Restaurant News

Openings & Closings: A Texas-Sized Armadillo Palace and So Long J. Alexander's

The expansive remodeling includes a new dance hall and backyard.
The expansive remodeling includes a new dance hall and backyard. Photo courtesy of Goode Company

Goode Co. Armadillo Palace
, 5015 Kirby, recently completed a huge remodeling effort that included the addition of a dance hall and backyard via a press release. The expansion nearly tripled the size of the existing property. The restaurant has been serving up barbecue, Tex-Mex and southern cooking since 2005, but is known for its ice-cold beer, Texas country live music, dancing and the giant silver armadillo out front.

Belle Station, 207 Gray, was recently listed as one of the places in an under-the-radar article by the Houston Chronicle. The neighborhood Southern cooking restaurant and bar opened in Midtown a few weeks ago. Judging from Yelp, early reviews are mixed about the new eatery, but the southern menu sounds promising with dishes such as fried green tomatoes, a bison burger, grilled boudin and stuffed beignets.

J. Black's Feel Good Kitchen & Lounge, at 110 South Heights Boulevard is set to close on February 11. The Houston Business Journal reported that Manera Restaurant Group, which operates the J. Black restaurants, will focus more on the original J. Black’s (in Austin). They also have plans to open a new comfort-focused concept in Austin in March. There are plans for a closing party next month.

Soon, Greek yogurt fans may be able to get their dairy dessert fix at Chobani’s Café, possibly opening in The Woodlands. Eater Houston reported seeing a job posting on Craigslist hiring for all positions for the new store. Currently there are two locations in New York City.

California-based Juice It Up! announced expansion plans for the Houston market. The Chronicle reported that as many as ten new raw juice bars are slated to open in Texas within the next year. Juice It Up! Currently operates one location in Pearland at 2708 Pearland Parkway, suite 150, in the Pearland Market Shopping Center. Along with cold-pressed juices, smoothies and acai bowls are popular items on the menu.

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The latest Korean fried chicken joint to hit Houston is located in Bellaire's Chinatown.
Photo courtesy of Lim's Chicken

Since Houstonia’s report about Lim’s Chicken, there’s been a lot of buzz on social media about the latest Korean fried chicken joint to hit Houston. A Lim’s representative told the Houston Press that the restaurant officially opened on December 23 at 10603 Bellaire, suite B107 in Bellaire’s Chinatown area. Local foodie, John Nechman said that the food at Lim’s is “exactly the way I remember fried chicken to be like in Seoul.” The original Lim’s opened in South Korea forty years ago. Nechman suggested ordering the sundubu jigae, a spicy soft tofu stew to get a taste of true Korean cuisine.

On January 4, through a Facebook post, Smoosh Custom Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches announced that they would be opening a brick and mortar in the Heights in 2017. The artist rendering accompanying the post displayed signage for Lowell Street Market. Keep up with the progress through Instagram. In the meantime, catch the sweet truck in Rice Village!

The Chronicle reported a second franchised location of Marco’s Pizza to open in League City. The grand opening for the new store at 1940 West League City Parkway is scheduled for January 15.

Several readers’ tips informed us about J. Alexander’s closure at this month’s end. A representative at the 11103 Westheimer location confirmed with the Press that yes, sadly, that the last day of business will be January 28. The contemporary American cuisine known for its prime rib, steaks and fresh seafood has been a favorite fine dining destination in the city. We reached out to the general manager for an official statement about the closure. At press time, we still had not received a reply.

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The nine-month pop-up series, Peli Deli will start in March inside the Esperson building at 808 Travis.
Photo courtesy of Peli Peli

Peli Peli is expanding its reach into Downtown. The South African restaurant is opening a nine-month pop-up series called Peli Deli on the street level of the Esperson building at 808 Travis. The fast-casual pop-up will feature familiar favorites from Peli Peli Kitchen like the pork belly and oxtail sandwiches and naan tacos. Peli Deli is scheduled to open in March at the existing Murphy’s Deli spot.

The talented husband and wife duo, chefs Apple and PJ Stoops, formerly of Foreign Correspondents has found a new way to bring their lovely Northern Thai cuisine to diners. Starting January 15, the two chefs will be presenting a new pop-up series called Sap Sap at Ladybird's bar, 5519 Allen. According to the Chronicle, the first pop-up will happen this Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. and will feature an a la carte menu of curries, noodles and stir fry dishes as well as fish dishes.

Back in November of 2013, Swamplot reported that the Hot Bagel Shop at 2009 South Shepherd would be moving into a new strip center. Fast forward to January 10, 2017 and the Houston Business Journal was told by Sarah Wicks, daughter of co-owner Mark Wicks that the Hot Bagel Shop is moving into the Shepherd Commons center at 2015 South Shepherd by the end of this month.

That's it for this week's restaurant openings and closings! Leave us a comment or send us an email to let us know if we missed something.
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Cuc Lam is a freelance food writer for the Houston Press and local pop-up chef. She enjoys teaching cooking classes and hosting dinner parties when she is not writing.