Restaurant News

Openings & Closings: Legit Ramen Makes It to Midtown

It takes a long time to make really good tonkotsu ramen broth, and even with the plethora of new ramen specialty shops that have opened in Houston, few have nailed it. JINYA Ramen's Webster location has been doing a phenomenal job for months, but it's been quite a drive for some of us. It's time to rejoice, for its long-awaited Midtown location is finally open at 3201 Louisiana. It's already getting rave reviews on consumer web sites.

On a sad note, longtime Rice Village restaurant Ruggles Café Bakery at 2365-A Rice appears to have shuttered. Culturemap Houston broke the news after seeing a Tweet from owner Susan Molzan's ex-husband, Bruce. Eater Houston investigated further and despite the sign on the door that says, "Closed For Renovations," indications are that this is a permanent closure. We requested a comment from Susan Molzan via her publicist but never received one. We'll miss the giant pastry case.

In a bit of odd news, acclaimed Preview Modern Seafood at 4645 Highway 6 in Sugar Land has closed after only ten months in business. Apparently, diners in the area didn't like it as much as food writers did. Here's the odd part: Culturemap Houston noted that a message on Preview's Facebook pages says, "Watch for the main event as we are starting our project and reincarnating as "Tides" in midtown." So apparently the owners think the ambitious concept has a better chance of profitability inside the Loop. It's possible.

Local Pour is expanding to The Woodlands and has a star chef's menu to boot. The original is in the former Sherlock's space at 1952 West Gray. The new one will be at Hughes Landing. According to a press release, "Randy Evans helped put the "local" in the new Local Pour, bringing in Texas purveyors that include 44 Farms, Atkinson Farms, Lawler Foods and Axis Venison. Offerings on the new menu--available exclusively at The Woodlands location for the time being - include large selections of appetizers such as Korean Pork Lollipops and Steamed Mussels, entrées like the Herb Roasted Wood Grilled Chicken and 44 Farms NY Strip, delectable specialty items such as Almond Salmon, Walnut Pesto Pasta Primavera and other daily features." Evans certainly has been a busy guy lately. Look for him to emcee the Iron Fork competition at Menu of Menus on March 31 between Roost's Kevin Naderi and Randy Rucker of forthcoming restaurant Bramble.

We reported last week that 60 Degrees Mastercrafted has closed, but there are already plans for a new restaurant in the space at 2300 Westheimer. Culturemap Houston says that it's being taken over by a duo who plan to open The Harwood Grille. They plan to open quickly -- next month, in fact. The beef-centric menu will include Akaushi steaks and burgers. Of course, there's still that construction to deal with, but hopefully the city will wrap it up and move on soon.

Café Japon on the feeder of Highway 59 near Kirby closed last year and briefly reopened in EaDo. Eater Houston says the restaurant was subsequently evicted for nonpayment of rent but has once again been reincarnated, this time at 5900 Memorial. Hopefully, it will find the customer base there it needs to stay open this time.

Pollo Tropical is opening another location, at 13347 Westheimer, on March 20. The chain is a Miami-based concept best known for its citrus-marinated grilled chicken. The island-themed concept also offers Mojo roast pork, calypso beef, grilled tropical wings, rice and beans, and sweet plantains.

There's a new Sprouts Farmers Market at 195 Yale, according to Yelp. (It's not a farmers' market per se. It's a grocery store with a focus on fresh, healthy eating.) Others listed on the consumer review site include coffee shop and casual eatery EQ Heights at 1030 Heights, Grindhouse donut shop at 5403 North Shepherd, Hong Kong-style cafe Ding Ding at 9398 Bellaire and a new The Egg & I location at 10603 West Sam Houston Parkway North.

That's it for this week's Openings & Closings. What did we miss? Leave a comment or email us at [email protected]

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Phaedra Cook
Contact: Phaedra Cook