Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Dolce & Cannoli Expands, Penny Quarter, Patrenella's Close

Try the famous cannoli at Dolce & Cannoli Pizza Cafe.
Try the famous cannoli at Dolce & Cannoli Pizza Cafe. Photo by Becca Wright

click to enlarge Dolce & Cannoli opens at Deerbook Mall. - PHOTO BY BECCA WRIGHT
Dolce & Cannoli opens at Deerbook Mall.
Photo by Becca Wright

Dolce & Cannoli Pizza Cafe, 20131 Highway 59, softly opened at Deerbrook Mall May 6. It fully opened May 20 and will be up to 75 percent capacity this week with the Phase III of Governor Greg Abbott's plan to reopen businesses after the original pandemic shutdown.

click to enlarge It's an Italian cafe dropped into a mall. - PHOTO BY CARLA ROGERS
It's an Italian cafe dropped into a mall.
Photo by Carla Rogers
The pizza and pastry cafe comes from Jason Piltzman, Kirby Vogler and pastry chef Drew Rogers. Rogers is best known for his former pastry shop, Drew's Pastry Place in Cypress.  The group also operates Dolce & Cannoli Pizzeria at Memorial City Mall.

Try the famous cannoli at Dolce & Cannoli Pizza Cafe. - PHOTO BY BECCA WRIGHT
Try the famous cannoli at Dolce & Cannoli Pizza Cafe.
Photo by Becca Wright

Customers can find Create Your Own New York-style pizza with unlimited toppings for $9.95, plus specialty pizzas like BBQ Chicken. There's also a gluten and Keto-friendly cauliflower crust available. Besides pizza, there's Italian subs, panini, salads and a couple of soups. Guests will want to save room for some of Rogers' famous cannoli or take a box to go. There's also a variety of other pastries such as Italian cookies, tiramisu, macarons, torta della nonna and the popular cannoli cupcakes.

With ten beers on tap and Italian wines from Impero, guests can enjoy an entire afternoon.

Penny Quarter, 1424 Westheimer, has closed indefinitely, according to its Facebook and Instagram pages despite having reopened May 25 when some restrictions were lifted. The cafe and bar opened in August 2019 with the powerhouse trio of James Beard Award winning chef Justin Yu, Bobby Heugel, owner of Anvil Bar and Refuge and Steve Flippo of Better Luck Tomorrow.  They are proud of the fact that they paid their staff higher wages and offered health benefits, an uncommon practice in the bar and restaurant business. The post says that Penny Quarter's lower prices and casual setting cannot survive the COVID-19 closures and social distancing measures which limit the customer capacity of restaurants and bars.

The post goes on to say "We are unsure if we will ever reopen, but we are very proud of whatever our team has accomplished at Penny Quarter over the last year."

click to enlarge A family business says goodbye. - PHOTO BY ROBERT Z. EASLEY
A family business says goodbye.
Photo by Robert Z. Easley

Patrenella's, 813 Jackson Hill, has closed permanently, according to its Facebook post. Owner Sam Patrenella opened the restaurant in 1992 in the same house his father L.L. Patrenella, an immigrant from Sicily, built for his family. Patrenella and his wife Josephine have been serving Italian and Sicilian dishes for 28 years with some ingredients coming from the restaurant's one-acre garden. There was also a bar area behind Patrenella's called Corleone Bar and Grill.

click to enlarge Peruvian rotisserie chicken is charcoal roasted at Chick Houzz. - PHOTO BY RITA CASTRE
Peruvian rotisserie chicken is charcoal roasted at Chick Houzz.
Photo by Rita Castre

Chick Houz, 14838 Park Row, opened May 6. The fast casual cafe comes from co-owner (and mom) Rita Dyer and siblings Roberto, Rita and Yamila Castre. The family also operates Latin Bites Kitchen on Woodway.

The new cafe serves Pollo a la Brasa,  a Peruvian rotisserie chicken that originated in Lima in the 1950s. The version at Chick Houz is marinated for 24 hours in 20 spices then cooked in an eco-friendly charcoal rotisserie from Peru. Guests can choose from one-quarter, one-half or a whole chicken served with sides like rice, french fries, yucca fries, sweet plantains and more.

click to enlarge Add some sweet plantains for a true Peruvian touch. - PHOTO BY RITA CASTRE
Add some sweet plantains for a true Peruvian touch.
Photo by Rita Castre
The weekday lunch special runs Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and offers a quarter chicken, with a small rice, small black beans, two sauces and a 24-ounce soft drink. Corn tortillas are optional. Besides rotisserie chicken, there are sandwiches like the Churrasco ($10) made with top sirloin, avocado, provolone and caramelized onions. There are veggie bowls with quinoa and salads, too.

Yamila Castre is in charge of the desserts for both Chick Houz and LBK. Guests will find Latin treats such as churros and tres leches plus other sweets such as chocolate cake.

click to enlarge Enjoy Brazilian-style rodizio and take in the view at Gauchos Do Sul. - PHOTO BY JUAN ISLAS
Enjoy Brazilian-style rodizio and take in the view at Gauchos Do Sul.
Photo by Juan Islas

Gauchos Do Sul, 3995 Westheimer, will begin its soft opening June 11 in Highland Village. The third story restaurant will feature a glass-enclosed dining room with great views all around plus two private dining areas with audio/visual capabilities, perfect for rehearsal dinners, business meetings and receptions.

This is the second location for the Brazilian steakhouse which offers 15 cuts of meat served rodizio-style. Options include beef, lamb, chicken and pork along with a large salad bar that offers hot and cold items including treats such as candied bacon and smoked salmon. New York Kobe-style strips have been added to the line-up of meats.

There is a full bar and a wine list of more than 200 varietals from around the globe. The steakhouse is open for dinner only and there is complimentary valet in accordance with the Phase III guidelines.

The first location is in Vintage Park and is open for service as well.

click to enlarge Indianola is ready and waiting. - PHOTO BY JULIA GABRIEL
Indianola is ready and waiting.
Photo by Julia Gabriel
Indianola, 1201 Saint Emanuel, reopened to the public May 30 with a completely new menu and decor changes. The revamping includes more seafood options in keeping with its name. Indianola was a Texas seaport town in the 1800s and chefs Paul Lewis and Joseph Stayshich have created a menu that reflects the Gulf Coast's bounty of seafood plus the Southern produce and meats of the region.

click to enlarge Indianola's new menu includes Summer Beans and a classic G&T. - PHOTO BY JULIA GABRIEL
Indianola's new menu includes Summer Beans and a classic G&T.
Photo by Julia Gabriel
Charcoal makes its imprint on the new menu with Charcoal-Grilled Bone Marrow and Coal-roasted Chicken. There's also Slow-roasted Lamb Breast and Texas Redfish on the Half Shell. Diners who eschew carb-free diets should start off the meal with Indianola Sourdough, served with cultured butter and summer squash dip.

click to enlarge Development still goes on in Houston despite the pandemic. - RENDERING BY PRISM RENDERINGS
Development still goes on in Houston despite the pandemic.
Rendering by Prism Renderings
Block 14 at Garden Oaks, 3201 N. Shepherd, has signed on Salata and McAlister's Deli as tenants. McAlisters, a southern sandwich chain, will anchor one end of the development, while Houston's Salata will occupy the other endcap.

The new retail center comes from Gulf Coast Commercial Group which is also behind Lower Heights, a 24-acre mixed-use development located near Sawyer and Studemont. Cisneros Design Studio Architects designed the upcoming retail center, inspired by the neighborhood's mid-century beginnings.

MDK Noodles, 9798 Bellaire Boulevard, had its grand opening May 25. This is the third location for the Korean restaurant which first opened in Los Angeles' Koreatown in 2005. It has another location in Anaheim, California.

The restaurant offers the usual Korean favorites such as bibimbap, pork dumplings and chicken Kalgusku, a chicken soup with knife-cut noodles. There's also the spicy bibimnengyun made with arrowroot noodles.

It is offering a limited menu for now and is enforcing a capped number of customers in its store as it adheres to safety precautions including employees wearing masks. Some customers say it's difficult to find the restaurant so the advice is to look for Bingsu, the Korean shaved ice shop next door.

click to enlarge Burgers are popping up at The Dunlavy. - PHOTO BY SHANNON SMITH
Burgers are popping up at The Dunlavy.
Photo by Shannon Smith
Daddy's Burgers, 3422 Allen Parkway, will take over the chandelier-lit dining room at The Dunlavy for the summer. In order to survive the summer without private events, due to the COVID-19 crisis, Chef Jane Wild and her team will be dishing out burgers and hand-scooped milkshakes instead of the fancier fare normally seen at The Dunlavy. The soft opening began May 29 and is planned to continue through Labor Day.

Guests can order Daddy's Burger with caramelized onions, American cheese and pickles with a choice of regular or spicy sauce in either the single ($8) or double patty version ($11). There's also The Classic with the usual lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles plus a Beyond Meat Veggie Burger ($12). For chicken lovers, there's a chicken sandwich with organic chicken breast that can be grilled or fried. There are also brownies ($4) and a large ice cream sandwich ($7).

Breakfast choices include a Breakfast Burger ($12) with egg and cheese or breakfast tacos ($4 each). Coffee drinks and beignets round out the morning menu.

The Dunlavy will host a Father's Day Picnic June 21 from 9 a.m. to sunset. There will be restaurant, patio and outdoor seating by Buffalo Bayou's Lost Lake. There will also be live music. All social distancing guidelines will be followed.

Doughmain Pizza, 9720 Jones, opened March 25. It sells a variety of pizza with choices of thin or pan crust. There are salads, sandwiches and chicken wings. For dessert, try the Cinna Stix or chocolate chip cookie.

click to enlarge Do blondes have more fun? We'll see this summer. - PHOTO BY MELISSA VALLADARES
Do blondes have more fun? We'll see this summer.
Photo by Melissa Valladares

Bottled Blonde Pizzeria and Beer Garden, 4901 Washington, is slated to open July 2020. The full service bar and restaurant comes from Evening Entertainment Group out of Phoenix, Arizona. It will be a hub for sports fans and nightlife enthusiasts with craft beers, ciders and a monthly rotation of cocktails, along with bottle service and a 100 ounce Mimosa Tower.

Food options include stone-oven pizzas, bar bites and spaghetti and meatballs..

Ostia, 2050 Dunlavy, is nearing completion with a planned opening in mid- to late summer. Located in the heart of Montrose at the intersection of Dunlavy and Indiana, the open kitchen concept will offer light Mediterranean fare with Italian leanings from chef Travis McShane, a Houston native. McShane's menu will reflect his travels  and education with mentor Jonathan Waxman which includes time spent as the corporate chef overseeing culinary operations and menus for Waxman's restaurants. McShane's philosophy is one of rustic farm to table fare with fresh ingredients sourced locally.

McShane has brought in John de la Garza, a San Francisco-based designer, for the extensive build-out with botanical-inspired, casually chic interiors, air-conditioned terraces and an intimate chef's table.

click to enlarge Mongoose vs. Cobra is now Red Dwarf. - PHOTO BY VJ ARIZPE
Mongoose vs. Cobra is now Red Dwarf.
Photo by VJ Arizpe

Red Dwarf, 1011 McGowen, will debut July 1. The new day to night coffee shop, music venue and bar has evolved from the Mongoose vs. Cobra concept which has occupied the 105 year-old building for the past eight years. In December 2019, RED DWARF and MvsC began a collaboration hosting DIY live music shows. Now, its evolution is complete with co-owners Shan Pasha, Sarina Pasha and James Koby Boren opening up the venue to artists and musicians while serving coffee, craft beer, cocktails and light bites. It will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
click to enlarge BCK is carrying the party to the parking lot. - PHOTO BY KIRSTEN GILLIAM
BCK is carrying the party to the parking lot.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

BCK, 933 Studewood, has reopened for 50 percent capacity and doubled its outdoor seating by adding tables to the parking lot. It has transitioned into fast-casual counter service to limit contact. It has also brought back its weekend brunch.

One of its owners, Leslie Nguyen, has debuted her California doughnut business, Miss Mini Donuts, at the Studewood location as well.

click to enlarge Miss Mini Donuts has debuted at BCK. - PHOTO BY @DEANBERNARDEVENTS
Miss Mini Donuts has debuted at BCK.
Photo by @deanbernardevents

BCK, along with another neighborhood cafe, Mastrantos, will host Tuesday Night Block Parties from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the BCK parking lot with proceeds benefiting Construction Concepts' BIG Love Cancer Care, which provides meals and other necessities to children battling cancer and their families.

Attendees can order taquitos from Mastrantos or barbecue brisket sandwiches from BCK chef Ricardo Moreno. BCK will also feature $2 tacos. There will be a full bar with cocktails like BCK's Blood Orange Margarita.

click to enlarge SwitcHouse offers an upscale vibe in the Spring/Woodlands area. - PHOTO BY DAN HAM
SwitcHouse offers an upscale vibe in the Spring/Woodlands area.
Photo by Dan Ham
SwitcHouse Plates and Pours, 1200 Lake Plaza, has reopened inside the CityPlace Marriott at Springwoods Village. The hotel itself has undergone major changes to create a safe environment for guests after closing during the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The restaurant and bar stands out among many hotel dining and drinking offerings with an extensive whiskey program, craft beers and cocktails. It serves New American fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Buy a Rosie Cannonball pizza and help give to the NAACP. - PHOTO BY JULIE SOEFER
Buy a Rosie Cannonball pizza and help give to the NAACP.
Photo by Julie Soefer
Rosie Cannonball, 1620 Westheimer, and Montrose Cheese and Wine are giving customers a chance to help with regards to the protests over the death of George Floyd while in police custody May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For the month of June, all proceeds for every bottle of June's Rosé purchased at Montrose Cheese & Wine and all pizzas sold at Rosie Cannonball will be donated to the NAACP.

Owners June Rodil, Felipe Riccio and Bailey McCarthy released a statement saying "This is our first, small step to what we feel is a long road to justice. We want to establish firm roots to create something that's sustainable to continue to bring awareness and change in our lifetimes. We are committed to learning more and doing more. We are open to avenues, pathways, foundations and suggestions on how to do this. #blacklivesmatter."

DR Delicacy, 4120 Directors Row, has teamed with several Texas producers to create truffle-infused food items for the public. Founder Diane Roederer, a native of France, founded the import and distribution company in 2014. It offers items such as fresh truffles, caviar, escargot, foie gras and other high-end culinary treats.

New items include white and black truffle-infused olive oils made with oils from J Welch Farms in Victoria. The oils are made with 100 percent  Arbequina and Koroneiki olives. There is also a Texas wildflower honey with raw, unfiltered honey from Lone Star Bee Co. blended with all natural white and black truffle slices. For a blend of sweet and savory, the Black Diamond Chocolate Truffles combine dark chocolate truffles from Mostly Chocolate, located in Houston, with fresh truffle ganache, layered with pieces of fresh truffles and enrobed in black lava sea salt.

The new items and other goodies can be purchased online.
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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.