Even though the week began with a devastating fire-forced closure of a Houston pie shop landmark, the rest of the week has been filled with openings and announcements of future openings. But, let's begin with the sad news, shall we?
Just two days after Thanksgiving, another pie shop caught on fire, forcing it to close. My Dee Dee's Pie Shoppe sold 2,000 pies to customers on Thanksgiving Day, and burned down on Saturday, November 30. Houston restaurants and chefs have teamed up to raise money for owner Bella-Katherine Curtis on Saturday, December 7, at Haven. Ronnie Killen will provide BBQ, Randy Evans of Haven and Kevin Naderi of Roost will cook up the sides, and Rebecca Masson of Fluff Bake Bar, along with Michael's Cookie Jar, Paulie's Cookies, Samantha Mendoza of Triniti and many other chefs, will provide sweets and treats for a bake sale. Curtis doesn't want to stop making pies, so the Houston restaurant community is helping her continue baking and selling her delightful homemade pies throughout the holiday season.
Viva Sports Cantina, which is next door to Viva Cinema, announced via Facebook on Tuesday, November 26, that the restaurant had closed its doors. When the restaurant was open, patrons could take food from the sports bar to the adjacent movie theater; that, however, is no longer an option.
That's it for closings, let's take a look at that the restaurants that have announced soft openings, grand openings and future plans.
Commenter Chic_Chick_Eats mentioned that AddicTEA Café opened in Midtown on Monday, December 2. The café and bakery serves bubble tea, macarons, including green tea macarons, a variety of tea drinks, and other baked goods.
Another big-name restaurant officially opened on Thursday, December 5. According to the Houston Chronicle, El Big Bad held its soft opening on Thursday and will serve dinner only until December 9; on that date the restaurant will add a lunch service. Greg Morago describes "El Big Bad as El Gran Malo supersized." It's a two-story Mexican restaurant, which is said to be five times larger than El Gran Malo.
Bradley Ogden's Funky Chicken had a soft opening on Thursday, December 5; it will serve lunch and dinner
dinner only until its grand opening, which will take place on December 18. According to a press release, the James Beard award-winning chef and his son, Chef Bryan Ogden, created Funky Chicken as a farm-to-table restaurant featuring, of course, fried chicken, chicken pot pies, chicken sandwiches and chicken fingers. This casual, counter-service restaurant is located in the developing Heights Boulevard shopping center where Salata recently opened. Big Freeze Ice Cream opened during the week of Thanksgiving on Washington Avenue in the previous location of Berripop, and it already has a five-star review on Yelp. The Yelp reviewer says the pistachio, brownie batter and bourbon-vanilla flavors are excellent options.
Although Vuelve a la Vida Mariscos held its soft opening on November 22, it will celebrate its official grand opening today, December 6. According to a press release, the Mexican seafood restaurant will have a "contemporary sports bar atmosphere," complete with 50 HD TVs for group parties, a 36-foot bar, and happy hour every day from 3-7 p.m.
On Saturday, December 7, Allo French Rotisserie in Vintage Park will also hold its official grand opening. According to the Facebook page of this casual French restaurant, the celebration will start at 6:30 p.m. with live music and giveaways, but there will also be promotions throughout the day.
For those who can't get enough of Hugo Ortega's restaurants, Hugo's and Backstreet Cafe, the chef and restaurant owner is opening another establishment.Caracol, which according to the B4-U-Eat newsletter means "conch, as in chowder, ceviche and fritters," will open on Post Oak Boulevard some time next week. Eater reports the menu will include seafood items such as campechana, fish tostadas and sea snails. The executive chef will be Daniel Bridges, from Las Vegas, Ruben Ortega (Hugo's brother) will be the pastry chef, and Sean Beck will be the beverage director.
University of Houston students (and those who live near the campus) should be excited, because a new coffee shop officially opened today, December 6. The Nook Café will serve coffee drinks, espresso, pastries and snacks from vendors such as Sinfull Bakery, Take the Cake and French Riviera Bakery. The long-awaited coffee shop and café (originally scheduled to open in July) will be serving throughout the winter break.
On Tuesday, December 10, Number 13, a steak and seafood restaurant, will open in the Pelican Rest Marina in Galveston. Number 13 will serve a daily selection of oysters, crab claws, crawfish-stuffed beignets with creole crème, as well as a variety of meats, including a 16-ounce prime bone-in filet, 8-ounce American Wagyu and Colorado Lamb T-Bones.
In coming-soon news, Eater reports that Kuu, a Japanese restaurant, will open in Memorial City in January. Chef Adison Lee, formerly of Blue Fish and Sushi Raku, tells Darla Guillen that he hopes Kuu will be a different type of Japanese restaurant in Houston; he will use "seasonal ingredients and traditional Japanese technique."
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Bernie's Burger Bus announced it is opening in the Bellaire Triangle soon after placing a sign outside the building, according to Swamplot. The restaurant will serve as the central location for production, preparation and deliveries to the other restaurants owner Justin Turner plans to open in the future. Swamplot reports there will be a bus inside the restaurant.
Did we miss any openings or closings? Let us know in the comments section and we will be sure to include them in next week's report.