Restaurant News

Openings & Closings in Houston: Good-bye to Dog-Friendly Gratifi and Rise No. 2 Is Warming Up

Montrose classic Maria Selma Mexican Restaurant, 1617 Richmond, has finished rebranding to Texas Shrimp Shack, where you'll find Gulf shrimp sold by the pound alongside the same micheladas and margaritas that Maria Selma used to serve.

Luv Me Tenders' much-awaited brick-and-mortar location is now open at 4400 Yale with the same cult favorite chicken tenders that the food truck produced, as well as chicken tender sandwiches, tacos and more. It's not clear if the food truck will still be on the streets after the new location has opened, but we hope so.

Alabama-based Steel City Pops opened this week at 420 East 20th. The popsicle joint's owner, Jim Watkins, was inspired by a store that sold Mexican-style paletas, or pops, and decided to make his own store that uses fresh ingredients to make gourmet popsicles. The flavors at Steel City Pops include champagne white tea, lavender lemonade and chai latte.

It was so sad to hear that Gratifi Kitchen + Bar at 302 Fairview is closing, mere weeks after it was our top pick for dog-friendly restaurant patios in Houston. We'd heard a rumor, but unfortunately owner Kevin Strickland never responded to our attempts to contact him. He instead posted the news to social media. Culturemap Houston quickly picked it up and reported that Gratifi's last day of service is July 13.

It's a sad end to a restaurant that seemed to be constantly searching for the correct identity and concept. It started life as Ziggy's Healthy Grill, rebranded after it moved to Montrose, and floundered. A makeover courtesy of Food Network's Restaurant Impossible temporarily breathed new life into it. However, our restaurant critic Nicholas L. Hall was mightily unimpressed even after the changes. In response, Strickland "honored" Hall with a special cocktail, the No Sour Grapes Adult Kool*Aid. Regardless, we're still sad to see them go. 

Yelp-ers report that long anticipated eatery Rise No. 2, 1700 Post Oak, is in its soft opening phase; the Dallas-based restaurant specializes in soufflés, both savory and sweet. There's no word yet on a grand opening date, so stay tuned.

The buldogies hot dog parlor is now open at 14543 Highway 105 West in Conroe, where you'll find not only gourmet hot dogs but also banana splits, house-made cotton candy and other desserts.

Need a cheese fix? Visit MELT Gourmet Grilled Cheese,  14030 Telge in Cypress, which is ready to serve you serious grilled cheese sandwiches, like the Frito melt with pickled jalapeños and chorizo, or the Hawaii 5.0 with smoked ham and sliced pineapple.

Cocktail bar Daiquiri Time Out (or DTO) is open at 2701 Market in Galveston, with Brad Stringer, formerly of Johnny's Gold Brick, Ian Ramirez, formerly of Boheme, and Robert Hollis at the helm. Not all of the daiquiris you'll find at DTO are the frozen concoctions you might think of; instead, they're the classic cocktail version made from rum and juice. The bar also has its own menu of craft cocktails to choose from.

Yelp has two dessert-centric openings listed this week: Wsup Cafe, 9889 Bellaire, which specializes in ice cream and plentiful toppings loaded into waffle cones, and my Bakery Cafe, 822 West Little York, which serves Vietnamese sandwiches, tapioca teas and a variety of baked goods and desserts. Plus, an exceptionally massive Kroger opened at 1920 West League City Parkway this week, according to the Galveston County Daily News.

That's it for this week's openings and closings report! Did we miss anything? Leave us a comment or send us an email to let us know!
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Alexandra Doyle