A view to a brewery and a city.EXPAND
A view to a brewery and a city.
Photo courtesy of Saint Arnold Brewing

Openings and Closings: Saint Arnold's Beer Garden Opens, Vallone's Closes

Saint Arnold Beer Garden and Restaurant, 2000 Lyons, officially opened July 23 right next door to Saint Arnold Brewing Company. Taking its cue from its patron saint of beer, the interior has nooks or "chapels' that have been decorated with murals from local Houston artists like GONZO247 (a former SA employee), Robynn Sanders, Nick Papas and others, making a cozy setting for a group of your beer drinking compatriots.

With executive chef Ryan Savoie, who joined Saint Arnold in 2013, the much larger kitchen will be turning out dishes like Texas Hot Fried Chicken: battered thighs sauced with duck fat Fire Emoji on house-baked toasted bread. With Raclette mac & cheese on the side, you'll be tipping the scales of pleasure and at the doctor's office.

Your insides can be as hot as the weather outside.EXPAND
Your insides can be as hot as the weather outside.
Photo courtesy of Saint Arnold Brewing Company

There will also be specialty pizzas with names like Der Valkyrie (aka The Colonel Klink, for those who remember Hogan's Heroes) and Mucho Meatcho. Sandwich choices include the crawfish roll and the house-cured corned beef Rueben. The bread and pizza crusts are made in-house, as well.

Some favorites from the beer hall will be on the new menu. The Classic Beer Hall itself will be open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The beer garden and restaurant will be open Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

A mural from GONZO247 decorates a "chapel".EXPAND
A mural from GONZO247 decorates a "chapel".
Photo courtesy of Saint Arnold Brewing Company

The beer garden will also have bocce courts and cornhole for beer drinking entertainment, with views of the Houston skyline. The restaurant is kid-friendly and will have designated outdoor areas for the pooches, so you can bring the whole family, including Aunt Bertha. She does love her pint of Santo.

Vallone's, 947 Gessner, had its final service on July 20, according to Eater Houston. The upscale fine dining restaurant opened in 2013 and quickly became a meeting place for the well-heeled and the high-heeled. The steakhouse from restaurateur Tony Vallone and general manager and partner, Scott Sulma is famed for its hand-cut steaks and towering wine wall. Loyal Vallone customers still have Tony's, 3755 Richmond, for their perfectly cooked dry-aged, bone-in ribeye.

The rice noodle bowl is filled with goodness.EXPAND
The rice noodle bowl is filled with goodness.
Photo courtesy of De Dao

De Dao Hunan Style Tapas, 25410 Northwest Freeway, Cypress opened June 23, and celebrated its grand opening June 28.

The Chinese tapas restaurant has a drive-thru and take-out service.The pan fried pork buns are a popular item, with the soft dumpling top giving way to the soup inside. Other menu offerings include snacks like De Dao's fried mini donuts with mashed purple sweet potato filling.

Chicken skewers on the spicy side.EXPAND
Chicken skewers on the spicy side.
Photo courtesy of De Dao

The combo option allows for a choice of rice noodle bowl, egg noodle bowl or wrap plus a variety of small plates to round out your combination. There are also boba milk teas and flavored iced teas.

Enjoy hookah on the patio.
Enjoy hookah on the patio.
Photo courtesy of Cedars Tapas Bar

Cedars Tapas Bar, 403 W. Gray, officially opened July 18. The space was previously occupied by The Ship and Shield, a viking themed bar which closed in December 2017.

Openings and Closings: Saint Arnold's Beer Garden Opens, Vallone's Closes
Photo courtesy of Cedar Tapas Bar

Cedars Bakery owner, Sam Assi, is bringing a menu of small plates which feature the flavors of the Mediterranean, including Lebanese, Greek , Spanish and Turkish cuisine, influenced by his travels and his own heritage. On the tapas side, expect plates like fried goat cheese balls, fried calamari and beef bites with grilled peppers and caper berries. There are also familiar favorites like tabouli, hummus and kabobs.

There are plans for a grand opening and expanded hours, soon.

Etro Lounge, 1424 Westheimer,will have its final night of '80s fun on July 28 before moving to its new spot at 114 Main, downtown. However, the space has been leased by Bobby Heugel of Anvil Bar and Refuge, The Pastry War and Better Luck Tomorrow, according to Eater.

Etro and Anvil have been sympathetic neighbors for many years and Heugel felt some trepidation, according to his Facebook post, about taking over his neighbor's former space. However, with his recent lease renewal for Anvil, he felt it made sense to take the landlord's offer to lease the space next door. Don't expect an expansion of Anvil, though. Heugel is not giving any details about plans for the new venture, but with Heugel's experience and creativity, it will be special.

Verdine, 449 W. 19th, is planned for fall 2018. The new restaurant comes from Ripe Cuisine's chef and owner Stephanie Hoban. She began selling her vegan food at the Farmer's Markets around town in 2013 then branched out to her Ripe food truck in 2014. Now, Hoban will bring her 100 percent plant-based dishes to the Heights Waterworks in the fall. Some of the most popular dishes from the Ripe food truck will still be on the new menu, including the Bistro Burger, a lentil-mushroom patty served on a locally made wheat bun with cashew "chevre".

Verdine will also offer beer and wine, grab n' go meals and a weekend brunch.

The Union Jax.EXPAND
The Union Jax.
Photo courtesy of the Union Jax

The Union Kitchen and Jax Grill, will open in early 2019 at Stableside at Falcon Landing, a NewQuest Properties 34.4 acre development in Katy. It will be the sixth location for The Union Kitchen and the third for Jax Grill. The two concepts come from Gr8 Hospitality.

The Union Kitchen will seat 450, while Jax Grill will seat 350. They will have large covered patios sharing a green space.

The Elvis Waffle will make you a "chunk of burnin' love".EXPAND
The Elvis Waffle will make you a "chunk of burnin' love".
Photo courtesy of The Union Kitchen

The Union Kitchen is " Global Cuisine with Southern Hospitality" and owners Paul and Doris Miller have created a concept that is meant to bring friends and family together. The menu is extensive and the restaurant offers lunch, dinner and a weekend brunch.

If you haven't checked out Jax Grill before, you can try one of the two current spots July 29 for its 25th anniversary celebration. Starting at 4 p.m., both locations will offer 25 cent 1/4 lb. hamburgers, one per customer. The Bellaire location, 6510 S. Rice Avenue, will have free popcorn, sno-cones and cotton candy from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., while the restaurant at 1613 Shepherd will feature live music from LT and the Zydeco Mob, along with happy hour specials from 4 p.m. to close.

Midtown is booming.EXPAND
Midtown is booming.
Artist's rendering courtesy of Union Venture Group

Union Venture Group, an Austin-based hospitality group, is bringing two new concepts to Midtown Houston in September 2018. Side by side along the main block of Brazos Street will be two different businesses. 77 Degrees will be a rooftop bar with 14,000 square feet and four levels of cabana-style seating. There will be specialty drinks and Caribbean tapas.

The second concept will be Jack and Ginger's Irish Pub, a traditional pub with a modern twist. There will be 80 beers on tap and the pub will serve Irish and American comfort food. There will be a large covered patio as well.

Hubbell & Hudson Bistro, 24 Waterway Avenue, is re-branding, according to CultureMap Houston. Executive chef Austin Simmons is taking the Woodlands restaurant away from the 'bistro" connotation since the concept has always been more of a fine dining locale known for its steaks. The re-branding comes with a new name, TRIS, after Simmons' daughter.

Working with chef de cuisine, Courtney Taraboi, and executive sous chef Brian Stanek, Simmons is creating a more global menu with a focus on classic techniques and sauces. Simmons will also introduce four new ways of cooking the steaks that the restaurant is known for.

The restaurant will close after service August 25 and reopen September 7. Along with some renovations, there will be new fixtures and furnishings, with the booths being replaced with tables, allowing for a more classic waiter service. The owners and chef would have done the renovations earlier, but wanted to be able to participate in Houston Restaurant Weeks, the month-long restaurant event which benefits the Houston Food Bank. HRW begins August 1.

The rumor mill is churning out a possible Houston location for Wahlburgers, the Wahlberg family burger joint founded by Paul Wahlberg, with brother Mark (he of the breathtaking Calvin Klein ads and New Kids On the Block, plus mega movie star) and Donnie, also of the New Kids fame (plus playing Danny Reagan on Blue Bloods). Sharp eyes spotted the  "Houston-Coming Soon" announcement on the Wahlburgers website, but nothing definitive has been announced. Meanwhile, local news sources are lighting up the internet with speculation. In a press statement to the Houston Press, franchise partner Andrew Thomas said, " We look forward to entering Texas through the Greater Houston area in 2019."

The enterprise has also resulted in a reality television show called " Wahlburgers", but the restaurant doesn't just rely on the family's fame. People seriously love the burgers themselves.

Openings and Closings: Saint Arnold's Beer Garden Opens, Vallone's ClosesEXPAND
Photo courtesy of Raising Cane's

Raising Cane's, the One Love chicken finger chain is breaking ground on three new restaurants, which are expected to open within weeks of one another in November 2018. The new stores will make 36 in Houston, 140 in Texas and 418 altogether. That's a lot of chickens missing fingers.

The sauces are as famous as the chicken fingers themselves.EXPAND
The sauces are as famous as the chicken fingers themselves.
Photo courtesy of Raising Cane's

If you are a " Caniac", you can sate your cravings at the three new locations in November: 1640 West Bay Area Boulevard, 10215 West Grand Parkway (in Richmond) and 15231 Wallisville Road.

And to end on a happy note, El Tiempo 1308 Cantina, 1308 Montrose, will not be closing at the end of July as reported here last week in the Press. The landlord and owners of Sunrise Montrose Apartments have offered Roland Laurenzo an extension on the month-to-month lease, due to construction delays. Laurenzo says that they don't know how long the extension will be, but for now, loyal Montrose customers can still enjoy the 1308 margaritas and tasty food. However, the fiesta closing party has been cancelled. That doesn't mean you can't still go and have a fiesta of your own.

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