Restaurant News

Openings & Closings: Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue Cheese

As Eater Houston reported earlier this week, West Oaks Mall is losing one of its biggest anchors -- Alamo Drafthouse -- as the chain expands into other areas of Houston, namely Midtown and Cypress.

In its place, West Oaks Mall is getting a western-themed bar from country singer Toby Keith, Nashville's answer to Nickelback:I Love This Bar & Grill. Were the names Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue Cheese and Beer & Bites for My Horses already taken?

In other news, Sarah Rufca at CultureMap reports that the old Dharma Cafe's new tenant -- Cafe Brussels -- is already open less than two weeks after Dharma closed its doors. Owner and former Broken Spoke chef Catherine Duwez "is serving a casual slate of the same Belgian comfort foods she made popular at Cafe Montrose and Broken Spoke Café," notes Rufca. "The lunch menu includes croques and other Belgian sandwiches starting at $7, and a Belgian lunch buffet is offered for $15."

Down in Alvin, critically lauded steakhouse Barbed Rose has decided to close shop and revamp itself as Coastal Crossing Grill, says Roy Schneider, director of marketing for the Alvin Restaurant Group. "We will be closing the Barbed Rose Steakhouse and Seafood Co. after dinner service on Saturday, June 30," Schneider wrote. In celebration of Independence Day, Coastal Crossing Grill will open in its place on July 4. Schneider says it plans to be a "Gulf Coast seafood house specializing in homemade Gulf Coast fare, from south of the border to the Florida Keys."

The closing, Schneider explained, was due in part to a desire to offer more competitively priced food in the area: "We wanted to create a restaurant that offered the quality cuisine we are known for, but make it more affordable and more approachable." Chef Jason Chaney will stay on, noting that he plans to use some of the same recipes presented "in a more casual and laid-back atmosphere."

Outer Loopers who've lamented the lack of a Rudyard's or Richmond Arms of their own in the burbs finally have an "authentic" British bar now that pub prince Michael Holliday has opened The King's Head Pub on Eldridge Parkway near Briar Forest in far west Houston.

"People have been asking me to open a pub outside the Loop for years," said Holliday in a press release. "I found a good location in a beautiful area, so I did. The Energy Corridor is full of professionals and young business people as well as expats from all over Europe. We plan to offer them a comfortable, friendly meeting spot that also captures an authentic bit of home."

Holliday's new pub features a fireplace in one room and a 200-year-old King's Head Pub sign (an antique from London) in the other, with three more private party rooms and a dog-friendly patio. Back inside, guests will find a selection of European beers on tap, as well as a large selection of Texas microbreweries including Saint Arnold Cask served with the use of a British hand pump behind the 36-foot-long bar.

Finally, the long-awaited first location of Trader Joe's opened this morning in The Woodlands. David Kaplan at the Chronicle has a sneak peek and a look at what to expect from the cult-favorite grocery store.

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Katharine Shilcutt