Restaurant News

Openings & Closings: Hello Bayou & Bottle

The lobby bourbon bar inside the Four Seasons Hotel is chic and sophisticated.
The lobby bourbon bar inside the Four Seasons Hotel is chic and sophisticated. Photo courtesy of Bayou & Bottle

The Four Seasons in Downtown Houston is now home to the city’s longest bar, Bayou & Bottle. The opening of the newest bourbon bar on January 21 inside the lobby of the beautiful, luxury hotel at 1300 Lamar was announced by press release. The beverage team is led by bar manager Judith Piotrowski (of Pax Americana and Weights & Measures) and the bourbon stewardess Olgi Katona (Four Seasons Chicago, Vail, and Las Vegas) who plan to have available more than 100 bourbons and whiskies. Chef de Cuisine Alejandro di Bello helms the kitchen offering dishes such as Rib Eye Chicharron Guacamole, Beef Fat Fries and Bone Marrow & Oxtail Marmalade.

The bar also features the world’s first Topgolf-branded simulator. The Topgolf Swing Suite includes two golf simulators, which can be sectioned off into separate areas or rented together.

A tip from Houston Food Finder said that Lasagna House III at 217 Cypress Creek Parkway plans to reopen in March. Owner, Matt Vernon had opened an Italian food truck, Rustica, which closed back in June of 2016 after Vernon and his family decided to focus on rebuilding the Lasagna House. Vernon also owns and operates an Italian restaurant called Pasta E Pesto at 1678 FM-1960 West.

One of Houston's most anticipated restaurant openings of the year, One Fifth, has debuted in the former Mark's American Cuisine space at 1658 Westheimer from James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd and team. The eatery will be home to five separate restaurant concepts over the next five years—including complete menu, decor and uniform overhauls in between. Kicking it all off is One Fifth Steak, with chef de cuisine Nick Fine overseeing a menu of not-so-traditional steakhouse fare including steaks cooked in cast iron skillets, wood fired lamb neck, a raw bar with "big" and "bigger" seafood towers and more. Catch the concept before it changes to One Fifth Romance Languages in August.

Midtown will see the opening of another glitzy night club just in time for the Super Bowl. CultureMap Houston reported that Rose Gold Cocktail Lounge is scheduled to open on January 27 at 2301 Main, next to Clé, in the former Tarakaan space. The lounge will focus more on cocktails rather than wine and beer, and offer a small food menu of eight to 10 items. Hours will be 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Wednesday through Friday.

A new restaurant and bar is coming to Hughes Landing in The Woodlands. Set to open on February 6, Broken Barrel will feature globally-inspired shared plates and a full bar with wine, beer and a gin-focused cocktail menu. In a press release, Chef Hilda Ysusi said she is influenced by flavors from Asian, Latin and Mediterranean cuisine. “My goal is to marry comfort with good food and drinks. The design is very inviting and the food is homey so it creates the perfect balance,” she added.

A grand opening celebration is planned for February 16. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight.

click to enlarge The artist rendering of Baileson Brewing features an ice house design with two large garage doors and plenty of outdoor seating. - PHOTO COURTESY OF METHOD ARCHITECTURE, LLC
The artist rendering of Baileson Brewing features an ice house design with two large garage doors and plenty of outdoor seating.
Photo courtesy of Method Architecture, LLC

The space at 2322 Bissonnet next to the former Kay’s Lounge in Rice Village is being transformed into Baileson Brewing Company. An article in Eater Houston provided an artist’s rendering of Method Architecture, LLC’s design which includes two large garage-style doors that open to a tap room inside and more than a half dozen picnic tables situated in an outdoor patio space. The new beer spot is expected to open in May.

A Swamplot reader spotted a TABC permitting notice on the property at 1920 Houston Avenue listing Spring Street Bar & Wine Garden as the applicant. Media and Community Relations Director Amy Felen told the Houston Press that they anticipate opening in late spring and will feature local craft beer, a moderately priced European wine menu and specialty cocktails. Close proximity to the bike path provides an opportunity to promote “bicycle culture and the city’s great trails,” she added. Follow the progress on Facebook.

Austin-based Pluckers announced the location for its fourth store in the Houston area. Set to open at the northeast corner of Skinner Road and Highway 290 in Cypress in 2018, the nationally-recognized sports bar will offer the same menu of chicken wings along with fan favorites such as the Holy Macaroni and the Bypass Burger.

The Press learned that Cabo Baja Tacos & Burritos has filed an application with TABC to operate at 4520 Washington Avenue. If this address sounds familiar, that’s because it used to the site of Bronx Bar before it was replaced by pizza parlor, Fire Station #11, which only lasted nine months before closing unexpectedly in September of 2015, as reported by Eater Houston. A call to the Cabo Baja Mexican Grill that currently operates at 544 Sawdust in Spring confirmed that this would be a second location of the restaurant. The Cabo Baja employee could not provide any additional information at this time.

click to enlarge The Rice Box does Chinese-take out and now they can add new items to the popular menu at the brick and mortar location. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE RICE BOX
The Rice Box does Chinese-take out and now they can add new items to the popular menu at the brick and mortar location.
Photo courtesy of The Rice Box

Opening in time for the Lunar New Year on January 28 is the new brick and mortar location for one of Montrose’s favorite food trucks, The Rice Box. CultureMap Houston reported that the Chinese food stop is opening in the former Chirps Chicken space at 300 West 20th in the Heights. This means saying good-bye to the original food truck; January 21 was the last service, but it still be available for catering events.

The Rice Box already operates a brick and mortar inside the Greenway Plaza food court, but according to the article, this new stand-alone space gives owner John Peterson an opportunity to build on the “Blade Runner meets Big Trouble In Little China aesthetic that he (Peterson) has cultivated since the beginning.”

The food truck’s menu was limited on purpose, offering five main Chinese-Americanized dishes all centered around chicken. With the new space and the ability to wok-fry, expect to see items with beef and noodles.

On January 29, Fajita Pete’s will open a new store in Katy at 1590 South Mason Road according to the Houston Chronicle. The grand opening party will be from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will include give-aways, complimentary fajitas and a bounce house, popcorn and cotton candy for families to enjoy the festivities. This opening will mark the sixth store to open in the Houston metro area and according to its website, Pearland and Sienna Plantation locations are coming soon.

Houston Food Finder reported that home-grown, Houston-based Greenway Coffee is expanding downtown with Prelude Coffee and Tea. The espresso bar will open in May of this year at 609 Main inside the Hines Tower. Pastries, donuts and other baked goods will be delivered from Morningstar and will feature a similar matcha (green) tea beverage program.

click to enlarge Fresh ingredients and seafood for customizable ceviche at Green Ceviche and C.Vi.Che & Go. - PHOTO COURTESY OF GREEN CEVICHE
Fresh ingredients and seafood for customizable ceviche at Green Ceviche and C.Vi.Che & Go.
Photo courtesy of Green Ceviche

C.Vi.Che and Go
, a ceviche-themed food truck started operating at 1818 North Fry Road on January 20. Owner Gabriel Arguello told the Press that the company currently owns two other restaurant chains, Lucky Sushi Bar and Green Ceviche in the Rio Grande Valley area of McAllen, Edinburg and Harlingen. He said that both Lucky Sushi Bar and Green Ceviche are scheduled to open sometime this year in West Houston at 12555 Westheimer, suites 110 and 120, next to the existing Starbucks in a new three-unit building.

The menu looks similar to a customized poke set-up with customers choosing a protein (white fish, shrimp, octopus or a combination of the three), then choosing a recipe (Peruvian, Mexican or Caribeño) and then selecting toppings for bowls.

Sealy News reported the closing of Maribelli’s Italian Restaurant at December’s end. Signage on the door said they were working on a new location in Houston at 12602 FM 1960, suite A1. Diners can follow on Facebook for updates about the new store.

The Chronicle reported that the popular Latin fried chicken chain, Pollo Campero announced aggressive plans to expand in the Houston area. Last week, the store at 11570 Gulf Freeway opened with two others slated to open in coming months at 7754 West Bellfort and 6905 Texas 6 South. The fast-casual restaurant is known for its 100 percent hormone-free chicken that is fried or grilled with Peruvian spices.

A reader’s tip notified us about the closure of the La Madeleine located at 6500 Woodway near Voss. An employee at the Woodway store confirmed that today, January 24, was the last day of service at this location. She told the Press that the lease was not renewed for this location and diners are referred to the nearest La Madeleine at 5885 San Felipe at Fountainview for future visits.

That's it for this week's restaurant openings and closings! Leave us a comment or send us an email to let us know if we missed something.
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Cuc Lam is a freelance food writer for the Houston Press and local pop-up chef. She enjoys teaching cooking classes and hosting dinner parties when she is not writing.