Restaurant News

Openings and Closings in Houston: We Say Goodbye to Lillo & Ella, and Hello to Saigon House

The biggest news of the week, although not entirely surprising given owner Kevin Naderi's earlier comments to the Houston Press, was the abrupt announcement that Lillo & Ella was closed on September 16.  Naderi had said the restaurant struggled to find its audience despite generally good reviews from food critics, adding, “We're in an area that is still changing, but at the same time it really bothers me that people are scared to try new things. Every single day, between two and three different tables walk in, look at the menu and walk out. They say they don't get it or they feel like it's two or three dollars above what they usually pay. It leaves me speechless.” In a press release Naderi said he wanted to devote more time to his restaurant Roost and and that he has other concepts in development. 

In much happier news, around September 21, Saigon House at 3101 Main will open its doors— formerly the doors of Café Helene, which was bought by Duc Dinh of Pearland's Wrap & Roll a few months ago. Saigon House will be mostly Vietnamese with some other Asian influences; there will be traditional foods as well as some unusual ones, like shaken filet mignon, curry tuna and pineapple fried rice. Read Greg Morago's report in the Houston Chronicle and keep an eye on the Facebook page for more information.

Fire Station 11 at 4520 Washington is closed and deserted, according to both a reader tip and several articles by other publications. The restaurant was only around for nine months and specialized in Mediterranean food and pizzas. According to Eater, the restaurant is permanently closed and a new restaurant group will be taking over the space soon.

Dallas-based soufflé restaurant Rise nº2 will open a Houston location at 1700 Post Oak, hopefully by the end of the year, reports Eric Sandler of CultureMap. The opening is currently being delayed by the permitting process, and after that, it will be full steam ahead for the eatery, which offers sweet and savory soufflés as well as other dishes, such as marshmallow soup.

Les Ba'Get at 1717 Montrose should be open soon, and the restaurant posted a call for employees a few weeks ago. The eatery is hoping for a late September opening, so keep an eye on the Facebook page for updates.

Dinner service is now underway at Tarakaan, an upscale Asian restaurant with an extensive bar menu (complete with house-made additions like seaweed pearls and simply syrups), an unusual ambience and a fairly young executive chef, Micah Rideout. If the Yelp reviews are any indication, this restaurant will be on everyone's must-try list— especially when brunch service begins later this fall.

There's another Christian's Tailgate open at 1012 Congress; the joint is known for its burgers and, you guessed it, sporting events shown on 40 televisions around the bar. The new location boasts a games room, soon-to-be-completed patio and an expanded menu, including tacos, salads and wraps. Check out Sandler's report on CultureMap, plus the positive Yelp reviews.

Dosi owner An Vo told CultureMap that he's working on bringing a new concept to Midtown in the old West Gray Public House space at 510 Gray. It's going to be called Anju after the term for Korean food served with alcohol, and it should open in November. If the liquor license hasn't been approved when it opens, Anju will be BYOB for awhile, and it will be open late.

EaDo has a new neighborhood bar— Around the Corner at 1510 Hutchins, which is brought to you by the same folks as Down the Street. There's a large, covered patio, plus partnerships with Karbach Brewing and 8th Wonder Brewery to sweeten the deal.

Saltillo at 5427 Bissonnet, the new incarnation of La Casa del Caballo, is now open; whereas the old restaurant was very large, the new eatery is much smaller but has the same style of Mexican cuisine that made the last restaurant so popular. Owner Carlos Abedrop told CultureMap in April that there will also be a new steakhouse-style restaurant in the works soon.

According to Morago at the Houston Chronicle, Ragin' Cajun closed its location in The Woodlands at 2626 Research Forest after only about a year and a half of operation, citing too-rapid employee turnover as the main reason for the closure. The original location at 4302 Richmond is also making some changes; the LA Bar will be closed, and the whole restaurant will now offer a single menu instead of different bar and dining menus. 

There's a new outer-Loop El Tiempo Cantina location coming to Oak Forest at 12440 Northwest Freeway in the former Café Red Onion location before Christmas where you can get those margaritas, fried avocados, crab enchiladas and everything that you love. It will be the eighth Houston location of this Tex-Mex favorite. 

Salata is now open at 2617 West Holcombe in West University and features the recently-revamped restaurant design that stresses natural building materials and, of course, iced tea taps. This location will also feature Salata's new catering program. It's the third franchise owned by John and Ashley Barneby, who also operate the River Oaks and Heights locations.

Olivia Pulsinelli of the Houston Business Journal reports that Fogo de Chão has plans to open a new location at Hughes Landing in The Woodlands sometime this year. Fogo's original location opened in 2000 and was the second location to open in the U.S.

Yet another restaurant is expanding; Lotus Seafood has opened its third location at 2825 South Kirkwood, where you can find the same loud packs and other fried seafood specials that cause Houstonians to wait in line seven days a week just to taste them. Want to see what you're missing if you've never been? Check out the Lotus Instagram.

Finally, there's an update on Growler's Montrose, 1005 Waugh, whose future was thrown into doubt a few weeks ago when the owner announced his intentions to move to Pensacola. Now, the Facebook page says that the store will remain open as long as it breaks even, so head over there and order a pint today.

That's all of this week's restaurant openings and closings! If you know of something we missed, leave us a comment or send us an email.
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Alexandra Doyle