Bar Beat

Openings and Closings : Rodeo Goat Is here, Postino Opens This Week

Yes, that's a goat with a saddle on it.
Yes, that's a goat with a saddle on it. Photo courtesy of Rodeo Goat Ice House

Rodeo Goat Ice House
, 2118 Lamar, opened March 26. Originally opened in Fort Worth by restaurateur and prominent Dallas native, Shannon Wynne, he and his partners Keith Schlabs and Larry Richardson have landed the third location of this uniquely Texas burger joint in a renovated warehouse in EaDo. The second location opened in Dallas in 2015.

Wynne is no stranger to Houston, having opened The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium in August 2000 and the now-shuttered 8.0, in the '80s. He has been behind the openings of numerous restaurants and clubs and according to Paper City magazine, he will be bringing his seafood restaurant, Flying Fish, to the Heights in the near future.

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Marvin Zindler would be proud.
Photo courtesy of Rodeo Goat Ice House
Using meat from 44 Farms, the burger patties are ground in-house. The burger options are fun and creative and as with the other two locations, the burger monikers represent each city's personalities. Houstonians well remember the colorful newsman Marvin Zindler ( as does anyone who saw the film or musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) and there is a burger named after the man whose " slime in the ice machine!" phrase became a news hour staple.The MZ is a burger topped with applewood smoked bacon, jalapenos, beefsteak tomato, fried onion, cheddar, pickle chutney and homemade BBQ sauce. If you decide to wear a white suit and blue shades as an homage to Marvin while eating his namesake burger, watch out for drippage.

Other recognizable names are on the menu such as the Billy F Gibbons and the Neil Young, both vegetarian burgers. You can also order the goat balls. Don't get excited Andrew Zimmern wannabes, these aren't real goat, ahem, balls. They are fried brie with blackberry compote.

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If you're going to order goat balls, you might as well have some moontang to wash them down.
Photo courtesy of Rodeo Goat Ice House
The huge patio offers several seating options: bar stools, picnic tables, and if you really want to get comfy, wicker chairs with cushions, just like Granny's house.

There are a couple of entree salads, but by the list of ingredients, they are pretty substantial so probably not a low-calorie option. You might as well blow off the diet and have a fried pecan pie for dessert ($3).

For patrons requiring a cold beverage with their Terlingua (brisket chili burger with corn chips), there are a variety of Texas drafts and American crafts, with happy hour from 4 p.m to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you order a beer bucket, you get 5 beers for the price of 4. Bring a friend.

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Have cozy conversations at Postino.
Photo courtesy of Postino Wine cafe
Postino Wine Cafe, 642 Yale, is opening this Wednesday, April 11. The Phoenix-based company is opening its eighth location in a renovated 1940s warehouse in the Heights.

With a variety of bruschetta, panini, salads, and cheese and charcuterie boards, the stylish cafe is a perfect place for a long afternoon or fun evening with friends, hanging out on the patio and sampling the wine menu, curated by Advanced Sommelier, Brent Karlicek. Beer drinkers will also have a variety of craft brews to choose from.

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If you rose all day, make sure you nosh, too.
Photo courtesy of Postino Wine Cafe

For those whose bosses frown upon day drinking during the week, Postino opens at 9.a.m. for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, so call up your besties for bellinis and breakfast paninis.

Postino is located right off the bike trail, so cyclists can reward themselves with a drink and a nibble before moseying on home. Make sure you wear a helmet.

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Chef Nick Wong proves road trips can lead to great things.
Photo by Claudia Casbarian

UB Preserv, 1609 Westheimer, has a maybe opening date of April 16, but it has a definite new chef de cuisine, Nick Wong. In fact, Wong just arrived in Houston on April 4 to start creating a menu with owner and chef, Chris Shepherd, for the newest concept from Underbelly Hospitality.

Wong, a California native, has been cooking since sixth grade and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 2007 with a degree in nutritional science, the closest thing to cooking that was available. He then attended the French Culinary Institute in New York City before joining David Chang's Momofuku empire and cooking at both Momofuku Ko and Momofuku Ssam Bar. He hopped over to Gramercy Tavern for a year, then returned to California to work with Chris Cosentino at Incanto in San Francisco. In 2013, he returned to Momofuku Ssam Bar as sous chef and became chef de cuisine a year later.

After a cross-country road trip landed him in Houston three weeks after Hurricane Harvey, he and Shepherd connected and spent a couple of days talking, according to the Houston Chronicle.

After the closing of Underbelly, Houston foodies are waiting to see what will be familiar on Shepherd's new menu at UB Preserv and what new flavors he and Wong will create. There are plans for a possible Sunday dim sum brunch with the best dumplings in Houston.

Black Bear Diner, 24600 Katy Freeway, opened March 19, according to EaterHouston. The chain out of Northern California offers diner-style eating centered around a bear theme. The diner opens at 6 a.m. daily for breakfast serving dishes like the Big Foot Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs ($13) for those with bear-sized appetites or smaller plates like the Mini Volcano, which includes two pancakes, one link sausage, one slice bacon and one egg.

For lunch, there are burgers and sandwiches and dishes such as slow-cooked pot roast and wild Alaskan salmon for dinner. No bear meat, though. That's just for decoration.

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The owners take a quick photo break before finishing the final preparations.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
Dattz Pizza, 11730 Grant, is reopening April 9. The pizza place was hit with flooding during Hurricane Harvey and after the owners spent four days cleaning up and tearing out sheetrock, a nearby store caught fire and it spread to Dattz, creating a much bigger problem. It has been a long road for the owners, but the big day has come and they are ready to roll out their delicious carry-out and delivery pizza to the surrounding neighborhoods. Its Facebook page is bursting with loyal patrons ready to be the first in line. If the comments are anything to go on, these people have been seriously jonesing for its pizza for the past seven months.

Folks also really dig the pepperoni rolls. We like the eggplant parmesan. There are also salads and a couple of pasta dishes available.

Olive Garden, 14231 East Sam Houston Parkway North, opens April 9. Don't be a snob. You know you love those breadsticks.

Fuddruckers, 4360 Kingwood, reopened February 20 after renovations and repairs from, you guessed it, Hurricane Harvey. We aren't sure if they really are the world's greatest hamburgers, but the folks in Kingwood are more excited than one would expect.

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Ben McPherson is previewing his Italian concept April 10.
Photo by William Hardin

BOH Pasta will be opening soon at Bravery Chef Hall, 409 Travis. When is Bravery Chef Hall opening? We don't know for sure, but it is slated for this summer. What we do know is you can get a preview of Ben McPherson's new Italian concept at the pop-up on April 10, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m, at the Aris Tower rooftop, which will house Bravery Chef Hall. Tickets are $50 and include wines curated by Bravery Chef Hall partner/grape alchemist Shepard Ross and brews from Bearded Fox.

McPherson's food will be the star with multiple chef stations including samples of dishes like artichoke alla Romana, pizza, porchetta and various antipasti and bruschetta. Ben McPherson, formerly executive chef at Batanga and founder of Krisp Bird and Batter, will be one of five chefs operating in the unique chef-driven food hall. BOH (pronounced bo) is Italian slang for " I don't know". His new concept will have a Marra Forni oven for traditional Neopolitan pizzas and wood-roasted dishes. The pasta will be made with freshly-milled heirloom flours and farm fresh eggs. There will be a seasonally evolving menu for vegetables at their peak.

Joining the chef line-up at Bravery Chef Hall, according to Paper City, will be Christine Ha, known for winning Season 3 of Master Chef despite being blind. Ha's finesse and skill wowed Gordan Ramsay and now she will wow Houston diners with her Vietnamese gastropub, Blind Goat, a nod to her blindness and her Vietnamese zodiac sign.

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Osso Buco is oh-so-amazing.
Photo by Felix Sanchez
Carmelo's Cucina Italiana, 14795 Memorial, has seen some major changes since longtime owner and founder Mauro Carmelo closed his eponymous restaurant on December 25, 2017. Carmelo's in Austin had shuttered previously and Houstonians were sad to hear that the original Houston location was following suit. However, in stepped Benjamin Berg of Berg Hospitality Group, the team behind B&B Butchers and Restaurant in Houston and Fort Worth and the upcoming restaurant, Benjamin, which will open in the fall of 2018. Berg buys the much-loved restaurant with the blessing of Mauro Carmelo and all is well with the world.

Berg has also brought in his brother, Daniel Berg, as executive chef and partner.

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Bistecca alla Fiorentina is for hearty appetites(and wallets).
Photo by Karen Henry
Daniel Berg graduated from Tulane University in 2004 but found the typical desk job wasn't getting his creative juices flowing, so he enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in his hometown of New York. After graduation, he honed his craft in Michelin starred restaurants in Italy and Sicily and later in New York restaurants Le Bernardin and Daniel, the namesake powerhouse restaurant from Daniel Boulud. More recently he was executive chef and partner at the Tribeca bistro, Yves.

The new menu promises to be authentic Italian with a contemporary twist using fresh ingredients. One look at the photos confirms that promise.

Carmelo's wine list is curated by sommelier Lexey Johnson and will focus on unique Italian wines in the $65 to $95 range.

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Mike Raymond is the go-to-guy for your whiskey fix.
Photo by Julie Soefer

The Cottonmouth Club, 108 Main, is opening April 13 in the historic Brewster building downtown. Whiskey expert, Mike Raymond of Reserve 101, award-winning bartender Michael Neff, and renowned designer Greg Swanson have collaborated to bring " the least cocktail-y cocktail bar we could come up with". The new hotspot will be open daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and happy hour will be Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Expect cocktails like the Absinthe Frappe, a concoction of blackberry, mint, absinthe and Xtabentun bitters. Whiskey will also be in play with Neff and Raymond creating blends that are aged in bourbon barrels from Houston's Yellow Rose Distillery.

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Michael Neff: The master at work.
Photo by Amelia Tubb
The owners want the bar to be a " come one, come all " sort of hangout, so " Come on! "

The tuna tower at Blue Onyx Bistro.
Photo courtesy of The Epicurean Publicist

Blue Onyx Bistro
, 4720 Richmond, is celebrating its grand opening April 10 with cocktails and hors-d'oeuvres from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. We reported on the soft opening last week of chef David Chang's new restaurant here in the Houston Press.

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Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.