Openings & Closings: Losing Our Voice

The worst news of the week came from My Table early yesterday morning, when the magazine reported that downtown restaurant Voice has lost its executive chef, the very underrated Greg Lowry, and is in talks to "reconcept" and become a Mexican restaurant. No word on whether that's upscale Mexican, like Hugo's, although one would assume that a more casual place simply wouldn't mesh well with Voice's grand dining room.

Lowry, for his part, scored a sweet gig with Ryan Hildebrand as sous chef at the hotly anticipated Triniti, opening later this year. And although I'll mourn the loss of Voice as we know it for quite a while, I am thrilled to hear that Lowry will be in a more visible position under a very talented chef -- even if he's no longer an executive chef himself.

In other happy news, Coppa Ristorante Italiano opened yesterday, August 18. The restaurant replaces Catalan, which was headed up by Chris Shepherd but owned by Charles Clark and Grant Cooper. Clark and Cooper still own the space, and Coppa's re-opening marks the second big project from the duo this year after Brasserie 19 opened back in May. Coppa's executive chef is Brandi Key, one of the handful of women to head up their own kitchen in Houston, and a longtime fixture in the Houston restaurant industry. Her menu appears to blend strong Italian and Texan influences, with dishes like tuna crudo with Texas peaches (pictured above) and Gulf fish baked in parchment.

Meanwhile, down in Seabrook, Tookie's has finally reopened (this time for real), delighting fans of its signature Squealers. The Chronicle's Syd Kearney was there to report on the grand reopening:

They entered beaming with thumbs up; some let out little whoop-whoops of joy.
Val Dailey couldn't contain herself. "If you build, they will come," she shouted as she walked through the door.
And come they did. It was 5 o'clock in this little town by the bay and the only place to be was Tookie's, the iconic burger joint that reopened Tuesday nearly three years after Hurricane Ike closed its doors.

Rounding off the week, B4-U-Eat reports in its weekly newsletter that Houston is down one Freshii -- the one at 1531 Eldridge -- but that we should look for Vida's "sexy" Tex-Mex doors to be open soon.

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