Openings & Closings: Louie Mueller Barbecue Picks a New Spot

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CultureMap Houston’s Eric Sandler caught up with Wayne Mueller about his plans for Louie Mueller Barbecue in Houston. Mueller told Sandler that he is now looking at locations a bit further west, like the Energy Corridor, rather than the original plans to open somewhere near EaDo.

Houstonians have been anxiously awaiting the James Beard award-winning cue since early 2014 when the impending arrival of Louie Mueller’s first made headlines. Let’s hope Mueller’s plan to open by end of 2018 sticks.

The highly anticipated Heights Bier Garten is now open 1433 Shepherd from the Kirby Group, the brains behind popular Midtown cocktail hub Wooster’s Garden. The new outdoor drinking mecca opened on Wednesday, April 12, with over 60 craft beers and 30 wines on tap, according to CultureMap. But guests will also find plenty of whiskey and mixed drinks thanks to an in-house cocktail bar called Worcester's Annex. Kirby Group’s chef Brandon Silva will roll out a food menu after a week of business, including an array of beer-friendly sausages and even brunch items. The opening hours are Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Uber-popular upscale steakhouse and butcher shop, B&B Butchers & Restaurant, announced plans to expand into the Fort Worth market. Proprietor Benjamin Berg said, “My slaughterhouse is in Fort Worth and I’ve fallen in love with the quintessentially Texas city and its people, who remind me a lot of Houstonians with their love for philanthropy, art, food and all things Texas.”

The restaurant will open in the center of The Shops at Clearfork and will include 7,400-square-feet of downstairs dining space and butcher shop, a 2,500-square-foot space on the mezzanine for more additional dining and 1,500-square-feet of partially-covered outdoor patio space overlooking the center’s park.

Fort Worth can expect an opening in September of 2017.

The calamari at Helen in the Heights.EXPAND
The calamari at Helen in the Heights.
Photo by Christine Lee

The space at 1111 Studewood, where Arthur Ave stood just over a month ago, has been remodeled, rebranded and reopened on April 11 as Helen in the Heights. The group behind the beloved Helen in Rice Village saw an opportunity to expand the modern Greek taverna concept to the Heights neighborhood.

The menu at Helen in the Heights will be significantly different from the Village spot, according to a press release. The focus is on more classic Greek dishes like pastitsio, a pasta with spiced beef, tomato, and béchamel, a wide variety of souvlaki, gyros and moussaka.

For the first two weeks, the restaurant will only offer dinner service. Regular business hours will follow thereafter.

A new Salata opened on April 6 at the company’s new headquarters building at 16720 Park Row. The following day, another Salata, marking the group's 30th Houston-area restaurant, debuted at 7457 Southwest Freeway, near the Houston Baptist University campus.

The casual restaurant is known for its simple, fresh and healthy menu options. Fruits and vegetables are chopped daily and all dressings are made in-house and gluten-free.

A portion of opening day proceeds from the Park Row and Southwest Freeway locations were committed to the American Cancer Society and HBJ Scholarship Fund, respectively.

The gorgeous Hotel Granduca at 1080 Uptown Park unveiled its in-house restaurant Il Giardino on April 7 with a special four-course dinner. The date coincided with National Beer Day to present its partnership with Italian Craft Brewery, Birradamare (which is based in Italy). The beer is not available anywhere else in the country, Houstonia reported.

Il Giardino’s executive chef Enrico Glaudo designed a menu inspired by his upbringing in Italy. Dishes include cannellini tapenade, calamari and an antipasto platter of cured meats and pickled vegetables, paninis and specialty pizzas.

Lombardi Family Concepts announced that Taverna at 4444 Westheimer in River Oaks District has a new executive chef at the helm. Chef Francesco Schintu, from Sardinia, Italy, has cooked at top restaurants all over the world.

Taverna’s menu is inspired by classic Italian recipes and the use of simple, seasonal ingredients. Enjoy $2 bellinis and mimosas during brunch. Happy hour specials are available Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. in the bar area with house-made pizzas and authentic Italian cicchetti dishes for $5 and half-priced bottles of select wines on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The new store participates in a grand Scavenger Hunt event.EXPAND
The new store participates in a grand Scavenger Hunt event.
Photo courtesy of Chick-Fil-A

A brand new stand-alone Chick-fil-A opened on April 13 at 12935 Tomball Parkway. Franchise owner Brad Munson participated in Texas’ first grand opening Chick-Fil-A Scavenger Hunt, where participants could earn a year's supply of Chick-fil-A while helping others, including packing 10,000 meals for children in need.

Red Ox Bar & Grill at 811 Collingsworth is shuttering on April 15. CultureMap Houston reported that after three years, the two longtime pals who met at University of St. Thomas and eventually became business partners, Terry Flores and Lily Hernandez, are closing the Northside joint in Flores’s old neighborhood to “take a break,” said Flores.

The Red Ox space has been leased to Leo Coronel, who owns the Italian Cafe in Spring. Coronel plans to open Rocco’s by late May. The eatery will serve pizza, pasta and salads.

National hamburger chain, Fuddruckers, opened its doors to the public in Creekside Park on April 11 at 8510 Creekside Forest Drive, suite E-200. Known for its burgers, chicken sandwiches, other American fare and its super addictive jalapeno cheddar cheese sauce, the casual, dine-in restaurant celebrated its official ribbon cutting in The Woodlands on April 10.

The martinated chicken tacos at Uncle Tony's look fabulous.
The martinated chicken tacos at Uncle Tony's look fabulous.
Photo courtesy of Uncle Tony's

Houston Press contributor Jamie Alvear tipped us off about Uncle Tony’s reopening at 314 Sawdust in Spring. A restaurant representative told the Press that the original Uncle Tony’s opened in January of 2014 in Conroe at 16881 FM 1314.

Popular items on the menu include the Rattlesnake burger, hand-cut fries and tasty sourdough buns. The restaurant celebrated its grand reopening on April 3.

Community Impact reported that a second location of Adriatic Café Italian Grill opened at 19004 Windsor Pointe in Tomball on April 6. The original store is located in Jersey Village near Highway 290 and Jones.

The new 6,000-square-foot space includes a full liquor bar, party room and patio. The same menu of pasta, pizza and Italian desserts is offered.

Cou-yon Seafood House grand opened at 11939 Katy Freeway on March 25. The restaurant offers boiled seafood including crawfish, shrimp and snow crabs, po’ boys and Cajun favorites such as boudin balls and gumbo.

Peli Peli turns eight this month. The restaurant is celebrating with weekly specials and promotions throughout April. The Vintage Park location opened its doors back in 2009 and today, Peli Peli has outposts in the Galleria, Spring Branch, Downtown and coming soon to Katy and Austin.

From April 10 to April 16, enjoy free sticky toffee pudding with a purchase of any entree (free cupcake at Peli Peli Kitchen and free sticky cookie at Peli Deli. From April 17 to April 23, customers receive 30-percent off all gift cards in-store or online at Peli Peli. From April 24 to April 30, the new happy hour menu is available from open to close in the bar and dining room.

Celebrate Prince and his music at Lucille's.EXPAND
Celebrate Prince and his music at Lucille's.
Photo by Bonner Rhoden

Remember the great Prince and his music with Chef Chris Williams at Lucille’s on the one-year anniversary of the musician’s death on April 21. There are two opportunities to enjoy William’s Southern cuisine and partake in the festivities.

A seven-course Prince tribute wine dinner will take place on Wednesday, April 19. Prince was known to be a devout vegan and his favorite number was “7,” so Williams designed a seven-course pescatarian feast (with some vegan options) to take place at 7 p.m. for $77 per person (plus tax and gratuity). A live DJ will spin Prince records throughout the evening.

Reservations are required by Monday, April 17, so please call 713-568-2505 to reserve your spot.
On April 21, Lucille’s will be partying like it’s 1999, clad in purple attire of course. A live cover band will perform starting at 7 p.m.

Local food blogger Jay Francis noted a new place to get great coffee isn’t just another coffee shop, but inside a Bed, Bath & Beyond. Currently only available at the Katy and Willowbrook locations, two Keurig pro units are set up for customers to brew coffee samples inside the store and have a cup while shopping. The entire line of flavors created for the Keurig is available for tasting.

Minute Maid Slushies are now available at Greater Houston area McDonald’s restaurants until September 30. The fruity Slushies are offered in all sizes from small to extra-large and come in three flavors: Fruit Punch, Cherry Limeade and Orangeade. A medium sized Slushie is priced at $1.39 and available at participating locations only.

The Houston Chronicle reported that a Russo’s New York Pizzeria will open sometime this month in Fairfield Town Center at 28610 Highway 290. Franchise owner and operator Fernando Cordova and his partners’ new store is 2,500-square-feet and located near the Houston Premium Outlets next to H-E-B.

That's it for this week's restaurant openings and closings! Leave us a comment or send us an email to let us know if we missed something.

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