Openings & Closings: Welcome Roostar to Uptown/Galleria

The 14,000-square-foot restaurant and patio will have more than 150 televisions and plans to open by mid-May.
The 14,000-square-foot restaurant and patio will have more than 150 televisions and plans to open by mid-May.
Photo courtesy of Smoke'n Honey House
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Roostar Vietnamese Grill formally opened its second location in the Uptown/Galleria area on May 1. The popular banh mi shop has expanded its menu to include beer service at the 5551 Richmond spot. The original Roostar opened as Vietnam Poblano in 2013 at 1411 Gessner near Memorial City Mall. Co-owners Ronnie Nguyen and Linda Nguyen told the Houston Press about their plans to expand to a larger space back in October.

The team at Roostar now has a larger kitchen and prep area, which means more creative menu items. Linda is working with an alumnus and fellow Hilton Conrad classmate, Steven Vanegas, to develop some dessert recipes. There are a few matcha (green tea) sweet treats in the works.

The six taps are dedicated to local craft brews, which may be rotated every so often. Currently, Roostar offers B52 Breakfast Stout, B52 Pils, Deep Ellum’s Playdate (a delicious sour), Deep Ellum’s Easy Peesy IPA and Brash’s Fancy Sauce along with some bottled beers.

The entire food menu of sandwiches, rice plates, vermicelli bowls, salads and wings is available at both locations. The new spot also features a pretty rad Stubborn soda filling station, where guests can mix and match their own carbonated beverages. The eatery is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday and closed on Sundays.

Caribbean pastry shop Donafe’s Café at 126 Vintage Park shuttered a couple of weeks ago. On April 29, the owners posted a farewell message on Facebook that included the following:

“Today marks a week since we have closed our doors at Vintage Park. We would like to thank each and every one of you for contacting us, offering support and warm wishes . . . We had some issues with our landlord that could not be resolved and the outcome was out of our control despite our efforts.”

FM Kitchen and Bar will open May 19 at 1112 Shepherd. Chef Ryan Hildebrand has been working on an indoor/outdoor experience reminiscent of roadside burger stands likely found on farm to market roads of the past.

Hildebrand says, “We brought the casual, comfortable nature of a road trip to the heart of one of the best cities in the world...think of it as a park in the city where you have a drink, a bite, play some games on the patio and relax.”

The space displays the art of Daniel Anguilu, whose contemporary street style is iconic in Houston. The interior is designed by Erin Hicks. Through its partnership with Wonky Power, FM will offer live music from local bands.

After a year of delays, Beer Nation partially opened on April 27.EXPAND
After a year of delays, Beer Nation partially opened on April 27.
Photo by Cuc Lam

After a year of delays, Beer Nation partially opened on April 27 at 11681 Westheimer. At least half of it is now open, mainly the restaurant side, which is 2,200 square feet with black-clothed tables, a small bar and 11 flat-screens scattered about the dining area. An enclosed patio space is available for seating, with another open-air patio to be constructed within 30 days.

Still to come, Director of Operations Larry Kakos told the Press, is a venue side with a large stage, 100 additional taps and enough seating for 500 guests that is expected to be ready in 90 to 180 days. Once this part opens, “we plan to book bands like Puddle of Mudd and Sponge here,” said Kakos. He also mentioned karaoke scheduled for Wednesdays, tribute and cover bands on Thursdays, and that the weekend is dedicated to “A-list” local bands.

The menu offers steakhouse and American pub fare. Hours are Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Justin Yu, Bobby Heugel and Steve Flippo’s Better Luck Tomorrow soft-opened on April 27 in the former Dry Creek Café space at 544 Yale. The partners have announced May 3 as its official opening day.

The menu features a short but sweet list of ten bar food items and ten cocktails. The cocktail menu, crafted by Heugel and his team of mixologists, includes playful concoctions like the Swiftly Tailored made with sparkling wine, crème de peche, passion fruit and lemon, and the Cold Fashioned with bourbon, rum, brandy de Jerez, piloncillo and bitters, both for $10.

The 14,000-square-foot restaurant and patio will have more than 150 televisions and plans to open by mid-May.EXPAND
The 14,000-square-foot restaurant and patio will have more than 150 televisions and plans to open by mid-May.
Photo courtesy of Smoke'n Honey House

Kerry Pauly Hospitality Group announced that Smoke’n Honey House will open by mid-May at 8801 North Loop East. According to a press release, the space is set up to offer live entertainment along with a great meal.

The 14,000-square-foot restaurant and patio will have more than 150 televisions and will feature a menu created by chef Gilbert Arismendez and his culinary team. Arismendez has been a part of an award-winning barbecue team, Holy Cow Cookers, that has won the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo eight times and was a finalist in the brisket competition this past year. The menu will include fajitas, burgers and brisket.

Casual neighborhood favorite Dish Society announced that it will open its fourth location in a mixed-use development known as the Heights Central Station (formerly the Heights Post Office).

Owner Aaron Lyons told CultureMap Houston that he wants to cater to a demographic of “young professionals and families with an interest in healthy eating.”

This new location will have a 1,000-square-foot outdoor patio and 60 parking spots as well as offsite parking. Plans are to open in fall of 2018.

The jalapeño cilantro queso is back on the menu for good at all locations of Fuzzy's Taco Shop.EXPAND
The jalapeño cilantro queso is back on the menu for good at all locations of Fuzzy's Taco Shop.
Photo courtesy of Fuzzy's Taco Shop

Three old favorites have returned to the menu at all locations of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. The Jalapeño-Cilantro Queso, Jalapeño Bottle Caps and Burrito Bowls were available again starting May 1 and will remain permanently on the menu at Fuzzy’s.

The Fort Worth-based chain opened in 2003 and currently has more than 100 locations across the country, and features all-day breakfast and its famous Baja tacos, guacamole and chips, and frozen margaritas.

A reader noted that a Mediterranean and Uzbek restaurant grand-opened on April 15 at 9211 West Road, Suite 135. Silk Road Grill offers appetizers like hummus and labne (a curd spread with garlic, salt and dill). Entrées include burgers, wraps and uzbek plov (a plate of rice, fried beef, onions, carrots and chickpeas with raisins).

Named for the Great Silk Trade route that connected the East to the West from China to the Mediterranean Sea, the restaurant aims to present a fusion of Mediterranean and Uzbek cuisine in a family-friendly dining environment.

Banh Mi ETC soft-opened in Jersey Village on April 19. The sandwich eatery at 9211 West Road, Suite 145 also offers tapioca drinks, otherwise known as boba, as well as Vietnamese finger foods like egg rolls and spring rolls. Early reviews on Yelp are positive and it sounds like the ca phe sua da (iced coffee with condensed milk) is right on: creamy, rich and strong.

A reader reported seeing a new Gumbo Jeaux’s at 14185 Northwest Freeway. This location marks the third to open in Houston. The restaurant serves up Cajun favorites like gumbo, étouffée, blackened chicken and catfish plates with dirty rice or red beans and rice.

Find Gumbo Jeaux’s in the Heights at 2155 Durham, Suite 105 and near Intercontinental Airport at 15655 John F Kennedy.

Hakkasan, the group behind Yauatcha, may have plans to bring other concepts, Ling Ling and Herringbone to Houston, according to the Houston Business Journal.

Judging from the websites, Ling Ling offers an upscale Chinese and dim sum menu and Herringbone specializes in “line-caught seafoods and high-quality meats.”

Hakkasan Group CEO Nick McCabe told HBJ that "there's a sophisticated dining crowd here.” No dates were mentioned, but we’ll keep our eyes and ears open.

California-based chain Black Bear Diner announced plans to expand into the Texas market starting with a Katy location by the first half of next year. According to the Houston Chronicle, the restaurant will open in a 5,400-square-foot space in the Shoppes at Parkwest at 24600 Katy Freeway.

Black Bear Diner currently operates 94 locations throughout eight Western states and was founded in 1985 in Mount Shasta, California.

A bowl of ramen at Aji Ramen in Katy.EXPAND
A bowl of ramen at Aji Ramen in Katy.
Photo by Delaney Reid

Ramen lover Wang Shu Han posted on Ramen in Common about new Aji Ramen’s soft opening in mid-April at 1645 Winding Hollow, Suite 206, in Katy. The menu features Japanese ramen, robata skewers including pork belly, rib eye, scallop and Taiwanese sausage, and appetizers including chicken karaage, takoyaki and gyoza.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, closed on Tuesday.

Sugar Land Town Square will be home to AGU Ramen’s fourth location. The Hawaii-based ramen chain came to Houston with an aggressive expansion plan, opening the first three locations within a couple of months of each other at the end of last year. The plan was to open by the end of April in the former space of Shiva Indian at 2130 Lone Star Drive.

Next on the list are locations in Nassau Bay and Katy. Chef/owner Hisashi Uehara is also looking for additional spots in the Med Center and The Woodlands.

The Denny’s at 12405 Westheimer quietly shuttered recently and a new breakfast and brunch eatery has popped up in its place. Steve’s Kitchen opened late last month and early Yelp reviews are not too encouraging, but let’s hope the 24-hour restaurant turns things around.

The Texas BBQ Brisket Burger is on the menu for the first week during National Burger Month.
The Texas BBQ Brisket Burger is on the menu for the first week during National Burger Month.
Photo courtesy of Axis Loung in Royal Sonesta

Throughout May, Axis Lounge at the Royal Sonesta and chef Robert Graham will celebrate National Burger Month with weekly burger and beer pairings. The first week, the BBQ Brisket Double Cheese is paired with the Saint Arnold Lawn Mower. Other burgers include the Sinful Burger, made with 44 Farms beef, cheddar, barbecue brisket, coleslaw and a fried egg on brioche, and the Chicharron Burger, with hatch green chilies, avocado, queso fresco and guajillo ketchup. All burger and beer pairings are priced at $18.

The Royal Sonesta is located at 2222 West Loop South.

Community Impact noted a few openings in neighboring suburbs this past week. Wingstop announced plans to open in mid-May at 2918 West Grand Parkway, Suite 160 in Katy.

A shop selling nostalgic candy and sodas set up shop in Old Town Spring on April 22. Our House Throwback Candy Shack opened at 419 Gentry in suites 105 and 106. Now you can have Pop Rocks and big swirly multi-colored lollipops while sipping soda pop, local craft beer, wine and cider.

China Star Buffet announced that it would open late April or early May at 10009 West Broadway in Pearland. This would mark the fifth Houston-area store.

Renovations at the Armadillo Palace are finally complete. Goode Company owner Levi Goode told CultureMap Houston that a new menu built around the changes is more “grown up,” adding that “a lot of these dishes are the way we cook around the house, the ranch, around the fish camp, deer hunting lease and all that good stuff.”

The updates include a space outdoors for live performances, an expanded kitchen and an additional Orange Blossom Bar, which will feature whiskey.

Earlier this week, local Facebook food group Cypress Area Foodies and Fooding discussed the closure and reopening of a new place under the same owner and management. The Fry Road location of Breakfast Brunch Café quietly closed late April and quickly reopened with a new name, Craft Eats.

The online menu lists gourmet sandwiches, soups, salads and craft cocktails. Craft Eats is located at 12904 Fry, Suite 600. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and the restaurant is closed on Mondays.

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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