Openings and Closings

The bell tolled for several area restaurants over the past week, including some big-name establishments that have been in Houston for quite a long time. Fox Sports Grill was at the top of that list, with a significant presence and killer location in the Galleria. There has been no immediate indication as to why the upscale sports bar closed, but recent closures of its sister restaurants in California and Arizona would imply that the chain is in serious trouble. Phone calls to Fox Sports Grill went unanswered, and their Twitter account has been dark since mid-July.

Local radio host Lance Zierlein was the first to notice that another popular Galleria-area restaurant, Mint Cafe, closed this past week. An eviction notice was posted on the locked doors on July 27; failure to pay rent will do that every time. And right next door, the Quiznos had a similar notice from the landlords (next to a flyer from the local Subway, naturally).

The shops at 2800 Sage seem to be a highly troubled lot, as a third restaurant in the strip center -- Maggie Rita's -- also closed this past week. The owners were struggling to make payments to vendors, and it appears that those troubles extended to making payments to the landlord as well. Which raises the question: If all the tenants in this strip mall are struggling to make rent, wouldn't that mean the rent is unreasonably high?

In happier news, downtown residents and workers will be getting a healthy shot of comfort food when the new Luby's opens at 1301 Fannin on August 12. This isn't a traditional Luby's, however. It will feature a food court with various stations offering custom sandwiches, pizzas, a salad bar, pasta and a station with regular Luby's entrees. Additionally, the restaurant will offer catering services for area businesses and meals for area hospital patients.

Further out, CityCentre has announced its latest restaurant addition: Straits, an upscale Singaporean restaurant that will be located on the ground floor of Hotel Sorella. Strait was established in San Francisco in 1987 and has locations in San Jose, San Francisco and Atlanta. The Houston location is scheduled to open in the fall, on September 28.

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