Restaurant News

Openings & Closings: Kitchen 713 Finds a New Home While Canard Throws in the Dish Towel [UPDATED]

Kitchen 713
finds a new home on Washington. The nationally recognized restaurant known for innovative southern and globally-inspired cuisine reopens in a larger space on December 26 at 5 p.m. at 4601 Washington, suite 130, where the former TQLA and more recently Commonwealth used to stand. The new digs are dramatically different from its 33-seat location in Second Ward, where space was always tight.

According to a press release, the menu will feature items including Ethiopian Asawot fish stew, Italian Pork Trotter Gnudi and an Asian duck soup called Dazzled by Duck. The restaurant will also serve crafted cocktails by co-owner and mixologist James Haywood and offer an extensive wine selection curated by D. Christopher Taylor, Director of the Beverage Management Program and Fred Parks Wine Cellar at the Hilton College at the University of Houston.

Updated 2 p.m. December 23, 2016: Kitchen 713 sent out a press release today saying that it has not been granted a mixed beverage permit, but expects to secure one after the first of the year. In the meantime guests are invited to BYOB.

The Houston Business Journal reported that Sean Hochstein has signed on as the executive chef at the new Grotto opening in January at 1001 Avenida de las Americas. Grotto is one of eight restaurants opening in Avenida Houston, Houston’s new restaurant row between the Toyota Center and Minute Maid Mark. The Italian restaurant will be located inside the George R. Brown Convention Center.

A reader’s tip noted that Grazia’s Italian Kitchen may be opening a store in Katy. An employee from the original location in Pearland told the Houston Press that they are “definitely looking into it.” She added that announcements would be posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

A Facebook post said that Skewers Mediterranean Grill at 3991 Richmond has closed. A call to the business during lunch hours on Tuesday went straight to an answering service and the last Yelp review posted on December 7.

The Houston Chronicle reported that Co-chefs Apple and PJ Stoops of Foreign Correspondents announced their departure from the acclaimed restaurant this past Sunday. The following day, sad news followed from Treadsack, the group behind other local favorites like Hunky Dory, Canard and Bernadine’s, of the Northern Thai restaurant’s closure. According to CultureMap Houston, Foreign Correspondents just never found financial success. Unfortunately praise and raves from critics do not always guarantee success; the media darling never found a larger crowd base.

In a statement, Treadsack co-owner Chris Cusack said that, “we don’t have firm details on anything specific for the space right now, but we are discussing a number of options that we’re pretty excited about.” No other details are available at this time.

A Facebook post on Canard’s page commented on rumors about its fate after neighboring Foreign Correspondents announced its closure. Canard posted: “It's true, errbody. We're taking a break starting on 1/1.” The post also encouraged customers to come out and enjoy some incredible specials like, “$5 for all cocktails, $5 pours of most spirits, and $10 for all of our super high-end stuff until it's all gone.” Canard also belongs to the Treadsack group. As of the morning on December 21, there is no word yet about whether or not this “break” is temporary.

In a recent interview, Realty News Report asked Mark Davis of Davis Commercial about the fate of a vacant lot in the lower Westheimer area up the street from the El Tiempo. The Mexican restaurant at Westheimer and Taft “originally purchased it for parking . . . turns out, they didn’t need it.” Davis went on to say that a dumpling restaurant will be developed on the property, but no further information is available at this time.

The Press learned that Pinch Seafood Restaurant, 10510 Northwest Freeway has filed an application with TABC on December 16. According to its website, it is a southern seafood-inspired eatery that will feature seasonally, fresh-caught seafood, delivered daily. A representative told the Press that the tentative opening date is slated for January 15.

Co-owners, Julia Sharaby and David Grossman, announced last Thursday that a second location of Fusion Taco will open in January at 4706 North Main in the Heights. The Chronicle reported that the new store will have a full liquor license and feature a counter top as the focal point of the dining area. Sharaby launched her gourmet food truck in 2010 and expanded to a brick and mortar in Market Square downtown in 2013 with partner and husband, Grossman. The new Heights location will offer the same menu including signature tacos like the shrimp tempura taco and the spicy chicken tikka masala taco.

Another poke chain is coming to Houston. California-based Pokeworks aims to bring Hawaiian-style Poke into the Galleria area in 2017. Founding partner Kevin Hsu told the Houston Business Journal that the company has not decided if they will franchise out a store or open one themselves, but they have aggressive plans to expand to “strong eating communities,” in other major cities including Seattle, Chicago and Washington D.C.

According to the Houston Business Journal, a cat cafe, the first of its kind is opening in Houston. Owner Renee Reed told the Houston Business Journal to expect El Gato Coffeehouse to open at 508 Pecore in the Heights by April or May of next year.

To be clear, this will not be a place to bring your cats. Reed’s vision is to “operate as a place for adopting and socializing cats,” as a partnership alongside the Houston Human Society. Food and beverages for the café area will be supplied by Sinfull Bakery and Argus Coffee Co., respectively.

Another permitting application has been filed with TABC for Oakmont at 1916 Baldwin dated December 16, 2016. Back in March, Swamplot posted a photo of the public notice on the house-turned-law office building. Then in June, former Houston Press Food Editor Phaedra Cook and Press staff writer Craig Malisow included information about the new business in an article about the legal troubles of now closed nightclub Gaslamp and its owner, Yazan Jarrah. A link to the Daily Court Review, within the article, confirmed Jarrah’s involvement with Oakmont, listing him as the manager.

A reader’s tip noted that Alcaliente at 20210 Katy Freeway has closed. A call to the business reached an out of service tone and the restaurant has been reported as closed on its Yelp page. One Yelp reviewer stated that a “Closed for Remodeling” sign hung on the door with instructions for employees to pick up their last checks attached.

That's it for this week's restaurant openings and closings! Leave us a comment or send us an email to let us know if we missed something.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Cuc Lam is a freelance food writer for the Houston Press and local pop-up chef. She enjoys teaching cooking classes and hosting dinner parties when she is not writing.