Openings & Closings

Continuing last week's busy schedule, there's a flotilla of new restaurants on the horizon in Houston.

Although it's Lower Westheimer that's been getting a lot of buzz lately (with another new restaurant, Mexico's Deli, recently announced), downtown's getting an influx of new restaurants as well, starting with Market Square. As we pointed out earlier this week, new pizzeria ERA (809 Congress, 713-225-1066) is now open and joins Convey -- a conveyor belt sushi bar -- as Les Givral's new neighbors. And over at Bayou Place, Dallas import Blue Fish is set to open soon. Joining it will be a slew of new bars upstairs, four in total, with names like PBR and Lucy's Liquors.

Over in Midtown, the long-awaited reopening of Mai's (3403 Milam, 713-520-5300) is just around the corner in April. The restaurant, which burned nearly to the ground in February of last year after a grease fire got out of control, has expanded into the second floor of its old building and has upgraded its look inside and out. It's currently hiring right now, too, if you're in the market for a job.

And just down the street, Chef Jonathan Jones is helping to rebrand El Patio as Xuco Xicana, serving "interior Mexican food with a Texas attitude."

In the old location of Ziggy's on West Alabama, food maven Paula Murphy spotted this sign going up earlier this week. Little is known about the new restaurant, Sorrel, except that it plans to open this spring.

In a typical showing of independent spirit, a new healthy-eats restaurant is opening in the Heights on 19th Street: Radical Eats, which is moving closer into town from its current location on the Eastex Freeway. Swamplot indicates that it will be joined by a juice bar -- Juicy in the Sky with Diamonds -- as well as the seriously hippie-sounding Heights Ashbury Coffeehouse. Meanwhile, the going is still good at Hubcap Grill (1133 West 19th), where owner Ricky Craig posted this photo yesterday of the new burger joint's digs.

But amidst all the good news about Lower Westheimer's soon-to-be-new tenants such as El Real, Uchi and Underbelly, there is this sad bit of information from CultureMap about Ruggles (903 Westheimer, 713-527-9400) possibly being for sale.

Well, at least another Houston institution is doing well in the face of all this young competition: Ouisie's Table (3939 San Felipe, 713-528-2264), which will now be open for breakfast on weekdays from 7 to 9 a.m. According to the restaurant, breakfast fare will consist of "waffles, crepes, pancakes and a slew of other early morning dishes." Is it too much to hope that Ouisie's famous shrimp and grits will make an appearance too?

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