Openings & Closings: Enjoy Sorrel While You Still Can

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If you enjoy Sorrel Urban Bistro, you might want to get over there for their last few months of service. Greg Morago of Houston Chronicle reports that Ziggy Gruber, of Kenny & Ziggy's, is taking over the space at 2202 West Alabama on January 1st to convert it into Dubrow's New York Grill, a Jewish-American concept. The changeover allows Ray Salti, the restaurateur who's ran Sorrel the past three years, to focus on his wildly successful and growing Pepperoni's Pizza chain.

Looking for a new bar to visit this weekend? The former Goro & Gun space at 306 Main reopens this Saturday at 7 pm as Moving Sidewalk. Don't go expecting food; unlike Goro & Gun, Moving Sidewalk is not a restaurant. It's strictly a bar, but with notable bartender Alex Gregg at the helm, you can expect some delightful and inventive cocktails. We had a peek at the drink list last night and it looks promising. More details are available at the Houston Chronicle web site.

Now that the weather is starting to cool down just a bit (this week we can mainly thank the rain), the Urban Harvest City Hall Farmer's Market has resumed. It's a reason to get outside and enjoy freshly-made, grab-and-go food options from the vendor tables and pick up some a few groceries for home, too. There's construction going on in front of City Hall, so for now it's just down the street at the Central Library at 500 McKinney.

Public Services Wine & Whisky, the new bar in the old Cotton Exchange space on 202 Travis, was trying to have a nice, quiet, friends-and-family soft opening when Eric Sandler of Culturemap crashed the party and blew that idea out of the water. Having seen the space ourselves, we can say that they retained all the quaint, old-school charm of the Cotton Exchange. In addition to select premium whiskeys, look for a highly cultivated wine list from former Oxheart and Vic & Anthony's sommelier Justin Vann, and a small but thoughtful menu of appetizers, like a generous slab of seared, housemade bologna with a smoky cheese spread and crackers. Chef Justin Yu of Oxheart (a recent James Beard nominee) is a partner and the general manager is Sean Jensen, who helped open craft beer heaven, The Hay Merchant. No, he's not just a beer guy. This is an opportunity for him to put his wine knowledge back to work, which was most recently on display at Canopy.

It's a big month for new openings in the northwest part of town, which has already been enjoying steady growth in its restaurant scene. The new Champions- area Churrascos location opens for both lunch and dinner on September 30 in the space that briefly housed Bonefish Grill. It's at 7877 Willow Chase Blvd., just off the 249 feeder road. This is the highest-profile Houston restaurant brand to come to the area in quite some time.

Not so much as opening as much as a rebranding, The Backyard Smokehouse at 13802 Fleur De Lis in Cypress has changed its name and menu. It's a pretty extensive change, though. It's now BYG Burgers & Brew and there's lots of burger porn on their new web site. The new menu features craft burgers with names like "The Hot Mess" and "Killer Rojo" that both feature tequila-infused chorizo patties with various accoutrements. The burgers are specially made to pair well alongside an expanded craft beer list that includes No Label's Gilley's, Independence's White Rabbit and North Coast's Pranqster. This puts them in line to compete with another Cypress-area bastion of craft brews, Rockwell Tavern and Grill.

That's just one of the new burger joints opening up on the northwest side of town. The folks behind Alonti Catering are opening the second location of eT Craft Burgers & Beer at 19841 Northwest Freeway on September 25. You might be tempted to say that first word like a cute alien from a Spielberg movie, but it's actually pronounced "eat." It's the first storefront location for the brand; the other is located in the tunnels downtown There's a menu of "signature favorite" burgers, like a Queso burger and a Wild Turkey turkey burger. Guests will also be able to craft their own as well, from toppings that include Sriracha mayo, grilled portobello mushrooms and fresh avocado. Salads and chicken sandwiches are available as well.

On the horizon: Underbelly sous chef Lyle Bento will be opening Southern Goods with Cottonwood and Liberty Station owner Charles Bishop. As the name suggests, the focus will be on Southern comfort food, like hearty burgers, Gulf seafood and fried chicken. They hope to be open in January.

The new Heights-area Barnaby's might be open a little sooner than that. They're taking over the old City Oven space at 2802 White Oak drive and hope to be open by the end of the year.

On the September 13 airing of The Cleverly Show soon-to-be restaurateur Benjamin Berg announced that he's leaving his position as General Manager of Smith & Wollensky to open a butcher shop and steakhouse concept called B&R Butchers. Culturemap reports it will be in the old Dittman Building at 1814 Washington Avenue. No chef has been named yet, but the expectation is to be open in January.

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.

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