This is a good time to live in Houston, folks. Never forget it. A week so filled with restaurant openings that it requires three pages (yes, I'm warning you in advance) to discuss should be proof enough of this fact.
News that Table 7 closed up shop and a new Spanish restaurant is moving in has me salivating already. Why? Because the new restaurant, Convivio, looks like it might scratch the itch that Cafe España sadly hasn't so far: It has "Spanish" hours (meaning that the kitchen will be open very late into the night) and is promising a variety of tapas, paella and pinchos (Spanish bar snacks) from its Spanish owners, Marta Vina and Oscar Aguilar. Convivio is currently in the process of redoing the old space, but look for it to open within the next month at Durham and Floyd, just off Washington Avenue.
Meanwhile, three specialty food stores are setting up shop, albeit in drastically different parts of town. Petite Sweets is opening soon in Upper Kirby at 2700 West Alabama, where the bakery will be selling a variety of -- you guessed it -- portable goodies. I tasted their macarons, marshmallows and mini-cupcakes yesterday and was duly impressed with all three.
And over in River Oaks, Relish Fine Foods is celebrating its grand opening this Monday and Tuesday at 3951 San Felipe. The store stocks meat, bread, produce and other groceries from local vendors wherever possible and -- like Revival Market -- has a small but charming cafe component to it as well with sandwiches, soups and salads on the menu.
Finally, way out in West Houston, the long-awaited market from Alain and David Denis has opened next door to their popular restaurant, Le Mistral. Foody's Gourmet is located at 1400 Eldridge and is currently stocking French and assorted European foods and wines. Foody's also contains a bakery and will be providing fresh bread and pastries each day.
Back in town, two new wine bars are setting up shop in the Heights, and surprisingly close to one another too. The Corkscrew's second incarnation is finally open at 1308 West 20th, according to the Chron's Ronnie Crocker. And a brand new establishment, Crisp Wine Bar & Eatery, will accompany it shortly. According to Swamplot, it will be taking over an old convenience store just down the street at 2220 Bevis and offering pizza and hoagies as well as wine.
Also at the Chron, Syd Kearney reports that Kris-Bistro and Wine Lounge will be opening this September at 7070 Allensby, offering some very special dining to its customers. Why? Because it's an extension of the Culinary Institute LeNotre. Think of it as getting your hair cut at a barber college, but with wine.
And Alison Cook got the scoop that Randy Rucker, Houston's talented enfant terrible, will be scaling back the hours at Bootsie's in Tomball and heading back inside the Loop. Good news for those who were burning a tank of gas for Rucker's fantastical food, bad news for those who were enjoying such fine food so far out of town.
Two historic events took place this past week: the designation of Last Concert Cafe's building at 1403 Nance as a protected landmark and the planned reopening of Tookie's in Seabrook.
Fans of the burger joint that opened in 1975 were crushed when owner Jim Spears opted not to reopen the restaurant after it was heavily damaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008. Happily, Tookie's was sold -- recipes and all -- to Barry Terrell, who reinvested in the mangled restaurant and will soon reopen it with the original decor intact. Terrell has added a few things, however, including a full bar, a patio and bigger restrooms. It sounds like a win-win to me.
And over in Midtown, onlookers curious about the new space being built out next to Sushi Raku and Piola have had their questions answered thanks -- once again -- to Swamplot. The website reports that a new restaurant called, simply, Artisans Restaurant will be moving into the massive, 4,800-square-foot space. Swamplot didn't have any information about the chefs or cuisine, but if Le Mistral's website is to be believed, it looks like David Denis is moving into town after all...
In the meantime, click ahead to see the full list of openings and closings from June 2011. It's a doozy.
All Stars Family Grill, 26440 FM 1093, Suite 400, Richmond, 281-394-2100 Bacchus Wine Bar, 2502-B Dunlavy, 713-529-2330 BB's Cajun Cafe, 2701 White Oak, 713-868-8000 Bubba's Shrimp Palace, 113 6th Street, San Leon, 281-339-1515 Chatter's Cafe, 1275 Eldridge, 281-293-0001 Christian's Tailgate, 2820 White Oak, 713-863-1207 Cru at West Ave, 2800 Kirby, 713-528-9463 Epicurean Express, 2018 Rusk, 713-223-3354 Fajita Ritas Baja Grill & Cantina, 5200 Louetta, Spring, 832-717-7482 Five Guys, 6619 FM 1488, Magnolia, 832-934-2660 Goldfish Garden Chinese, 5959 Richmond, 713-782-3600 H Town Bar & Grill, 5111 Washington Avenue, 713-868-1005 How Do You Roll, 914 Main, Suite A, 713-655-0188 Hughes Hangar, 2811 Washington Avenue, 281-501-2028 King's Biergarten, 1329 East Broadway, Pearland, 832-569-4141 Luca & Leonardo Ristorante, 20 Waterway, The Woodlands, 832-510-2110 Prohibition, 5175 Westheimer, 281-940-4636 Radical Eats, 3903 Fulton, 281-222-7647 Relish Fine Foods, 3951 San Felipe, 713-599-1960 Texas Pit Stop BBQ, 2216 Gulf Freeway, La Marque, 409-935-2222 Thai Wok In & Carry Out, 15917 Highway105 West, Montgomery, 936-777-9540 The Cajun Spot, 3719 North Fry Road, Katy, 281-398-7768 The Corkscrew, 1308 West 20th The Sweet Boutique Bakery, 2270 Lone Star Drive, Sugar Land, 281-302-5374 Tomiko Japanese Restaurant Bar, 29110 Highway 290, Cypress, 281-256-2878 Treehouse Mexican Baja Grill, 22756 Westheimer Parkway, Katy Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, 1413 South Voss, 713-784-2595 Zoe's Kitchen, 12850 Memorial Drive, Suite 1120, 713-984-8804
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3 Oaks Wine Bar, 601 East Main, League City 11th Street Cafe, 748 East 11th Street (to become Ruggles) Al's Lone Star Steakhouse, 14600 Cypress North Houston, Cypress Bibas Diner, 607 West Gray Cafe Red Onion, 1111 Eldridge Parkway Casa Dominguez, 4548 Bissonnet (moving to 5213 Cedar) Coco's Yakitori Sushi Bar, 1111 Westheimer Dragon Seafood, 9430 Richmond El Colonial Mexican Restaurant, 6991 Highway 6 South Ha Ha Chinese Restaurant, 4369 Highway 6 North Heights West, 2307 Ella Boulevard Hunan Downtown, 812 Capitol Judge's Bar and Grill, 113 6th Street, San Leon (now Bubba's Shrimp Palace) King Biscuit Cafe, 1606 White Oak Mackey's Bar and Grill, 20801 Gulf Freeway, Webster Ocean Star Buffet, 12266 FM 1960 Octane Coffee Lounge, 3402 North Shepherd Pub Hub, 20095 Katy Freeway, Katy The Enclave Sports Grill, 1140 Eldridge Parkway Tierra Luna Grill, 17062 Saturn Lane