Openings & Closings: Food Trucks and Football-Shaped Bars

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As we reported earlier this week, Houston is getting three new out-of-town chains soon. Will you be patronizing any of them?

Austin-based Torchy's Tacos will be opening on December 7 in the old Gratefull Taco spot. Burger House is moving down from Dallas into a space in Rice Village in 2012. And Elevation Burger -- an all-organic, high-minded burger joint from out of the state -- is moving into the old Mai Tai space at Kirby and Highway 59.

And as Robb Walsh reported earlier this week, Denis Wilson has opened his own free-range chicken restaurant in North Houston: Louisiana Homestyle Kitchen selling a dozen different iterations of chicken. In addition, writes Walsh, "The menu also includes fried shrimp, boiled shrimp, fried crawfish tails, red beans and rice, smothered pork chops, an awesome pot roast and a couple of poor boys."

The Town & Country area has two new tenants: Ooh La La Cupcakes in Towm & Country Village and the Houston Texans Grille in CityCentre. This makes the third location for the popular, Katy-based dessert shop (which won our Cupcake Smackdown last year), and the new 3,000-square-foot bakery will offer a milkshake bar and patio in addition to its baked treats. Meanwhile, the Houston Texans Grille -- as its name suggests -- is a Texans-themed sports refuge that contains a football-shaped bar. Yes, a football-shaped bar. But it also features a full menu and a plush lounge area in its enormous, 11,000-square-foot space.

Chef Justin Yu -- who's been busy cooking the popular Money Cat Brunches at his parents' restaurant, Umai -- has finally found a location in which to open a long-awaited restaurant of his own. He spoke briefly to Eater Houston's Amber Ambrose about the project, but disclosed only precious few details about the new place.

We missed this information the first time around, but Swamplot hipped us to the news that there's more to the newly opened Liberty Kitchen than signs banning Houston Chronicle food critic Alison Cook from the premises: Liberty Kitchen's owners are also opening a coffee shop next door in a long-abandoned storefront, to be called Joe Black's Coffee House.

In closings this week, B4-U-Eat reports that Cafesitos Restaurant Bar & Grill, Chanterelle Bistro and Wine Bar and Moriah Kafe (formerly known as Aroma Classique) have all shut their doors.

And finally, there are two new food trucks to report: Chocolate d'Arte will sell hand-made, hand-painted truffles and other chocolate delights. And the Chi'Lantro food truck, a fusion food truck (originally from Austin) will serve Korean-Mexican cuisine like kimchi cheese fries. Don't worry, Kobecue -- we won't forget about your kimchi cheese fries any time soon.

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