Restaurant News

Openings & Closings: Goodbye to Tex, Mex and Czech

As of today, Jeannine's Bistro remains closed in Montrose with no word from owner Andrew Klarman as to its eventual reopening date. The popular Belgian bistro closed temporarily this past Saturday due to staffing issues.

Plenty of other doors were shut this week, too, including the beloved Olde Towne Kolaches bakery on Memorial Drive. According to Houstonia food editor Robb Walsh, the Czech-style kolache shop is looking for a "new location in the Memorial neighborhood." The original Olde Towne at 12037 Northwest Freeway is still open.

And to no one's great surprise, Pepper Jack's Mexican Grill and Cantina closed its doors this week as well. Sources say that after Cabo moved out of the two-story downtown space near Market Square Park, the landlords figured it would be simple to continue operating a Tex-Mex restaurant in the same spot. Running a restaurant ain't easy work, though, and Pepper Jack's never recaptured the old Cabo audience -- but it did garner some fairly mediocre reviews on Yelp.

In other Tex-Mex farewells, owners Terry Flores and Lily Hernandez have announced that they'll be closing Bocados on May 5, after a final Cinco de Mayo fiesta. CultureMap reports that Flores and Hernandez won't be gone for long, however. The pair plan to open a new restaurant downtown, called The Red Ox.

CultureMap also reports that the old Bocados location won't be empty for long: Lafayette-based restaurant Brick & Spoon is moving in. This will be the second location of the Creole-and-cocktails restaurant, although its first location in Lafayette just opened. According to its Facebook page, owners Ryan Trahan and Bryan Jewell also plan a Brick & Spoon location for Orange Beach, Alabama in the near future.

Now open is Federal American Grill, which replaced Branch Water Tavern and which also seems to have somewhat dropped its middle name and is mostly going by simply "The Federal Grill." The menu of upscale comfort food -- featuring dishes such as barbecued bone marrow and a smoked pork chop with pimento cheese polenta -- is being overseen by executive chef Michael Hoffman and chef Antoine Ware.

Finally, it looks like a sleuth has found the address for Moon Tower Inn's new project, the Voodoo Queen: 322 Milby, which most recently housed Joe's Bar & Grill in the shadow of the massive Maximus coffee plant off Harrisburg. The rear of the building houses a washerteria, which we hope to God is still operating when Voodoo Queen opens. Spin cycles are like laundry's little booze breaks.

Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Katharine Shilcutt