Thanks to a tip that led us to call the restaurant, we learned La Fisheria is closing its existing place at 4705 Inker in two or three months and will relocate to a space downtown around the same time. According to an employee we spoke with, the existing lease is up and it’s a good opportunity for La Fisheria to take up residence in a more visible location. This is in addition to the forthcoming location in The Woodlands at 6777 Woodlands Parkway. That new location was originally slated to open in April, but it is now estimated to open in another four to six months.
A failed Kickstarter isn’t always a bad thing. Even though he didn't get the $50,000 in donations he asked for from the general public to start Helen, a regional Greek cuisine concept, the high-profile campaign helped sommelier and Greek food enthusiast Evan Turner find an investor. He’s aiming for a July 15 opening, which he feels fairly confident about. “We’re taking over an existing space—Kahn’s Deli—so we don’t have to pull permits. We’re just transferring the DBA. Most of the work is cosmetic and swapping out a few pieces of kitchen equipment. The biggest issue is how long the cosmetic changes will take, finding good staff, getting them trained in what will be new food to everyone.” (As for Kahn's Deli, the existing restaurant at 2429 Rice closed as of May 14.)
The name of Turner’s investment partner will be familiar to many in Houston’s restaurant industry. It’s Sharif Al-Amin, who used to work with Turner at Branchwater Tavern. Since then, Al-Amin has been involved with operations at Prohibition Bar + Supperclub, Radio Milano. Before that, he was a fixture at Philippe Restaurant + Bar. “He’ll sometimes be there helping with operations,” says Turner, “but I’ll be there full-time because Helen is my baby. If it does as well as we hope, we’ll look at opening a second location in Texas.”
As far as food goes, Turner will focus on the lesser-known seasonal cuisine of Greece. “Certain Greek dishes dishes are iconic and that’s what people do all the time, but we’re going have an ever-changing menu that will be different depending on what we can get from the farmer’s market and what’s in season.
Mala Sichuan in Montrose is now in its soft opening phase at 1201 Westheimer, although for some reason when we called the Bellaire location to verify and get a phone number, they denied it. Regardless, both the service and dishes were outstanding when we visited on a Wednesday night. Look for some offerings unique to this location, such as the Shredded Pork in Three Pastes Sauce and the mind-blowingly intense meats in pots of green peppercorn broth. We tried the Green Peppercorn bullfrog and it was both very tasty and—with the legs chopped into small pieces—very bony. We'd order this again, but with another meat next time. These are all incredibly sharable dishes, so bring friends. They're still waiting on their beer and wine license, so it's BYOB for now.
Dosi Restaurant + Soju Bar is reopening at 2802 South Shepherd on Saturday, May 16, with a new, more traditional Korean menu in-place. As reported last week, it’s an attempt by owner An Vo to get back to the original soju bar concept it opened with. Not every one embraced the modern Korean menu as it originally evolved.
Speaking of brief closings and re-openings: chef Marco Wiles is moving Montrose institution Vinoteca Poscól down the street to 608 Westheimer. The old location at 1609 Westheimer will close on May 24 and reopen in the new digs on May 26. It will be next door to Katz's Deli.
Ray Salti’s new concept, Bollo Woodfired Pizza, is now open in his former Sorrel Urban Bistro space at 2202 West Alabama. It’s open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. It’s a more upscale pizza concept than Salti’s successful pizza chain, Pepperoni’s.
The Barnaby’s that took over the former Museum Park Cafe space is now open at 1801 Binz according to Yelp. It is not open for breakfast—only lunch and dinner.
The downtown Russo’s New York Pizzeria at 604 Polk has just reopened following a complete redesign. It features an open kitchen, digital menu boards and a self-serve digital Coca-Cola machine.
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Wesley Griffin for Eater Houston reports that Franklin Barbecue alum John Avila is opening his own place, El Burro and the Bull. It’s a homecoming for Avila, as he grew up on the East End. His space, as well as future next door neighbor Southside Espresso’s second location, are being built using repurposed shipping containers.
Emily Bond for Eater Houston says Austin import Juiceland is setting up shop at 3210 White Oak next to a yoga studio. Makes sense, but we’re not sure about “little Austin” as a nickname for The Heights.
Bond also reports that Paper Co. at 1100 Elder inside Ecclesia church is eschewing occasional dinner service in favor of regular lunch service. She says to expect a "Houston Homestyle" menu with Asian, Mexican, and American South influences from chef David Foon.”
That's it for this week's Openings & Closings. What did we miss? Email us or leave it in the comments below.