Openings & Closings: April 2012

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So, while I was gone last week, chef Ryan Hildebrand and his investors announced plans to open yet another restaurant only four short months after Triniti opened on Shepherd. Brande, as the new restaurant will be called when it opens in late 2013, will occupy the old Ruggles space on Lower Westheimer (right across the street from Uchi).

Said a press release:

The new structure, described as "a contemporary building with a rustic farmhouse feel," will be designed by Houston's MC2 Architects, the same group that helped create Triniti. It will be located at 903 Westheimer, the former home of Ruggles Grill, and will offer an extensive selection of charcuterie, crafted breads, pastries and dry aged meats. On the beverage side, Brande will feature craft cocktails and an eclectic wine and beer list focusing on American producers.

Brande will also apparently lean toward a "masculine" aesthetic, with "richer, darker woods in a more casual setting." (Side note: Although I was previously unaware that restaurant interiors are inherently gender-biased, I was apparently wrong. Ladies don't like rich, dark woods. Pfft.) The sex of the dining room aside, one thing is perfectly clear: Lower Westheimer's gradual evolution into the city's restaurant mecca is moving faster every day, and there's not much we can do about it now.

And speaking of Montrose, get ready for two fun blind items...

Two popular (yet drastically different) Montrose restaurants are looking to expand -- but into different concepts from their current incarnations. One has already inked a deal near the Galleria -- supposedly for a seafood restaurant -- and the other is searching for properties right now.

And just down the street, new restaurant Concepción from Ocean's owner Jorge Alvarez and chef Jonathan Jones is already up and running and hosting preview services tonight and tomorrow night. That means the restaurant will be open for good soon, and surely serving better food than the odd ceviches that Ocean's clumsily foisted on its guests in previous months.

Downtown tunnel dwellers, rejoice, for you have a new restaurant in which to feed your face while you refuse to emerge, mole-like, onto the city streets above for lunch. B4-U-Eat reports that "Brooklyn Meatball Company has changed from their planned Chenevert location to 930 Main St in the tunnels." The meatball manufacturer opened yesterday, May 3.

Last but not least, the once-promising Just-Eat Seafood, Steaks & BBQ has closed despite positive reviews on places like B4-U-Eat and Yelp. High prices in a far-flung Alief location probably didn't help, but here's hoping Chef Luu lands on his feet.

On the next page, review the entire month in restaurant openings and closings...


Bar Louie, 24 Waterway, Suite 175R, The Woodlands Betton's Comfort Food, 3200 Holcombe Boomtown Coffee, 242 West 19th Street Chik-Fil-A, 2222 Shearn Concepción, 819 W. Alabama Crazy Grill '99, 23027 County Rd 143, Alvin Green Seed Vegan, 4320 Almeda Harvest Live Grille, 1810 Fountainview Hawthorn, 3200 Kirby Landon's Grill, 2810 Business Center Dr, Suite 110, Pearland Midnite Slice, 1605 2nd Street, Seabrook Njoy Thai, 212 Westheimer Ranch Bakery, 5431 Barker Cypress, Suite 500 Tiff's Treats, 3800 Southwest Freeway, Suite 128


Cova Hand-Selected Wines, 5600 Kirby Cova Hand-Selected Wines, 5555 Washington Avenue Don Julio's, 322 Westheimer Dutch Kettle, 3600 Seawall, Galveston Felix 55, 5510 Morningside Gugliani's Italian Grill, 2400 Times Boulevard Just-Eat Seafood, Steaks, & BBQ, 13602 Bellaire Mico's Grill, 300 W. Bay Area Boulevard, Webster Mikell's Soul Food, 11851 Bissonnet Ocean's, 819 W. Alabama Pesce, 3029 Kirby

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