Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Marmo Debuts, Patterson Park Next Week

Fresh pasta dishes are on the menu.
Fresh pasta dishes are on the menu. Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
Marmo, 888 Westheimer, opened April 6 at the Montrose Collective. The new Italian chophouse comes from Atlas Restaurant group which brought its Ouzo Bay and Loch bar to Houston in 2019. The Maryland-based company has styled Marmo after its Baltimore steakhouse and Italian concept, Tagliata.
click to enlarge The interior at Marmo is sophisticated with a mid-century feel. - PHOTO BY KIRSTEN GILLLIAM
The interior at Marmo is sophisticated with a mid-century feel.
Photo by Kirsten Gillliam
Guests will enter the multi-glassed structure facing the lounge with its marble U-shaped bar and the dining room to the right. Past the lounge is another dining space plus a small muralled enclave and wine wall which can be made semi-private with a drawable curtain. Designer Patrick Sutton's choice of organic jute lighting fixtures and curvy Edison bulb-like chandeliers create a sophisticated atmosphere along with interspersed black and white marble accents as a nod to its name. Marmo means marble in Italian.
click to enlarge Marmo has a Cowboy Ribeye for upscale bootscooters. - PHOTO BY KIRSTEN GILLIAM
Marmo has a Cowboy Ribeye for upscale bootscooters.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

The menu is a collaboration between Atlas Chef Partner Julian Marucci and Executive Chef Eli Jackson. Hand-cut and dry-aged premium steaks are the stars, sourced from local, domestic and international purveyors. Fresh, hand made pastas include squid ink campanelle with blue crab and uni cream sauce and rigatoni alla vodka.  Dishes such as chicken or eggplant parmigiana, chicken Marsala and veal chop Milanese offer guests Italian comfort fare while seafood lovers will find treats such as oysters on the half shell and red snapper with caramelized fennel and fennel pollen pesto.

No chop house would be complete without a good wine list and Marmo offers a 22-page catalog of mainly Italian varietals by the glass with some vintage gems available by the bottle. Italian aperitifs, craft cocktails and an assortment of beers rounds out the beverage program. Look for a happy hour, Sunday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. with specials on spritz cocktails and wine and Peroni on tap, available in the lounge, bar and on the outdoor patio.
click to enlarge Take in the view with a cocktail or two. - PHOTO BY ALEX MONTOYA
Take in the view with a cocktail or two.
Photo by Alex Montoya
Patterson Park, 2205 Patterson, opens April 13. The Treehouse on the Trail comes from restaurant industry veterans Lonnie and Candice Schiller in collaboration with their daughter and son-in-law, Caroline and Brendan Murphy. The Schillers are co-partners at H3D Hospitality Design and Lonnie created the Texas-based Cafe Express chain. The couple also led the design of The Grove at Discovery Green, with Candice directing the design of The Lakehouse at the park as well.
click to enlarge Designing family. - PHOTO BY ALEX MONTOYA
Designing family.
Photo by Alex Montoya
The new drinks concept is located in a park-like setting too, adjacent to the White Oak Bayou Trail with its beautiful, old oak trees. There is a 5,000 square-foot deck for taking in the verdant view plus downtown Houston scenery as well.  Architect Craig Schuster worked with Candice and her daughter Caroline to create a unique neighborhood hangout that seamlessly blends the outdoor area with the 4,000 square feet of indoor space.

The patio is dog-friendly and guests can admire the bayou view on two cantilevered levels. A dramatic mural lets visitors know that this is still a dynamic, urban respite among the trees, along with 40 oversized HDTVs, arcade and board games and out-of-the box programming.
click to enlarge Now that's what we call a patio. - PHOTO BY ALEX MONTOYA
Now that's what we call a patio.
Photo by Alex Montoya
For liquid refreshment, there are two dozen brews on tap, many local, and ranch waters. Cocktails such as the Frozen Pickle Back, the Schwayze and the French 765B (the bar's exit number off I-10), keep drinkers in a Houston state of mind.

For nosh, the bar will have a rotating selection of local food trucks. A list of each month's vendors will be on the Patterson Park website along with links to each truck's site for information and menus.

The bar will offer bike riders who come off the trail 10 percent off their tabs. There will be happy hour specials Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. plus planned theme nights such as Industry Night on Monday, Texas Tuesdays with $5 select Texas liquors and $4 select Texas beers, Wednesday Ladies Night, and Thursday Steak Night.
click to enlarge Andy and Paige Lujan are ready to meet the neighbors. - PHOTO BY DYLAN MCEWAN
Andy and Paige Lujan are ready to meet the neighbors.
Photo by Dylan McEwan
Upside Pub, 3402 N. Shepherd, is comin to the Garden Oaks/Oak Forest area this summer. It will take over the space which formerly housed Tres Amigos Cafe y Cantina.

The upcoming neighborhood hangout will occupy 1,500 square feet of space with an all-weather patio space. Owners Paige and Andy Lujan are recent transplants to Houston, arriving here last year with a plan to open a community-based business. Paige Lujan has 13 years of experience in craft beer and Upside Pub will feature 15 taps of brews along with a rotating bottle and can list. There will also be wine and liquor available.

In order to bring in customers for after-work drinks and date nights out, the bar will have a menu of pub favorites like house-made queso and chicken wings. Though small, the food menu will also offer beer-friendly munchies like boiled peanuts and a Texas version of Jersey diner fries plus heartier fare such as Northeast shrimp rolls and California burritos.

The couple want to offer the neighborhood a comfortable place to enjoy a bite and a drink and also to enjoy watching sporting events on the televisions without the feel of a typical sports bar. Paige Lujan said, "We will show what the community wants to see, whether that's EPL soccer matches, local major team events or the bass fishing finals. Sunday mornings will include NFL games and Formula 1 races, just like we do it in the Lujan household."
Bread or no bread, spice or no spice. It's up to you. - PHOTO BY DAVE'S HOT CHICKEN
Bread or no bread, spice or no spice. It's up to you.
Photo by Dave's Hot Chicken
Dave's Hot Chicken, 15245 Wallisville, opens April 8. The California-based hot chicken chain has opened four previous Houston locations over the past year, making this newest the fifth. Popular for its spicy chicken tenders and sliders, the restaurant began as a parking lot pop-up in 2017. It didn't take long before founders Arman Oganesyan, Dave Kopushyan and brothers Tommy and Gary Rubenyan were opening a brick and mortar location in East Hollywood. In 2019, the quartet signed with Bill Phelps, co-founder and CEO of Wetzel's Pretzels and movie producer John Davis, for a franchise deal. Soon, they were getting celebrity investors, too. There are now over 500 locations in the U.S. and Canada.
click to enlarge The Wallisville location has eye-catching artwork. - PHOTO BY DAVE'S HOT CHICKEN
The Wallisville location has eye-catching artwork.
Photo by Dave's Hot Chicken

The menu is simple and straight forward. Diners can order tenders or sliders separately or combos with crinkle-cut fries. The sliders are served with pickles and kale slaw. There's also mac & cheese on the menu plus milkshakes. Spice levels run from No Spice to Medium to Reaper.
click to enlarge Pour some Bird Sauce on me. - PHOTO BY BLACKBIRD PHOTOGRAPHY
Pour some Bird Sauce on me.
Photo by Blackbird Photography
Urban Bird Hot Chicken,  12719 FM 1960, opened March 14 at Eldridge Crossing. The Nashville hot chicken concept opened its first store in Katy in September 2020. There's another location planned for 5404 Kirby, soon.

With its catch phrase, "hella hot, hella good", Urban Bird offers heat levels that can make your nose run and your eyes water. However, there are six different flavors and heat levels to choose from for those who need less of an capsaicin high. The all natural jumbo chicken tenders are made to order.

The simple menu includes Chicken & Waffles, Tenders Basket, and its Chicken Tender Sando made with two jumbo tenders, homemade kale slaw, Bird Sauce and pickles on a brioche bun. Its Urban Fries are one of the most popular items with mac & cheese, Nashville hot chicken, Bird Sauce and pickles atop seasoned fries.
click to enlarge Coming to a parking lot near you. - PHOTO BY BECCA WRIGHT
Coming to a parking lot near you.
Photo by Becca Wright
Mico's Hot Chicken, 7325 FM 1960, will pop-up through April 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. near Willowbrook. The food truck will then make its way to the Galleria area where it will pop-up from April 11 though April 17.

Kimico "Mico" Frydenlund, along with husband Chris, started the spicy fried-chicken magic with a small, white food trailer in the Galleria area, where long lines formed daily until they were sold out.  The couple opened the first brick and mortar spot in 2020 at 1603 N. Durham, at the beginning of the COVID pandemic.

Two years later,  the City of Houston officially declared March 30, 2022, Mico’s Hot Chicken Day. Now, the restaurant is on the move again, literally, with the addition of its fleet of five food trucks. The restaurant itself will still provide its hot chicken, along with new menu items like banana pudding and Hot Shake Fries.

Mico's food trucks will also be heading to 5130 Bellaire from April 18 through April 24 before ending the  month in EaDo at 2800 Navigation, April 25 though May 1. Unfortunately, the food truck menu is currently limited to the Sammich Combo with waffle fries and a drink.

Mico's recently introduced online ordering which is also available for the Tour Truck via micoshotchicken.com.

Crumbl Cookies, 20530 Interstate-45, celebrated its grand opening April 1. The cookie delivery service offers four rotating flavors each week and recent treats include Waffle, New York Cheesecake and Berries & Cream. The company also offers catering with a wide selection of cookie options including Aggie Blue Mint, Berry Crunch, Birthday Cake and Brownie Batter. Parents-to-be can even have special gender reveal cookies made.
There's a new bean in Cypress. - PHOTO BY RUSTI HENDRIX
There's a new bean in Cypress.
Photo by Rusti Hendrix
Uncle Bean's Coffee, 12105 Jones, opened March 18. This is the second spot for the coffee shop which also has an original location in the Heights at 3024 Houston Avenue.
There are multiple seating options at Uncle Bean's. - PHOTO BY RUSTY HENDRIX
There are multiple seating options at Uncle Bean's.
Photo by Rusty Hendrix
The new Cypress store features a drive-thru, a full kitchen, plus plenty of indoor seating. The family-owned business serves locally roasted coffee and specialty coffee drinks from Amaya Roasting and Geva Coffee Roasters. The fresh-baked pastries come from Kraftsmen Bakery and the kombucha from Kickin Kombucha, both Houston-area businesses. The coffee shop also makes its own breakfast foods, sandwiches and salads and is open for dining until 5 p.m.

JoeOne Hibachi, 15626 Cypress Rosehill, will open its first storefront location April, as reported by Community Impact. The local catering company brings the hibachi experience to homes and event venues and soon, it will offer its food and show to the public. The very busy owner has promised the Houston Press more information about the upcoming restaurant next week, after the crush of weekend catering.

Fuddruckers, 2000 Willowbrook, is currently in build-out mode inside Willowbrook Mall and is shooting to open in late summer/early fall.  Currently, there is a location near the mall at 7511 FM 1960. A representative for the company told the Press that the 1960 location, which has been around for years, will continue at its present spot because "we are very pleased with the Willowbrook market."

The Fuddruckers chain was sold to Nicholas Perkins of Black Titan Franchise systems, LLC in June 2021. With the change in ownership has come some revitalization of the brand and plans for expansion. In March, the company announced that it signed leases with Brookfield Properties to open 10 new Fuddruckers restaurants in malls nationwide. There are also plans for several soon-to-open Fuddruckers ghost kitchens including one at Kitchen United, 1035 N. Shepherd, in the Kroger store, according to PR Newswire.
click to enlarge The Breakfast Belly Burger pairs a beef patty with pork belly and adds some smoked gouda for even more richness. - PHOTO BY CHICO RAMIREZ
The Breakfast Belly Burger pairs a beef patty with pork belly and adds some smoked gouda for even more richness.
Photo by Chico Ramirez
White Elm Brasserie, 14079 Memorial, is the new name of the former White Elm Cafe. Along with the rebranding comes new menu items and a specialty cocktail program. While still keeping its Mediterranean and French roots, the restaurant is shifting to full service and will open an hour earlier. It offers a weekday breakfast menu, a weekend brunch and a daily menu that begins at 11 a.m. and lasts until close.

The breakfast menu offers items like avocado toast, a breakfast sandwich, pancakes and French toast while the weekend brunch has tartine, chilaquiles, a Monte Cristo and its Breakfast Belly Burger. The daily menu starts with appetizers such as Crab and Shrimp Fritters and Butternut Squash soup plus salads, hand-tossed pizzas and sandwiches, including the Duck Banh Mi and the Grateful Bird made with maple bourbon-brined turkey breast. For dinner there are entrees like Salmon Provencale, American Wagyu Sirloin, Gulf Shrimp Pasta and Chicken Succotash. There's also a kids menu.

The new bar program means that guests can enjoy libations like the Boozy Pick Me Up with Tito's vodka, Kahlua and Katz espresso or a refreshing Cool Cucumber which mixes Ketel One Cucumber Vodka with lemon and mint.

III by Wolfgang Puck, 6550 Bertner, quietly snuck in the last week of February 2022. Located in the John P. McGovern Texas Medical Center Commons, the new restaurant from the Austrian-born celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck, takes over the space which formerly housed Third Coast Restaurant.

Puck has tried the Houston restaurant scene before. He opened Wolfgang Puck Gourmet Express in Westchase in 2004, followed by a Sugar Land location. Both closed by 2007, according to Houston Food Finder. Since December 2019, Puck has operated a catering company in Houston and we suspect that Houston's culinary capital has inspired the chef to add the Bayou City to his empire.

P.Pole Pizza, 12344 Barker Cypress, is shooting to open in May. The Miami-based pizza restaurant has two locations in Florida, with two more on the way. The Cypress store will be the first for Texas.

Eskimo Hut, 3815 Grand Parkway, is having a grand opening weekend April 9 and April 10, beginning at 11 a.m. The frozen daiquiri shop is offering every 10th customer in line at the drive-thru a souvenir cup or guests who go inside the store can spin for a free cup. Even better, Eskimo Hut is offering 2 for the price of 1 gallon bags to-go.

With its name and its menu of drinks like Scooby Snack and Little Mermaid, one might think this was a frozen slushie place but it's actually a boozy playland for grownups. There are classic daiquiri flavors such as the Bahama Mama, Jolly Rancher and Pink Panty Dropper. Featured Combos include the Malibu Barbie with pina colada, peach, raspberry and cream or the Ziggy Marley with strawberry, kiwi and watermelon. The Lone Star cocktails offer choices such as the Bluebonnet with vodka and the Tequila Sunrise. There are Jello-shots and loaded gummies, too.

Drink responsibly and keep the kids away from the loaded gummy bears. 

Sharky's American Grill, 126 Vintage Park Boulevard is coming soon. We have reached out for an opening date and will keep readers updated on how soon is soon.

Three Brothers Bakery
, 500 Chimney Rock, is expected to open later this year, according to CultureMap Houston. The upcoming Tanglewood location will be the fourth for the Jewish bakery which has been serving Houston delicious cakes, pies, cookies and bread since 1949. 
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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.