Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Lagniappe Debuts, La La Land Kind Cafe Montrose

Breakfast is a big deal with Big Easy flavors at Lagniappe.
Breakfast is a big deal with Big Easy flavors at Lagniappe. Photo by Mikah Danae
Lagniappe Kitchen & Bar, 550 Heights Boulevard, softly opened this week with a grand opening planned for August 19. The new Louisiana-inspired cafe is an homage to owner Layne Cruz's roots. The new concept takes over the former Revival Market space, which recently closed July 31, as we reported here in the Houston Press. Cruz was the general manager at Revival Market and said in a press release, "I've made my home at 550 Heights Boulevard for the past seven years at Revival Market and I'm thrilled for the opportunity to now revamp the space into my dream restaurant with Lagniappe."
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Layne Cruz has realized her dream of owning a restaurant.
Photo by Mikah Danae
A native of New Orleans, Cruz grew up with the culinary traditions of the city and her own family. Weekend brunches at acclaimed NOLA restaurants and the mandatory Sunday dinners at her grandmother's house inspired her to bring a taste of the Big Easy to the Houston Heights.

Some of the Louisiana traditions like Red Beans and Rice on Monday are a given but there are also contemporary twists on standard breakfast and lunch dishes. The menu, led by Chef Steven Lamborn, has been divided into four sections. Breakfast includes items like the Sardou Omelet  or Cheddar Bacon Biscuits served with whipped butter that gets a kick from boil spice. The Lunch menu offers dishes like Veggie Pappardelle and the signature Layne's Gumbo with house-made andouille sausage, chicken and the Cajun trinity.
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Layne's Gumbo could be your gumbo.
Photo by Mikah Danae
The All Day menu features the Black and Tan Po Boy with blackened shrimp and fried oysters, served on a toasted Gambino's po'boy bun, while The Big Muffuletta is loaded with olive and pepper mortadella, smoked ham, salami, provolone, mozzarella, giardiniera and arugula on a Gambino's semolina roll.

The restaurant also has a happy hour bites menu with Crab-stuffed Hush Puppies served with remoulade and Pimento-stuffed Hush Puppies accompanied by a green curry tartar sauce. There's also a charcuterie plate and oysters on the half shell, roasted or fried.

Cruz is in charge of the beverage program and the focus is on New Orleans-style coffee flavors with classic NOLA cocktails in a low ABV format. There is a curated selection of beer and wine as well. For happy hour, guests can enjoy specially-priced wines and beers plus $7 cocktails including Hurricane Port and Meme's Cup of Tea.

Besides the interior dining and bar space, which seats 56 guests, there are front and side patios which can accommodate 37 more.
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We could all use a little more kindness and coffee.
Photo by La La Land Kind Cafe
La La Land Kind Cafe, 888 Westheimer, is having its grand opening August 20 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Montrose Collective location is the second for Houston, following closely on the opening of the M-K-T Heights spot this past May.

The Dallas-based company was founded in 2019 by Francois Reihani and is known for its message of "kindness first, coffee second!" With a true sense of altruism, the company hires young people who have aged out of the foster care system. The employees go through an eight-week internship program that teaches life skills and customer service with on-the-job training. The company also offers mentorship and help with job placement and even schooling, therapy and housing. The cafe itself grew from Reihani's We Are One Project, a non-profit that provides the tools for businesses to employ foster youth.
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La La Land uses flowers to give color to its matcha teas.
Photo by La La Land Kind Cafe
La La Land Kind Cafe offers organic fair trade coffee from its coffee drip stations and authentic ceremonial grade matcha, imported from family-owned farms in Japan. The matcha is available in over 20 different drinks including match lattes in Butterfly Bloom and Lavender Bloom flavors.

While the focus is primarily on specialty coffee and matcha drinks, there is a menu of toasts including a variety of avocado versions plus toasts topped with fruit and nut-butters. There is also a small selection of grab and go items including chia puddings, overnight oats and the La La Land Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Low Tide Kitchen & Bar, 2030 Bingle, will open August 22 at 4 p.m. in Spring Branch. The restaurant comes from Alli Jarrett, owner of Harold's Restaurant, Bar and Rooftop Terrace in the Heights. It's sort of a reopening of the seafood concept which first opened at Finn Hall in December 2018 before shutting down during the pandemic when downtown Houston became a ghost town of sorts with closed offices, restaurants and bars.

The menu is full of seafood favorites such as Inlet Shrimp and Grits, Pawley's Seafood Platter, Shrimp or Oyster Po'Boy and Steamed Mussels. There is a raw bar with both Gulf and East Coast oysters plus a Seafood Tower, small or large, offering a bounty from the sea with oysters, ceviche, clams, mussels, crab fingers, lobster and more.

For non-seafood types (they do exist), there are burger options including the Bingle Burger and a vegan Butter Bean Burger. For omnivores, there's Surf & Turf with grilled or fried shrimp and a 44 Farms sirloin.

The restaurant will open for dinner and its early hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., followed soon by a lunch service and brunch.
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Will the ring toss make the move?
Photo by Agricole Hospitality
Eight Row Flint, 3501 Harrisburg, will open this fall, as we reported here in the Houston Press. This is the second location for the contemporary icehouse from Agricole Hospitality known for its extensive assortment of whiskeys and agave spirits. Owners Ryan Pera, Morgan Weber and Vincent Huynh are choosing talent from within to go forth with their first expansion. Christina Ramey will be concept manager for Eight Row Flint while Christian Garza will be promoted to general manager at the new location. Chef Marcelo Garcia will be executive chef, running the food operations for both locations.



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Get your taco fillings any way you like.
Photo by Becca Wright
The Taco Stand will open in Webster at the Eastfield at Baybrook development. Anchored by a new H-E-B, the new spot will be located at the intersection of Interstate 45 and El Dorado Boulevard.  It will be the second location of the taco concept from partners Chef Matthew Pak and Shawn Bermudez. The duo also own and operated The Burger Joint which has three locations including one down the road from the upcoming Taco Stand.

The menu features traditional street style meats such as pastor, barbacoa, lengua, and carnitas, along with fish and shrimp. There are also plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. Diners can choose from the variety of proteins and enjoy them in taco, burrito, quesadilla or bowl versions. A selection of five different salsas adds some punch and the flour and corn tortillas are made in-house.
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These cocktails are ready to go.
Photo by Becca Wright
For soft beverages, there are sodas and agua frescas. For adult options, The Taco Stand has canned margaritas, palomas and frozen ritas, all made with 100 percent Blue Agave. There are both Mexican and domestic beer choices.

The Taco Stand will be open seven days a week and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner plus Late Nite eats for both dine-in and drive-thru service.
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The Yellowtail Sashimi is served with apricot jam, tamari, olive oil and crispy potato.
Photo by Dylan Scardino
ReikiNa, Thomas Stacy's tasting menu concept, is reopening in Montrose. Beginning September 1, Stacy will do a series of pop-ups at the recently renovated Native Coffee, 1712 W. Dallas, taking over its kitchen every Thursday through Saturday evening. There will be three seatings each night at 6 p.m., 7:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. with availability for up to eight guests. Unlike the previous communal seating at the former CityCentre location, diners can choose to book a table of their own.
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The humble ice box pie gets a cheffy upgrade at ReikiNa.
Photo by Dylan Scardino
Chef Stacy will serve a five-course tasting menu that will rotate every couple of months. Currently, the revamped menu offers Yellowtail sashimi to start followed by a Sesame Caesar with pickled kohlrabi, cherry tomato and burnt sourdough. The third course is a Smoked Cod Agnolotti with bonito flake cream sauce and the entree is Smoked RC Ranch Wagyu with kalbi mustard greens and miso potato. For dessert, there's a Nectarine Icebox Pie with homemade marshmallow and vanilla egg custard. The cost is $100 per person and guests are welcome to bring their own beverages. Reservations may be made through resy.com.

Stacy will operate out of Native Coffee for now but there are plans to open another brick and mortar in the future. The chef said in a press release, "I couldn’t be more excited to bring these new changes to the Montrose community - the place where I grew up and where the pop-ups originally started. ReikiNa is centered around creative expression and Montrose is a perfect place to match that creative energy."

LuLoo's Day & Night, 1223 W. 34th, is headed to The Stomping Grounds soon, according to CultureMap Houston. The new concept is a partnership between pastry chef, Alyssa Dole, and the trio at Blood Bros. BBQ, brothers Robin and Terry Wong and Quy Hoang. The group is also bringing in chef Arash Kharat as culinary director for both Blood Bros. BBQ and LuLoo's. Kharat was executive chef at the now shuttered Beaver's before taking on the role at Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company in 2019.

The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu will offer egg dishes and pastries for breakfast and a variety of Dole's Australian-style meat-stuffed puff pastry rolls. There will also be kolaches and sandwiches using Dole's fresh bread and smoked meats cured by Hoang. A James Beard Award finalist on 2022, Hoang sees the new concept as an opportunity to branch out with his charcuterie skills.

In addition, there will be a second floor bakery housing Dole's LuLu Belle's Bakeshop which supplies breads and pastries to Blood Bros. There will also be cocktails and craft beer.
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Colorful and tasty treats from your own charcuterie concierge.
Photo by Graze Craze
Graze Craze, 12234 Queenston Boulevard, opened its first Houston-area location August 15. The charcuterie board and picnic box concept was founded by U.S. Air Force veteran Kelly Sylvester and is now part of the United Franchise Group, a global leader for entrepreneurs, with Graze Craze and The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill as part of its food division.

The Houston opening is the first of five planned for the area by Samit and Tejal Darne. The couple have almost two decades of business leadership experience.
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Samit Darne poses with Grazologist Ashley Jewett.
Photo by Samit Darne
Graze Craze offers artfully-designed charcuterie boards and boxes with customizable food displays that are meant for grazing, whether it be a formal event or a casual get-together. The boxes and boards are curated by a Grazologist and can be made for one person or for a party. The boxes and boards can be picked up or delivered.
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Rosland's hours offers everyone a chance to eat, drink and relax.
Photo by Raydon Creative

Rosland's Grill & Bar, 903 Durham, opened August 9, as we reported here in the Press. The owners have decided to adjust their opening hours after feedback from neighborhood guests. The bar and restaurant will be open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturday 10 a.m. to midnight and Sunday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. The new hours will still allow for industry professionals to swing by after their shifts for a drink and late night eats.

George's Bistro & Bar, 2715 Bissonnet, opened earlier this month. It serves elevated continental cuisine that leans heavily Italian starting with appetizers such as Suppli and Fried Calamari. For lunch, there are sandwiches including The George Burger, and the Chicken Avocado plus entree salads like Pesto Chicken, Grilled Salmon and Skirt Steak. The Beet Salad with goat cheese mousse is a light vegetarian option.

There are a number of specialty pizzas to choose from and dinner options include several CAB(Certified Angus Beef) steaks, pasta dishes and Roasted Whole Branzino. There is also an extensive wine list and a full bar.
A European cafe has landed in Katy.
Photo by Pernille Reck
Copenhagen European Kitchen & Bakery, 981 Mason, opened July 6 in Katy.  The new restaurant is owned by Pernille and Michael Reck and serves mostly Danish and European fare. Everything is made from scratch and the business uses fresh ingredients, including micro greens that are grown in-house.

Guests can try the smorrebord, open-faced sandwiches that are popular in Denmark. There's also frikadella (Scandinavian meatballs), flaeskesteg (pork loin) and rullpolse (spiced meat roll). There are organic salads, charcuterie selections and entrees that circle the globe such as Shawarma Beef, Weinerschnitzel, Pork and Stout Pie and British Bangers complete with mash and peas. Desserts include pavlova and its Danish-style Rhubarb Cheesecake.
The Rhubarb Cheesecake shines at Copenhagen.
Photo by Pernille Reck
In addition to the restaurant dishes, there is a bakery where customers can pick up Danish ryebread, sourdough loaves, cakes, desserts and Danish treats. The restaurant is BYOB for alcoholic beverages. However, they have beer and wine for purchase, but guests must order it to go, then take it outside and come back in.

Check out its website for upcoming live music and stand up comedy.

Gyroville, 1324 N. Shepherd, opened July 26. The Florida-based chain first opened in 2010. The Shepherd location is the first for Houston. It offers gyro pita, chicken pita, gyro and rice platters, salad bowls, hummus and falafel. Sides include French fries, chickpeas, cucumber salad and stuffed grape leaves. For Texans who like heat, Gyroville has a jalapeno tzatziki.
The closing of this Cypress brewery is wicked sad.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
Wicked Boxer, 8190 Barker Cypress, will close permanently after August 21, as reported by the Houston Chronicle. The Cypress brewery first opened at 16326 Mueschke in 2018 and was founded by Brian, a U.S. Marine veteran, and Jamie Cain, a married couple who met on match.com. With two children and two boxer dogs, Shiloh and Rogue, the couple opened Wicked Boxer as a family-friendly brewery that also welcomed fur babies. Needless to say, it also earned the patronage of fellow boxer owners. In 2020, the brewery moved to the Barker Cypress location.

In a Facebook post the owners wrote, "Our founder & CEO, Rogue, has made the decision to retire. He's tired of having to clean up after Brian's messes (laughing emoji). We will have the final last call on August 21."

Since the announcement, the Cains have been selling the contents of the brewery and taproom and the equipment and furnishings are going fast because of the reasonable prices. They will be selling Wicked Boxer merchandise online, as well.
The El Diablo is a hot option.
Photo by Jane Baudouin
Hopdoddy Burger Bar, 2417 Research Forest, opened August 2 in The Woodlands in its converted Grub Burger location. Hopdoddy acquired Grub Burger this past January and closed it July 23 in order to transform it into a new Hopdoddy location.   The company plans to convert 17 Grub locations throughout the next year bringing its Hopdoddy number to nearly 50 locations in eight states, including expanding to Louisiana, Georgia and Florida by the end of 2022.

Founded in Austin in 2010, the better-burger brand uses carefully-sourced ingredients including humanely and sustainably-raised Certified Piedmontese Beef and regeneratively-farmed Force of Nature bison. Its Beyond Meat options are non-GMO and its cage-free, steroid-free and gluten-free chicken comes from Red Bird Farms.

Besides beef burgers like The Classic, Magic Shroom and Bacon Jam Double, it offers a vegetarian patty for the El Bandito and a vegan patty for its Beyond Vegan. There is a variety of French fries, salads and a Nashville Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich. Throughout August, its burger of the month is the Back to School Burger, a beef patty topped with fried bologna, Muenster cheese and a fried Vital Farms egg.

The restaurant also serves beer, wine and margaritas plus milkshakes both boozy and non-boozy. 
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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.