Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Lyric Market's Big Plans, Dolce Niente's Debut

Whether it's a rhapsody or a lyric, it's all music to our ears.
Whether it's a rhapsody or a lyric, it's all music to our ears. Photo by Brandon Holmes
Lyric Market, 411 Smith, announced that Samurai Noodle opened its second Houston location September 6 at its downtown food hall. Founded in the Heights in 2006, the ramen shop is known for making its own noodles for the Japanese dish. Samurai Noodle owner Thomas Tang said about the new location, "We've been looking to expand our Houston food print for a while now and downtown felt like the most natural next steps given the bustling business attractions Lyric Plaza and the surrounding buildings have to offer."
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Samurai Noodle is bringing its fresh noodles to downtown.
Photo by Brandon Holmes
Meanwhile, Lyric Market is planning to open its rooftop terrace October 13, a year after it first opened the food hall downtown. It will have a debut weekend-long event with food and drink specials. The second-floor terrace will be used for private events, cooking classes and a variety of pop-ups for both bars and retail businesses.

Its Rhapsody Bar has now been rebranded as Lyric Bar and a new happy hour food menu has items all priced under $12 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Beginning September 10, Lyric Bar will offer half-off wine bottles Sunday and Monday. Parking at Lyric Garage is complimentary for two hours with valid purchase.
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Dorado Sushi
Photo by Becca Wright
Second Slice Sandwich Co., which serves hot pressed paninis, is popping up at Lyric Market for September while Dorado Sushi is replacing Horu Sushi with a new name, new ownership and new specials. Other vendors at Lyric Market are expanding their offerings including Press Waffle Co. which now has birthday party packages for kids. Mexology has added Chile en Nogada to its menu for Hispanic Heritage Month and it will be available through the month of September. Starbucks, of course, has already launched its Pumpkin Spice Latte at the food hall. Nothing says Houston like folks drinking pumpkin spice beverages in 103-degree heat. We will pretend it's autumn if it kills us.
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Share a rigatoni Bolognese with your bestie at Dolce Niente.
Photo by Mac DeLaup
Dolce Niente Restaurante Italiano, 3784 Rayford, opened softly August 16 in Spring. It comes from former Gibson Restaurant Group partner, Bob Getchell, and business partner Mac DeLaup. Getchell was the executive chef for Disney Springs Orlando, helping to open The Boathouse with Gibson Restaurant Group. DeLaup is a retired auto dealer and businessman of 40 years, 36 of those years spent with John Eagle Auto dealerships. The duo met at a private event at The Boathouse years before, which led to a friendship and now, a restaurant partnership. They were both involved in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts at NRG Center in 2017.
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It's a Mack Attack: Jim McIngvale and Mac DeLaup pose with DeLaup's fiance and step-daughter.
Photo by Dolce Niente
The menus at Dolce Niente offer upscale Italian dining with antipasti such as Ricotta Impastata, Brick Oven Flatbread, Fritto Misto and an antipasto platter of salami and cheeses. There is a selection of salads, hearth oven pizzas and an array of pasta dishes including Bolognese and Shrimp Scampi. There are several entrees such as Grilled Chicken Piccata and NY Strip plus its hefty Signature Florentine Steak, which serves two to four people. In fact, many of the dishes at Dolce Niente are meant for sharing, Italian-style.

In addition to its dinner menu, the restaurant also offers daily specials. Guests might get lucky and land on a day when there's Fried Pizza or Chicken Cacciatore. The sandwiches on the lunch menu, available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., are served on fresh-baked Roman-style bread and served with pasta salad. There's also a small kids menu along with a variety of desserts like cannoli, gelato and Mini Tiramisu in a Jar.
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Along with authentic Italian food, Dolce Niente has traditional cocktails like Aperol Spritz.
Photo by Mac DeLaup
The restaurant has just added to-go ordering as it unfolds its various offerings, including a 60-seat patio that debuts next week. It will have a micro-mist cooling system for hot weather and a heating system for Houston's eventual cold temps. And when there's a wait, guests can walk up to the outdoor window and order a drink from the bartending staff. We were told by DeLaup that the Limone Ice-a-Rita is not to be missed.
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A partnership of creamy goodness is happening in the Heights.
Photo by Addison Hall
Sweet Bribery by Craft Creamery, 250 W. 19th, a new partnership between Craft Creamery and Sweet Bribery in the Heights, is now open. Craft Creamery, 1338 Westheimer, will have its final service September 10 from noon to 7 p.m. in Montrose.

Craft Creamery was co-founded by chef Steve Marques and his wife Kim Kaase in late 2020. It was recently named one of the top eight ice cream parlors in the south by Southern Living Magazine. Its award-winning and funky flavors include Smokey BBQ Brisket, Cacio e Pepe, Jalapeno Cornbread and real Tomato Tarragon. Less quirky creations have included Oaxaca "Hot" Chocolate and Balsamic Strawberry. There are also vegan options including chocolate and vanilla.
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Kim Kaase and Steve Marques make a dream come true in the Heights.
Photo by Addison Hall
Now a rotating selection of Craft's creative ice creams will combine with the classic ice creams, beers and wine of Sweet Bribery. The partnership will also see an expansion of sorbets, "boozy" ice creams and adult floats. The case at the shop will be stocked with 20 flavors like Sweet Bribery's Tahitian Vanilla, Salted Chocolate and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. They will be joined by Craft's crowd favorites such as Miso caramel, Campfire S'more and Lavender Honeycomb.
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Being a grownup means you can have flights of ice cream.
Photo by Stephanie Lam
For even more fun and pleasure, there will be mini ice cream courses paired with a glass of wine plus future pop-up events with Chef Marques. The chef says he has always been a fan of Sweet Bribery and looks forward to a great partnership. "We have dreamed of being on a busy corner in the Heights since we started the business and knew that this was the perfect opportunity to make it come true."
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There are plenty of healthy leaves and grains along with cage-free chicken and healthy fruit smoothies.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
Leaf & Grain, 5779 San Felipe,is planned for the Brairgrove-Tanglewood area in early 2024, opening in the former spot of Zoe's Kitchen. It makes the fourth location for the Houston-based restaurant from founder Deets Hoffman. There are two others downtown and one in West University.

Its menu is one of healthy choices including grain bowls, salads and soups. Guests can order its signature bowls such as The Alamo and Good Greek or create a custom bowl. There are salads, with or without cage-free chicken, and plates such as Lemon-Caper Salmon and the French Country Dinner which is composed of lentils du puy, brown rice, roasted carrots, roasted cage-free chicken thigh and arugula with a citrus vinaigrette.

There are vegan options, a kids menu and an array of tasty smoothies. Guests can afford to splurge on a little dessert of Rosemary Shortbread, Leaf & Grain Cookie or Cayenne Brownie. The downtown menus are a little smaller with a few less options.

The upcoming 2,850 square-foot restaurant has been designed by Gin Design Group and will be similar to the West U location in ambiance and aesthetics.

Aburi Sushi, 3800 Southwest Freeway, softly opened in early August and will hold its grand opening September 9. Meaning flame-seared in Japanese, the aburi sushi gets a touch of the torch to add more flavor. There are also cooked dishes such as grilled meat called yakiniku. Using different techniques and preparations, the new restaurant will offer both raw and cooked items.

Aburi comes from the owners of Ono Poke, which recently closed its Richmond location. The downtown Ono Poke is still in operation.
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Owners Carmen Silva and Jaime Gama are ready to serve Katy residents.
Photo by David Roscabado
Russo's New York Pizzeria and Italian Kitchen, 22811 Morton Ranch, is now open in Katy. The pizza restaurant was founded by Anthony Russo at the very young age of 18. Seven years later, he opened the first Russo's in downtown Houston in 1992. Eventually, he expanded the brand into a franchise model and there are now over 50 locations globally. The new Katy store is owned and operated by husband and wife team Carmen Silva and Jaime Gama.

In addition to it popular New York-style pizza, Russo's offer starters such as its Jumbo Liberty Wings and Racqel Bruschetta Trio along with pasta dishes such as Pistachio Pesto Chicken and Chicken Manicotti. There are calzones, sandwiches and a kids menu as well. Most locations serve beer and wine including the new Morton Ranch restaurant.
Drink the Rainbow.
Photo by Jake Villareal/JuiceLand
JuiceLand, 1121 Uptown Park Boulevard, opened September 6. It's the 5th shop for the brand in Houston and number 34 across Texas. It's got a wide selection of smoothies with Berry Fruity flavors as well as almond milk-based choices and protein-rich or green options. Customers can also choose from a variety of add-ins. For those needing a hearty start to the day or an afternoon pick-me-up, the Smoothie Bowls are filled with healthy ingredients.

The juices are made-to-order with raw, organic vegetables or guests can grab a raw cold-pressed pre-packaged juice to-go. There are shots, Superfood Lattes & Tonics plus kids drinks. There's also a menu of plant-based vegan meals such as the Frijole Roller Burrito, Mannawich and Mid East Feast.

Jersey Mike's Subs, 12645 Tomball Parkway, opened September 6 . It will host a grand opening through September 10 in which customers can use pre-distributed fundraising coupons in exchange for a regular sub with funds going to Make-A-Wish Texas Gulf Coast.

The new location, owned by franchisees John Enterline and Samuel Owens, will offer online ordering for pick up through the website or app plus delivery in certain areas through its app or third party partners.

Jersey Mike's premium meats and cheeses are sliced in-store and served on freshly-baked bread. Regular customers know to order the subs "Mike's Way" with LTO and the signature juice, a zesty mix of red wine vinegar and olive oil blend.

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Huevos Rancheros are on the new Sunday brunch menu at Armandos.
Photo by Matt Johns
Armando's, 2630 Westheimer, launched its Sunday brunch in August, a first for the restaurant, which has been around for 45 years. Meant to evoke the feel of 1920s Mexico City, the eatery opened in 1978 as a more-upscale Tex-Mex establishment in comparison to the ubiquitous glut of casual Mexican restaurants and taquerias in Houston.

Its Sunday brunch runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with dishes such as Heuvos Rancheros, Huevos Revueltos, Chilaquiles and a Belgian waffle selection that can guests can enjoy savory with bacon and eggs on top or sweet with whipped cream, cinnamon, cajeta sauce and a churro.
Chefs For farmers returns to Houston.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
Chefs For Farmers is still offering a Labor Day promo for $15 off tickets for the food and wine festival happening September 30 and October 1 in Autry Park. The deal ends September 8 at 11:59 p.m.  Tickets can be bought online and buyers should use the code Labor Day 15
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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.