Openings and Closings

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Perhaps the saddest news out of this latest crop of restaurant shutterings comes from B4-U-Eat, which reports additional information out of the Cafe Zol (2411 S. Shepherd Drive) closing:

"We're going to have the biggest party at Cafe Zol on Sunday, February 14," says executive chef James Peterson. "Our owner, Elizabeth Knox, has decided to close." Peterson was brought in to re-launch the restaurant as an American Bistro, "but we were never able to find our audience." So what's next for the chef? "I'm busy trying to find my amazing staff new positions. Anyone need great kitchen help, give us a call."

J.C. Reid visited Cafe Zol shortly after it had completed its rebranding from Scandinavian tapas joint to American bistro, and found the food crowd-pleasing...but also found no crowd there to please. But judging from Peterson's evident talent and gracious attitude (not all chefs are so admirably poised when discussing their restaurant's demise), he'll hopefully find work soon.

In other news, the restaurant that Margaret Downing visited just a few weeks ago as Laurenzo's Grille (4412 Washington Avenue) has already decided to rebrand itself as simply "Laurenzo's." In keeping with the facelift, the restaurant also repainted the exterior (gone are blue and white in favor of earth tones) and completely revamped the menu. Does this sound similar to the situation above? It's actually having even more of an identity crisis, though -- this marks the third time since opening that the restaurant has changed its name (the first incarnation was the overly long Laurenzo's Dello Sports Grille). Drastic changes in tone when a restaurant is still so young never bode well to us, but time will tell if they're for the best at Laurenzo's.

In related news, a spate of restaurants closed over the last week, including the following:

  • 1415 Bar & Grille, 1415 California (although we're pretty sure this place has been closed for quite a while now)
  • Darband Bar & Grill, 2707 Fountain View
  • Hagawon Tofu & Korean Grill, 12002 Richmond

It's not a good time to be a Grill of any kind in Houston, it seems.

There were, thankfully, a few openings to match up with the closings, though:

  • Habanero's Mex-Grill, 3017 Milam
  • Santa Fe Seafood & Grill, 4233 FM 1764, Santa Fe

Ah, Houston restauranteurs. Ever hopeful.

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