Openings and Closings

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Openings all over town have things looking up for intrepid food lovers as well as those ready to welcome back some old favorites.

In the Clear Lake area, the beloved Alpine Brauhaus has opened back up in a new location after being closed for two years. German food and beer will once again flow in the restaurant's new spot at 1020 NASA Parkway in Webster.

And not far away, in Alvin, another steakhouse has opened. But the Barbed Rose Steakhouse and Seafood Co. (113 E. Sealy Street) seems to be a cut above the rest according to initial reports. The Barbed Rose is serving a menu that combines Chef Jason Chaney's love of Texas Gulf Coast, Mediterranean and Southeast Asian flavors alongside locally sourced meats, cheeses and breads. The restaurant's press release says a strict dress code will be enforced here.

For those wearing shorts or T-shirts -- verboten items in the Barbed Rose's dining room -- take heart: Owner Joe Schneider is also operating a casual, open-air burger stand next door called the Burger Bar. As the name implies, you can build your own burger from freshly ground meat or choose from one of several signature burgers.

Closer into town, it appears that the Zimmerman family is positioning themselves to become another legendary Houston food family. Steve Zimmerman owns much of the restaurant real estate in Montrose -- including the stately La Colombe d'Or -- and now his sons, Dan and Mark, are getting into the gastronomic game themselves. The pair is opening Zimm's Little Deck at 601 Richmond, not far from the similarly-named Zimm's Martini & Wine Bar (also owned by the family).

If you're wondering what happened to Jeramie Robison, the popular and talented chef at the now-defunct Tesar's in The Woodlands, look to the opening of Zimm's Little Deck in August: Robison landed squarely on his feet and will be serving a menu of what the press release calls "Southern and Cajun classics entwined with simple French fare." And befitting its name, Zimm's will have a large outdoor deck with a fireplace for the winter months (remember those? neither do we) and a flat-screen TV for watching the Astros lose. And then the Texans lose. And then the Rockets lose.

And speaking of expanding empires, Robert Del Grande and Lonnie Schiller are set to open their newest restaurants in West Ave once the laborious construction -- now many months behind schedule -- is finally complete on the multi-use development. Their Ava Brasserie and Pizzeria Alto will be the development's newest tenants, and both are set to be big. Clocking in at a combined 11,300 square feet, the two restaurants will be set up Bistro Alex/Cafe Rose-style with Ava Brasserie downstairs and Pizzeria Alto upstairs. And don't let the "brasserie" name fool you; Ava will serve a combination of American and Mediterraean food -- even burgers -- while the pizzeria will offer designer pies and a late-night menu.

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