Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Highline Park Opens, Mozambik Galleria Closes

Highline Park overs a variety of dishes in a comfortable atmosphere.
Highline Park overs a variety of dishes in a comfortable atmosphere. Photo by Tyler Barrera

Highline Park, 600 N. Shepherd, will open December 3 at M-K-T Heights, next door to its recently opened sister concept, Casa Nomad. In fact, it will share a bathroom and kitchen with the adjacent Tulum-inspired Mexican concept. Owners Roland Keller, Keith Doyle and Tyler Barrera are also the trio behind the bungalow and garden bar Wicklow Heights.
click to enlarge There's plenty of room for socializing or just relaxing at Highline Park. - PHOTO BY TYLER BARRERA
There's plenty of room for socializing or just relaxing at Highline Park.
Photo by Tyler Barrera
Whereas Casa Nomad is a petite 800 square feet, Highline Park is nearly eight times that size and includes a   bar as well for its 1,500 square-foot covered patio which backs up to a public garden and is convenient to the Heights Hike and Bike Trail. The patio also offers resort-style seating for 100 guests to relax with a cocktail and take in the green view. The design was done by Coveal, a Dallas-based architecture and design studio. Multi-colored floor tiles, floor to ceiling windows, and a living interior wall bring the outdoors into the light and airy space while wooden booths provide seating for 150. There's a 14-seat bar topped in maple where patrons can enjoy cocktails like the Prickly Pear Margarita or the Violette G&T with Citadelle Gin, Violette, simple syrup, lemon and Fever Tree tonic.
click to enlarge We love a good patio in Houston. - PHOTO BY TYLER BARRERA
We love a good patio in Houston.
Photo by Tyler Barrera
The food menu was curated by executive chef Vincent Forchelli, a native New Yorker who brings experience from working in Michelin-starred restaurants. The food, however, is approachable fare including Loaded Queso, Bang Bang Shrimp, the Highline Smashburger and the queso-dipped Highline Corn Dog. There are salads as well plus a Grilled Chicken Sandwich for a lighter repast.
The Galleria loses Mozambik. - PHOTO BY RYAN STEWART
The Galleria loses Mozambik.
Photo by Ryan Stewart

Mozambik, 5085 Westheimer, had its last service November 21, according to a press release from the owners. It listed a number of issues including landlord disputes, labor shortages and significantly reduced foot traffic in the Galleria, the mall where it was located. Owner Ryan Stewart said, " It just doesn't make sense to keep this store going. We have a thriving location in The Woodlands and we don't plan to leave the Houston area anytime soon."

That's a good thing because the South African-based concept only just arrived in Houston. It first opened in The Woodlands in September 2021, taking over the Cape Dutch structure that housed another South African concept, Peli Peli. It followed quickly with a second location in the former Galleria Peli Peli spot a month later.

Stewart, a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, came to the United States in 2017 to help the Peli Peli brand transition to a more family-friendly and authentic South African concept, eventually replacing the brand with Mozambik.
click to enlarge Color is an important part of the food and decor at Maize. - PHOTO BY BECCA WRIGHT
Color is an important part of the food and decor at Maize.
Photo by Becca Wright
Maize,14795 Memorial, opened softly December 1. It will be open for dinner service only through December 14 and will add lunch service December 15. Reservations are currently required for dinner and are limited. The traditional Mexican restaurant's kitchen is led by chef Fabian Saldana who was most recently executive chef at Hugo Ortega's  Xochi. It comes from esteemed Houston restaurant industry veterans Mark Cox of Mark's American Cuisine and Carmelo Mauro. It is located in the former home of Mauro's much-missed Carmelo’s Ristorante Italiano, which closed in January 2019.

There is space for 250 guests in the 8,000 square-foot space which offers five rooms in addition to the main dining room. The semi-private Nopalito Room can hold up to 12, while four private rooms are also available. The Leon Room, which holds up to 60 guests features its own bar. The Cactus Courtyard, a 1,400 square-foot patio, can comfortably seat up to 70. An immense 1,000-bottle wine cellar greets guests upon entering.  Colorful abstract artwork joins a 65-foot mural and adds to the vibrancy of the space, designed by Julie McGarr of McGarr Design & Interiors.
click to enlarge The food is traditional, the art is abstract. - PHOTO BY MARK C. AUSTIN
The food is traditional, the art is abstract.
Photo by Mark C. Austin
The menu at Maize takes diners on a journey through Mexico’s diverse culture and regions by honoring traditional cooking methods such as the slow-cooked Barbacoa de Res in giant agave leaves and the use of Nixtamalizacion, a way of cooking corn that relies on limestone. Crudos and ceviches start the trip with choices such as the Jalapeño Ostiones with Gulf Oysters on the shell, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime. The Masa Antojitos continue the adventure with dishes such as Empanadas de Camaron and the gluten-free Flautas de Puerco a dish of pork confit carnitas with raw salsa verde crema and homemade queso fresco. Pulpo Negro is a seafood dish of octopus, salsa negra, potato, avocado, pickled onion, and cauliflower.
click to enlarge The Queso Fresco Pie has a unique garnish. - PHOTO BY BECCA WRIGHT
The Queso Fresco Pie has a unique garnish.
Photo by Becca Wright
In keeping with traditional Mexican cuisine, The Insectos menu will introduce Houstonians to a more adventurous side of eating with highlights such as Rollo de Chapulines en Hoja Santa, a dish of grasshopper, hoja santa beans, quesillo (a Mexican-style cheese) and pasilla pepper sauce. Other menu items include confit pork cheeks and a variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes like the Tamal de Queso which can also be made vegan.
click to enlarge Cocktails make use of traditional Mexican spirits and ingredients at Maize. - PHOTO BY BECCA WRIGHT
Cocktails make use of traditional Mexican spirits and ingredients at Maize.
Photo by Becca Wright
Cocktails are creative, and ingredient-heavy, including the Cintli, a margarita-style cocktail with hacienda de Chihuahua sotol, purple corn infusion syrup, nixta corn liqueur, fresh lime juice, agave, tangerine and sal de gusano, a salt made from the larvae of moths that live in agave plants. Speaking of agave, Maize will have an expertly curated list of mezcal, sotol, and tequila along with an adventurous wine list. Its menu of botanas and happy hour prices on signature dishes such as the Jalapeño Ostiones and Ostiones a las Brasas will be available 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
click to enlarge Aaron Franklin, pitmaster extraordinaire, will be in Houston for a Loro preview. - PHOTO BY LOGAN CRABLE
Aaron Franklin, pitmaster extraordinaire, will be in Houston for a Loro preview.
Photo by Logan Crable
Loro Smokehouse & Bar, 1001 W. 11th, is shooting to open in "early 2022", according to a spokesperson. In the meantime, the Asian smokehouse from Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue and Tyson Cole of Uchi, has planned a Pop Up Preview for the public hosted by Houston rap artist Bun B December 11 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. There will also be a pop-up December 12 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. with Aaron Franklin, Loro's regional chef Mike Perez and chef de cuisine Marcos Leal, all three of whom will be at both events. There will free Brisket Sandwiches and Gin & Tonic Slushees. Reservations are required on eventbrite but all time slots and both days are full. However, those interested in going can still register on the waitlist for a specific slot and hope for the best.
click to enlarge Postino's ambiance and range of snacks begs for a day out with friends. - PHOTO BY JENN DUNCAN
Postino's ambiance and range of snacks begs for a day out with friends.
Photo by Jenn Duncan
Postino, 1151 Uptown Park Boulevard, opens December 6. It takes its place among other trendy dining and entertainment venues such as The Rustic, URBE, Etoile Cuisine et Bar and The Belvedere in the European-style retail development from real estate developer, Giogio Borlenghi who is responsible for the Italian-inspired boutique Hotel Granduca, in the same area.

This is the fourth Houston location for the laid-back wine bar, co-founded by Lauren Bailey in Phoenix, Arizona in 2001. It first opened in Houston  in The Heights in 2017. With each opening, it quickly became a neighborhood favorite wherever it landed. It easily straddles the line between casual dining and upscale atmosphere with reasonable wine prices and elevated snack offerings.
click to enlarge Guests can drink wine and fantasize about travelling again at Postino Uptown. - PHOTO BY MICHAEL ANTHONY
Guests can drink wine and fantasize about travelling again at Postino Uptown.
Photo by Michael Anthony
Postino Uptown Park will have an open-air layout with rollaway glass doors and a large indoor/outdoor bar. The brand is known for its mission to renovate historic structures and keep its design in sync with the surrounding neighborhoods where it operates. For Uptown, that means over-sized Murano glass chandeliers, eclectic artwork and an art installation of vintage luggage stacked to the ceiling. In keeping with the travel theme, a large hand-painted interior mural by Mac Blackout features bold pop art flowing figures that evoke a sense of happiness through travel and gathering.

Though located on a prime piece of real estate,  it will offer its popular $5 wines by the glass from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day just as it does at its other locations. Guests can also expect the same bruschetta boards and "Snacky Things" plus panini, salads, homemade soups and beautifully arranged charcuterie boards. Its weekend brunch, Saturday and Sunday from a.m. to 5 p.m. has a menu of dishes that include Umbria Egg Toast and Ricotta Fritters along with $5 Mimosas and Bellinis.

 
click to enlarge The Breakfast Burger debuted at all three locations December 1. - PHOTO BY RACHAEL WRIGHT
The Breakfast Burger debuted at all three locations December 1.
Photo by Rachael Wright
Burger Joint Baybrook, 1350 W. Bay Area Boulevard, opened December 1 in Friendswood. Houstonians living outside the 610 Loop will get to enjoy the largest Burger Joint to date with 4,150 square feet of interior seating space and 6,750 square feet of outdoor patio space plus a full bar. This will be the third location for the burger concept from chef Matt Pak and his partner Shawn Bermudez, which they first founded in 2015.  The newest location features an enormous wraparound outdoor patio that wraps all the way around the building and seating for 300 with 25 televisions for sports games.
click to enlarge Burger Joint is known for its large patios and this one wraps around the whole building. - PHOTO BY RACHAEL WRIGHT
Burger Joint is known for its large patios and this one wraps around the whole building.
Photo by Rachael Wright
In addition to a menu of 100 percent Angus beef burgers like the Classic, Mexi, Opa and Kimchi, the casual restaurant offers a small selection of hot dogs, also made with 100 percent beef and split and grilled. There are hand-cut fries, loaded fries, potato salad, mac 'n cheese and onion rings for sides plus burger add-ons such as bacon, avocado, kimchi and fried egg. The cocktail menu from beverage director Rex Nielsen includes Tipsy Texas Tea and Raspberry Mule, along with boozy milkshakes.

Pak, who is a new Friendswood resident, says "Our team is so excited to finally bring The Burger Joint to Friendswood! We can’t wait to feed the neighborhood and get to know the community."

The Burger Joint Team says it is proud to have served over two million burgers out of its Montrose and Heights locations. Looks like they are heading toward three.

Goode Co. Fish Camp & Oyster Bar, 8865 Six Pines, is slated to open in early spring 2022. The newest concept from Goode Company and President/ Chef Levi Goode will replace its previous restaurant, Goode Co. Barbecue in the space. An attractive outdoor patio is currently being added to the property.

The upcoming restaurant was inspired by Levi's time spent with his father, Goode Company founder Jim Goode, at the family's fishing cabin near San Luis Pass. Those treasured memories of time spent together and meals enjoyed will set the tone for the newest concept which will feature a prominent oyster bar, seasonal dishes and solid cocktails.

Levi Goode said in a press release, "Goode Co. Fish Camp & Oyster Bar will be another snapshot in our Goode Company photo album. This means fresh-shucked oyster and great music in a lively and vibrant environment."
Roman-style pizza is offered at BOH Slice. - PHOTO BY ALEX MONTOYA
Roman-style pizza is offered at BOH Slice.
Photo by Alex Montoya

Railway Heights, 8200 Washington, will celebrate its grand opening with a week-long event from December 6 through December 12. The food hall and retail market opened this past August. There will be daily themed activities such as "Green Day" which will feature a community  Upcycling Garage Sale. There will also be Art Curio Day with a collaborative community painting experience and Grocery Games Day will have a culinary competition featuring chef Martin Weaver vs. Chef Kenneth. Other fun events include a performance by Houston Poet Laureate Outspoken Bean, live music and chess on the lawn. The grand opening will also be the launch of RH Grocers.

The market will also launch its Journey to the North Pole at Railway Heights which features a winter igloo market with a variety of gift options and holiday decorations, many of which are locally made. Interactive displays will add to the experience and offer Instagram-able moments.

The market has a bounty of food choices including Peaky Grinders, Churrazon, BOH Slice and Pierogi Queen.
click to enlarge The Simple Basil looks simply delicious. - PHOTO BY KATHY TRAN
The Simple Basil looks simply delicious.
Photo by Kathy Tran
Zalat Pizza, 510 W. Gray, will open December 6 in Midtown. The late-night pizzeria stays open till 4 a.m. giving middle-of-the-night revelers a tasty way to soak up all the excesses of an evening out. There are also delivery options for comfy nights in.

This will be the 17th location for the brand, founded by CEO Khanh Nguyen in 2015 in Dallas. Nguyen opened the first pizza concept opened it across the street from his Vietnamese restaurant DaLat and spent months perfecting the dough and sauce, pizza by pizza. Nguyen like to push the envelope when it comes to traditional pizza designs creating pies like the Nashville Hot Chicken & Pickles, Pho Shizzle ( a chicken pizza with hoisin and Sriracha), Elote and the Pineapple Express. Even the common pepperoni pizza gets elevated in the Pepperoni Masterclass with the use of 100 percent beef pepperoni with oregano, black pepper and garlic.
click to enlarge "Buffalo pizza won't you come out tonight and dance by the light of the moon?" - PHOTO BY KATHY TRAN
"Buffalo pizza won't you come out tonight and dance by the light of the moon?"
Photo by Kathy Tran

The company also takes pride in its "Zealots", staff members that are fanatical about its pizza. In return for their hard work and dedication to quality, the company offers full benefits and 401k to all full-time employees, who are eligible for equity ownership after a year on the job.

Oh, the pizzas this oven has produced. - PHOTO BY TROY FIELDS
Oh, the pizzas this oven has produced.
Photo by Troy Fields
Cane Rosso, 1835 N. Shepherd, closed November 15, according to its Facebook profile. We have reached out for more information about the closure and will update readers when we receive more details.

Cane Rosso is known for it Neapolitan-style pizza and high quality ingredients. Owner Jay Jarrier became passionate about Italian pizza after a honeymoon trip to Italy. He opened the first Cane Rosso restaurant in Dallas in 2011. More Dallas-Fort Worth area locations opened and in June 2016 the company brought its brand to Houston with the Heights location. It was quickly followed by another restaurant in Montrose in October 2016 at 4306 Yoakum. Unfortunately, the Montrose spot closed at the end of 2018.
Telephone Thai is no more. - PHOTO BY DAWN MCGEE
Telephone Thai is no more.
Photo by Dawn McGee
Kanomwan, 736 1/2 Telephone, announced it was closing till further notice September 7, according to a tip from a Houston Press reader. However, there has been no more activity on the Facebook page and one comment referred to the restaurant's having already been gutted. A number of its previous Facebook posts showed that the restaurant was having difficulty with staff shortages among other issues such as air conditioning repairs.

The most recent Telephone Road location was the third spot over the past thirty-plus years as the restaurant moved a couple of times. Many in Houston credit it for being the first Thai restaurant in the city. The family-owned business continued serving its authentic Thai dishes even after the death of its owner Darwan Charoenrat, better known as Thai Nazi, according to a Press article in 2010. While it wasn't much more than a hole-in-the-wall, its dishes were so popular that loyal customers memorized them by number rather than name. Sort of The Waffle House of Thai cuisine.


Restaurants Reported Open November 2021:

B.B.'s Tex-Orleans, 25635 US 59, opened November 15
Bellissimo, 902 E. 33rd, opened October 15
Clutch City Cluckers, 9598 S. Main, opened November 19
The Drunken Dog, 13245 Jones, opened late November
Elder Son Brewing Company, 946 N. Shepherd, opened October 23
The Halal Guys, 10621 Broadway, opened November 18
Honeychild's Sweet Creams, 600 N. Shepherd, opened November 18
J-Bar-M Barbecue, 2201 Leeland, opened November 11
Leaf & Grain, 5525 Weslayan, opened in August
POST Houston, 401 Franklin, opened November 13
Raising Cane's, 7351 FM 1960, opened November 16
Sao Lao Thai Cafe, 5013 N. Shepherd, opened October 21
Teotihuacan, 3307 Irvington Boulevard, opened October 4
Trattoria Sofia, 911 W. 11th, opened November 26

Restaurants Reported Closed November 2021:

Mellow Mushroom, 1919 N. Shepherd, closed October 1
Tres Amigos, 3402 N. Shepherd, closed October 9
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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.