Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: The Non-Montrose Edition

We had a few comments last week bemoaning the fact that the week's restaurant news was all out of Montrose. "Montrose - within a 10 minute drive for only 14% of the Greater Houston Metropolitan area, and yet it gets a least a third of the restaurant coverage in the Houston Press," wrote one commenter. "Not a criticism, just an observation."

And it's funny -- restaurant news does that. Notices of openings or closings will swing wildly in one direction of town one week, then to another the next. As with this week, where much of the news comes out of Memorial.

But first, from the Galleria area: Old Heidelberg on Fountainview at San Felipe is officially dead and gone. While there was some initial speculation that it would become a Middle Eastern restaurant, it has actually transformed into Harvest Live Grille & Bar. I have no idea why the "grille" is live nor why it has an "e" on the end of it.

Harvest plans to offer a menu of "locally grown, organic selections" of meat, seafood and produce as well as an "unlimited salad bar." In keeping with its green bent, Harvest also says that it will have sustainable wine and "organically inspired cocktails." Let's hope they're better than the ones were at Sugarcane.

Meanwhile, over in Memorial... The Lantern Lane shopping center is looking a little lonelier now that French Gourmet Bakery has closed (although the Westheimer location is still happily open). The owners shut the doors on February 18 and are looking for a new space on the west side.

In the very same shopping center, Hunan Emperor also closed recently after what seems like three decades in the Chinese restaurant business. Like the French Gourmet Bakery, the restaurant left amidst rumors of increasingly high rent prices at Lantern Lane and has now relocated to a new spot at 9013 Westheimer.

Replacing Hunan Emperor is a second location of The Union Kitchen (the first is at 4057 Bellaire). My mother drove by it the other day and reported that it looked "swanky." I should make her my intern. The Union Kitchen offers a full bar and dishes like a Jenga-looking Thai burger, as recently sampled by our own Joanna O'Leary.

Out in Cypress, Fuzzy's Tacos at 9630 Jones Road closed abruptly last week, without notifying its puzzled employees. A former employee told Cypress Today that the Fort Worth-based chain had sold the Jones Road location three months ago, and that nothing had been the same since.

Back downtown, B4-U-Eat reported that Convey Sushi -- the infrequently occupied sushi joint on Market Square -- has closed. But Eater Houston reports that Convey has the tendency to "take a hiatus now and then," sort of like the owners of Oishii on Richmond. Will it stay closed for good this time? No one knows for sure.

Also downtown, chef/owner Justin Yu has finally announced the opening date for his restaurant, Oxheart: Thursday, March 15. Says a press release of the space at 1302 Nance:

Chef Justin Yu's commitment to utilizing Houston's regional farms, ranches, and coastal fishers will create food truly unique to the Texas Gulf Coast region. With the boom of products from late winter and early spring, expect the Oxheart menu to highlight products from old friends such as Utility Research Garden, Louisiana Foods, and Revival Meats as well as goods from newly formed relationships at Three Sisters Farm, Emile St. Garden, and Augustus Ranch. Oxheart's close-knit, four-person kitchen team will be focused on creating Houston's most delicious and thought-provoking meal.

Finally, Jenny Wang reported on Twitter that Guadalajara Bakery at 4003 Washington Avenue has been given a temporary stay of execution. And I mean very temporary: It closes this Sunday, March 4. Gather ye tacos while ye may.

Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Katharine Shilcutt