Restaurant News

Openings & Closings: Annyeonghaseyo Ohn Korean Eatery!

The Seoul Brisket is presented with banchan, a variety of Korean pickled side items.
The Seoul Brisket is presented with banchan, a variety of Korean pickled side items. Photo courtesy of Ohn Korean Eatery

Ohn Korean Eatery
, the latest concept from local restaurateur and chef Mike Tran, opened on May 31. Tran is the mastermind behind Tiger Den, Mein and Night Market (which has been temporarily closed since April 30 for rebranding).

The new joint at 9630 Clarewood, suite A-16, features Korean bar food in a cool, neon-lit environment with beer, soju and soju-cocktails. A Houston Press sneak peek revealed tasty Instagram and drool-worthy rice and noodle dishes like Dosirak, a lunch box with egg, spam, kimchi and seaweed and a Seoul brisket presented with banchan (Korean pickled side dishes).

Is there a new Justin Yu restaurant in Houston’s future? Eater Houston reported that one of Yu’s recent Instagram posts has revealed the name of the new eatery-to-be would be named after the award-winning chef’s three-year-old nephew. The post read:

Happy third birthday to my nephew, Theodore. You're pretty much the only person in this world who can actually turn that frown upside down. Sorry I can't be there today. But at least I decided to name my new restaurant after you? Welcome to the world Theodore Rex @t.rex.houston I'd better be your favorite uncle for forever now.

Lucky's Lodge will celebrate its grand opening at 2024 Rusk on June 24. The restaurant and bar is a spin-off of Lucky's Pub and a representative told the Press that it has been operating as Lucky's Lodge since early February, near the time of the Super Bowl.

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The brussels sprouts are new on Max's summer menu.
Photo courtesy of Max's Wine Dive
Local family-owned acclaimed Max’s Wine Dive announces a new summer-inspired menu. Known for its famous fried chicken and champagne, Max’s is excited to feature dishes created by the collaborative effort of its executive chefs. New items on the seasonal menu include the Spicy Coconut Quail Wings, Confit Picnic Ribs, Diver Scallops and a Steak Caprese Salad. Chef Rene Hernandez is proudest of the brussels sprouts, which demonstrates a balance between “the saltiness from the ham, the sweetness from the chard sprouts, the acid from the pickled fennel and the rich mustard cream.”

Over the past decade, the restaurant has received numerous awards and accolades, including the honor of Southern Living Magazine’s “The South’s Best Fried Chicken.”

The Houston Chronicle reported that the restaurant at Howard T. Tellepsen Seafarers' Center, 9250 High Level Road, closed last week in order to move to a smaller location.

The center that houses the eatery is located in the Port of Houston Authority’s Turning Basin terminal and has operated since 1972, serving over 100,000 seafarers. The new restaurant will be more modern and, at 7,500-square-feet, will be half the size of the original space.

Dish Society’s third outpost is on schedule to open by August. As part of the Midway Company’s mixed-use center, the Memorial Green site at 12525 Memorial Drive will be its largest location yet, at 4,000-square-feet with an additional 1,300-square-foot outdoor patio. Continuing its commitment to locally-sourced produce and health-consciousness, the menu will resemble its other two locations.

The first Dish Society opened in 2014 in the Galleria area at 5740 San Felipe and a second store opened in Katy within the same year at 23501 Cinco Ranch.

Looks like Jonathan’s the Rub will be in good company at Memorial Green. The upscale neighborhood restaurant is opening its second location near the soon-to-be Dish Society. Owner Jonathan Levine told CultureMap Houston not to expect an opening until spring or summer of 2018.

BB’s Cajun Kitchen will open its eighth location in the RE:VIVE Development currently under construction at 34th off Ella. Also moving into the area is Aladdin Mediterranean Cuisine.

The Press reported that phase one of the 2.5-acre mixed-use space in the Garden Oaks/Oak Forest (GOOF) area is almost complete and spaces are now available for tenants to move in.

Last year, news about the closure of the original Frenchy’s location on Scott Street swirled about. This week, the fried chicken chain, along with Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church confirmed plans to move the restaurant two and a half blocks from its 3919 Scott location to a space across from the University of Houston’s football stadium. UH Cougars will now be even closer to that deliciously spicy Creole fried chicken.

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Poke bowls at Seaside Poke are fresh and delicious.
Photo by Kimberly Park

It’s been six months since Seaside Poke told the Press about its plan to close up the pop-up shop at Doc Holliday’s in Rice Village. At the time, Chef Tai Nguyen hinted at a brick and mortar spot in the Heights at 19th near Shepherd.

This past week, the poke restaurant finally opened at 2118 Lamar as part of the new and trendy East Village in EaDo. The Seaside team will continue to serve their deliciously popular signature bowls as well as customizable, build-it-yourself menu items.

The signage for Snooze, an A.M. Eatery on the Beltway 8 feeder has been teasing Memorial area fans for months. The brunch favorite destination announced this week that it will open doors to its 600 West Sam Houston location on June 21.

The Denver-based chain opened its first Houston-area store in Montrose late July of last year. In addition to the Town & Country location, expect two more Snooze’s to wake up the neighborhoods of Cinco Ranch in Katy and the Heights.

A New York City dining club that hosts fancy pants events at upscale restaurants for families is bringing its services to Houston. According to Eater Houston, Nibble+squeak sets up dinners in private dining rooms for families with children, so as to not disturb other guests.

The first event was offered at Hugo’s, 1600 Westheimer, on June 5.

The shopping strip at Bellaire Town Center will undergo a redevelopment. Houston Business Journal reported that the space at the corner of Bellaire and Rice will include a ground-level restaurant and retail and office space, with 265 parking spots. Completion of the new center is expected by fall of 2018.

Frozen yogurt shop Orange Leaf at 4767 Sweetwater in Sugar Land has closed. There are several other locations in the Houston metro area.

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The Shrimp Louie is one of the new items on the summer menu at Toulouse.
Photo courtesy of Toulouse

turned one at 4444 Westheimer in River Oaks District. The upscale French restaurant celebrated with the announcement of new summer-inspired dishes and cocktails. On the menu, diners will find a delicious rendition of Shrimp Louie presented with Boston lettuce hearts, avocado, baby heirloom tomatoes and fresh herbs.

In the bar, refreshing new cocktails like the Cucumber Mint Margarita, Spicy Mango Paloma and the Peachy Keen made with Royal Combier Peche de Vigne, Belvedere vodka and Prosecco are sure to be a hit on Houston’s hot summer days.

A local bar in Sugar Land has recently changed its name. The Locker Room Sports Bar is no more; the place is now called Dips & Chips. The bar and grill at 16227 Lexington offers a Mexican menu and features happy hour specials on Mondays through Thursdays, from 4 to 7 p.m. and on Fridays, from 4 to 11 p.m.

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Baby Cakes Bakery will out on its on to 12621 Highway 105 West, suite 107 in Conroe.
Photo courtesy of Baby Cakes

In July, Baby Cakes Bakery will have its very own brick and mortar at 12621 Highway 105 West, suite 107 in Conroe. Owner and famed baker Amanda Cano was a winner on the Food Network’s reality show, Bakers vs. Fakers (February 22 episode).

The sweet shop had been sharing Cano’s parents’ Pizza Shack space. The bakery offers jumbo and mini-stuffed cupcakes, minitarts, cinnamon rolls, muffins, cake-balls and cookies.

Masone’s Saloon at 11133 Huffmeister is now Olympix Sports Bar. The name change comes along with a rebranding to feature pool tables, golf simulators, a basketball arcade, ping pong, floor shuffleboard and other adult games. The space is available for hosting corporate team buildings and private events.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop is celebrating its 40th birthday with a few new items available at stores nationwide. Now fans of the Chicago-based chain can purchase a shake that tastes like birthday cake with Potbelly’s signature mini butter cookies and sprinkles, a crispy marshmallow bar topped with birthday cake frosting and sprinkles or a whole jar of its famous hot peppers.

There’s lots of food news in Pearland this week. Community Impact reported that Chop Ice Cream should reopen in late June at the Pearland Town Center. The shop is moving into the former Swirll Frozen Yogurt space at 11200 W. Broadway, suite 430.

Come August or September, Pearland will be home to its first MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company. Plans were announced for an opening at The Center at Pearland Parkway on 2560 Pearland Parkway, suite 182.

The California-based chain already operates in Katy at 21784 Katy Freeway and a Kirby Grove location is currently under construction at 2925 Richmond. Early press releases announced that the Kirby Grove location would be open in time for Super Bowl LI, but it appears to still be coming soon on its website.

Pearland will be the first of 27 planned locations for fast-food chain Checkers. The drive-in restaurant specializes in hamburgers, wings, hot dogs and fries. The Pearland store will open at 2401 South Main in August.

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If all goes well with permits, Empire Pizza should open in July.
Photo courtesy of Empire Pizza

A reader noted that a new pizza joint is moving into 11805 Westheimer, suite 305, near Kirkwood in Westchase. A representative of Empire Pizza told the Press that their hopes are to celebrate a grand opening in July, but city permit delays may push back that date.

U Maki Sushi Burrito soft opened on June 8. The announcement on Facebook encouraged guests to check-in on social media to receive 20-percent off and complimentary appetizers.

The restaurant is located at 10111 Louetta, suite 600. Current hours listed are Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Monday through Wednesday.

The good people of Old Town Spring welcomed the Nippy Hippy to the neighborhood on May 20. The shop serves up shaved ice and old-fashioned candy at 26515 Preston.

A new food truck park in Tomball celebrated its opening on June 1. 403 Eats opened at 403 East Main with spaces for six trucks, indoor and outdoor seating, televisions, free wi-fi and drinks available for purchase on-site. One of the new resident trucks is the popular Cousins Maine Lobster, which pulled up stakes at Deacon Baldy’s a couple of weeks ago.

The other five trucks available at the park are Lyndley’s, Pocket to Me, The Greek Squad, Tacos Ole and Tikiz Shaved Ice.

BLEND Bar with Davidoff Cigars is coming to The Woodlands by the fall. The cigar and bourbon bar will open at 1701 Lake Robbins and feature premium cigars like Davidoff Fuente and Diamond Crown and spirits like Balvenie, Blanton’s, Pappy Van Winkle, Johnny Walker, Odyssey and Fuzzy Vodka.

CultureMap Houston rounded up a few restaurants to watch for this summer. Among the most notable is the arrival of Emmaline, the concept from Sam Governale (formerly of Fleming’s), to open at 3210 West Dallas in the former Teala’s space. Expect a late summer opening.

Former Royal Oak space will re-open as Present Company at 1318 in Montrose with an addition of a second-floor patio later this summer. Royal Oak shuttered on September 11 for renovations and rebranding.

A fire in April of last year destroyed the beloved Cleburne Cafeteria at 3606 Bissonnet. Happy news was announced on ABC13 that the city’s oldest cafeteria will reopen this summer. The new building will include a new outdoor patio and along with all the classic favorites, diners can now purchase beer and wine at the restaurant.

Eater Houston reported that new Japanese fine dining restaurant Kukuri is under construction at 1902 Washington, Unit C. Michelin-star chef Shimao Ishikawa from New York City has been tapped to helm the kitchen. The message on the website says it’s coming soon and that the menu will be presented in “kappo” style which means they will aim to serve traditional and sophisticated Japanese cuisine.

Hughie’s in the Heights, posted an update about its opening on Instagram. Owner Phillip Pham told the Press that they are shooting for July 5 and added that it depends on the TABC. The popular tavern and Vietnamese grill announced its move into the former Foreign Correspondence space at 4721 Main back in February. The original Hughie’s is located at 1802 West 18th Street.

This opening news will also affect the neighboring space, formerly home to Canard. Pham’s partner Michael Molina will be at the helm at One Armed Scissor Bar. Molina named the bar after a song by mid-'90s American punk rock band based out of El Paso.

Local food lover Joshua Brettschneider tipped the Press about a third location of Pepper Twins coming soon to 3915 Kirby. On its Facebook page, the Szechuan darling of Montrose (which operated as Cooking Girl before changing its name) announced that fans should stay connected for grand opening news.

Pepper Twins opened its second location at 1915 West Gray in late September of 2016. The restaurant was named for owner Yunan Yang’s two children, who are not twins, but rather, share an affection for spice.

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68 Crawfish Express serves Asian-style crawfish, along with a variety of seafood.
Photo courtesy of Yelper, Courtney Wilson

A new seafood restaurant is opening near Meadows Place and Alief. 68 Crawfish Express is grand opening on June 10 at 11420 Dairy Ashford, suite 100. The event features a buy five pounds, get one pound free deal along with other food and drink specials. The first 25 guests will receive a free tee-shirt and face painting and photo booth will be available for families to enjoy.

Matsusaka at 11398 Westheimer has shuttered quietly and unexpectedly within the past couple of weeks. The Westchase Japanese sushi and grill has been around since 2006 but readers noticed the missing signage just recently.

New Orleans-based NOLA Poboys opened a second location in Webster at 300 West Bay Area. The first store just opened this past February at 1333 Old Spanish Trail. NOLA also has a booth inside Minute Maid Park.

Liberty Kitchen in Garden Oaks wants to re-debut to the public on June 17. Although it’s been open for a year, this location has experienced some hardships at 3715 Alba, after the city of Houston announced shortly after its opening, that a major construction project for street drainage and sewer improvements would limit access to the restaurant.

According to an article in the Chronicle, the restaurant survived because it was not a single-entity business (Liberty Kitchen operated three other locations in Houston).

Liberty Kitchen is celebrating with a launch of a new menu with about 30 new items along with the addition of a beer garden with an outdoor bar. Even the Big Red Cock rooster statue (from former BRC) has come to roost as the mascot for the restaurant.

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.