Restaurant News

Openings & Closings

This week saw two big closings, one big opening and some scares for fans of sushi and wine.

First things first: Oishii (3764 Richmond, 713-621-8628) is not closed. The same dead-eyed panic sets in every year when the owners take a break and close the restaurant temporarily, reopening after a month. In fact, this temporary closure is an important one, as Swamplot announced that the little strip center that houses the Japanese favorite is getting a facelift.

So let's take this opportunity to spread this Public Service Announcement far and wide: Oishii closes temporarily each year. Never for good. You'll have your cheap sushi again very shortly, Houston.

Also not closed: Block 7 Wine Co. (720 Shepherd, 713-572-2565). There was a temporary scare on Twitter yesterday when rumors began circulating that the restaurant-cum-retail wine seller had closed abruptly overnight. Block 7 nipped that in the bud quickly, responding on Twitter with a simple, "That is untrue."

Downtown, it looks like the move next door from 301 Main to 300 Main was the final nail in Cava Bistro's coffin. The restaurant closed this week and their phone was already disconnected by Wednesday afternoon when we called seeking a comment. And although Cielo Mexican Bistro next door also closed a while back, owner Youssef Nafaa's other restaurants in his Bella Restaurants chain -- including Mia Bella Trattoria and CoCo Crepes -- all still seem to be going strong.

Meanwhile, Simposio (8401 Westheimer) also closed, like Cava Bistro, after a long struggle against mediocrity. The departure of talented chef Riccardo Palazzo-Giorgio after only three months back in 2009 seemed to indicate that the place wouldn't be much longer for the world. No word yet on what owner Vasco Luti has planned next.

And in openings, Carl's Jr. has finally returned to the Bayou City after a 30-year absence. The first Houston location opened its doors this morning at 6 a.m. at 8491 Highway 6 North, just outside of Jersey Village. While residents of northwest Houston can enjoy classic Carl's Jr. burgers and the retro design of the new restaurant (which is open till midnight), that's not what most Houstonians are excited about. We're just happy to finally be getting those awesomely awful Carl's Jr. commercials airing in our market.

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Katharine Shilcutt