Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Flora Blooms, Patton's Debuts

Steak and wine make us feel so fine.
Steak and wine make us feel so fine. Photo by Barrett Doke
Patton's, 1344 Yale, opens March 11. Located within the space that houses its sister restaurant, Savoir, the new steakhouse concept is a 38-seat hideaway behind the bar with an additional six seats at the bar itself. Its speakeasy vibe comes from the dimly-lit atmosphere with glamorous touches such as plush banquettes and ornate chandeliers.
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After the past two years, we need some glamour.
Photo by Barrett Doke
Brian Doke, owner of Savoir, felt that there was a need in the neighborhood for a steakhouse. He decided to turn his SIP cocktail bar into a boutique steakhouse that will serve the Heights area some of the best cuts of meat in town in an intimate and unique space. Guests will make their way to Patton's through Savoir's well-stocked wine cellar, another touch that evokes the feel of illicit Prohibition Era lounges.
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We feel classy just looking at this photo.
Photo by Barrett Doke
Diners looking for classic steakhouse fare will not be disappointed. Staples such as Waldorf salad, shrimp cocktail and beef carpaccio start off the menu and the steaks on offer include ribeye (boneless and bone-in), wagyu, filet and New York strip, all sourced from Gable Cattle Company in Colorado. In keeping with the classic approach, guests can add a sauce of their choice to the steaks with options such as bearnaise, bordelaise, chimichurri and the house "A1." Diners can also choose to have their steaks served au poivre, letting the meat shine through.

The extensive wine list at Savoir will be available to guests and the speakeasy theme carries through with signature cocktails such as The Bandito, a Fig-infused Mule and the Patton's Gin & Tonic.

Reservations are strongly recommended.
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The chandeliers still light up the Allen Parkway spot.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
Flora, 3422 Allen Parkway, opened March 1 in the former treehouse-like space that previously held The Dunlavy, a concept from the former Clark Cooper Concepts. In February 2022, owners Charles Clark and Grant Cooper announced they were going their separate ways business-wise. Cooper then launched Good Vibe Hospitality, which has since been renamed The Big Vibe Group, along with business partners Josep Prats and Marc Cantu. 
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The masa program at Flora turns out super fresh corn tortillas.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
It is under the Big Vibe Group umbrella that Flora opened in the glass-enclosed space, lit by natural light as well as the multitude of chandeliers that have wowed diners over the years. The view of Buffalo Bayou Park adds to the romance of the restaurant. The cuisine is inspired by the small villages of Mexico with a hint of Texas flair. Guests will find traditional street tacos, tostadas, ceviches, oysters, and of course, a variety of meats. House-made salsas, moles and tortillas also add an authentic touch.

The menu starts with little bites like chickpeas with lime, sumac, aleppo pepper and roasted garlic, charred octopus and a queso with house-made chorizo. Authentic Mexican fare like napales salad and chicken fideo soup are on the menu as well as marinated steak fajitas, pork carnitas and the Barbacoa de Borrego, a dish of braised lamb. There is a small raw bar section that includes several ceviches, aguachile and oysters.
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Mezcal and tequila are the predominant liquors for Flora's signature cocktails.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
The cocktail menu offers signature drinks like Seven Spanish Angels made with mezcal, amaro, ginger and lime plus classic cocktails, along with a selection of margaritas. There's also a small, curated wine list.

The restaurant is open daily and reservations can be made online. It does not offer private dining or private event space.
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The team at Gr8 Plate Hospitality goes Italian.
Photo by Helen Huneycutt
Passerella, 9945 Barker Cypress, is shooting to open this spring at The Boardwalk Towne Lake. It's the third concept for Gr8 Plate Hospitality which owns and operates The Union Kitchen and Jax Grill. The new Italian restaurant will open next door to its sister restaurant, The Union Kitchen, waterside at Towne Lake.

The restaurant will offer 3,280 square feet of space with seating for 100 indoors plus an expansive waterfront patio that seats 60 more guests. The menu will be seafood-forward with dishes that span the multitude of regions of Italy. The kitchen will be headed by Executive Chef Edward Roberts and will turn out homemade pastas, pizzas and fresh bread. Roberts brings experience from stints at restaurants like Saltwater Grill in Galveston, Beaver's, Third Coast and Tony's.

Joining the Passerella team will be Audra Gottlieb as general manager. She has over 15 years of experience in the restaurant industry working at Galveston's Rudy & Paco's and Vic & Anthony's in Houston.

A firm opening date will be announced soon. Meanwhile, Gr8 Plate Hospitality owner Paul Miller is collaborating with Roberts and Gr8 Plate's executive chef, James Lundy, to create a final menu for Passerella.
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When eating good is oh-so-bad.
Photo by FAM Hospitality
Johnny Good Burger, 401 Franklin, popped up at The POST March 3. It is operating out of the space which previously housed Salt & Time and The Butcher's Burger which shuttered at POST Market in February 2022. It joins several other concepts from FAM Hospitality and comes from owners and business partners Johnny Hoang and Paul Qui.

The small menu offers four burgers including the All American, Double Double, The Frisco and a vegetarian option, Beyond Mushroom Swiss mmade with a house-made mushroom patty. There are sides including French fries, Frito Pie and Fried Pickles plus a selection of shakes.

Kizuki Ramen, 23220 Grand Circle Boulevard, opens softly March 14 with a grand opening planned for March 19, according to Houston Food Finder.  This is the first Texas location for the ramen restaurant which first opened in 2012 in Bellevue, Washington.

It offers a menu of Japanese ramen favorites such as Garlic Tonkotsu, Spicy Miso, Tonkotsu Shoyu and more. There are rice dishes plus an izakaya menu of snacks like chicken karaage, takoyaki, onigiri and its Agedashi Tofu and Prawn Cutlet. There is also a small vegetarian menu and a couple of gluten-free options.
Justin Ware and Patrick Abalos depart Night Shift.
Photo by Justin Bowers/Captiv Creative
Night Shift, 3501 Harrisburg, is parting ways with founders Justin Ware and Patrick Abalos, as reported by CultureMap Houston. The bar and restaurant opened in July 2021 as a collaboration with local hospitality group Sin Nombre.

Both Ware and Abalos brought award-winning bar skills to the project. Ware previously was the manager at Johnny's Gold Brick and was named Heaven Hill Bartender of the Year 2019. Besides helping to launch and run a number of bar programs, Abalos was in the Top 10 of the United States Bartenders Guild World Class Competition.

According to CultureMap, none of the parties involved is commenting at this time, though Logan Beck, a partner in Rootlab design firm and Sin Nombre, told CultureMap in an email that Ware and Abalos are being bought out of their ownership in Night Shift "so that they can pursue other projects."
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The Power Bowl at Piada offers healthy ingredients to recharge.
Photo by Liz Dickey/Piada
Piada, 6602 Fannin, will open March 15 in the Houston Medical Center. It makes the 9th location for the Italian street food brand in Texas and the third in the Houston area. The grand opening will benefit the Michael DeBakey High School for Health Professions with 50 percent of sales being donated directly to the school. Also, customers will have the chance to win free Piada for a year by being one of the first 25 guests in line for the opening, which will begin at 10:45 a.m.

Inspired by the family-run street food carts found in Rimini, Italy, the fast-casual concept has more than 30 different dishes. Guests can customize entrees like a Pasta Bowl, a Chopped Salad or the Piada, a stone-grilled wrap that gives the brand its name.

There are sides such as grass-fed meatballs, fried calamari and hot peppers plus its Pepperoni Piada Stick. There's a kids menu and a couple of dessert offerings, too.
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Bye-bye barbecue. Hello parking.
Photo by Carlos Brandon
Jackson Street BBQ, 209 Jackson, served its last plate of 'que March 5. The barbecue restaurant opened in the shadow of Minute Maid Park nearly eight years ago as a collaboration between owner Bill Floyd, partner Bryan Caswell and barbecue titan, Greg Gatlin, of Gatlin's BBQ. Caswell left the venture in 2018.

In a Facebook post, the pandemic and a need for more Astros baseball parking were listed as the causes. Floyd made the decision not to renew the lease on the property, as first reported by the Houston Chronicle. The spot is owned by Astros owner and chairman Jim Crane.

Floyd will open two concepts at 1100 Louisiana soon including the former Tex-Mex restaurant El Real in the tunnel this month and Real Agave Lounge this summer.

Pho 999, 22720 Morton Ranch, opened softly last week. It offers Vietnamese favorites like pho, banh mi and vermicelli. There are starters too including a variety of spring and egg rolls, Butterfly Calamari and Vietnamese Fish Sauce-Glazed Wings.
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The Tasting Room has catering options.
Photo by Becca Wright

The Tasting Room, 818 Town and Country Boulevard, launched a new catering program offering cuisine crafted by Executive Chef Beto Guiterrez. The catering menu is geared toward small and large events with an hors d'oeuvres menu with small bites such as French Brie Bites, Mini Italian Meatballs, Crispy Shrimp Fritti and Smoked Salmon Canapes. It also offers versions of it popular cheese and charcuterie boards.

For office events or lunch gatherings, there are items like the Sandwich Tray, Executive Sandwich Box, Executive Salad Box and a Mini Slider Bar. There are also hearty dinner choices such as Braised Beef Short Ribs.
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Alice's Tall Texan returns with a new owner and slightly new name.
Photo by David Rozycki
Tall Texan II, 4904 N. Main, quietly opened last month in the spot that was Alice's Tall Texan Drive Inn for 36 years. Alice's closed in August 2022, as we reported here in the Houston Press. The Heights watering hole had many regulars who were devastated to see it close.

It has remerged with Jesse Botello taking the reins and making it his own while sticking with its core mission to be a comfortable Texas dive that is welcoming to the neighborhood and the regular customers of former owner Alice Ward's bar. Botello, co-owner of Glitter Karaoke, plans to have a cocktail menu since the new version has a liquor license, according to CultureMap. However, there are still a few chalices available for cold beer.
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Kin Dee's new weekend brunch makes a pretty tableau.
Photo by Alex Montoya
Kin Dee, 1533 N. Shepherd, is launching a weekend brunch service March 12. It will be available Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu was created by owners Lukkaew Srasrisuwan and Miranda Loetkhamfu and offers five authentic Thai dishes that are pretty and delicious.

Guests can enjoy the Roti Guang Gai, a crispy Thai pancake served with ground chicken curry and a sunny side-up egg or the Kuay Tiew Lord, a rice noodle stuffed with ground chicken, mushroom, tofu and onions, served with a sweet and sour soy sauce. There's also Salapoo Moo Yang with marinated pork belly in a steamed bun and Khai Katha a plate of two sunny side-up eggs with a stir-fry of minced chicken, green peas, onion and sweet Thai sausage.  For a Thai take on the brunch omelet, the Khai Jiew Panang offers a Panang curry omelet served with jasmine rice and a sweet cucumber and ground peanut sauce.

Black Bear Diner, 3497 E. Sam Houston Parkway, is expected to open in early April, according to online advertising. We have reached out for more information and a confirmed opening date.

Burrito District, 22916 Kuykendahl, opened March 8 in the Spring area. The Cali-Mex concept is fast-casual and offers a drive-thru as well as dine-in. It's open daily and has a breakfast menu as well as California-Mexican-style burritos, carne asada fries, taco plates, Baja fish tacos and quesadillas. There is a kids menu as well. 
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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.