Restaurant News

Houston Panini & Provisions Closes To Start a Major Expansion As Pop + Pan

The forthcoming Re:Vive Development at 34th and Ella
The forthcoming Re:Vive Development at 34th and Ella Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp
click to enlarge The forthcoming Re:Vive Development at 34th and Ella - PHOTO BY GWENDOLYN KNAPP
The forthcoming Re:Vive Development at 34th and Ella
Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp
Oak Forest's popcorn hub and lunch spot, Houston Panini & Provisions, has officially closed its doors at 1727 W 34th, but owners David and Alex Colby and Charles Martin are about to make a short but mighty move across the parking lot into the upcoming ReVive Development at 34th and Ella, where the restaurant will return as Pop + Pan (short for Popcorn + Panini) this fall.   Update 3/15 at 2:45 p.m.:  A rep for the restaurant confirms that Charles Martin is no longer involved in Pop + Pan.

The Houston Press hopped on the phone with Marquez Colby, who's helping design the upcoming restaurant with his brothers and says the spot will be super casual and still keep its humble side just with a newer, high-end look when it debuts in four to five months.  The Colby brothers and Martin actually bought the 30-year-old snack shop from its original owners in 2014, after David Colby had already established himself at the farmer's market by selling Lemon-D-Lite popcorn, the recipe of which— involving zero salt or butter—had been passed down from his grandfather.

Pop + Pan plans to serve lunch, dinner and brunch with seating for 50 including a shared outdoor space and a full bar.   On the menu, you'll find chef David Colby's signature panini, which showcase the techniques and complex flavors he learned while working for Hugo Ortega. Colby has been busy opening under the radar spot Belle Station as well.

The new restaurant will likely operate with counter service at lunch, and potentially expanded service at night time with a menu that will use open-face sandwiches and toast as a launching point. Popcorn and beer pairings at happy hour may also be in store.  In fact, popcorn will still be star of the show, with new variations hopping on the menu alongside the shop's beloved lineup, including dry-rubbed iterations (dill, coriander/cumin), and beloved cheese and candied popcorn that Pop + Pan have created themselves or inherited via recipes from the shop's previous owners.
 
click to enlarge PHOTO BY GWENDOLYN KNAPP
Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp
As for the design, expect a vastly different interior. The Colby brother's father helped designed Caracol, the exterior of Cuchara and more restaurants around town, and Marquez Colby just returned to Houston after studying architecture in Germany for the past two years. He notes that "we want to keep our humble side. We want to learn from our past and update. Want to spin it off into what we're doing now."


The development will reportedly house more restaurants with Houston roots (ie. no chains) including a coffee shop that could potentially take over the standalone former tire shop that is being salvaged as part of the new build out.  The developers are supposedly leasing a parking lot in back of the building as well, but you should probably go pay your respects to the Surfhouse (which is moving into the new development as well) and now-closed Panini & Provisions locations because the building is being razed, likely within the next month.
click to enlarge Now closed, sorry. - PHOTO BY GWENDOLYN KNAPP
Now closed, sorry.
Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp
Until the opening, expect to find Pop + Pan  popcorn available via Uber Eats, catering and at the City Hall Farmer's Market. "We'll be nomadic for a few months," Colby says.

One reason it will be worth the wait: "Our popcorn comes from Richmond, Texas. It's an heirloom seed with a smaller pop." Whereas 90 percent of corn on the market comes from Iowa or Indiana, "Ours has no GMO or anything like that. It just tastes better."

Houston Panini & Provisions
houstonpanini.com
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Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.