Openings & Closings: Fluffernutters Are Coming to Midtown

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The Owl Bar at 3200 Kirby will close after the weekend of July 26. The Upper Kirby bar won't be gone for long though; there are plans to reopen The Owl Bar at 2221 West Alabama sometime during the fall of this year. For three days (July 24-26), The Owl Bar will have a "closeout" weekend to get rid of all the booze.

In a surprising (or not so surprising, depending on your outlook) turn of events, Susie Jimenez announced on Friday, July 11, that her Upper Kirby restaurant, Trenza, would close the following day after dinner service. The Houston Press profiled Jimenez in a chef chat that same week where she gave no hint or indication that she would be shutting down her restaurant. In fact, she proclaimed plans of sticking around for a while and not giving up, despite rumors of Trenza failing financially.

But, that same day, July 11, Fluff Bake Bar owner and pastry chef Rebecca Masson announced her plans to open a storefront in Midtown. Masson received $53,000 from Houstonians through her Kickstarter campaign in December 2013; she will use these funds to open her brick-and-mortar bakery at 304 Gray, where Sweet Lola Yogurt Bar used to reside. In addition to her insanely-good Fluffernutters, cookies and cupcakes, Masson will also serve fancier dessert plates like a grade "A" maple syrup crème brulee topped with lardons and walnuts. Fluff Bake Bar might also feature savory cheese and charcuterie plates with beer and wine. Masson hopes to open her bakery in the fall of this year.

The Springbok has been open for a few weeks, but only serving drinks; as of July 21, lunch and dinner will be available. The menu includes South African dishes, such as oxtail with red curry, glazed carrots and Yorkshire pudding; lamb sausage with a farm egg, harissa butter and fries; and Bunny Chow, a lamb curry tossed with mango chutney in a bread bowl.

Lucky Burger closed just a few weeks ago, but Swamplot noticed a new restaurant might be moving in, and it might be serving banh mi sandwiches. A new Twitter account for "Oui BanhMi," a concept associated with Les Givral's Kahve, lists its location at 1601 Richmond, which was the previous address of Lucky Burger. The teaser Twitter account describes itself as "Banh Mi - Drive Thru - Coming Soon..." We'll just have to wait and see if this Twitter account is real.

Rita's Italian Ice opened in Sugar Land at 1226 Museum Square Drive. The Italian Ice and frozen custard chain will hold its grand opening on August 15, but before the big event, you can grab a cup of Italian Ice and gelati, or swirl frozen custard onto a waffle cone during normal business hours. For the entire month of July, buy two quarts of Italian Ice between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., and get one for free. This story continues on the next page.

Snap Kitchen opened a downtown location on Monday, July 14, inside The Shops at Houston Center (1200 McKinney). Downtown workers and residents can easily grab a healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack, such as deviled eggs made with hummus instead of egg yolks, a variety of prepackaged salads or microwavable entrees, including enchiladas.

Frequent commenter HtownCheapEats informed us of several openings in the greater Houston area, including Camarones Coastal Tex-Mex, which opened in Galveston at 6310 Heards Lane, and a new beer garden, Stuttgarden Tavern On the Strand, located at 2110 The Strand, where food service began on July 11 and includes traditional German dishes, burgers, bratwurst and other pub food.

Magnolia welcomed the fast food chain Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, located at 32910 FM 2978. Freddy's opened in the previous spot of Arby's. DrinkabiliTEA Cafe opened in The Woodlands at 3335 College Park serving bubble tea, smoothies and various "healthy foods." The new cafe does not have a menu posted online yet, but the main attraction appears to be tapioca drinks.

Located north of The Woodlands, Tony's Italian Delicatessen opened in Montgomery at 16283 Texas Highway 105; Tony Nicoletta, originally from New York, owns Tony's, and according to Montgomery County's The Courier, he serves up deli sandwiches named after famous New Yorkers, such as the F. Sinatra, a sub with salami, mozzarella, tomato, basil, olive oil and vinegar, and the R. Deniro, a rye sandwich stuffed with pastrami, provolone, tomato and deli mustard.

HtownCheapEats also mentioned Maryam's Cafe opened in The Heights at 315 W. 19th Street, in the previous location of Cricket's Creamery & Cafe. The new restaurant opened on July 4, and serves a variety of breakfast treats, such as Red Velvet waffles and almond croissants, in addition to chicken salad sandwiches and Caesar salads for lunch and dinner. Sweet treats include strawberry cream cake, cappuccino pie and chocolate cake with chocolate coffee icing, as well as various Hawaiian ice flavors, fresh-pressed juice combinations and smoothies.

In coming soon news, True Food Kitchen opens on July 29 at 1700 Post Oak at Phase II of BLVD Place in the Uptown District. True Food Kitchen, based out of Phoenix, features a menu developed from Dr. Andrew Weil's anti-inflammatory diet. The menu for this location has not been released yet, but the True Food Kitchen in Dallas features plates of roasted chicken with corn, purslane (succulent), farro, preserved lemon, feta cheese and cannellini bean puree; corn and eggplant pizza; and an "inside out" quinoa burger with hummus, tzatziki sauce, tomato, cucumber, red onion, avocado and feta.

According to the Houston Business Journal, the same owners of True Food Kitchen, Fox Restaurant Concepts, will open North Italia, in Phase II of BLVD Place in September of this year.

The Houston Chronicle announced that Dunkin' Donuts will open the 17th location in the greater Houston area on Saturday, July 19, in League City at 2340 Marina Bay Drive.

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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