The big news this week for burger fans: The Burger Guys announced plans a second location of the popular west-side restaurant downtown. Instead of a pop-up run this time, the Guys will have a full-time restaurant in the city's central business district in the old Korma Sutra location at 706 Main.
Says original Burger Guy crew member Brandon Fisch, who returned to the restaurant after stints at Yelapa and Xuco Xicana: "[The pop-up] at Kitchen Incubator just wasn't fair to our customers. We wanted to show them that we're about more than just burgers -- we're also about fries and milkshakes and other things. We're the full package." To that end, Fisch says that the downtown location of the burger joint will offer "more stuff" on the menu, including items such as salads and fresh-squeezed juices.
The new spot will also be much bigger. "In the Westchase location," says Fisch, "we only have about 30 seats. At the new place, we have 100 to 120. It's huge." He and owner Jake Mazzu didn't have to look hard for the space, either: It came to them. The landlord, hearing positive things about The Burger Guys original restaurant and its downtown pop-up, approached them about being his new tenants -- and the deal was done.
The Burger Guys also plan to eventually offer dinner, but plan to be open for lunch only at first. "Our first priority is to get the doors open," says Fisch, who estimates that those doors will swing open in 30 to 45 days. "Our two-year anniversary is September 10," says Fisch. "It would be really cool to open that day, but we'll see." Either way, he and Mazzu already have the first burger special planned: "A Hatch chile burger," says Fisch. "That's the burger we opened up with."
After months of speculation on the location of her rumored cocktail bar, Alba Huerta has announced that she'll be opening Julep in the old Corkscrew location at 1919 Washington Avenue. The historic building will be restored to its fully glory, showcasing a secluded backroom bar that was built but never used for public service as well as a patio in a space currently used as a garage. Huerta plans at Southern-centric menu of drinks and food at Julep, which will specialize in -- you guessed it -- bourbon cocktails.
"There's just something special about a finely crafted classic Mint Julep that strikes a chord with people," said Huerta. "It never fails to bring out a smile." It should also bring a smile to peoples' faces that Julep is adding to the more "serious" side of Washington Avenue, which features craft beer bars like Liberty Station, restaurants like Beaver's and The Broken Spoke and coffee shops like Catalina instead of gaudy nightclubs. Julep plans a January 2013 opening.
In other booze news, the second location of Sonoma Wine Bar has quietly opened in the Heights at 801 Studewood. "Pssst! Don't tell all your friends, but we're swinging the doors open to our Heights location tonight for a soft opening," the wine bar wrote on its Facebook page. "We're pouring delicious wines, cracking open ice cold beers and serving up artisanal cheese and charcuterie plates." Oops -- secret's out.
Just down the street, it appears that the planned second location of Killen's Steakhouse has hit some snags. Eater Houston reports that lease negotiations on the former Stella Sola location were taking far longer than planned, although the building's owner says "that the deal is still on."
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Meanwhile over at West Ave in the Upper Kirby district, Del Frisco's Grille is set to replace the now-closed/consolidated Ava Kitchen & Whiskey Bar. The restaurant plans to be a less fancy-schmancy version of the Del Frisco Double Eagle Steakhouse in the Galleria, according to general manager Arthur Mooradian, who announced the news on The Cleverley Show last Saturday.
Not far from the Galleria, 1252 Tapas Bar has opened its third official location at Uptown Park in an unusual case of a suburban restaurant moving into the city. 1252 Tapas first opened in The Woodlands, then Cypress. The restaurant is planning a grand opening celebration, open to the public, on Wednesday, August 15 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The party will include live music by father-son flamenco guitar duo Jando, passed tapas, $1 house-made red and white sangria, $2 Estrella Damm beer, complimentary tequila shots and giveaways throughout the night.