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Openings and Closings: Indigo's Final Year, Petrol Station Closes

Cornrows and Convictions offers up history and flavor.
Cornrows and Convictions offers up history and flavor.
Photo by Mai Pham

Indigo, 517 Berry, will reopen July 23. However, the  acclaimed "neo-soul" restaurant from rising star Chef Jonny Rhodes will only remain open for another year, as Rhodes announced in an Instagram post on June 21. The post read:

"I write this with tears in my eyes. This all started with an idea & a dream of simply being free. I wanted to work in a kitchen & cook at a high level. I could never find my footing anywhere I worked. The trauma of my childhood & my time in the service made me too rough around the edges. Though those edges built me for my mission, no one told me how lonely the road would become."

Rhodes goes on to say that the past couple of years has cost him countless relationships, his car (which was repossessed three days after opening Indigo) and nearly his life. Rhodes says that the experience is no longer something that he wants for his life but that he is extremely grateful for the support from people who believed in him from the beginning.

Rhodes was honored at the 2019 Rising Star Chefs awards.
Rhodes was honored at the 2019 Rising Star Chefs awards.
Photo by StarChefs

That beginning was a meteoric one after Rhodes opened rather quietly in a tiny restaurant that serves as a background for a somewhat performance piece of culinary stories. He was nominated for James Beard Award's Rising Star Chef 2019 and Indigo has been listed as one of Food and Wine's "Best New Restaurants 2019" as well as making Time magazine's list of "The World's 100 Great Places."

When Indigo reopens, there will only be one service Thursday and Sunday at 7 p.m. with two seatings Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. The menu will be streamlined with a combination of new items and Indigo's greatest hits, focusing on core dishes rather than seasonal rotations. Guests can make reservations via Resy. The restaurant will have its final service July 24, 2021 and will celebrate its finale with an Anniversary Domino Tournament the following day.

Broham sources local ingredients for the grocery.
Broham sources local ingredients for the grocery.
Photo by Chana Rhodes

Broham Fine Soul Food & Groceries, which Rhodes opened in the space during the COVID-19 pandemic, will continue to operate during the restaurant's off hours. Broham will be Rhodes' focus for the future as his longtime dream of serving the community of Lindale Park with a self-sustaining grocery store and farm as mentioned in his post. "Cheers to one last year, as I move my team forward to prepare for our grocery store and farm. Thank you for allowing me to become the person I am today because I wasn't this man three years ago."

The land for the farm has been secured and Rhodes and his team have started a crowd-sourcing initiative to fund the enterprise.

Weall could use a sunshine-y breakfast nowadays.EXPAND
Weall could use a sunshine-y breakfast nowadays.
Photo by Bubble Up

The Toasted Yolk, 6727 FM 1463 will have its grand opening June 29.  To celebrate, guests can receive free churros donuts and mimosas will be $3. The Fulshear location brings the current total to 14 for the breakfast and lunch restaurant first founded in 2010 by friends Chris Milton and Mathew DeMott.

Besides dine-in service with strict safety protocols, the restaurant will also offer curbside pick-up.

On June 26, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., first responders will be treated as complimentary "Yolkers" as a show of appreciation for their hard work and sacrifice during this time.

It's time to get your chickens in a row.
It's time to get your chickens in a row.
Photo by Enrique Bravo

Pollo Bravo Express, 6871 N. Fry, opened June 10. This makes the sixth location for the brand from Enrique Bravo (is that a great name or what?) who came to Houston after operating restaurants in the high-paced worlds of New York and New Jersey. The Bravo family opened the first location on Hillcroft in December 2006, serving Peruvian rotisserie chicken and Mexican dishes reflecting Bravo's heritage like taquitos, ceviche and camarones a la brava.

The Peruvian chicken, or pollo a la brasa, is cooked with 25 herbs and spices, way more than KFC's 11. We aren't sure of all of the special ingredients but it always includes a good dose of cumin and paprika. Guests can choose from whole chicken, half chicken and quarter chicken plus there is a nice array of delicious sides, including fries, Mexican rice, white rice and green plantains. The menu is reasonably priced and the Gordos Combo ($29.50) is a good deal for a small family. It includes a whole rotisserie chicken, rice, pinto beans, avocado salad, sweet fried plantains and salchipapa (sausage and fried potatoes). There are smaller chicken combos and Mexican dishes like quesadillas and chilaquiles verdes. For dessert, there's flan or an in-house ice cream made with lucuma, a healthy Andean tree fruit that many describe as similar to pumpkin or sweet potato.

Pollo Bravo has a variety of cold drinks including Inca Kola, Jarritos, fresh juices and beer.

Boiling Dragon's menu is a feast.EXPAND
Boiling Dragon's menu is a feast.
Photo by Matthew Magno

Boiling Dragon, 11625 W. Broadway, opened the first week of June, rather softly, after being delayed by the current pandemic. The Asian-inspired seafood restaurant comes from Harold Wong who has honed his craft at hot spots such as Uchi and Bovine and Barley. For now, the restaurant is fast-casual with a limited menu but there are plans to offer a more sit-down service and an expanded seafood menu in the future, according to EaterHouston.

The current menu offers items such as Firecracker Shrimp, gumbo, Chowder Fries, campechana and a number of seafood boils. For bao lovers, there are several to choose from. The Little Miss Piggy is made with braised pork belly while the Crab Daddy features soft shell crab. There's also a Peking Duck bao and one with tempura shrimp.

Besides the boils and baos, there is a selection of fried seafood, chicken wings, chicken strips and salads.

Hot dogs get elevated with creative combinations at Dog Huas.EXPAND
Hot dogs get elevated with creative combinations at Dog Huas.
Photo by Paul Castro/Dog Haus

Dog Haus, 8422 Highway 6, is set to debut this summer. This will be the fourth Texas location for the fast casual concept which serves gourmet hot dogs, sausages, burgers and unique chicken sandwiches such as its One Bad Mutha Clucka. It was founded in Pasadena, California in 2010 by three longtime friends. With 2020 being its tenth anniversary, the brand is aggressively launching its expansion into concert venues (when they reopen) and virtual kitchens nationwide.

The all-beef dogs and hand-crafted sausages are made with no added nitrates and its burgers are crafted from from 100 percent Black Angus beef. Its dogs, burgers and chicken sandwiches are served on grilled King's Hawaiian rolls and variations include toppings ranging from ingredients like arugula, avocado and basil aioli to housemade chili, Haus slaw or caramelized onions. Dog Haus also offers plant-based burgers and sausages.

The new space will offer a dog-friendly patio, multiple big-screen televisions and a full bar with 24 beers on tap, wine, Haus Micheladas and its signature cocktails. There are premium shakes as well.

This is the first of several Houston-area locations that franchisee Jason Rappaport has in the works and he plans to open 30 more stores in Houston and San Antonio over the next five years.

Dog Haus Biergarten Copperfield is currently looking to hire up to 40 team members.  Rappaport said in a press release: "We will take great care of our team members with excellent health and safety procedures. On top of that, we offer many other benefits like competitive pay, a great work environment and employee discounts." Interested parties can visit copperfield.doghaus.com to submit their information.

Good times and good food await guests in Midtown.EXPAND
Good times and good food await guests in Midtown.
Photo by Big Pineapple Productions

Good Times Cafe, 2100 Travis, opened June 1. The all-day cafe in Midtown serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and features $5 glasses of select wines and $7 well drinks.

The cafe also offers house-roasted coffee and American cuisine with a European influence. Guests will see a menu of fresh dishes such as a tuna Nicoise salad with grilled Ahi tuna and crabmeat stuffed salmon in a Cajun-bourbon sauce. Lunch offers a chicken club sandwich, quiche, burgers and more. There are also lunch specials. For breakfast, guests can choose from breakfast tacos, omelettes, crepes or the Farmer's Breakfast.

Good Times Cafe offers a modern dining space with a touch of warm farmhouse style.
Good Times Cafe offers a modern dining space with a touch of warm farmhouse style.
Photo by Big Pineapple Productions

There is a Saturday brunch with $5 mimosas and bellinis that goes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a leisurely afternoon. There is outdoor seating as well.

Yia Yia Mary's San Felipe has closed for good.
Yia Yia Mary's San Felipe has closed for good.
Photo by Jeff Balke

Pappas Restaurants has permanently closed five of its stores. We reported last week in the Openings and Closings that the company had reopened most of its restaurants but a dozen remained closed temporarily. However, it seems that five of them will not reopen at all: Yia Yia Mary's, 4747 San Felipe, Pappas Seafood House, Interstate 45 N., Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, 2410 Richmond, Pappas Shrimp Shack, 6945 Interstate 45 S. and Little Pappas Seafood House, 3001 S. Shepherd. The company plans to move employees from the closed restaurants to other locations and is currently hiring to rebuild its team at its 80-plus restaurants, according to click2houston.com.

Get Veal Marsala to-go at Prego.EXPAND
Get Veal Marsala to-go at Prego.
Photo by Paula Murphy

Prego,2520 Amherst, has reverted back to curbside pick-up and delivery through Favor for the time being as a cautionary move in light of the issues affecting the hospitality industry during the recent COVID-19 events. None of its employees have tested positive but the restaurant has chosen to pivot back to operating as it did when the shutdown first began. Family-style meals and cocktails to-go are in the works. Customers can get 25 percent off bottles of wine with a food purchase.

Oak Forest has lost a popular hang out and great beers.
Oak Forest has lost a popular hang out and great beers.
Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp

Petrol Station, 985 Wakefield, has closed, as first reported by Houstonia Magazine. The craft beer cafe opened in 2005 with owner Ben Fullelove bringing local and national craft beers to the Garden Oaks/Oak Forest area which was beginning to see an influx of families moving in as 1930s houses and mid-century ranches began to be razed for larger residences with skyrocketing home prices.

Those young families and single professionals enjoyed the expansive outdoor space at the former gas station and the unique offering of brews. The Rancor burger was a beer-friendly favorite with its half-pound Angus beef patty topped with a fried egg, bacon and cheddar cheese.

Despite setting up a Go Fund Me page, the Fulleloves were unable to survive the pandemic's damage which has hit the bar industry particularly hard. However, their Brash Brewing Company, 508 W. Crosstimbers is still open, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Federal American Grill, 8731 Katy Freeway and 510 Shepherd, will temporarily suspend dine-in service during the order from Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo that most businesses require customers and employees to wear masks for the next eight days with an extension possible in the future.

Owner Matt Brice said in a press release, “We are simply not willing to police others’ choices - nor do we want to risk hurting anyone. We will temporarily go back to curbside, take out, and delivery, only. Hopeful that the order will be lifted soon. If there is an extension, we will address it then. Thank you for all the amazing support. Family Style is available!! Everyone, stay safe."

Federal Grill serves American comfort food such as burgers, steaks, Janice's Meatloaf and chicken fried oysters.

Brasil, 2604 Dunlavy, reopened to 75 percent capacity June 25. The longtime Montrose restaurant announced on Facebook June 18 that an employee had tested positive for COVID-19 and that it was closing temporarily to have all employees tested. In the interim, the restaurant was sanitized and disinfected according to CDC/EPA guidelines with sanitizing stations set up for the return of guests. In its most recent Facebook post, it was stated that masks and social distancing would be strictly enforced for everyone, with tables six feet apart.

Phat Eatery is taking extra precautions for dine-in service.EXPAND
Phat Eatery is taking extra precautions for dine-in service.
Photo by Kimberly Park

Phat Eatery, 23119 Colonial Parkway, will reduce its dine-in service to 25 percent capacity as a precautionary measure due to the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in Houston and Harris County. The restaurant will have a hostess outside the restaurant's entry to monitor walk-ups, to-go orders and curbside pick up. The restaurant will also have touchless payment.

Phat Eatery brings Malaysian-style dim sum to Katy Asian Town.EXPAND
Phat Eatery brings Malaysian-style dim sum to Katy Asian Town.
Photo by Dragana Harris

Though the current situation is tough, owner and chef Alex Au-Yeung is celebrating the restaurant's 2nd anniversary with a dim sum menu, $2 roti, and $2 Karbach Love Street beers. The launch of the dim sum menu includes items such as Shrimp Siu Mai and sticky rice in lotus leaf. The Phat Dim Sum Sampler Platter will be $15 during the anniversary celebration which runs through June 28. Guests who spend more than $50 on dine-in or to-go will receive a free frozen sampler platter to take home. Yeung is also introducing a new ice cream flavor, Malaysian Milk Tea. Other flavors include Pandan Coconut, Ube and for the adventurous, Creamy Durian. All ice creams are $6 per pint.

Postino has summer picnics covered.EXPAND
Postino has summer picnics covered.
Photo by Postino Staff

Postino, 805 Pacific and 642 Yale, has rolled out summer to-go options just in time for the July 4th holiday or any other day that requires no cooking. The "Food for the Crew" menu offers perfectly packed portions great for picnics, indoors or out. The packages serve four to six. Options include Table Snacks such as the Pretzel Platter ($27) with soft pretzels, chorizo, cornichon, aged cheddar, Spanish corn nuts and Sierra Nevada mustard or the Skewers ($40) with grilled petite filet and chicken. There are Panini packs with 14 pieces and seven choices like Tuscan Tuna, Vegetable and Chicken and Mozzarella. There are Bruschetta packs ($24) and a Classic Antipasto ($35). The Panini and Bruschetta packs can be made gluten-free for an additional cost. The new menu will be available July 1, along with a DIY Spritz Kit which includes wine, spritz ingredients, a recipe card and a canvas tote for $45.

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bellagreen's summer menu includes a gluten-free Key lime pie.EXPAND
bellagreen's summer menu includes a gluten-free Key lime pie.
Photo by Evan Godwin

bellagreen will offer four new dishes on its Summer Seasonal menu through September 21 at all six Houston-area locations. The new items include Summer Melon Salad, Paleo Mango Salmon Tacos and a Gluten-free Key Lime Pie. When guests purchase the Summer Salmon, topped with a citrus-honey vinaigrette, 50 cents will be donated from each order to Trees for Houston. Since beginning its campaign in 2018, bellagreen has been able to donate $40,927 to various local entities, resulting in the planting of 20,000 seedlings across Houston and North Texas.

In addition to the summer menu, bellagreen is adding eight permanent dishes from the Dallas menu to Houston stores, including White Chicken Parm, The Fig & Pig Pizza and the House Roasted Tri-Tip Sandwich.

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