Openings & Closings: The All-Montrose Edition

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It's all Montrose, all the time this week: Nearly every bit of restaurant scoop for the past several days has come out of the Montrose, starting with an announcement last night from the owners of the Eatsie Boys food truck: "EBOY BREAKING NEWS: We have signed a lease in Mmmontrose. Eboy 3.0 storefront set to open this summer. More details to come."

The Eatsie Boy in the Cookie Monster hat, Matt Marcus, told Eater Houston this morning that they'd be moving into a brick-and-mortar location that's currently occupied by another tenant -- which means more speculation will soon commence about which Montrose joint is closing. The Eatsie Boys plan to serve their popular ice creams and gelatos alongside sandwiches, charcuterie and more when the new place opens this summer.

With the long-anticipated opening of The Hay Merchant out of the way, the crew behind the old Chances complex can now focus on opening their next component: "We will be opening the Wine Bar at Underbelly [today] at 4:00 p.m. so that we can begin doing wine service," said a press release from Underbelly last night. The Wine Bar will be open every day except Sunday, from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. each day. Greg Morago at the Chronicle got a sneak peek of the place, which features works by local artist Carlos Hernandez.

There won't be a full menu at the Wine Bar (1100 Westheimer), as expected, but it will serve small bites of cheese and charcuterie. Don't worry about waiting too long for that full menu, though: According to the press release, Underbelly "will begin soft service in the restaurant Thursday, March 1st and will be open to the public on March 5th."

Ever since the old convenience store at the corner of Fairview and Taft was renovated -- reusing all the beautiful old bricks in the process, and paving a big, pretty parking lot surrounded by greenery -- I've wondered why the hell a restaurant hasn't moved in there.

This week, my question has finally been answered: A restaurant calling itself Cuchara (which means "spoon" in Spanish) has leased the nearly 3,000-square-foot space and is busy moving in. Cuchara seems to be related to Nessa's Mexican Restaurant, located in Jersey Village.

Down the street, the embattled Ruggles finally closed its doors this week as owner Bruce Molzan told the Houston Business Journal that he was planning to open a new restaurant within a few months.

That other restaurant is most decidedly not Bistro by Ruggles, however, which officially changed its name to Roots Bistro (507 Westheimer, 713-524-1000) after severing all ties with Molzan. Chef German Mosquera -- who got his start at Ruggles Green -- is now running the place solo along with the financial assistance of an area doctor. Thank God, too, because the Ruggles curse very well may have followed Mosquera into what is otherwise an amazing restaurant.

I ate at Roots Bistro for the first time a few weeks ago, before the name change, and was surprised to see the old Cafe Moustache space completely facelifted and given new life. Mosquera's appetizer of tart-sweet braised Swiss chard and kale made me think fondly of the roasted cauliflower dish at the similarly named Roost, not too far away on Fairview, and how vegetables are now being appreciated on their own terms instead of battered, fried or drenched in sauce.

Roots or Roost, it's great to have both additions to the neighborhood.

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