Restaurant News

Openings & Closings: Adieu, Chez Roux et Bonjour, L'Olivier

When one French door closes, another opens. Case in point: L'Olivier, the much anticipated restaurant from former Tony's executive chef Olivier Ciesielski, had its soft opening last night. At the same time, news hit that Chez Roux -- the fine dining destination restaurant at La Toretta del Lago's resort in Conroe -- had closed.

As reported by the Chronicle, world famous chef Albert Roux -- for whom the restaurant was named, although the chef himself was rarely in residence -- parted ways with Chez Roux after the resort fell into bankruptcy. I only went to Chez Roux twice but never came away fully impressed; then again, I never visited during chef Matthew Gray's tenure there.

The good news is that Chez Roux won't disappear entirely; Gray is slated to start a restaurant of his own in the space and the Chronicle reports that he's working on new menus for its replacement now.

In other swaps: As reported earlier this week, Kraftsmen Cafe in Montrose is closing at the end of the month, but the Eatsie Boys' cafe will be moving in this summer.

And the short-lived, frou-frou members-only club Dorsia is no more, according to CultureMap. Sarah Rufca reports that it will be replaced with a restaurant from Dorsia's executive chef, Riccardo Palazzo-Giorgio. The new restaurant, Hawthorn, promises an upscale menu of New American food with Palazzo-Giorgio's Mediterranean influences woven throughout.

The newly-opened La Fisheria won't be the new kid on the Shepherd restaurant block soon. Solea is set to open at 1500 Shepherd shortly, with a concept described by the press release as "a place where the infusion of Houston's vibrant international, multicultural scene meets its Southern roots." Also, it will have flamenco music. A lot of it, apparently, as one of the partners is a molecular biologist turned full-time flamenco guitarist who's about to release his third CD.

Restaurant partners Amin Safari and Mani Salahshoor (Safari is the flamenco guitarist, by the way) aim for Solea to be a combination restaurant, wine bar and cocktail lounge open at lunch and dinner, as well as a showcase for local musicians.

And in Copperfield, the suburb will be the first neighborhood in Houston to get a Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. The Kansas-based chain only opened in 2002, but has quickly become famous throughout the Midwest for its steakburgers, Chicago-style hot dogs and -- like the name says -- homemade frozen custard. The new 3,500-square-foot Freddy's will open at 15540 Highway 529 this summer.

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Katharine Shilcutt