In Five Years, at Least 25 Restaurants Have Closed in Montrose

Page 2 of 2

August 2014: Sandy Witch at Grand Prize Bar, 1010 Banks. We were in the middle of a nice chat with Anthony Calleo when he decided to close his top-notch sandwich shop inside Grand Prize Bar. While it wasn’t a stand-alone restaurant, it was still a loss. That said, Calleo, who also owns Pi Pizza Truck, will finally have a brick-and-mortar to call his own very soon (in about two weeks, according to the Facebook page), and that seems well-deserved. No one ever said the path to success is smooth.

November 2014: Hollywood Vietnamese & Chinese Restaurant, 2409 Montrose. The significance of Hollywood closing wasn't that it served amazing Asian food. It was that it was a beloved late-night hangout for late-night workers and partiers. Despite promises that it would reopen at its former location of 2409 Grant, it never did. That’s now the site of Bayou City Bar & Grill. Fortunately, the Montrose location of BB’s Café stepped up to a 24-hour schedule, which has helped fill the lack of late-night options.

May 2014: Lucky Burger, 1601 Richmond. After 40 years, the burger place with the distinctive blue barrel roof decided to call it quits when the lease was up for renewal. The old building has been demolished to make room for Oui Banh Mi, which should be open very soon.

December 2014: La Casa Del Caballo, 322 Westheimer. When Mexican steakhouse La Casa Del Caballo closed, some thought the old La Strada building might be cursed. Tony Vallone’s Caffe Bello didn’t survive there, either. However, La Casa Del Caballo re-emerged, somewhat intact, as Saltillo Mexican Kitchen in the Bellaire Triangle area. The El Tiempo that opened in the old La Strada space seems to have broken the curse, probably thanks in part to some pretty extensive remodeling that added a patio.

January 2015: Berryhill Baja Grill, 3407 Montrose. This location of Berryhill, a reliable standby for fish tacos and margaritas, turned out to be a franchise spot. There are several other corporate Berryhill Baja Grills in the Houston area — but that’s not to say this one isn’t missed.

April 2015: Eatsie Boys, 4100 Montrose. Houstonians rejoiced when it was announced that one of the most popular food trucks was going brick-and-mortar. It wasn’t long for this world, but not for a bad reason. The owners decided to focus on their rapidly growing brewery, 8th Wonder. For a while, it looked like Melange Creperie would take the space, but next-door pub The Black Labrador ended up with it instead.

May 2015, Radical Eats, 507 Westheimer. Yes, kids, we’re back to the spot with the dubious honor of having three restaurant closings in a mere four years. Chef Staci Davis was at first probably relieved to have a less cramped space in Montrose for her restaurant, Radical Eats. However, it shuttered only two years later. Davis told Culturemap Houston, “The landlord offered me an out and I took it.” Considering that it’s never been a restaurant since then, that’s probably for the best. At least it stopped the string of closings at that address. According to her Facebook page, Davis is now based in San Leon at Top Water Grill.

May 2015, Eleven: Eleven, 507 West Gray. In a more uncomfortable than usual closing, a tenant-landlord dispute (and perhaps other financial issues) may have ultimately shut down Eleven: Eleven (formerly known as Eleven XI). The building is owned by the Bibas family (of the long-closed but affectionately remembered Bibas One’s A Meal), who decided to lock out their tenants “to prevent vandalism.” That move denied the staff a final night to say good-bye to their customers. It’s now the site of Skinny Rita’s Cantina.

August 2015, The Brick & Spoon, 1312 West Alabama. The former Bocados space didn’t prove a good fit for this Louisiana import. Even over-the-top Bloody Marys and a focus on brunch couldn’t save it. It was open for less than two years. The owners told Eric Sandler of Culturemap Houston they were “looking for a new location.” Apparently not in Houston, because they’ve never reopened here.

September 2015, Akamaru, 315 Fairview. No one, other than perhaps the owners, was sorry about Akamaru closing, least of all the poor restaurant critic (me) and her dining companions (who still talk to me for some reason) who “enjoyed” one of the worst “sushi” dinners ever (and we’re using the term “dinner” loosely). It’s been replaced by Szechuan café Cooking Girl, which is approximately a million times better.

March 2016, Georges Bistro, 219 Westheimer. Oddly enough, after Feast closed, Georges Guy returned to the space and opened the eponymous Georges Bistro. That didn’t last long, though: only two years. Guy and his wife, Monique, sold the place and moved back to France. Even stranger: The new owners of the new restaurant are still operating under the Georges Bistro name, but it’s now serving Italian and Greek food in addition to French.

May 2016, Mark’s American Cuisine, 212 Westheimer. Longtime fans of chef Mark Cox were shocked to hear that his restaurant, a staple of Montrose fine dining for 19 years, was closing. It was one of the focuses of Shilcutt’s 2011 article and part of the restaurant generation that includes Indika and Da Marco (both of which are still open).

July 2016, Maria Selma, 1617 Richmond. Soon, longtime Montrose Mexican restaurant Maria Selma will join the list of the closed. It’s been in business for 14 years. According to Houstonia magazine, it will reopen as Texas Shrimp Shack.

Did we forget a dearly departed Montrose restaurant? Let us know in the comments below. 
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Phaedra Cook
Contact: Phaedra Cook