Openings & Closings: Ripp's Grille Shutters & Tiger Den Finally Opens For Good

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Ripp's Grille is the only restaurant to announce sad news this week, and the diner's final day of business is today. The Houston Chronicle's Syd Kearney reports the movie-themed restaurant will be closed as of 10 p.m. on Friday, November 15. Before it's gone forever, stuff your face with the Animal House burger, which comes complete with two grilled cheese sandwiches serving as the buns encasing two half-pound beef patties, chili, bacon and fried onion rings.

Now, let's take a look at the restaurants that opened this week. Hint: we have ramen, and more Japanese and Korean food.

Heights General Store opened on Saturday, November 9, in the location that previously housed Harolds. CultureMap Houston reports that Heights General Store is a market downstairs selling produce and prepared foods from local vendors. Upstairs it is a restaurant, serving lunch daily, and breakfast and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Chef Antoine Ware, previously of Federal Grill, Catalan and Hay Merchant, has created a menu that showcases Southern items such as the Carolina pulled pork sammie with a pickled vegetable salad on the lunch menu; soy- and honey-glazed pork chop with braised greens, sweet potatoes and corn bread on the dinner menu; smothered pork grillades with mama's cheezie grits on the brunch menu; and a potato hash with bacon or sausage, bell peppers, onions and a fried egg for breakfast.

Good Dog Houston opened its brick-and-mortar at 903 Studewood on Thursday, November 14. The hot dog restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m., according to a Facebook announcement.

Nara, a Korean-inspired restaurant from Chef Donald Chang, previously of Uptown Sushi, Bluefin, The Fish and Miyako, opened on Wednesday, November 13, at West Avenue in River Oaks. Nara's menu features small-bite dishes such as oxtail rice cakes, jellyfish salad with cured jellyfish, and dumplings with Spanish Duroc pork, as well as full-size items such as Berkshire pork and organic chicken, spicy oxtail ramen, and a bulgogi pot pie. Chang tells Kaitlin Steinberg that his goal is to show how Korean food can evolve into lighter, healthier fare while maintaining aspects of the food he enjoyed as a child.

Tiger Den reopened on Wednesday, November 13, after closing its doors a few days after a soft opening (for staff training). Co-owner Mike Tran tells Greg Morago of the Houston Chronicle that Tiger Den serves Hakata-style ramen, which take much longer to prepare -- they are thin, firm noodles served in a creamy broth. Even though everyone is excited about Tiger Den as a new ramen hot spot in Chinatown, Tran tells Morago that the restaurant serves more than just ramen bowls: the menu includes robata-grilled chicken gizzard, chicken hearts, pork belly, beef liver and beef tongue. It's also a reasonably priced restaurant. In fact, Mai Pham reports that the chicken wings are approximately $1.50 per order and a bowl of ramen costs about $9.

Another market is coming to the Houston area, but not until 2015. Swamplot reports that a new Whole Foods Market will be opening in The Woodlands near the intersection of Lake Front Circle and Lake Woodlands Dr., and that it will be approximately 40,000 square feet in size with a parking garage AND surface parking adjacent to the building -- there really shouldn't be any complaining about parking after it is built.

Swamplot also reports that Siphon Coffee will take the spot of the former Washateria in the shopping strip across Greeley Street from the Blue Bird Circle Shop on West Alabama. The coffee shop will open by the end of this year. According to its Facebook page, Siphon Coffee will serve more than just coffee and espresso. Amanda McGraw, former chef at Brasserie 19, designed the menu and trained the in-house chef. Siphon Coffee will also offer craft beer and wine.

Cravin' Cajun held its grand opening on Sunday, November 10. From the looks of the photos posted on Facebook, which included the Cravin' Fries topped with shrimp, crawfish and crab sauce mix, this seafood and Asian-fusion restaurant is offering a variety of intriguing dishes to the Katy area.

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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