Restaurant News

Openings & Closings: September 2011

Mezzanotte owner Gerry Sarmiento released the above video on his website late last month to give diners a preview of his new restaurant, Piqueo, which is scheduled to open in the middle of next month. Like Mezzanotte, Piqueo will also be in Cypress -- right next door, in fact.

"It's going to make it easy for us," Sarmiento says in the video, "because this business -- as most of you probably know -- is not an easy business." In keeping with the latest food trends, Piqueo will have a Peruvian slant to its food. "Piqueo is a Peruvian term in Spanish, Sarmiento explains, "which is used to refer to tapas-type dishes, or basically tapas." It should be noted, however, that Sarmiento is not blindly jumping on any trendwagons -- he's from Peru himself.

But in Houston, things always seem to happen in groups, and tapas in Cypress is no exception: enter the second location of 1252 Tapas, which will fill the old Fish City Grill space at the Vintage Park center at Highway 249 and Louetta. This new location will feature all of the same tapas dishes and Spanish wines from the original, but will be 150 percent larger. The new space will accommodate more than 100 diners, and -- like Piqueo -- is set to open in mid-November.

Swamplot has disturbing news for fans of Lucky Burger, The Harp, Maria Selma or any of the other businesses that line Richmond from Mandell to Dunlavy: The land has been purchased by a retail development group called Braun Enterprises. While the leases on the individual restaurants don't expire until 2014, Braun says that it isn't ruling out future development of the land -- which, to us, means that 2015 might mean both Lucky Burger's 40th anniversary and its expiration date.

That news is followed with some equally upsetting news from just down the street: Mia Bella and Saffron Moroccan Cuisine -- located right next door to each other on Lexington -- have closed, according to B4-U-Eat. That leaves Houston once again with only one Moroccan restaurant in the entire city.

More intriguing, the two now-closed restaurants are only a few blocks off Richmond from Lucky Burger et cetera. Could this mean that there's a land-grab going on in this part of town for some reason? Readers, weigh in with your own ideas in the comments section.

Meanwhile, on the next page, see the entire list of restaurant openings and closings for the very busy month of September 2011.

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Katharine Shilcutt