Restaurant News

Openings & Closings: September 2012, Plus Picking a New Name for Calliope's Po-Boy

After a supremely busy seven days for restaurant news last week, this week let up a little bit -- but not by much. Starting off the week was news that chef Erin Smith is leaving Plonk. Her last day will be October 13 and after a brief trip to visit family, Smith will be back in Houston looking for her next adventure.

Eater Houston reported that the old NABI space finally has a new tenant confirmed: Pistolero's, from the same owner -- Shawn Bermudez -- of Royal Oak. According to editor Eric Sandler, Pistolero's will offer "a menu of Latin and Mexican flavors that will delight and pair well with tequila and lime."

Oh, and City Council members, guess what? Bermudez -- a restaurant owner -- is also a partner in popular food trucks Golden Grill and Koagie Hots.

See Also: - Houston's Top 10 Crawfish Joints - Houston's Top 10 Coffeehouses - Houston's Top 10 Sushi Restaurants

Third Ward restaurant/culinary art gallery The Eat Gallery is moving, leaving behind its digs at 4420 Almeda and joining the co-working space at CoInside as the building's newest tenants.

"We have 11 days of food art during operating hours and seven curated experiences left at 4420 to laugh, eat, dream, and party our way into new opportunity," wrote Eat Gallery owners/curators Danielle Fanfair and Marlon F. Hall. "Beginning October 1, our new homebase will be CoInside, Houston's progressive shared co-working space! Located at 1919 Houston Avenue in a beautifully restored firehouse, The Eat Gallery will continue to nurture dreams among innovative dreamers, believers and doers in The Heights!"

In the meantime, The Eat Gallery will continue to host its "culinary artists" in the Almeda space until the big move -- at which point the same artists will move along with Fanfair and Hall. They include:

  • Ella Russell of Edubalicious Treats
  • Keisha Bocage of Bocage Catering
  • Robert Lopez of Kickin' Kombucha
  • Matthew Toomey of Boomtown Coffee
  • Sabali Mpozi Earth of Vegan Comfort

The downtown location of Morton's the Steakhouse has a new look and a new lunch menu, according to a press release. The restaurant has added new carpet, artwork, booths, seating and lighting to a renovated dining room (seen above) as well as a renovated bar. The similarly renovated lunch menu allows guests to enjoy a three-course meal starting at $29, served Tuesday through Friday.

Over at CultureMap, Ralph Bivins is reporting that two longtime Houston restaurateurs will be opening new restaurants in the BBVA Compass building that's currently under construction. Long rumored to be looking for a second location, Hugo Ortega of Hugo's and Backstreet Cafe is one of those two restaurateurs. John Sheely of Mockingbird Cafe is the other. Sheely plans a 4,000-square-foot osteria, while Ortega has leased 8,000 feet of space.

Lastly, get ready to help EaDo favorite Calliope's Po-Boy find a new name. Owner Lisa Carnley is letting the new Calliope's Po-Boy on West Bellfort have that name, and she's asking customers at her location to help rename her po-boy shop.

"Instead of coming up with a name myself -- because it was so tough last time -- I wanted to let Houston decide on the name of the business," Carnley says. "We thought it would be fun." In fact, if you check out page 83 of the 2012 Best of Houston® issue, you'll see Carnley's smiling face and details on the renaming contest, the winner of which will receive recognition for their contribution as well as a party for ten of their friends.

As far as the perfect new name, Carnley says she's looking for something that signifies a "Cajun restaurant in Houston" as well as one that she "can trademark and market well." It's especially important now that she's planning on renovating and expanding the space -- even adding to-go daiquiris just like they do in New Orleans.

If you've got the perfect name picked out, e-mail Carnley at poboyshop at gmail dot com.

For the monthly wrap-up of openings and closings, head to the next page...

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Katharine Shilcutt