Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Jonathan's Opens, Okto Coming

Jonathan's the Rub has open on Navigation.
Jonathan's the Rub has open on Navigation. Photo by Lauren Holub Photography

Jonathan's the Rub, 2929 Navigation, opened May 23 in the East End. It joins two other JTRs located at 9090 Katy Freeway and 12505 Memorial. Owner Jonathan Levine closed the original location at 9061 Gaylord in April 2021 to focus on the planned Navigation restaurant. The family-owned trio of restaurants has both of Levine's adult children operating the restaurants with Sam Levine at the Campbell Place location and Jessica Levine at the Memorial Green spot. Levine's grandson, Jay Forrest, recently graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and will be joining the family-run restaurant group as well.
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Jay Forrest, left, joins his grandfather Jonathan Levine in the family business.
Photo by Lauren Holub Photography
Levine, who first opened Jonathan's Catering in 2000 prior to the restaurant's origin in 2008, is excited to join the East End with its rich history and bright future. He said in a press release, "We are excited for the opportunity to bring our East Coast meets Gulf Coast food and drinks, warm atmosphere and comfortable dining experience to a new neighborhood - and closer to the major sports and entertainment complexes downtown."

The menu at the new location will feature much of the same seafood and Italian dishes that its regular customers crave as well as steaks and burgers. It will also have the added lure of authentic Brooklyn-style pizzas, cooked in a glassed-in concept area that showcases the new pizza oven with bar stools surrounding it for a closer view. Levine grew up in Brooklyn, so it's a culinary venture near and dear to his heart.
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The East End Jonathan's begins its welcome with a comfortable terrace.
Photo by Lauren Holub Photography
The new restaurant boasts a large, attractive outdoor terrace with an indoor/outdoor bar. Inside, warm woods and rustic brick set the bistro mood with an arch of wine bottles and family photos adding to the homey ambiance.

Initially, the restaurant will be open for daily dinner service beginning at 4 p.m. along with happy hour in the bar and on the patio from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
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Hamsa chef Yotam Dolev is bringing his skills to the Okto menu.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
Okto, 888 Westheimer, is coming to the Montrose Collective in late summer 2024. The newest concept from Sof Hospitality, Okto will take over the former space of The Chelsea, which seems to have already quietly closed and fallen off social media completely.

Sof Hospitality, co-owned by Itai Ben Eli and Itamar Levy, is known for its high-end steakhouse Doris Metropolitan as well as the modern Israeli concept, Hamsa, and Badolina Bakery & Cafe. The duo were  James Beard Awards semifinalists for 'Outstanding Restaurateur' 2024.

Okto, which means 8 in Greek, will be a Mediterranean restaurant with global flavors. The menu has two Sof Hospitality chefs, Yotam Dolev of Hamsa and Hai Avnaim of Doris Metropolitan, bringing it to life. It is influenced by the cuisines and cultures of the Mediterranean and the Levant while also reflecting the international travels of the chefs.
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Chef Hai Avnaim has traveled the world and the menu at Okto will reflect that fact.
Photo by Shane Dante
Along with the dining experience, Okto will feature a lively bar with unique cocktails and a producer-driven wine list. Open only for dinner service, Okto aims to draw in after-dinner drinkers, industry workers and guests looking for a late-night European-inspired cocktail experience.

The design of the 4,200 square-foot-space has been executed by Lindsay Madrigal of LM Designs and incorporates an expansive kitchen with large windows into a dining room with an integrated scenic bar area. There will be an expansive patio which is accessed through sliding glass doors.
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House of Coffee Beans offers coffee and more.
Photo by McKenna Jordan
House of Coffee Beans, 2348 Bissonnet, has new owners as of May 1 and they are none other than McKenna Jordan and husband Curry Duffey, who just so happen to own Murder By the Book next door. The couple have been friends with previous owners Mike and Roger for years and are thrilled to be taking over the longtime coffee shop which first opened in 1973. The store has undergone some renovations and there are new POS systems and espresso machines. The menu has been revised with the addition of some new beverages as well.
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Murder By the Book owners McKenna Jordan and Curry Duffey have acquired House of Coffee Beans.
Photo by McKenna Jordan
Some of the new items include seasonal and limited specialty beans and a wider selection of coffees for brewing at home. HOCB is also offering freshly-roasted Jamaica Blue Mountain Wallenford Estate Coffee and is one of the few places in town to find it. It also has a house blend of Ethiopia Yirgacheffe and India Monsoon Malabar which it is offering as Afternoon Blend.
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It's a wall of beans.
Photo by McKenna Jordan
The fresh and locally-roasted coffee remains but the coffee shop's hours will now match those of the bookstore so customers can peruse the shelves for a spine-tingling read then hop over to the shop for a latte or iced beverage Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The coffee shop will also be open for select bookstore events in the evening.

Toca Madera, 1755 Allen Parkway, has rescheduled its opening date to June 18 due to delays caused by last Thursday's freak storm.
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Fast casual is comfortable at the new Tacodeli.
Photo by Michael Forbes
Tacodeli, 1715 Post Oak, had its official opening May 22 in Post Oak Plaza. It's the 13th location for the Texas-based brand which first opened in Austin in 1999. It comes from chef/founder Roberto Espinosa and co-owner Eric Wilkerson. It's only Tacodeli number two for Houston and it's been a longtime coming since the first opened on Washington in 2017.

The from-scratch tacos come in a array of proteins from breakfast to dinner. Customers can order breakfast tacos like Migas, Bacon, Egg and Cheese or Barbacoa Madrugurea from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For lunch and dinner, there are selections of beef tacos such as Frontera Fundido Sirloin and Sabrosita Barbacoa plus chicken versions including Pollo Fantastico and Pollo en Mole. There are pork, shrimp, salmon and vegetarian tacos as well.

There are a number of salsas plus queso and guacamole. For beverages, guests have a variety of choices including Texas Tea, Kombucha, Housemade Aguas Frescas, Natalie's Pink Lemonade and juice and coffee for breakfast.  For cocktails, it offers margaritas on the rocks or frozen plus beer and ranch water.

The Post Oak location features a design that blends Mexico City with Texas for a comfortable 2,757 square-foot space with white oak millwork, terracotta breezeblocks, custom tile and upholstered seating with a mix of booths, tables and banquettes. The interior dining area seats 52 and there is a colorful patio that can accommodate an additional 20 guests.
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This cute patio is made for enjoying tacos and ritas.
Photo by Michael Forbes
Art from the late Cindy "Crash" Raschke is showcased on the walls. An Austin artist, Raschke passed away in 2017, not long after painting the space-themed art piece at the Tacodeli on Washington. That piece is represented at the new Post Oak location as well.

During its official opening, the Post Oak Tacodeli is partnering with BikeHouston to help raise funds for its mission of making Houston more bike-friendly and safe for cyclists.
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We like curry. We like pizza. Sounds good to us.
Photo by Chani Singh
The Curry Pizza Company, 18420 FM 529, is celebrating its grand opening May 26 in Cypress. Its actual opening was March 13. Beginning at noon, there will be a raffle and a DJ plus free samples. From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. guests can take advantage of a free medium pizza and there will be a chance for one lucky winner to receive free pizza for a year.

The California-based company first opened in Fresno in 2017 and has since opened 9 locations in total in California. The Cypress store, owned by Chani Singh Chamdal and Vijay Chamdal, is the first Texas foray for the family-owned brand that offers pizza with traditional and fusion Indian flavors.
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Guests can have Butter Chicken Pizza and Butter Chicken Waffle Fries.
Photo by The Curry Pizza Company
Some of its specialty pies include Butter Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, Tandoori Chicken Masala, Curry Veggie and Desi BBQ Grilled Chicken. There are also traditional pizza offerings like Goodfellas Mega Pepperoni and its version of a supreme, The Savage. There are vegan and vegetarian pizzas as well.

The pizza business is also well-known for its wings, bone-in or boneless. Sauces include BBQ, Chili Chicken, Classic Buffalo and Mango Habanero plus there are dry rubs like Achari, Curry Masala and Tandoori. There is an appetizer menu with bread sticks, loaded fries and salads. In addition to soft drinks, the restaurant serves beer. Customers can order online and there is also dine-in available.

The Curry Pizza House
, 9814 Fry, had its grand opening April 21 in Cypress, so curry pizza must be a happening thing in the 'burbs. Another California creation, it opened in Fremont in 2012. It has over 25 locations in five states with several more planned, including five more in Texas.

Its Small Plates menu features Baked Masala Chips and Desi Garlic Sticks while its selection of wings come in flavors like BBQ, Tandoori, Achari, Curry, Tikka and Mango Habanero. It has classic pizzas such as Meat Lover's, Sizzling Bacon and Pepperoni plus its Crafty Curry Pizzas including Indian Gourmet Veggie, Chicken Tikka, Chilli Paneer and Aloo Gobhi. Customers can also create their own or opt for a vegan pie.
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These brisket nachos are loaded for your pleasure.
Photo by J.R.Cohen
Pizzitola's Barbecue, 1703 Shepherd, is back open after last Thursday's derecho storm blasted Houston, leaving many across the area with no electricity. With the return of lights comes the launch of new menu items featuring all natural Texas beef brisket from Goodstock by Nolan Ryan, the Major League Baseball pitching phenom's boutique butcher shop in Round Rock, Texas.

The new items include The BLT, a sandwich loaded with brisket, link and turkey. There's also lettuce, tomato and grilled onions for veggies. Other new dishes for carnivorous types includes Brisket Nachos and Brisket Mac N Cheese.

Hearsay Gastro Lounge, 3728 Wakeforest, will have its grand opening July 4 at Levy Park. That's all we know for now but we have reached out for more information. The owners recently opened Tavern by Hearsay at 737 Preston May 11. The Levy Park location will be the fifth for the concept.

Hotel Derek, 2525 W. Loop S., will close June 24, 2024 and with it the hotel's restaurant Revolve Kitchen + Bar. First opened in 2002, the hotel has been through phases of being a luxury staycation for locals, a popular wedding reception venue and a hotspot for celebrities and wannabes. It's been a favorite accommodation over the years with Canadian rapper Drake, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Since he recently bought Dos Brisas Ranch in Brenham for 15 million dollars, according to the Robb Report, we doubt he's the one with plans for the hotel's future. But you never know. 
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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.