It was a sad day in Wharton on Monday, August 4, when 40-year-old Hinze's Bar-B-Que burned to the ground as a result of a pit fire. The Houston Chronicle reports that the fire occurred during the evening around 7 o'clock; no injuries were reported. Hinze's was a favorite of many Houstonians and those living in Wharton. According to reports, Kubicek, the daughter of founders W.C. and Rosemary Hinze, says rebuilding is a possibility.
Viva Itacate (544 Sawdust Road in The Woodlands) officially closed on Sunday, July 27. The authentic Mexican restaurant and bakery received the No. 2 spot on our list of best Mexican bakeries in Houston last year, and was known for its delicious cheese danishes (manos de queso) as well as the home-cooked meals featuring tortas, empanadas and the cochinita pibil, slow-roasted pork marinated in citrus juices and wrapped in banana leaves. The owner announced the closing on the Facebook page stating, "I wanted everyone to know that Viva Itacate will be closing this Sunday for good. I received an offer for my dream job in engineering in Chicago so we will be moving there in two weeks."
Reginelli's Pizzeria opened its second Houston location on Monday, August 4, in Bellaire at 5303 Bissonnet. This location, according to Eater Houston, will offer the same menu items available at the first location in Memorial City, but will also include New Orleans dishes.
You can finally get a mint julep at Julep, located at 1919 Washington Avenue. The bar from Alba Huerta of Anvil and Pastry War is officially open. Kaitlin Steinberg visited Julep and notes that the signature drink is "served the way it has been for more than 200 years, in a silver cup piled high with crushed ice and a sprig of mint sprinkled with a bit of powdered sugar for a frosty look." Along with this staple libation, Huerta's menu also includes a few variations, such as a rye julep and an effervescent julep with sparkling wine and cognac. Pair any of these with one of the food offerings, such as hush puppies and frites, smoked trout sitting atop farro, arugula, and radishes with a lemon vinaigrette.
The rumors are true about the now-closed Lucky Burger being transformed into a banh mi drive-thru. Eater Houston confirmed with the owners of Oui Banh Mi, who also happen to be the founders of Les Givral's Kahve, and learned that they hope to have the restaurant open by the end of this year.
Eater Houston also reported that Stone's Throw opened at 1417 Westheimer on Wednesday, August 6. The Montrose bar serves a variety of Texas craft beers on tap. Stone's Throw is conveniently located (just a stone's throw away) from Boondocks, Royal Oak Bar & Grill and Pistolero's; all four of these establishments come from the same owner, Shawn Bermudez.
According to the Heights General Store's Facebook page, the downstairs portion of the restaurant on the east side will be turned into Alli's Pizzeria. Soon you can shop inside the market, sit upstairs on the patio over a burger and beer, and grab a slice of thin crust pizza downstairs. There will even be a gluten-free crust option for the 12" pizzas.
HtownCheapEats informed us of a few more openings in the surrounding Houston areas, including Black's Market Table, located at 11550 Louetta Road in Suite 1000; the Southern restaurant is only open Monday through Friday for lunch from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. serving comforting classics, such as chicken biscuits, shrimp and grits, and chicken pot pie. Each Saturday, Black's serves a barbecue lunch beginning at 11 a.m. Fill up your plate with beef brisket, chicken, turkey, pork ribs, sausage and pork belly, or stuff your choice of meat between a Slow Dough Bread Co. egg bun. Don't forget banana pudding for dessert.
Over on the other side of town, Chowpatty Chat Company's second location opened at 5711 Hillcroft in Suite A-3. The original restaurant is located in Sugar Land. AddicTEA Cafe also opened a second location at 8586 Westheimer serving up the same scrumptious macarons, cupcakes and tapioca tea found at the original location downtown.
Maine-ly Sandwiches hopes to open its third location in Kingwood at 20669 W Lake Houston Parkway during the week of August 11, according to HKA Texas. Owner Buddy C says that a Maine-ly Sandwiches food truck is in the works, too.
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Zushi Japanese Cuisine closed last May, but Pho & Crab Restaurant has taken over the space at 14741 Memorial Drive on July 31.
Central Taco officially opened at 19075 Interstate-45 in Shenandoah on Monday, August 4. This is the first state-side restaurant from El Farolito, a taqueria located in Mexico. Central Taco serves up a variety of taqueria classics, such as tacos filled with beef, chicken, shrimp, fish, pork and nopal (grilled prickly pear cactus); customers can also feast on tortas featuring bolillo bread, beans, tomato, panela and Monterrey cheeses, guacamole and ham. Throw in an agua fresca and churro for a complete meal.
As reported by Alison Cook of the Houston Chronicle, Pax Americana opened at 4319 Montrose on Saturday, August 2. The soft opening was held that weekend, and according to Cook as soon as co-chefs Adam Dorris and Plinio Sandalio settle into their new modern American fare restaurant, the menu will continually change. Currently, there are 16 dishes on the menu, such as Huge Gulf Shrimp served with 1015 onions and a fortified fish sauce. One of the popular desserts during the opening was the chocolate ganache fritters with pig's blood (sanguinaccio fritters) served with horchata ice cream, lemon curd and candied pecans. Reservations are only available for parties of six guests or more.
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.