Restaurant News

Openings & Closings: More Tex-Mex, Please

Anthony Calleo, owner of Pi Pizza Truck and Sandy Witch Sandwich Company, announced this week on Twitter that his sandwich shop has officially closed. Sandy Witch, located inside Grand Prize Bar, was Calleo's second food endeavor. Calleo tells Phaedra Cook in part two of this week's chef chat that running Sandy Witch from within another restaurant created many difficulties and challenges for him.

"Yeah, it's hard as shit. It's hard for me and I treat it like a business," Calleo says. "It's not for fun or a hobby or every once in a while. It's a business and it still HARD. I thought about so many things for the sandwich shop before I did it, but the one question I failed to ask myself was "How are people going to react to a business inside of a business in Houston?" In New York, it happens all of the time. It's no big deal. It's a challenge for Sandy Witch."

For those wanting an update on The El Cantina Superior, the Tex-Mex restaurant in the Heights temporarily closed due to a gas leak. However, it reopened on Wednesday, August 20. So, it is not closed for good.

Another Tex-Mex spot opened in the Heights. Skinny Rita's Grille is a light Tex-Mex restaurant located at 4002 North Main that opened on Tuesday, August 12. Even though enchiladas, margaritas and fajitas are known for being high in calories, Skinny Rita's offers a menu filled with healthier versions of the classic Tex-Mex dishes. For example, most of the margaritas are 100 to 125 calories. Don't worry, the menu isn't filled with tofu and vegetarian dishes (although those are available); you can still dig into plates of quesadillas, enchiladas and fajitas. Rather than standard flour tortillas and tortilla chips, Skinny Rita's uses cactus flour tortillas (nopal) and cactus flour chips.

Keeping with the Mexican food theme, Hugo Caliente opened in the CityCentre Shopping Center earlier in August. The new Mexican restaurant located at 790 W Sam Houston Parkway in Suite 112 features a variety of specialty enchiladas, including two ground beef enchiladas smothered in Texas chili; you can also create your own enchiladas by choosing the tortilla, filling, sauce and cheese. Desserts include tres leches cake and flan, but the restaurant is working on a crème brulee flan and a cheesecake to add to the menu.

Commenter Justthefacts informed us that VERTS opened its fifth location in the Royal Oaks Centre at 11700 Westheimer. The next döner kebap restaurant will open in the Spring area at 1600 Louetta Road.

Commenter tcallahn3 also informed us last week that Bourbon & Bacon, a current pop-up series, will open a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the coming weeks. As posted on its Facebook page, Bourbon & Bacon has secured a location at 5306 Washington. The menu includes, as predicted, lots of bacon-centric dishes, such as bacon funnel cakes topped with maple syrup, bourbon whipped cream, strawberries and mint, as well as braised pork empanadas, and a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with bacon, basil and jalapeno jelly. You just might have to throw in a side of smoked gouda, bacon and truffle mac and cheese, or poutine fries topped with a Canadian bacon and shiitake mushroom gravy plus shredded provolone.

Montrose is getting a Raising Cane's soon. Swamplot reports this week that the Raising Cane's signs were placed on the drive-thru building at 1902 Westheimer. It should be open by September 25. This will be the fourth Raising Cane's on Westheimer, but it's the first to open inside the loop.

The Cupcake Cowgirls opened its second store on August 14 in Cypress at 10705 Barker Cypress Road in Suite 112. Fans of the Food Network show, Cupcake Wars, will recognize The Cupcake Cowgirls as winners from an episode in October 2012.

In food truck news, Paradise On A Bun hit the streets on August 11. The mobile eatery serves up a variety of burgers, including the Paradise Burger with a third pound of ground sirloin topped with lettuce, tomato, pickle, onions, American cheese, bacon and the signature spicy Paradise sauce. Other items include hot dogs topped with chili, cheese and onions, as well as a BLT, grilled cheese and chili cheese fries.

Houston welcomes its first urban ice cream truck, Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream & Treats tonight at the East End Studio Gallery. The new ice cream truck features all the classic ice cream and fruit popsicles you enjoyed as a child, plus more prepackaged items, such as Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Saint Arnold Root Beer Floats. Chocolate Wasted will travel around neighborhoods and visit various food parks each day.

In coming soon news, Prohibition Supper Club & Bar has plans to open in early September at 1800 Prairie 1008 Prairie. It's going to be an 8,000 square foot restaurant, bar and supperclub that, according to a press release, "will bring the golden age of New York cabaret alive in an authentic, turn of the century space that was once the 1930's Isis Theatre in downtown Houston." Diners can choose to eat inside the restaurant or in the theater to enjoy a show from The Moonlight Dolls. The kitchen will be run by chef Ben McPherson, formerly of Batanga, and sous chef Matt Womack formerly of Goro & Gun. Lainey Collum, formerly of The Pass & Provisions, will serve as the beverage manager.

The Dosa Factory opened its first location on Richmond in 2013, and the dosa restaurant, renamed DGN Factory, has announced plans to open its next location in Missouri City at 6324 Highway 6 during the first week of September. Eater Houston reports that the Indian creperie will also open a third location in the downtown tunnels by the end of this year, as well as in The Woodlands and Energy Corridor by 2015.

Did we miss any openings or closings? Let us know in the comments section and we will be sure to include them in next week's report.

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Molly Dunn
Contact: Molly Dunn