Little Liberty, brought to you by the F.E.E.D. TX Restaurant Group, is now open at 2365 Rice in the former Ruggles Cafe & Bakery spot. Its offerings are very similar to those at the other Liberty Kitchen concepts, but the location is just a bit smaller. The description on its Facebook page emphasizes the eatery's seafood, pizza and brunch offerings.
Critically acclaimed Latin American restaurant Piqueo,13215 Grant in Cypress, will be closing on Saturday, February 20 to rebrand itself into 429 American Grille, which will open on Monday, February 29. Owner Gerry Sarmiento, a Peruvian, is sad to see his beloved concept go, but believes that an American eatery will be much more viable than fare from his homeland. "It breaks my heart because this is my food...But we have to be able to make a profit," he said in an interview with our own Phaedra Cook.
Harborside Mercantile, 2021 The Strand in Galveston, is now in the midst of its soft opening. It's a collaborative effort between Ricky Craig of Hubcap Grill and Josh Martinez of The Chicken Ranch and Goro & Gun. Chef Alan Duhon, formerly of Haven, created the menu and oversees the kitchen. The Houston Chronicle's Darla Guillen reports that the menu combines very fresh, very local seafood with classic recipes from New Orleans and across the South.
Midtown's Cook & Collins, 2416 Brazos, shuttered this week after only two years in business, but there is some good news – its top-notch upstairs cocktail bar, Spare Key, will remain open. However, the bar will be closed for remodeling between February 8 and February 16, to reopen the night of Wednesday, February 17. Surprisingly, a new concept has already been announced for the vacant space; Stoked Tacos & Tequila will open later this spring. Chef Adam Puskorius described the new concept as a "rock and roll taqueria" in his recent interview with CultureMap.
Did you hear about the out-of-control (and somehow totally sober) driver who plowed into Jenni's Noodle House and Jugs Draft at 3111 South Shepherd this weekend? Don't panic – everyone was fine, including the driver, and Jenni's plans to reopen this weekend. Jugs fared somewhat worse but is still aiming for a quick re-opening.
Sonoma wine bar at 801 Studewood in The Heights is now open for lunch, with offerings like grilled salmon on a baby spinach salad and 44 Farms flank steak sandwich with arugula, heirloom tomatoes and shallots.
CultureMap's Eric Sandler reports that Houston's go-to spot for barbecue with cocktail pairings has a new location in the works. Beaver's new digs are at 6025 Westheimer, and owner Jon Deal hopes to have the restaurant up and running this summer. He's also hoping that the larger kitchen and smoker space will allow for an expanded menu, including fancier cuts of wild game and more seafood. There will also be a courtyard with outdoor games and a lounge called The Beaver Den.
Campesino Coffee House will celebrate its grand opening this weekend, February 5 and 6. Located at 2602 Waugh, the coffee joint is a labor of love from Etro owner and bartender Geronimo Villalobos. It specializes in Central and South American coffees, and will feature a different Houston-area coffee roaster every two months. The opening celebration will include an art house film marathon, live music and free samples.
University of Houston students and other Third Ward residents will have to bid adieu to Brooks Family BBQ at 3602 Scott, just across the way from UH's TDECU Stadium. The barbecue joint run by Marlon and Candace Brooks, the children of Harlon and Alfreddie Brooks of Harlon's Bar-B-Que, closed down their relatively new restaurant without any explanation.
Bourbon on Bagby, 2708 Bagby, has shuttered – although, considering its final Facebook post, we aren't particularly surprised.
Mac Haik, former player for the Houston Oilers and general Houston business guru, signed on with First Watch breakfast restaurants to open 18 franchise locations in Texas and Louisiana in the coming years, according to Laura Furr of the Houston Business Journal. The eatery's menu includes traditional breakfast and lunch options, as well as more unusual fare, such as cremini mushrooms topped with cheese and served with eggs, potatoes and an English muffin. The first location will be coming to College Station next year, with more to follow in the Houston area.
Rossini Caffè Italiano has opened at 2229 San Felipe, and the few Yelp reviews are very complimentary of the light fare, cozy decor and relaxing patio space. From the posts by the owner, it appears that the cafe also offers happy hour specials on food and wine, as well as an extensive display of house-made pastries.
Fast-casual rising star Newk's Eatery is opening a new restaurant at 2712 Eldridge Parkway this Monday, February 8, and the first 50 guests will receive a free entrée each week for the next year. This is the fourth Houston-area location of the popular national chain, which is based in Mississippi.
A Facebook page has appeared for Slowpokes, a coffee shop and wine bar that will emerge at 1203 West 34th. The page advertises a deck and patio but little else. More details should follow soon.
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Now it's time for your monthly roundup of Openings and Closings. Here are the changes that came to the Houston food scene in January:
Caffé Bene, 1201 Fannin
Concrete Cowboy, 5317 Washington
Crown Seafood Restaurant, 10796 Bellaire
Eight Row Flint, 1039 Yale
The Halal Guys, 3821 Farnham
Hot Toppings Pizza, 7705 Westheimer
JuiceLand, 3206 White Oak
La Fisheria, 213 Milam
Los Cucos Mexican Cafe, 1330 West Bay Area
Macarons, 1800 Post Oak
Nothing Bundt Cakes, 6025 Crenshaw
Perry's Steakhouse & Grill, 700 Baybrook Mall Drive
Russo's New York Pizzeria, 1708 Spring Green
Rustika Cafe and Bakery, 801 Louisiana (underground tunnel location)
Six Ping, 10613 Bellaire
Wing Kee, 6938 Wilcrest
Your Pie, 1625 Main
Baker St. Pub & Grill, 5510 Morningside
Bradley's Fine Diner, 191 Heights
The Brewery Tap
Fig & Wasp Test Kitchen, 4105 Washington (possibly relocating)
Funky Chicken, 181 Heights
Gino's East, 17117 Tomball Parkway
Heights Candy Bar, 833 Studewood
Pelican Club, 3828 Avenue T in Galveston (reopening when a new chef is found)
Pollo Bravo, 5440 Memorial