Restaurant News

Openings and Closings in Houston: Rebrandings Galore

The El Cantina Superior at 602 Studewood has shuttered its doors and will be transformed into a brewpub and American kitchen that's as yet unnamed. It will still be run by Delicious Concepts Restaurant Group, the same folks who ran The El Cantina, and the CEO hinted that he'd love for it to be completed by the holidays. If you want details, check out our post on the upcoming transformation.

As the hype increases for Ford Fry's new concept, State of Grace, the restaurant is sticking to its goal of a late September opening. The eatery, located at 3256 Westheimer, was created as Fry's homage to Houston, and the menu will reflect the wide range of culinary options here, with elements of Tex-Mex, Vietnamese and Gulf Coast cuisine.

Restaurant newcomer Commonwealth, 4601 Washington, has already closed its doors for restructuring, according to Eric Sandler at CultureMap. A sign on the door cites electrical problems, but owner Thomas Kolodziej told Sandler that chef Michael Sanguinetti has been let go, and the restaurant is moving toward a more laid-back, less pricey ambience. There's no word on when it will reopen with the new approach.

The former Mango's location at 403 Westheimer will soon become a second location of Biskit Junkie, which is brought to you by the same people as Jus' Mac, except this concept is all biscuits (with insane toppings, of course). The original location, at 2925 West TC Jester, has changed its hours to Thursday through Sunday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Emily Bond at Eater Houston reports that the space at 224 Westheimer, formerly home of The Plant House, will now be Bistecca Ristorante. The restaurant was previously slated to be named Bistro 224, but a small sign on the window advertises the new name, and the TABC notice is in the name of Slow Food Inc.

Bond also notes that The Owl Bar is almost ready to open its new location at 2221 West Alabama; while no formal announcement about the opening has been made, The Owl has been posting photos of the new bar on its Facebook page, and it looks nearly ready for service. Stay tuned for a soon-to-be-made opening announcement.

There's a new Pappas Bros. Steakhouse coming to the former Strip House at 1200 McKinney in downtown, and, while it's built in the same style as the existing Pappas steakhouses, it is larger and has more banquet and private dining rooms. It also has a glass-walled, walk-in wine room for you to explore when the restaurant opens at the end of October.

It's starting to look like we need an entire post dedicated to the new pizza places coming to Houston; Roxanna Asgarian at the Houston Business Journal says that we're getting another one next summer. The Mellow Mushroom has signed a lease for 1919 North Shepherd, which is very close to another pizza chain, Cane Rosso, which should open early next year.

Another pizza chain, Donatos Pizza, is also expanding into Houston and other Texas markets. It hasn't announced any locations yet, but is actively seeking franchisees to open some Houston locations of the Ohio-based chain.

Dickinson Bar-B-Que recently acquired Garcia's Grill, 2015 FM 517, with plans to demolish the building and open a new concept in its location early next year, according to Laura Elder at Galveston's The Daily News. The only information on the new concept is that the building will use some of the relics from Garcia's, like the antique doorknobs and brass railings, but as to the food, there's no news yet.

Salata must be doing quite well, because there's another location, at 17515 Spring Cypress, that's now open. It's the salad chain's first restaurant in Cypress, and it's one of the newer-style Salatas, complete with the popular iced tea and lemonade taps.

Finally, there's a new Pollo Tropical open in League City at 3170 Gulf Freeway, and the opening celebration is all day on August 21. The festivities include free meal coupons, charity challenges and an opportunity to win free chicken for an entire year at the island-inspired chicken chain.

Know of an opening or closing that we missed? Leave us a comment or send us an email to let us know.
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Alexandra Doyle