Restaurant Reviews

Openings & Closings: You Snooze, You Don't Lose

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery is now open in Town and Country near Memorial City.
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery is now open in Town and Country near Memorial City. Photo by Cuc Lam

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
finally opened on June 21 at 600 West Sam Houston Parkway North, suite 500, in Town and Country near Memorial City. The Denver-based breakfast, brunch and coffee cocktail hot spot first arrived in Houston nearly a year ago at 3217 Montrose.

The restaurant also teams up with local non-profits like Project C.U.R.E., which is the largest provider of donated medical supplies and equipment to developing countries around the world.

Snooze is open Daily from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Agricole Hospitality is opening three concepts at 1201 St. Emanuel on the corner of Dallas St. News about the move has been buzzing around since December of last year. The group was offered a large space—too big for one concept—so partners Ryan Pera, Morgan Weber and Vincent Huynh put a lot of thought into what kind of restaurants and bars would thrive in the 60,000-square-foot space this rapidly changing neighborhood known as the East Village.

Indianola, a 3,000-square-foot neighborhood restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu will feature American comfort dishes. There will be seating for 100 diners indoor, with 20 counter seats facing the kitchen and additional seating for 30 on the patio.

The second concept is Miss Carousel, a 5,000-square-foot adjoining bar. According to the release, the space is “designed in living room vignettes with well-furnished couches, chairs, rugs and a fireplace.” The bar will be open daily from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Vinny’s is the third of the Agricole expansion in EaDo. The Italian fast casual concept will focus on pizza by the slice and delivery. The restaurant is small, with only 30 seats for dining inside and another 20 seats on the patio. Vinny’s will be open for lunch, dinner and late night dining and delivery.

Avenida Brazil Churrascaria Steakhouse is opening in the former Guri do Sul Brazilian Steakhouse spot in Shenandoah near The Woodlands. The restaurant is slated to open at 1400 Research Forest Drive by early next month. Judging from its listed website, Avenida is associated with the Tradicao Brazilian Steakhouse brand.

click to enlarge The menu at Underbelly now features more seafood and vegetable dishes. - PHOTO BY JULIE SOEFER
The menu at Underbelly now features more seafood and vegetable dishes.
Photo by Julie Soefer

On June 20, the menu at Underbelly shifted to feature more seafood and vegetables.

“Underbelly will no longer buy whole steers,” said Shepherd in a press release. Having a whole cow in the butcher shop cooler meant that there was always an “imbalance of beef dishes on the 20-item menu.”

The menu will change daily, but now diners will see a few new constant items, including a seafood tower, a selection of ceviche and crudo, and a crispy Royal Red Shrimp served with Thai-style summer squash salad.

click to enlarge The Beach Umbrella at Underbelly features aged Cachaca, peach, pineapple, lime and tonic. - PHOTO BY JULIE SOEFER
The Beach Umbrella at Underbelly features aged Cachaca, peach, pineapple, lime and tonic.
Photo by Julie Soefer

In addition to changes to the food menu, both Underbelly and neighboring craft beer bar, The Hay Merchant will launch a new cocktail and spirits program. Starting June 27, The Hay Merchant will offer a full bar and Underbelly will follow suit on July 10. The programs will be managed by new spirits director Westin Galleymore, most recently behind the bar at One Fifth and formerly of Anvil Bar & Refuge.

Underbelly and The Hay Merchant share a wall at 1100 Westheimer in Montrose.

The Houston Press first heard about Okome Don from a reader’s tip who mistakenly read the signage as Kome Don, with a latticed ornate “O” hidden in front of the word “Kome.” The Chinatown restaurant at 9938 Bellaire is one of the latest in a flurry of poke shops to open in Houston; but the variety offered on the menu sets Okome Don apart from the rest.

Partner Steve Jiang told the Press that sashimi-grade fish, including tuna, salmon, yellowtail, red snapper and albacore, is featured. Other protein choices include scallops, masago, baby octopus, shrimp, kani and surf clams. Bowls are available in two sizes, regular for $10.50 and a large size for $13.95.

The Oyster Room at State of Grace, 3268 Westheimer, now offers $1 oysters, Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sommelier Matt Crawford is happy to suggest the perfect wine to pair with the oysters or any of the other wonderful new items on the seasonal menu.

Executive chef Bobby Matos also added new dishes to the Sunday brunch menu just in time for the summer. Standouts include soft-shell crab with fried egg, crawfish Benedict with cornbread and creole hollandaise and shrimp and grits with pullman toast.

click to enlarge The Picanha Burger is new on Chama Gaucha's menu. - PHOTO BY CHRIS BROWN
The Picanha Burger is new on Chama Gaucha's menu.
Photo by Chris Brown

Chama Gaucha
, The Brazilian steakhouse at 5865 Westheimer near the Galleria, has a new covered patio with circular fire pits and comfortable lounge seating and has also expanded its menu with lighter fare, including new a la carte items for lunch and dinner. New entrees include the Chama Summer Salad and the Picanha burger.

Baileson Brewery, 2322 Bissonnet, is set to open by Labor Day. Houston Business Journal reported that owner Adam Cryer and his wife Sarah Pope chose the space next to former Kay’s Lounge because he lived in the neighborhood for about a decade and the area was nostalgic for him, having attended Rice University.

According to the article, the brewery will have indoor and outdoor seating and plans to open on Fridays from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 9 p.m.

click to enlarge Current Kolache Shoppe owners, Randy and Lucy Hines continue the tradition of homemade, delicious Czech kolaches. - PHOTO COURTESY OF KOLACHE SHOPPE
Current Kolache Shoppe owners, Randy and Lucy Hines continue the tradition of homemade, delicious Czech kolaches.
Photo courtesy of Kolache Shoppe

Nearly 50-year-old Kolache Shoppe is opening a second location. The new 1,200-square-foot space is expected to open in summer of next year as part of the Heights Central Station mix-used development at 1050 Yale in Houston Heights.

The original bakery and coffee shop at 3945 Richmond opened in 1970 in Greenway Plaza, serving Czech kolaches made fresh every day. Hours are Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to noon and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Local billionaire Tilman Fertitta is now a 50 percent owner of EMM, the New York-based restaurant group behind Catch and Lexington Brass Bistro. According to CultureMap Houston, Fertitta has talked about doing deals together with EMM owners Mark Birnbaum and Eugene Remm for many years and added that “it just seemed like the right time. They were starting to expand, and they could use our support and infrastructure (to help grow the company).”

No word yet as to the prospect of Catch opening in Houston in the near future. Currently the upscale seafood restaurant operates two locations, one in New York City and a newly opened spot in Los Angeles. Sights are set on a London, Las Vegas and second NYC outpost in the immediate future.

click to enlarge Experience the future at the newest McDonald's in Katy. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MCDONALD'S
Experience the future at the newest McDonald's in Katy.
Photo courtesy of McDonald's

The new McDonald’s at 22914 Morton Ranch in Katy is not your average Mickey D’s. The latest spot is branded as the first “Experience of the Future” model featuring digital ordering kiosks, Bluetooth table locators for dine-in service, indoor and outdoor digital menu boards, as well as interactive entertainment and video game systems inside the restaurant.

The grand opening was celebrated on June 24. Follow the store’s Facebook page for information on future events.

Dallas-based Ascension, a coffee shop and farm-to-table restaurant with the goal of “elevating the American café experience” will open at Braun Enterprises’ Heights Waterworks development, near 19th and Nicholson, according to CultureMap Houston. Expect a patio that will back up to the Heights Hike and Bike Trail and a June of July 2018 opening date.

A post in Memorial Area Eats announced that construction has begun on the new Texadelphia at 8383 Westheimer, former site of Potbelly near Dunvale. The Philly-cheesesteak joint has been missed since the closure of its last Houston store back in June of 2015. The restaurant hopes to open by mid-August or September of this year.

click to enlarge The special summer promotion is only offered at Peli Peli Kitchen and Peli Deli. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PELI PELI
The special summer promotion is only offered at Peli Peli Kitchen and Peli Deli.
Photo courtesy of Peli Peli

Peli Peli Kitchen
, 9090 Katy Freeway, and Peli Deli, 808 Travis, are running a summer special throughout June, July and August. Diners will receive 20 percent off any entrée ordered between designated promotion hours from 1 to 6 p.m.

Fast casual chain PDQ (People Dedicated to Quality) launched a new seasonal menu at all Houston locations last week. Executive chef Michael Brannock and chef Bryce Bonsack introduced the Thai Peanut and Smokehouse BBQ bowl with hand-fried pickles, premium chicken sandwiches such as the Southern Pimento Crunch and Grilled Hawaiian, and four new specialty salads.

Arby’s announced plans for a new store in Richmond at 8081 FM 723 later this year or by early 2018.

Luigi’s Cucina Italiana at 3030 Audley closed its doors on May 31. The upscale River Oaks restaurant had been in business since early 2014. According to Houston Business Journal, Luigi’s filed for bankruptcy on June 1.

Experience Sundown at The Grove between July 5 and August 30. This is the sixth year of the event, featuring specials every Wednesday. This summer, diners can enjoy samples from local craft breweries paired with savory items created by executive sous chef Ernesto Villareal.

A live action, made-to-order food station will be available and live DJ music by DJ Sun on the deck overlooking Discovery Green. Guests can also enjoy some of the best views in Houston from the air-conditioned Vista Room.

A 9,000-square-foot food hall is in the works for the ground floor of the Aris Market Square tower at Preston and Travis Downtown. Swamplot reported that Bravery Chef Hall won't be just a food hall, but "the world's first chef hall," as explained by its founders, the team behind the Conservatory food hall.

Vendor booths will be owned and operated individually by chefs with a majority of counter seating available for an upfront view of the chef at his/her craft.

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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Cuc Lam is a freelance food writer for the Houston Press and local pop-up chef. She enjoys teaching cooking classes and hosting dinner parties when she is not writing.