Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Junction Takes Over Railway Heights, Relish Expands

The Lobster Roll at Relish is overflowing with goodness.
The Lobster Roll at Relish is overflowing with goodness. Photo by Julie Soefer

Relish Restaurant & Bar, 12850 Memorial, is shooting to open in the Fall 2024. It's the second location for the classic American restaurant from husband and wife duo Dustin and Addie Teague. The couple opened the first Relish restaurant in 2016 after outgrowing the original concept, Relish Fine Foods.

Located in River Oaks, Relish has been a go-to eatery for business lunches, romantic dates and family dinners. With the upcoming location, diners will find the same favorites such as its popular Fried Chicken with hot honey, bacon-braised collard greens and a rosemary biscuit. There will also be its solidly-good Cheeseburger made with house-ground beef and served with hand-cut fries plus seafood dishes such as the Lobster Roll and Cioppino.
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Addie and Dustin Teague are opening a second Relish.
Photo by Julie Soefer
The new spot, however, will also feature a full oyster bar. The from-the-ground-up construction allows for more flexibility in the design and lay-out so the Teagues have brought in Houston-based Schuster,Inc. to head the architecture and design with Armando Bueno of Adan Ellis Construction as contractor. Starting from scratch means the 4,855 square-foot space will have more booths and intimate nooks, along with separate areas that can be curtained off for private dining. There will also be a section that will accommodate up to 60 guests for cocktails or seated dinners.
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This Salty Dog is also spicy.
Photo by Julie Soefer
In addition to the oyster bar, there will be a Chef's Table and an expansive full-service bar. The beverage program at the new Relish will highlight classic cocktails such as the Salty Dog given a modern twist with Tito's vodka, Aperol, rosemary-jalapeno shrub and grapefruit, served with a chili salt rim. The Lavender Sour is made with New Amsterdam vodka, St. Germain Elderflower, lavender, egg white and lemon.

Dustin Teague, executive chef and owner, says that he and wife Addie are thrilled to grow their footprint in Houston, especially in such a prime spot. "Our success in River Oaks proves we have a great concept," he said. "It's a natural step for us to offer this in another Houston neighborhood. We truly are looking forward to growing our loyal customer base that not only supports us but feels like an extension of our family."
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A beer garden pops up in a market's former space.
Photo by Andrew Hemingway

Junction Beer Garden, 8200 Washington, opens in the former Railway Heights Market space November 14. This one took us by surprise since Railway Heights Market closed quietly at the end of September. The new beer garden will take over the first floor while the second floor will eventually become a private events venue. Several of the food vendors will remain upstairs to provide service for the beer garden itself.
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Junction Beer Garden will have seasonal cocktails and food available from several vendors.
Photo by Andrew Hemingway
The bar and cocktail program, created by hospitality consultants and Heights & Co. operating partners Evin Haines and Brian Doke, features more than a dozen local craft beers on tap along with a rotating selection of curated wines and signature cocktails. There's a smoked-to-order Old Fashioned and a seasonal Winter Spritz with apple-cinnamon infused Aperol.

There will also be nosh available from local artisans including Meat + Cheese Project, Meshiko, Funnel Cake House and Chamoyin. The food can be ordered by phone with a QR code.
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David Anderson III, Steve Rogers, Jason Lowery and Mikos Adams have debuted a listening lounge and speakeasy in Houston's downtown.
Photo by Fred Agho
Off the Record, 416 Main, opened November 2 in downtown Houston. Located in the former Bovine & Barley space, the new speakeasy comes from local nightlife veterans Jason Lowery, Steve Rogers, David Anderson III, and Mikos Adams. The listening lounge is tucked behind a vintage record store with the space having been transformed into a 3,600 square-foot bar built-in-house by the Off the Record partners.
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Love on the Run is a pretty tipple of Bacardi Reserva Ocho rum, caramel and lime.
Photo by Michael Ma
Inside, the seating includes five booths and five couches that can be reserved for groups. There's a 41-foot wraparound bar and a semi-enclosed upstairs lounge, known as George's Music Room. It's named for Anderson's uncle, George Daniels. Growing up in Houston's Fifth Ward, Daniels became a music industry legend after moving to Chicago and opening George's Music Room in 1969. It became the largest independently owned music store in the Midwest, helping to launch the careers of a number of artists and musicians while catering to all demographics and genres. Anderson said in a press release, "My uncle is a huge inspiration in my life and he was instrumental in a lot of artists' careers. We want to pay tribute to that by bringing a touch of history to this exciting new concept in Downtown Houston."

Gold records line the downstairs wall with album titles from musicians like Nirvana, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Michael Jackson and Pink Floyd. The upstairs lounge is adorned with framed photos of Daniels with celebrity pals such as Beyonce, Erykah Badu, Scarface, Santana, Lenny Kravitz and George Clinton, to name a few.
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Records are on the wall at Off the Record.
Photo by Michael Ma
General Manager Jorge Parris, formerly of Moon Rabbit, has created a menu of craft cocktails with musical names. Drinks like Smooth Criminal with Thai chili-infused Zephyr Black Gin and Wu-Tang Forever, made with Suntory Toki Japanese whiskey, add to the music industry vibe. Off the Record will have regular programming each evening with plans for Motown Mondays, 80s Tuesdays, Latin + Reggae Wednesdays and 90s on Wax Thursdays. The owners will also bring in DJs from around the world plus local talent including Beat Sicarios, Gracie Chavez and Good Grief.
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Blake Fertitta, Lance McCullers Jr. and Juan Carlos Martinez de Aldecoa pose with Houston Astros mascot Orbit.
Photo by Chloe Kissner
Maven Coffee + Cocktails opened at Toyota Center October 29 just in time for the Houston Rockets season home opener. While that game was a disappointment, the addition of a new custom cart serving specialty coffee drinks and craft cocktails is a happy thing. Located outside the Frost East Club near sections 118 through 122, the coffee company was co-founded by Houston Astros star pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., debuting its first location at Minute Maid Park. McCullers Jr. joined with local entrepreneurs Juan Carlos Martinez de Aldecoa and Blake Fertitta to bring the concept to life with their hospitality group, Rex Hospitality.
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Coffee-based cocktails are part of Maven's drink menu.
Photo by Chloe Kissner

There are plans to open another Maven, a state-of-the-art cafe, in the new Thompson Hotel in December, located on the first floor. It will serve specialty coffee, pastries and coffee-based cocktails, open to both guests of the hotel and the public. And, in the first quarter of 2024, Rex Hospitality will open its first stand- alone brick and mortar location of Maven at Silver Street Studios. It will be an all-day coffee and pastry cafe which will transform in the evenings into an upscale lounge and cocktail bar serving light bites.

In addition to its carts and cafes, Maven Coffee Co. offers its coffee concentrate wholesale to restaurants and bars nationwide.

La Griglia, 2002 W. Gray, will have its last day of service November 4 at its longtime location in River Oaks, according to its social media. It will relocate to 2817 W. Dallas and reopen November 20, as reported by CultureMap Houston.

Currently part of Tilman Fertitta's Landry's Signature Group, it was originally founded by famed restaurateur Tony Vallone in 1989. Fertitta acquired La Grigilia and two other Vallone restaurants, Grotto and Vallone's in 2004.

When the new location opens, it will have a revamped menu from James Beard Award-winning chef Mark Ladner.
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Coffee Fellows has coffee and breakfast sandwiches to get the day started.
Photo by Andrew Hemingway
Coffee Fellows, 3329 Grand Parkway, opened November 1 in Katy. It will have a public grand opening November 6 from 8 a.m. to noon. There will be half-off coffee drinks, free coffee for the first 50 customers in line and a special giveaway of free coffee for a month to a lucky prize winner.
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The comfy interior welcomes guests to linger a while.
Photo by Andrew Hemingway
The new Katy location is the second location in the United States for the German-based company which was founded in Munich in 1999. Its U.S. branch, The Coffee Fellows North America Corp, launched its first American flagship shop in Houston this past summer in Bellaire. The Katy store will be its first-ever drive-thru system-wide. The brand operates more than 275 locations globally and there are plans for domestic expansion that include 15 to 30 more in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio in 2024 and 2025.

Its model is that of a cozy European coffee house with handcrafted and sustainably- sourced coffees and teas. There are breakfast items, pastries, bagel sandwiches and more.
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Colorful cocktails will extend summer fun at The Decoy soon.
Photo by Duc Hoang
The Decoy, 1222 Witte, will debut this fall with the opening date to be released next week. The high-energy, multi-faceted bar comes from several of the owners and operators of Wakefield Crowbar, located in the Heights area. The new Spring Branch hang-out will cater to a number of bar-goers whether it be spectator sports enthusiasts, fantasy league participants or office co-workers on the hunt for a fun happy hour.
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Aly Valiani (co-owner and managing partner), Miguel Cruz (area general manager) and Omid Rafiei (co-owner and Managing partner) are ready to play ball in Spring Branch.
Photo by Duc Hoang
It has an indoor-outdoor set-up with a multitude of television sets for game watching and cornhole sets for game playing. With 10,500 square feet, there are plenty seating arrangements for couples, friends or larger groups. It is 21 and over only, so no kids or teens. Better yet, have a teen babysit your kid.

Food will be available through a partnership with the soon-to-open Wild Oats and Underbelly Burger nearby or guests may bring in outside food.
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Pokemoto has dishes that are colorful and healthy.
Photo by Aimee Infante/Pokemoto
Pokemoto, 2174 Spring Stuebner, will open in mid-November at The Market, one of two retail clusters within City Place. It's the first location of the quick-service poke concept for the Houston area and only the second for Texas. It's also the first Pokemoto venture for franchisee Matt Judice.

Located in a lifestyle center anchored by a Kroger grocery store, Pokemoto joins a number of other popular restaurants and businesses that cater to the nearby residences, offices and hotels. The menu at the Hawaiian-inspired eatery offers poke in burritos, bowls and salads. Customers can build their own or rely on the signature options. There is a variety of dressings including creamy miso, spicy mayo and sweet teriyaki. In addition to the poke choices, there is Hawaiian Spam Musubi and an array of milk and boba teas.

Niko Niko's, 301 Milam, will shutter its kiosk at Market Square this month, according to an email reply from Dimitri Fetokakis. He says it will be mid to late November. That's a damn shame for those of us who love grabbing one of the best gyros in town while hanging out at the outdoor piazza. And the homemade potato chips were the bomb.

We also asked Fetokakis about the projected opening date for Niko Niko's in The Woodlands, 922 Lake Front Circle, and were told that it may open March or April of 2024.

Meanwhile, we received an email stating that the Houston Downtown Management District is inviting food and beverage concepts interested in re-imagining the soon to be vacant Market Square Park kiosk and becoming the sole vendor in the location to submit proposals to [email protected] by November 10.
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Hotel Lucine opens with two new eateries.
Photo by Samantha Wiley Photography
The Fancy, 1002 Seawall Boulevard, will debut at the newly-opened Hotel Lucine in Galveston. Described as "American Fine-ish Dining", it opens November 14 for dinner service from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily. It will add lunch and weekend brunch services in February.

The culinary program for the restaurant and hotel is led by executive chef Leila Ortiz who has hotel kitchen experience from various Sheraton and Westin hotels. She also has served as sous chef at New York's Momofuku Noodle Bar and also at Houston's now-shuttered UB Preserv. Ortiz will oversee not only The Fancy but also the hotel's culinary operations including its all-day menu at The Den, its rooftop bar and swimming pool area. Jesse Rubio is in charge of the bar program as beverage director.

Restaurants Reported Open October 2023:

Annabelle Brasserie, 811 Buffalo Park, opened October 18
Balboa Surf Club, 1753 Post Oak Boulevard, opened September 12
Barcelona Wine Bar, 1731 Westheimer, opened late September
Big Madre Tacos Y Tortas, 6199 Decker, opened mid-October
Black Walnut Kitchen & Bar, 5510 Morningside, reopened October 9
Clark's Oyster Bar, 3807 Montrose Boulevard, opened October 23
Crave Fusion Bistro & Cocktails, 11702 Grant, opened October 20
Crazy Pita, 2587 Town Center Boulevard N., opened October 24
888 Chinese Restaurant, 5250 FM 2920, opened September 15
For the Culture Brewing, 7201 Wynnpark, opened October 21
Japanese Ramen Gachi, 2268 W. Holcombe Boulevard, opened August 31
The Library, 8510 Long Point, opened early September
Lightnin's Good Times, 1201 St. Emanuel, opened October 11
MaKiin, 2651 Kipling, opened October 23
Mamajuana Cafe, 909 Texas, opened October 12
Rakkan Ramen, 2550 Citywest Boulevard, opened October 7
Rendezvous Taste of Persia, 2691 Wilcrest, opened early August
Rumi's Kitchen, 1801 Post Oak Boulevard, opened October 16
7 Brew Drive-Thru Coffee, 21420 Kuykendahl, opened October 14
Texas Zeus Cafe, 13323 Jones, opened September 28
Tom's Watch Bar, 1201 Caroline, opened October 29
Urban Bird Hot Chicken, 6325 Garth, opened October 2
Urban Bird Hot Chicken, 3011 W. Grand Parkway N., opened October 23

Restaurants Reported Closed October 2023:

Ambrosia, 2003 Lexington, closed September 5
Dumpling Haus, 2313 Edwards, closed September 23
Fish Company Taco, 1914 23rd, closed October 25
Los Cucos, 22390 Tomball Parkway, closed August 23 
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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.