Openings & Closings in Houston: Arthur Ave Arrives, Byzantio Bids Good-bye

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It's time for the much-anticipated opening of Arthur Ave Italian American, located at 1111 Studewood. The Italian eatery is from the same team that brought you Rice Village's newest award-winning concept, Helen Greek Food and Wine, which was one of this year's James Beard Award semi-finalists in the Best New Restaurant category. Hopefully Helen's little brother Arthur will be just as captivating; chef William Wright has spent six months perfecting the menu based on the year he spent in Italy, and the cocktail program includes a soft-serve White Russian, as well as a variety of interesting tap options, like Boomtown's cold-brewed coffee.

Byzantio, 403 West Gray, has permanently closed after almost 13 years in business. The owners seemed to have mixed feelings about it;  based on their Facebook post about the closure, they were, of course, sad to let the Greek eatery go, but they're looking forward to enjoying a happy retirement.

Tex-Mex favorite Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen, 6401 Woodway, was damaged by fire on Tuesday, July 27, and a statement from owner Sylvia Casares says that the fire appears to have started in the grill and spread throughout much of the kitchen. Most of the restaurant was saved, but it will be closed for at least five days to investigate the fire and repair the damage caused by it. Of course, if you need a Sylvia's fix, there are two other locations to get you through this week.

Brasserie Max & Julie will close after business (and a big closing party from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.) on Sunday, July 31, to rebrand into a new, more Provençal French restaurant. Eric Sandler of CultureMap reports that the change is due in part to owner Christophe Paul's new business partner, Sydney Degain. There's no name for the new concept just yet, but it's expected to open in about six weeks.

Houston First has announced several new restaurants coming soon to the ground floor of the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Marriott Marquis Houston, an area that will be collectively known as Avenida Houston. The restaurants in the hotel, located at 1777 Walker, include B&B Restaurant, Cueva wine bar, and Texas T coffee bar, while the concepts at the convention center include Bud's Pitmaster BBQ, Grotto Downtown, which will feature a slightly different menu than other Grotto locations, and a new concept from H Town Restaurant Group.

Olivia Pulsinelli of the Houston Business Journal says that Houston's newest Trader Joe's is now open at 11683 Westheimer; the fifth outpost of the grocery will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day with all of your favorite Trader Joe's brand items, like cookie butter and frozen meals that actually taste like meals.

Persona Wood-Fired Pizzeria's first Houston location is now open at 9635 North Sam Houston Parkway in Humble, where you'll find pizzas made from special flour imported from Naples that allows the pies to be flash-cooked in a wood-fired oven in just a minute and a half.

Also open is Govinda's Vegetarian Restaurant, 1320 West 34th in the Oak Forest and Garden Oaks area. It's not only vegetarian but also Sattvic, meaning that there are no processed ingredients used in cooking the Indian fare that the restaurant offers.

Signage for Yucatan Taco Stand has appeared at the former Berryhill Baja Grill located at the corner of Montrose and Hawthorne, according to Swamplot's Christine Gerbode. It's the second Houston location of the Fort-Worth-based taco shop; plans for a location in The Heights fell through two years ago. The fare includes, of course, tacos, plus margaritas, burrito bowls and fare from the Yucatan region, like spicy shrimp and plantain-crusted mahi-mahi.

That's it for this week's openings and closings round-up! Did we miss something? Leave us a comment or send us an email to let us know.

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