Openings & Closings

Add another unlikely mobile food vendor to the list of food trucks now rolling through Houston's streets: Hubcap Grill's fire engine-red truck had its grand unveiling last night in the parking lot of Christy's Donuts at West Gray and Montrose. The burgermobile -- or the "Big Red Patty Wagon" as owner Ricky Craig has called it -- will be stationed in the parking lot evenings to supplment Hubcap's limited hours at its popular downtown location. The tiny restaurant at 1111 Prairie is only open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday, while the "patty wagon" will be open from 6 p.m. until the burgers are gone, which Craig expects to be until around 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, on the west side of town, CityCentre is adding two exciting restaurants to their already well-rounded roster: The Tasting Room and Flora & Muse. This will be the third location for The Tasting Room -- which recently closed a smaller location on West Gray -- and it will be a whopper of a wine bar at 7,000 square feet, with another 6,500 available on its patio. Making the news even more exciting is the fact that talented chef Michael Kramer is now heading up menu development. The newest location of The Tasting Room will feature more than just wine and a state-of-the-art Enomatic storage and serving system; it will also have an in-house charcuterie program, a tapas bar, open-fire cooking and a brick pizza oven. The new location is expected to open later this year.

On the other side of the spectrum at CityCentre is Flora & Muse, with an equally staggering 6,000 square feet of retail space, but an entirely different concept. The strongly European-inspired Flora & Muse will offer a traditional restaurant/bar side mixed with a coffee shop, patisserie and flower shop. David Luna, formerly at Shade and Canopy, will be heading up the restaurant side of the operation with a menu that -- according to the press release -- "showcases European cuisine with American flair," and which will also offer a proper afternoon high tea. The patisserie side will be more casual, with fresh-cut flowers and arrangements for sale alongside freshly-baked pastries and bread. Judging from the photos we've seen so far, it's almost as if Anthropologie created a restaurant, and we're not complaining.

Down the road in Pearland, another burger joint will be opening soon to slake our neverending thirst as Texans for great cheeseburgers. Jax's Burgers, Fries and Shakes (no relation to the two Jax Grill locations in Houston) is opening its second spot today at 12002 Shadowcreek Parkway, just off FM 2234. Jax's first location, in Spring, was a hit with our burger-loving friend Albert at H-Town Chow Down; he liked the hand-formed patties and sweet potato fries so much that he broke out his iPhone to capture the loveliness on video.

Over in the Heights, the third location of Jenni's Noodle House (602 E. 20th) has finally opened after a long wait by eager area residents. The popular restaurant is owned by husband-and-wife team Jenni and Scott Tran-Weaver. Like the other Jenni's Noodle Houses, the Heights location is open seven days a week and will be serving up old favorites like Art Car Curry, Angry Udon and Teddy's Not Gay Noodles. And, as always, there's a $5 "wuss charge" if you have to send your food back because it's too spicy. Wuss.

In the closings arena, Little Santos -- as noted last week -- is well and truly closed, confirming our suspicions that nothing could ever take the place of the great Charlie's that once occupied the space at 1440 West Gray. Also closed is Brisa Cocina Mexicana, a resturant that specialized in interior Mexican cuisine and a "salchi-burger" that so charmed Robb Walsh, he made it No. 84 on his list of Houston's 100 best dishes. Who will put sausage on a bun now? Who?

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