Restaurant News

Openings & Closings: Istanbul Is Constantinople

The big news this past week was the closing of Pesce, the longtime River Oaks seafood spot at Kirby and West Alabama owned by Landry's (Harlow's somehow stays open, yet Pesce gets closed? Go figure.). In its place, yet another Brio Tuscan Grille is moving in. No word on what will become of Mark Holley, Pesce's talented chef who will hopefully land in a restaurant that truly deserves him.

The Burger Guys also ended their short partnership with Cafe Luz; no more Saigon burgers for downtowners.

"The first few weeks were so amazing, then just a loyal group that kept us breathing," said owner Jake Rainey on Twitter. "We were also just a bit to on the outer rim of downtown. Have to be in the heart for it to make sense." Back to driving to Westchase for your duck fat fries fix for now, folks.

Elsewhere throughout the city, four old favorites are getting revamped into brand-new restaurants.

As announced earlier this week, The Pass and Provisions -- the new two-in-one restaurant from the Pilot Light team of Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan -- are moving into the old Gravitas space on Taft. Provisions will be a casual concept centered around a wood-fired oven, while The Pass will function as a chef's table with more high-end dishes.

Out in Memorial, the long-abandoned China View (which, oddly, still has a ghost website reminding us of how terrific Robin Luo's food there was) is finally getting a facelift: The restaurant will soon be re-opened as Brunch Kafe. Help wanted ads have been posted and a website is already up and running.

Lower Westheimer is getting a new Thai restaurant: Thai Joy is moving into the old Fabio's space, and looks to be opening soon. Fabio's, for its part, is still turning out some of the best house-made fresh pasta in the city at its new location on West Alabama.

And in the Fountainview area, Harvest Live Grille has now opened in the previous location of Old Heidelberg. Syd Kearney at the Chronicle has a first look at the new restaurant, which is focusing on serving organic, healthy fare in a casual setting.

Speaking of, Kearney also has a first look at Ragin' Cajun's new LA Bar on Richmond, which she calls a "relaxing alternative to its rowdy Cajun neighbor.

And two Heights-area restaurants will now have longer hours: Liberty Kitchen is offering a "late afternoon" menu from 2 to 5 p.m. during the week and will stay open every day "until the last person leaves" (!). And with the closing of its other Montrose location, Kraftsmen Cafe will now be open seven days a week starting this Monday, April 9.

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Katharine Shilcutt