients and unique flavors. The Rice Village store is not the only one planned for Houston. Two more will be arriving later this summer at Uptown Park and the Montrose Collective.

click to enlarge Palace Social offers a retro-chic atmosphere. - RENDERING BY BLK BOX
Palace Social offers a retro-chic atmosphere.
Rendering by BLK BOX

Palace Social, 4191 Bellaire Boulevard, is set to open in June 2021. The reincarnation of the Palace Bowling Lanes building, built in 1955,  will be an entertainment and dining concept for the new generation and generations to come. Located at the Southside Commons, it has gone through several rounds of fundraising with dozens of local investors interested in bringing a mixed-use destination to their own backyard.

The contemporary rustic interior comes from a partnership between Houston-based Tramonte Design Studio and Gin Design Group with retro-chic branding by creative agency BLKBOX. Palace Social will have eight bowling lanes, an extensive 3,900 square foot arcade, an e-sports lounge, virtual reality games, two multi-sport simulators and a 159-seat open area and restaurant lounge. There will also be three event rooms which can be equipped with oversized flatscreen televisions and karaoke systems.

click to enlarge Palace Social will have eight lanes for bowling. - RENDERING BY BLK BOX
Palace Social will have eight lanes for bowling.
Rendering by BLK BOX
Besides a venue for entertainment and socializing, Palace Social will also have a food and beverage program coordinated by hospitality consultant Jonathan Horowitz of Convive Hospitality Consulting. Another consulting Houston chef, Ryan Hildebrand, has created a Southern-inspired Ameican menu with elevated entrees, comfort food, salads, burgers, flatbread pizzas and a dedicated display dessert bar, going far beyond the typical greasy fare at most bowling alleys and arcades. Chef Frain Villareal (Tony's Mexican Kitchen) will be in charge of executing the restaurant's menu while Beverage Director Jennifer Caldwell ( Goodnight Charlie's) has created a variety of craft cocktails and classic favorites to go with the selection of beers and wines on tap. There is also a private dining room for groups up to 50.

click to enlarge Pick a taco, any taco. - PHOTO BY JULIE NONG
Pick a taco, any taco.
Photo by Julie Nong

Tacos A Go Go
, 3773 Richmond, will open in the Greenway/Kirby area this summer. This will be the sixth location for the Houston-based taco restaurant which first opened on Houston's main Street, next to the Continental Club, in 2006. Founded by Sharon Haynes, the local taqueria also has chef/owner Maribel Gomez overseeing the menu as the brand expands. Besides the original location on Main, Tacos A Go Go has restaurants in the Heights, Oak Forest, the Downton Tunnels and Cinco Ranch.

click to enlarge Maribel Gomez and Sharon Haynes are getting creative at Tacos A Go Go. - PHOTO BY MARCO TORRES
Maribel Gomez and Sharon Haynes are getting creative at Tacos A Go Go.
Photo by Marco Torres
The new Richmond location will have a full bar in the middle of the restaurant and another bar on its 2,200 square-foot patio. With an expanded drinks menu and a new coffee bar, the new location is looking to kick things up a notch. With Mexican-inspired coffees and coffee cocktails, Gomez and the kitchen staff will be experimenting with new tacos to pair with the new beverage menu.

Haynes said of the creative changes, " We're calling this location our 'taco lab'—-with the added space and expanded bar, we are excited to try new things." In addition, the flour and corn tortillas will be made in-house daily, the same tortillas Gomez ate growing up, a fact that she believes will make her family proud.

The Greenway location will also offer Smart phone ordering from the tables for easy re-orders and also curbside delivery with designated parking spaces in the free parking garage.

click to enlarge Crawfish season is coming to a close so you better hurry! - PHOTO BY TUYET DO
Crawfish season is coming to a close so you better hurry!
Photo by Tuyet Do

Bayou Seafood and Wings, 10123 Hammerly, opened April 12. This is the second seafood concept for Tony Le and his business partners, who also operate Bayou Seafood and More at 10040 Veterans Memorial . It opened in 2018, according to Spring Branch Management District. The new restaurant offers twice as much space as the original and wings are a major part of the menu, along with the seafood boils and fried dishes.

For families that have a difficult time deciding on a casual restaurant that fulfills everyone's cravings, Seafood Bayou and Wings has a diverse menu. The appetizers are crowd-friendly finger foods such as fried pickles, jalapeno poppers, Chinese eggrolls, boudin eggrolls and chicharrones. To please the whole group the Sampler allows three choices for $13.99. The Bayou Wings come bone-in, boneless or whole wing. While the prices for wings may seem a little pricey, they do come with fries, so that's a bonus. Fries are great for sopping up any extra sauce you don't lick off your fingers. There's a selection of flavors such as Buffalo (original, medium or inferno), Spicy Garlic, Honey BBQ and AZN Kick. There's also dry rub wings like Cajun and Chipotle. The wings are made to order so guests should expect about a 15 minute wait.

click to enlarge The seafood can be taken to go at Bayou Seafood and Wings. - PHOTO BY TUYET DO
The seafood can be taken to go at Bayou Seafood and Wings.
Photo by Tuyet Do

Seafood lovers can indulge in po'boys, fried dishes and boils. The seafood boils are available by the pound or guests can opt for the Seafood Bundles. There are Asian dishes like fried rice and lo mein, available with chicken or seafood plus a General Tso's Chicken that comes with Bayou Fried Rice and an eggroll. There are even some Tex-Mex inspired items are on the menu such as quesadillas and a Chipotle Chicken Wrap. If that's still not pleasing a member of your group, there are salads and burgers. There are Family Packs and a kids menu, too.

For beverages, there are soft drinks, flavored green teas, a mango-nada, and boba smoothies.

For the mudbug mommas, the restaurant is offering $4.99 per pound crawfish for Mother's Day only.

click to enlarge A bunny bungalow needs investors. - RENDERING BY THE RABBIT HOLE
A bunny bungalow needs investors.
Rendering by The Rabbit Hole
The Rabbit Hole, 1317 E. 29th, is recruiting investors through NextSeed and is already halfway to its goal. The cozy, neighborhood bar will be located in a 1928 bungalow off Airline Drive near the upcoming Houston Farmers Market. The 936 square foot building will undergo retrofitting and build-out from May to September and its timeline projection for opening is December 2021/January 2022.

Plans for the new hang-out spot include craft cocktails, on-tap beers and a comfortable indoor space in the bungalow with a large, dog-friendly patio and outdoor space. The in-house kitchen will begin with pub fare and then increase its offerings in the future. The 10,000 square foot lot means plenty of parking and also space for food trucks and entertainment.

Ian Frascati, one of the managing partners, has 30 years of experience in building and operating bars from New York City to Texas and managed the construction at Sawyer Ice House. William Daniel, another managing partner, is a native Houstonian and U.S. Navy veteran who is also managing partner at Kindle Interactive where he has been involved in over 250 campaigns for consumers, hospitality groups and non-profit organizations.

Masones Pub & Grill, 24441 Highway 249, opened April 23, according to Community Impact. This is the new location for the pub, restaurant and live music venue which closed its location at 13131 Louetta, March 31, after many years as a local, smoky dive bar. The new Masones is now non-smoking, which will disappoint some and please others—-and their lungs.

The Northpointe location is also serving lunch, dinner and late night nosh. There are happy hour deals, daily drink specials and Tuesday is Pork Chop Night. The live music line up shows College Station's Clayton Gardner taking the stage this Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. May 8 and Gary Kyle will perform May 11 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

click to enlarge Philipose's brings a new fining dining experience to Magnolia. - PHOTO BY BRIANNA SARVER
Philipose's brings a new fining dining experience to Magnolia.
Photo by Brianna Sarver
Philipose's Kitchen and Bar, 32823 FM 2978, softly opened late March. The Magnolia restaurant serves Indian-American fusion with dishes like Pecan Encrusted Snapper, Curry Chicken and Double Bone-In Pork Chop. Starters include Risotto Bites and Spiced Chicken Puff Pastries, spiced with garam masala and served with jalapeno cream sauce. The lunch menu offers reasonably priced items such as Glazed Salmon Salad with jalapeno soy, Spiced Indian Chicken Sandwich and a burger option.

There's an expansive patio for enjoying one of its signature cocktails like the Ginger Cardamom Martini, a Spicy Paloma or its Cucumber Lemonade with Hendrick's gin. There are a few beers on tap or by the bottle and a small wine list as well.

click to enlarge Matt and Jacki Arnic defy the pandemic odds. - PHOTO BY JORDAN OLSEN
Matt and Jacki Arnic defy the pandemic odds.
Photo by Jordan Olsen
Mudslingers Drive-Thru Coffee, 14123 Grant, opened April 19 and celebrated its grand opening April 30. The opening was delayed due to COVID-19 and the freak Houston winter storm. Now, as the world gets back to some sort of normal, people need their caffeine and owners Matt and Jacki Arnic are ready to supply the beverages. The stand alone coffee kiosk has a drive-thru and customers-on-the-go can choose from a menu of signature coffee drinks, hot, iced or blended. There are coffee beverages like The Mudslinger with Ghirardelli chocolate and caramel sauce or The Polar Bear with Ghirardelli white chocolate and raspberry and vanilla syrups. For traditionalists, there are classics such as espresso, cappuccino, and Americano. There are plenty of hot teas to choose from, a kids menu and Lotus plant-based energy drinks. Popping Pearls Bubble Tea can be added to drinks in strawberry, kiwi and mango flavors. Customers can also grab a snack to go like cookies, muffins, mini donuts and Perfect bars.

Mudslingers is a chain coffee company that offers its clients a more independent form of franchising, allowing business owners to be more autonomous after the initial start up costs and mold the operations to their own preferences.

The Grant Road drive-thru is open Monday though Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

click to enlarge Matzo-man fried chicken. - PHOTO BY PAULA MURPHY
Matzo-man fried chicken.
Photo by Paula Murphy
Kenny and Ziggy's New York Delicatessen, 2327 Post Oak Boulevard, has brought back its popular Bronx Fried Chicken and Chilled Sour Cherry Soup for the summer. The deli introduced its Bronx Fried Chicken, a northern version which uses matzo meal for an extra crunch, was originally just a special holiday offering for the Fourth of July. When customers began asking for it all year-round, Ziggy Gruber, not one to deny hungry people, began offering the chicken special for longer periods. The 5-piece meal with sides is $22.95 and most reasonable people could make two meals out of it.

The Sour Cherry Soup makes its yearly revival in the summertime when the Houston heat can be staved off somewhat with a nice, chilled dish. It's made from Gruber's family recipe brought to the United States in the 1900s from Hungary. It's $4.95 a cup or $6.95 for a bowl. It's hot out there — have a bowl.

P.F. Chang's China Bistro
, 5251 Westheimer, is planned for an August opening, as reported by the Houston Chronicle. A long-term lease was signed for the 6,135 square-foot space at Galleria Park. This is a relocation for the chain's Highland Village location.

click to enlarge Go ahead...Make my Mother's Day. - PHOTO BY SHAWN VIRENE
Go ahead...Make my Mother's Day.
Photo by Shawn Virene
a'Bouzy, 2300 Westheimer, is currently offering a take-away Champagne special. For $69, it offers one pound of Cajun Spicy U-Peel 'em Gulf Shrimp with cocktail sauce plus a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow label Brut NV and two Veuve Clicquot champagne flutes. The special is available for take-out or delivery within a five-mile radius of the restaurant. 
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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.