Openings & Closings: Surprising Shutterings and Provocative Plans

There were about as many openings as closings this week (way to maintain an equilibrium, Houston!), but we did get news of many upcoming restaurants with plans to open in the next several months.

First, the bad news.

CultureMap reports that River Oaks Coffee House at the corner of Edloe and Westheimer was open for business one day and closed and empty the next. A sign on the door read, "It is with great sadness that we announce the closing of our doors and we apologize for our prompt departure...We hope that we have served you well and helped brighten your mornings during our time here." In the comments on the story, people seem to be blaming large, corporate coffee chains for putting independent owners out of business.

Farm to Market Restaurant in Kingwood made a similar announcement to that of River Oaks Coffee House, only they did it via Facebook. The post reads, "Thank you to everyone who has supported our humble little establishment and who have made us a part of their routine! Sadly, we will closing our doors indefinitely. It has truly been a wonderful journey for all of us." Two days later, the restaurant posted a confusing call for family photos of fishing trips on the Facebook page, hinting that they would like to use them in the decor for a new restaurant. "Want to be a part of something new and exciting?" the post reads. "Same principles, different concept... but we need your help!" So...Farm to Market appears to be closing and reopening at some point with a seafood theme? I suppose time will tell.

B4-U-Eat reports on the closure of The County Line BBQ on Cutten Road, which is the last of the County Line chain in the Houston area. Evidently, Campioni Restaurant was granted a beverage permit for the now closed County Line location back in June. It's unclear whether Campioni is moving or opening a second restaurant.

Cheap Eats in Houston tells us that The Brooklyn Cafe in the Woodlands has also closed.

Now for the good stuff...sort of.

B4-U-Eat reports that Diego's Cantina closed and has reopened as Musas Sports Bar with the same address, same phone number and same management, but a totally different vibe. Musas Sports Bar still serves Mexican food on the menu, but it also serves up a lot of hot chicks in skimpy outfits.

Daddio'z Pizza began a soft opening last week in Webster, according to B4-U-Eat, but they're still in the process of hiring and training employees. They are currently open seven days a week and serving pizza in house or to take home and bake yourself. The menu includes pizza, wings and a few sides and salads. But can we talk for just a second about the possessive "z" in the name? I'm sorry, I can't get past that.

Cheap Eats Houston tells us that Bambu Desserts and Drinks opened its second local shop on Tomball Parkway in north Houston. The Vietnamese coffee and tea shop specializes in milk bubble tea and exotic jelly smoothie desserts. I'm super intrigued by some of the desserts, like the chè trái cây, which includes lychee, longan, red tapioca, jackfruit, palm seed, pandan jelly, jello and young coconut.

A similar shop called Honey Bee Teahouse and Fast Food also opened this week. Located on Bellaire Boulevard, the tea house serves much more than just tea and coffee drinks. Its Facebook has photos of delicious looking Peking duck bao and squid bao, filled with sautéed squid, kimchi, sautéed cabbage and crab and topped with a spicy homemade sauce.

Eater notes that what appears to be a food truck in-the-making was spotted outside of Boheme Cafe & Wine Bar in Montrose. The chef told Eater to expect completely different food from what is served at the bar, including upscale comfort food like fried cornish hen.

This week, we got word of many restaurants and bars that haven't opened yet, but are well on their way. Check out the next page for some of the highlights.

We got a sneak peek at Vallone's Steakhouse, opening in Memorial City in October, thanks to a mock-up posted on the Vallone's Facebook page. Tony's chef Grant Gordon and general manager Scott Sulma are excited about the progress of the new restaurant, and Sulma tells CultureMap that about 90 percent of the menu is ready and they're already taking reservations for the private dining rooms. For more photos of the restaurant's development, Sulma encourages people to follow its progress on Facebook and Twitter.

The Texas Taco Co. will be opening in Friendswood this September, according to Eater. Eater's report describes it as "comfort-meets-contemporary fare that is beginning to characterize the modern Mexican options," but notes that the menu is pretty similar to the menu of Torchy's Tacos.

Another much-anticipated restaurant is nearing completion. Ronnie Killen of Killen's BBQ and Killen's Steakhouse is set to become a permanent restaurant (as opposed to a weekend pop up) in October or November, when renovations on the former Pearland ISD cafeteria are completed. Killen gave CultureMap some details about one of the most exciting aspects of the new restaurant, the reserve flow brick pits used for smoking Killen's famous meat.

We don't have many details, but the Chronicle reports that Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs are finally coming to Texas, and Houston is the first stop. The grand opening will take place in about three months at the new Memorial City Mall location. The chain is already pretty popular around the country, so it's about damn time Nathan's came to Texas. Ken Hoffman of the Chronicle says these are legit New York hot dogs, and though the dogs are good, the fries are even better.

Finally, Chris Cusack, Benjy Mason and Richard Knight unveiled their plans for their new venture, a bar called Hunky Dory, to the Chronicle's Alison Cook this week. The new Heights bar won't be opening for at least another year, but excitement is already growing thanks to the success of the group's other efforts, Down House and D&T Drive Inn. The trio hopes to provide upscale but accessible food in a casual setting. They told Cook that some of their menu ideas include "wood-baked oysters with Manchego cheese and ham, grilled mussels with curry butter, a tongue and mustard sandwich" and "something called a 'man steak': either beef for four people, pork for two, or lamb for one, all served with fries, mashed potatoes, board juices and fresh greens." So wait, we have to wait a whole year for this? Ugh.

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