Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Flower Child Heights Soon, The Rustic Goes Uptown, Pi Pizza Closes

Flower Child is about to open in the Heights.
Flower Child is about to open in the Heights. Photo by Flower Child

Flower Child, 1533 N. Shepherd, will open March 24 in the Houston Heights area. This is the third Houston-area location for the healthy eating chain that is on a "soul-satisfying mission of positively delicious vibes."  Those delicious vibes include a lot of vegetables, fruits and healthy grains. There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options but omnivores can add protein like chicken, steak, shrimp and salmon to their bowls or plates for an additional cost. There are also gluten-free menu items.

Guests can expect choices like toast with hummus, the Glow Bowl, and wraps like the Thai Dye, which is a whole wheat, flax and chia seed wrap filled with spicy organic tofu, Thai basil, avocado, carrot, daikon radish, cilantro and snap peas. Avocado is a popular ingredient at Flower Child showing up in the avocado toast, avocado hummus and a number of salads. The sides are some of the best items on the menu with choices such as the snap peas and spicy Japanese eggplant, Indian-spiced cauliflower and sweet corn quinoa with Greek yogurt.

click to enlarge
Healthy food served by healthy servers at Flower Child.
Photo by Flower Child
The concept is a little bit hippie, a little bit granola-crunchy and a lot modern green and eco-conscious. It aims to use all of the fruits and veggies that come into the restaurant with daily juice specials. Other beverage choices include kombucha, plus organic wine and local beers for those who like to include a little alcohol in their healthy diet.

Founded in Phoenix, Arizona in 2014, it is part of the Fox Restaurant Concepts umbrella, founded by owner Sam Fox who began with Wildflower in Phoenix in 1998. The company now employs 5,000 people in its many concepts. You can be one of them. For interested applicants, there will be a job fair from March 2 to March 14 at the Heights store from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Sunday. There will also be a hiring party March 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Photo by Carlos Brandon
Pi Pizza, 181 Heights Boulevard, closed February 21.  In a press release, Michael Sambrooks, owner and operator of Sambrooks Management Co. said, " We loved the pizza from Pi, we just didn't have the time and bandwidth to give Pi the focus it needed given the demands of our other concepts. We are excited that several Pi employees are moving to our other concepts and we wish the best to those talented folks that are going off to other concepts."

Sambrooks acquired Pi Pizza, along with two other Cherry Pie Hospitality concepts in 2018. Owner Lee Ellis was beleaguered by legal issues and was selling off Cherry Pie's concepts. The Houston Press got a last look at Pi Pizza in September ahead of a possible rebranding. However, we were told recently that there are no current plans for a new concept.

The other two Cherry Pie Hospitality concepts bought by Sambrooks have already rebranded. Lee's Fried Chicken and Donuts became Sam's Fried Chicken and Donuts in December 2018 and  Starfish became 1751 Sea and Bar in April 2019.

click to enlarge
The Triple Pork Chop is new at The Rustic.
Photo by James Coreas

The Rustic, 1121 Uptown Park Boulevard, is shooting to open in spring 2020.  The restaurant, bar and live music venue comes from Kyle Noonan and Josh Sepkowitz of Free Range Concepts in collaboration with Texas country music star, Pat Green. It will be a 27,000 square foot space with a large patio, stage, expansive wine list and a Texas prime steak program.

Beside its music offerings, the venue includes a bar with Texas-themed cocktails and local and craft beers. The restaurant serves food one would expect to see in Texas like Wild Boar Meatballs, Tamales Three Ways, a variety of tacos, beer can chicken, steaks and Gulf Seafood. The Rustic recently launched some farm fresh menu items including a Shrimp and Avocado Salad, Wood-Grilled Salmon Sandwich and The Rustic Harvest Bowl, plus sides like the Elote Black Bean Salad. So, it's not all meat, meat and more meat.

click to enlarge
You can be part of the team at The Rustic.
Photo by Dillon Ross Kirk
The first location opened in Dallas in 2013, followed by a spot in San Antonio, finally landing with a third in Houston in November 2018.  Houston is so awesome, the owners are now opening a second venue here. The Rustic offers free music every day with special ticketed shows as well. Pat Green, the three time Grammy nominee and partner at The Rustic, will perform March 13 for an early St. Patrick's Day celebration at the 1836 Polk location in downtown Houston. Tickets are $27 for General Admission and $60 for VIP.

And if you are job searching, The Rustic Uptown is currently recruiting 250 team members. You can apply online or bring your smiling face to the restaurant at 1121 Uptown Park, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

click to enlarge
Galiana's Bakery will transform into a Tex Mex paradise.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero

Galiana's Bakery & Cafe, 24110 Northwest Freeway, will close March 1 to make way for its rebranding as Galiana's Tex Mex and Agave Bar. Owned by Grupo Herrera Restaurants, a family-owned company,  the artisanal bakery was popular for its pastries and desserts as well as breakfast and brunch. Loyal patrons have one last weekend to get their fix. It will reopen as the new Tex Mex restaurant in late March to early April.

click to enlarge
The Herrera family are expanding their empire.
Photo by Grupo Herrera Restaurants
The new concept will draw on the Herrera family's travels to Mexico over the years with the menu covering various regions across the country. The dishes will feature fresh ingredients, authentic Mexican spices and unique marinades. The Herrera family also owns and operates Alicia's Mexican Grille, Marvino's and Dario's.

On the drinks side, the agave bar will showcase small batch tequilas, including the family's Herrera Family Herradura Double Barrel Reposado. The full bar will have cocktails, beer and wine.

Also look for a tortilla and tamale station, along with a drive-thru in the future.

Tamashi Ramen Robata, 9896 Bellaire Boulevard, opened February 8  next to HMart. This makes the fourth location for Tamashi, however, this location does not serve sushi like the other three spots, which are called Tamashi Ramen and Sushi. There's your first clue. Instead, this location is focused on robata which usually includes grilled skewers of meat or vegetables.

The robata menu offers choices like chicken satay, hearts and gizzards, lamb skewers, shishito peppers, hamachi, spicy mushroom and more. There are also ramen options such as curry tsukemen made with coconut milk, tamashi menn (shrimp ramen), miso and tonkatsu.

There's also takoyaki (octopus balls), chicken karrage and dumplings.

Taqueria Estila Mexico, 10730 Barker Cypress, opened in mid- February. The small, cozy restaurant serves authentic Mexican food like carnitas, tamlaes, and enchiladas. There's also street corn and street tacos. They serve breakfast tacos, burritos and plates as well. On Friday, there's pozole. Menudo and birria are available on the weekends.

Diners can order fajitas by the half or full pound, plus there are desserts like churros and bunuelos. Wash it all down with a Mexican Coke or horchata while checking out the colorful murals

Brasa's Brazilian Steakhouse, 705 Main, opened three weeks ago. The restaurants is a churrascaria influenced by the Rio Grande do Sul of Southern Brazil. On offer are more than fifteen cuts of meat including chicken, pork, beef, lamb and seafood served rodizio style. The set menu price includes the all you can eat salad bar.

For lunch, the cost is $36.50 for adults, $18.25 for kids 5 to 11 or just the salad bar for $23.50. At dinner, the price increases to $48.50 for adults, $24.25 for kids and $26.50 for the salad bar only. There's also a full service bar for cocktails, wine and beer.

click to enlarge
A crawfish-stuffed croissant will make your day.
Photo by Philipp Sitter
EggHaus Gourmet, E. TC Jester, is serving a new item that makes the best of the crawfish season. The Crawfish Croissant is an EggHaus freshly baked croissant stuffed with rice and house-made crawfish etouffee. It's a French-Cajun treat from a Bavarian family-owned business. Ain't that America?

click to enlarge
Even an executive needs a burger once in a while.
Photo by Duc Hoang
Peli Peli has a new executive lunch menu at its four Houston area locations in Katy, The Woodlands, The Galleria and Vintage Park.  The $25 menu offers three courses. The first course is a choice of one of five starters such as the Carrot Ginger Soup, Beef Bobotie and Rainbow Kale Salad. The second course offers options such as Chicken Espetada Almoco, the Peli Burger and Curry Chicken. The meal is topped off with Peli Peli's Sticky Toffee Treat for dessert.

Restaurants Reported Open in February 2020:

Adair Downtown, 1000 Louisiana, opened January 27
Alma, 3974 Westheimer, opened late January
Black Bear Diner, 8821 Metropark, opened early February
Bombshells, 6888 Southwest Freeway, opened January 30
The Burger Joint, 2002 N. Shepherd, opened February 21
Chick'nCone, 1919 N. Shepherd, opened February 13
Don Tomate meat Market, 17835 Grant, opened February 22
Dumpling Haus, 2313 Edwards, opened January 25
Geaux Cajun Seafood, 13018 Woodforest, opened early January
Eighteen36, The Roadster Grill, 2221 W. Alabama, opened January 23
El Capitan, 17519 N. Gessner, opened early January
H-E-B Meyerland Market, 4955 Beechnut, opened Janaury 29
JuiceLand, 1709 Dryden, grand opening February 6
Local Group Brewing, 1504 Chapman, opened February 28
Lone Star Seafood, 10990 Fuqua, had its grand opening January 25
NJ Pho & Deafood, 10209 Veteran's Memorial, opened early February
On Da House, 9405 S. Texas 6, opened December 28
Taqo Mexican Kitchen and  Tequileria, 1343 Yale, opened February 8
Tarasco's Ice Cream, 12779 Jones, opened February 7

Restaurants Reported Closed in February 2020:

Bar Louie, 2000 Willowbrook, closed mid-January
Buff Burger, 10550 W. Alabama, closed late January
Buff Burger, 10550 Westheimer, closed late January
El Paraiso, 2320 Crocker, closed January 31
Ibiza, 2450 Louisiana, closed February 15
Ooh La la Dessert Boutique, 770 Sam Houston parkway N, closed February 22
Rise No. 2, 1700 Post oak, closed January 28
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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.