Restaurant News

Openings & Closings: Restaurants Within Restaurants and Second Locations Abound

Two anticipated restaurant openings are headed our way -- and the two spots couldn't be more different from one another.

First up is U.S. Smith's BBQ, Beer and Garden from chef Christopher Williams of Lucille's, which opens on Thursday, November 29. Although Williams just opened his Southern-goes-mod Museum District restaurant a few months ago, he's ready to expand Lucille's repertoire with the addition of this second restaurant-within-a-restaurant out back.

Behind the old cottage that houses Lucille's, Williams has added a barbecue pit that is large enough to smoke a whole pig, a bar and picnic-style tables with built-in ice troughs. Surrounding the patio area is a backyard garden where Williams currently grows herbs and vegetables in raised beds for the restaurant. The name U.S. Smith -- like Lucille's -- comes from Williams' own heritage.

"U.S. Smith was my great-grandfather," Williams says. "He owned a butcher shop, barbecue restaurant and a country store in Fort Worth, Texas." Williams claims that "from 1935 through 1955, he was also the reigning barbecue artisan of his day." U.S. Smith's BBQ, Beer and Garden will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On every other Sunday, Williams will host a neighborhood cookout.

The second opening is yet another restaurant-within-a-restaurant: The Pass -- you know, the other part of The Pass & Provisions, the Montrose restaurant owned and run Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan -- is opening on Tuesday, November 27.

The Pass is envisioned as being similar to a chef's table in an upscale restaurant, where Siegel-Gardner and Gallivan promise to create "an authentic experience for each customer while placing emphasis on the process behind transitioning food to plate." The food at The Pass will be quite separate from that at the more casual Provisions -- so don't expect pizzas and sandwiches -- and will only have one seating per night, so that diners get the full experience of what a press release is calling "the local and global inspiration and experience of each chef and behind every dish."

As mentioned earlier this week, the vacated space that once held Vida Sexy Tex-Mex will now become a second outpost of popular Heights seafood restaurant Liberty Kitchen. The new location will be called Liberty Kitchen Bar & Oysterette and expects to open this coming spring.

In other new locations news, a second Jimmy Changas has opened up in League City. If the crowds at the first Jimmy Changas in Pearland are any indication, prepare for this Tex-Mex chain from the owners of Gringos and Bullritos to take over the world someday -- or at least Texas.

Korean favorite Seoul House Restaurant has closed, according to B4-U-Eat. The Korean restaurant was somewhat out of place in Vietnamese-and-Chinese dominated Chinatown but always seemed to do well nevertheless. We'll miss the bulgogi and galbi at the little spot we named Best Korean Restaurant back in 2007, but Koreatown over in Spring Branch has no shortage of Korean barbecue to ease the pain.

Finally, in chef shuffles Eater Houston reports that two chefs have parted ways with their big-name restaurants: Kevin Bryant, the executive chef at The Capitol at St. Germain, has left to take up the chef de cuisine reins at L'Olivier. And chef de cuisine Jose Hernandez has left Triniti; in his place, Greg Lowry has been promoted to executive chef Ryan Hildebrand's right-hand man.

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Katharine Shilcutt