Openings & Closings: Peli Deli to Debut Downtown

Artist Elisabeth Park created unique art for the walls of Peli Deli in Downtown Houston.EXPAND
Artist Elisabeth Park created unique art for the walls of Peli Deli in Downtown Houston.
Photo courtesy of Peli Deli
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Downtown will welcome the newest outpost of Peli Peli on March 27. Peli Deli, a condensed version of the popular South African restaurant, will soft open the week of March 20 on the first level of the historic Esperson Building at 808 Travis. Local artist Jon Garner, who also designed murals and art for Peli Peli Kitchen, the fast-casual iteration of Peli Peli, added a touch of Houston history and culture to the exterior of the downtown deli, while Elisabeth Park created pieces for the interior space.

The breakfast and lunch menu will feature naan tacos, banh-ninis (banh mi panini), perogens (South African calzones), soufflés, salads, and hot dogs made with boerewors, a South African farmer’s sausage made of beef, lamb and spices. Items such as sticky toffee cookies and the oxtail soup are unique to this location.

Peli Deli hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The site at 707 West 24th in the Heights where Miller’s Auto Body Repair Experts along with other commercial buildings currently stands will see demolition starting late next year. Houston Business Journal reported that development company Braun Enterprises has announced plans for a retail project to include a ramen restaurant, high-end fitness studio, nail salon, pizzeria and a Mexican restaurant to be ready by early 2019.

Cafe Pita shuttered quietly in Westchase.EXPAND
Cafe Pita shuttered quietly in Westchase.
Photo by Troy Fields

A lockout notice was noted on the door of Café Pita at 10852 Westheimer in Westchase. Famous for having been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives back in 2009, the little Bosnian eatery has been a popular neighborhood favorite for years. A Facebook post noted that ownership had changed a few months ago and the restaurant shuttered quietly sometime last week.

Westchase District announced that MOD Pizza is coming soon to the corner of Westheimer and City West Boulevard. The fast-fired customizable pizza chain is slated to open on May 1 along with Zoës Kitchen and Yogurtland in the same center.

Avalon Diner opened its fourth location at 11611 Katy Freeway near Kirkwood, next to a Starbucks on March 8. With a long Houston history since 1938, the original River Oaks neighborhood diner is popular for its soda fountain milkshakes and malts, extensive breakfast selections and blue plate specials.

Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The FEED T.X. Group has shuttered its year old Little Liberty in Rice Village at 2365 Rice, but has no plans to close any other locations, the Houston Business Journal reports. The location will become Houston's fourth Island Grill, an American and Mediterranean eatery that's set to open around May 1.

The vegetarian Indian restaurant has an extensive buffet service.
The vegetarian Indian restaurant has an extensive buffet service.
Photo courtesy of Govinda's

Facebook is buzzing
about Govinda’s at 1320 West 34th Street in the Heights. The new vegetarian/vegan Indian restaurant celebrated its grand opening on Saturday, March 11. The eatery features buffet service for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Items on the line include curries, saag paneer, Bhindi masala, Navaratan korma, paneer Makhani, rice pilaf, house-made, breads, samosas and padadam with chutney.

Salmontin, a new spot for French-inspired seafood, salmon in particular, has just opened in the former Corner Table space at 2736 Virginia from former Flo Bakery chef Rabih Salibi and wife Florelle, the Chronicle reports.  Expect housemade gravlax, grilled salmon tandoori, lighter quiches, tartines and sandwiches and at least one meatier entree, a classic filet mignon with pomme frites.

A new Torchy’s Tacos will open at the Boardwalk at Towne Lake at 9945 Barker Cypress in Cypress. Community Impact reported that developer Caldwell Companies confirmed the location and has plans to break ground soon. The Cypress location will feature a patio space that overlooks the lake.

The Austin-based taco joint is famous for its crazy cool tacos and house-made sauces. It already operates several stores in the Houston area, including three others scheduled to open soon in Kingwood at 4529 Kingwood Drive, inside Minute Maid Park downtown and Westchase at 2675 Wilcrest.

A second Calliope’s is opening in West Houston at 12225 Westheimer. A reader noted signage on the doors of recently closed Shipley’s Donuts in the space next to Frank’s Grill.

The po’ boy restaurant can also be found at 7590 Bellfort Avenue in the Fondren Southwest Village shopping strip. Calliope’s was the original name of the popular Cajun Stop in East Downtown, which is owned and operated by Lisa Carnley Benoit. The two Cajun restaurants have no affiliation.

Eater Houston reported that on February 28, Habanera and the Gringo officially changed its name to Habanera and the Guero, after losing the battle of the names in a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by Gringo’s, a Houston-based Tex-Mex chain that has operated in the city for more than 20 years.

Houston Business Journal reported that Beer Market Co. will open a third location at 1239 West 19th in the Heights sometime in 2018. Daut Elshani, the marketing and product director for the restaurant group Salt N Pepper, told HBJ that the almost 10,000-square-feet space is situated inside of a warehouse and will be the largest location. The second Beer Market Co. is nearing completion in Midtown at 3304 Milam and plans to open by this summer.

The Salt N Pepper Group operates several spots in town including Irish Cowboy, Boots & Shoots, Third Floor, Pub Fiction, Shot Bar and The Moonshiners Southern Table & Bar downtown.

Bacon caramel popcorn is on the fun and inventive menu at Bacon Bros.EXPAND
Bacon caramel popcorn is on the fun and inventive menu at Bacon Bros.
Photo courtesy of Bacon Bros. Public House

Bacon Bros. Public House soft opened at 2110 Town Square Place in Sugar Land on March 8. Back in January, Franchisee owner Travis Cook announced that Joseph Zerwas (of the Bourbon & Bacon pop-up series at Little J’s) would serve at the chef de cuisine.

The South-Carolina based restaurant will feature a menu that includes cured meats, sandwiches, barbecue and southern dishes like shrimp and grits and breakfast for dinner.

Hours of operation are Tuesday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Yahoo Finance News reported that Russo’s New York Pizzeria franchisee Abdulrahman Al Arifi announced plans to open 60 new stores over the next 10 years after opening in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The article went on to say that U.S. franchise agreements show more than 25 new locations to come to Houston and Florida.

Houston Panini & Provisions is making a move into a larger space with seating for 50 including a shared outdoor space and a full bar.
Houston Panini & Provisions is making a move into a larger space with seating for 50 including a shared outdoor space and a full bar.
Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp

Houston Panini & Provisions at 1727 West 34th closed its doors on March 8. According to a comment on a Facebook post, the local-foods grocer and craft sandwich shop may be closed to relocate “just down the parking lot in the newly renovated strip center.”

The Press confirmed that it is moving “across the parking lot into the upcoming ReVive Development at 34th and Ella, where the restaurant will return as Pop + Pan (short for Popcorn + Panini) this fall.”

The new restaurant will most likely offer counter service at lunch time and possibly offer more of an extensive menu for dinner. Until the opening, Pop + Pan popcorn available via Uber Eats, catering and at the City Hall Farmer's Market.

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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