Openings and Closings: Sweet Paris in April, B. Good in Spring

A savory crepe with a glass of rose is tres magnifique!
A savory crepe with a glass of rose is tres magnifique! Photo by Shannon O'Hara
Sweet Paris, 23501 Cinco Ranch Boulevard, opened April 9, at La Centerra in Katy. This is the third location of the creperie in Houston from couple Allison and Ivan Chavez. There is also a location in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. There are three more future locations planned for the surrounding Houston area, including Highland Village, The Woodlands, and further out to College Station.

If the beautiful spring weather has you humming " April in Paris" but your pockets have you singing the stateside blues, you can fulfill your Gallic fantasies with a lunchtime savory crepe on the pretty patio, accompanied by a glass of rose. Or pretend to be a Breton and have a cider. There is a variety of crepes to choose from like the  traditional ham and Gruyere or you can be Italienne  and order the truffled caprese.

click to enlarge April in Houston is made sweeter with crepes. - PHOTO BY SHANNON O'HARA
April in Houston is made sweeter with crepes.
Photo by Shannon O'Hara
For early birds, there are breakfasts crepes like the croque madame,but also more regional Texan options such as The Mexicain (carnitas) or The Houstonian, a hearty crepe filled with bacon, sausage,scrambled eggs, jalapenos and mozzarella cheese, served with a side of salsa.

For many crepe lovers, it's the sweet versions that delight with thoughts of fruit toppings or Nutella, a hazelnut/chocolate spread that is as ubiquitous on the Continent as peanut butter in the United States and has increased in popularity on this side of the Atlantic. Americans may not be to the point of rioting at the supermarche as the French did in January during an ill-advised promotional sale, but for many, it is the ideal topping for the sweet, thin pancake and makes one feel slightly European. Have a cappuccino or a Mayan hot chocolate for sipping.

There are options for vegans, including the Berry Agave Crepe. The crepe batters can be made vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free, for an additional seventy-five cents.

Waffles, soups, salads, and paninis round out the menu, along with a selection of crepes for les petit enfants. What are you waiting for? Allons-y!

click to enlarge Johnny can B. Good with healthy options like these. - PHOTO COURTESY OF B. GOOD
Johnny can B. Good with healthy options like these.
Photo courtesy of B. Good

B. Good, 2162 Spring Stuebner, opens April 27, as reported by the Houston Chronicle. The healthy fast-casual restaurant will be located inside the market at Springwoods Village. Founded in 2003, there are 65 locations in the U.S., Canada, Germany and Switzerland.

The eatery offers burgers, salads, grain bowls and smoothies. The concept is based on nutritious foods and ingredients sourced from small farmers, often locally. An example of local farms listed for the Spring location include Kitchen Pride Mushrooms out of Gonzales, Texas and Dilorio Farms in Hempstead.

The Spring franchise location is the first in the Houston area and is owned by Juan Lecanda who says he connected with B. Good's mission and was drawn to its commitment to fresh and balanced foods.

The choices range from healthy items like the Power Bowl, made with kale, quinoa and super grains to splurges like the Power Play, a burger with bacon, sharp cheddar, avocado and local egg. Most menu items list the calories, so diners can opt for meals and treats that fit their nutritional needs.

The Spring location will have chocolate and vanilla milkshakes ($5.99) made with Hey Mikey's ice cream out of League City, Texas. Kid-size shakes are $2.99. There is also a kids' menu with burgers, grilled cheese and hot dogs and includes a drink, broccoli, apple sauce, regular or sweet potato fries.

click to enlarge Hay Merchant has the coolest taps. - PHOTO BY JULIE SOEFER
Hay Merchant has the coolest taps.
Photo by Julie Soefer
Hay Merchant, 1100 Westheimer, did not reopen April 22, as the Houston Press reported last week. Folks in the restaurant business know that dates are oftentimes fluid, according to so many variables. However, the bar and restaurant is for sure opening April 27, serving its craft cocktails and some crossover menu items from Chris Shepherd's former restaurant, Underbelly. Owner Kevin Floyd's beer cooler has been renovated to keep Hay Merchant's standards of serving draft beers at their optimum. It will be serving lunch, including popular items like the Cease and Desist burger and the chicken wings, with several different sauces available (try them all).

click to enlarge Just wing it at Hay Merchant. - PHOTO BY JULIE SOEFER
Just wing it at Hay Merchant.
Photo by Julie Soefer
UB Preserv, 1609 Westheimer, is still in the works, but Chris Shepherd's newest restaurant should open in a couple of weeks. UB Sandwich is back online, however, so if you can convince your boss to treat the office to a sandwich party, delivery within the 610 Loop, Uptown and the galleria is free with a $150 minimum.  The online ordering offers third party services for individual orders, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

click to enlarge The Yellow Cup welcomes happy coffee lovers. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE YELLOW CUP
The Yellow Cup welcomes happy coffee lovers.
Photo courtesy of The Yellow Cup

The Yellow Cup Coffee and Tea, 6001 Washington, opened April 17, according to Eater Houston. The cute and minimalist coffee shop works with local roasters who practice " direct trade", a term in the coffee world that goes beyond some of the constraints of " free trade' by cutting out the so- called middlemen. It offers drip and brew coffee, espresso-based drinks, plus loose leaf teas, including herbal, black and green. There are pastries, cakes and desserts from a local bakery.

click to enlarge A lineup of brightly colored tea containers. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE YELLOW CUP
A lineup of brightly colored tea containers.
Photo courtesy of The Yellow Cup
The interior is white and bright, with an occasional pop of yellow from the tea containers. There is outdoor seating for those who want to relax al fresco with a cold brew of the caffeinated, non-alcoholic kind.

The coffee and tea haven is open Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Cafe Ginger opened at its new location at 1574 W. Gray, having made way for Weingarten Realty's thirty story residential tower, the Driscoll at its former spot. The Chinese restaurant has been serving General Tso's Chicken, crispy prawns and sushi in the River Oaks area since 2009. There is also a Ginger Cafe Uptown at 2200 Post Oak.

It is BYOB until it gets its liquor license, according to CultureMap Houston.

MidiCi, 2925 Richmond, is closed after less than a year in operation. With a strong opening, it slid downhill recently and a look at its Yelp page shows that patrons really enjoyed it until changes in service and quality made even its most loyal pizza partakers unhappy. There two other locations in Pearland and Katy.

Little Ginger, 2855 W. Lake Houston Parkway, opened April 18 in the space that was formerly a Wingstop. The new restaurant is the sister location of the Ginger Cafe, 7548 FM 1960, in Humble. The sushi bar offers sushi rolls, hand rolls, Donburi rice bowls, Poke bowls, and lunch Bento Boxes.

After Hurricane Harvey, the owners delivered 250 boxes of free food to those affected by the unprecedented flooding, grateful that their restaurant did not suffer damage.

click to enlarge The Berry Bar is shiny and new after Hurricane Harvey. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BERRY BAR
The Berry Bar is shiny and new after Hurricane Harvey.
Photo courtesy of The Berry Bar
The Berry Bar, 1660 W. Lake Houston Parkway, had its grand reopening, April 14. The family-owned business sells frozen-yogurt, fresh juices and smoothies, as well as ice cream.

click to enlarge The acai bowl is refreshing and healthy. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BERRY BAR
The acai bowl is refreshing and healthy.
Photo courtesy of The Berry Bar
The shop is located at King's Harbor, a retail complex which overlooks Lake Houston which inundated the buildings during Hurricane Harvey with six feet of water in some places, causing extreme damage to the surrounding businesses. Fortunately, several have reopened, though some of the favorite restaurants of the Kingwood and Atascocita residents are still undergoing extensive renovations.

Grazia Italian Kitchen, 22764 Westheimer, opened April 19, according to Cleverley Stone on the Houston Foodie Friends Facebook page.

The Villagio Town Center location is the third Grazia restaurant from the owner of Jade Hospitality, Adrian Hembree. The others are in Clear Lake and Pearland.

The restaurant serves pastas, seafood, steaks and wood fired pizzas along with signature dishes like smoked beef short ribs with a bourbon-chipotle glaze over pancetta risotto.

For those who can sneak away from the daily grind early, Grazia's happy hour runs from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and offers light bites like short ribs sliders and lasagna eggrolls. There are also happy hour drink speacials, including $5 house wines and $3.50 Texas draft beers.

Golden Chick, 13600 South Post Oak, opened April 23, making this the fourth location in the Houston area and the 185th in the United States. The fried chicken chain was founded in 1967 in San Marcos as Golden fried Chicken. In 1996, all franchised locations in the chain underwent an abbreviated name change to Golden Chick.

Beside its fried chicken and trademarked Original Golden Tenders, the chain sells salads (for real), including a chicken salad made with walnuts, grapes, mayonnaise and roasted chicken. Or diners can take a walk on the fried side and go for the corn nuggets and fried okra to round out their fried chicken splurge.

click to enlarge Prohibition Texas and the smoke chamber of secrets. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PROHIBITION TEXAS
Prohibition Texas and the smoke chamber of secrets.
Photo courtesy of Prohibition Texas
Prohibition Texas, 26420 Preston, opened March 3 in Old Town Spring. The prohibition era-inspired cocktail bar and restaurant is bringing craft cocktails and a hip scene to an area under-served when it comes to nightlife.There will be occasional live music from artists like Duaine Hatfield and Josh Brown.

Drink prices are in line with what one would find in downtown Houston's top cocktail meccas but Prohibition Texas does have a happy hour Wednesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with $5 light bites, $4.50 house wine, $2 off draft and $4 Giggly Water (not sure what that is, but gin may be an ingredient). There will also be specialty cocktail specials.

The food menu includes items with names hearkening back to a glamorized gangster America, like the Dime Bag sliders, the Bonnie and Clyde deviled eggs, or Dillinger's candy- two grilled strips of candied bacon.

click to enlarge A few light bites - PHOTO COURTESY OF PROHIBITION TEXAS
A few light bites
Photo courtesy of Prohibition Texas

The bar has a smoke chamber for cocktails like old-fashioneds and there are infused whiskeys available.

For cigar afficionados, there is a soon to be completed dedicated cigar lounge called The Vault once the ventilator gets installed, which should be in a couple of weeks. There is a humidor and Pappy Van Winkle cigars will be available, though limited. Prohibition Texas is on the waiting list for the infamous and pricey Pappy Van Winkle bourbons. Cigar prices range from$8 to $40.
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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.