Early in the morning on Tuesday, September 23, Spanky's Homemade Pizza's kitchen caught on fire, causing enough damage to close the 7210 South Loop East pizza shop. No one was injured during the fire and the owner plans to reopen Spanky's. The southeast Houston restaurant posted this statement on Facebook, "For over 35 years, we have been honored to serve great food and provide a family atmosphere to generations of Houstonians. A fire won't stop us from continuing to do what we do best. Our first priority now is taking care of our employees while we work on reopening the restaurant as soon as possible. Again, thank you for your support and concern."
The Houston Chronicle reports that Otilia's, located at 7710 Long Point, closed this week. The restaurant known for the slogan, "No Tex-Mex," had a vacate notice sign posted on the door effective August 31.
After just seven months in business, Boulevard Coffee, 1030 Heights, has called it quits. The final day of service will be September 28; Boulevard Coffee informed its customers via a note on one of the cash registers. On September 9, the Heights coffee shop posted this statement on Facebook, "Even with the sign outside it's still business as usual on the inside and on our patio. Come by and enjoy your favorite pastry, slice of cake and a coffee drink. We intend to offer the same great service until our last day." As noted by the multitude of comments on this post, fans of Boulevard Coffee are quite sad that they won't be able to sit on the patio with a cup of coffee and one of the delicious kolaches anymore.
It's sad to see a farmers market close as the fall season arrives. Liz Stegint, market manager of the Richmond Farmer's Market, posted on the market's Facebook page on September 18, "It is with great sadness that the Richmond Farmers Market is being closed. We the vendors of the Richmond Farmers Market wish to thank those of you that have patronized us during the past years. We have made friendships we will value forever. Please watch for future advertising for when and if we will reopen. Some of our vendors have gone to various other markets, Fulshear has opened a new farmers market and several vendors are there, Cinco Ranch has a farmers market some of the vendors are there. Please, if you like the produce they provided in the past please look up the vendors and go see them at their new locations. Some of the vendors have given you their phone numbers, call them and ask where they are. I know they would like to hear from you. Once again, we thank you for your support over the past three years and hope to see you around."
Mai Pham reported this week that BCN Taste & Tradition opened for dinner service on Saturday, September 19, at 4210 Roseland. The Spanish restaurant will begin serving lunch on October 7. Pham explains that the restaurant's name is a three-letter abbreviation for Barcelona; the menu includes a multitude of dishes featuring ingredients indigenous to Spain, such as a highly sought after cured prosciutto, Jamon Iberico de Bellota, and various shellfish dishes, such as the Caldereta de Bogavante con Arroz, essentially lobster bouillabaisse with rice.
After months of anticipation, the Main Kitchen at JW Marriott Houston Downtown, 806 Main, held a soft opening on Wednesday, September 24. The former culinary director for the Clumsy Butcher restaurant group, Erin Smith, will head the kitchen and is responsible for the hotel's culinary operations, as reported by the Chronicle. Some of the menu items include duck and fig pizza for lunch, covered with an array of toppings, including candied butternut squash, duck confit and pumpkin seed pesto. Expect to see dinner items such as gemelli pasta tossed with sausage ragout, salsify and dandelion greens. Sharon Gofreed serves as the restaurant's pastry chef (formerly of Uchi); she'll be whipping together pastries an desserts, such as a kaffir lime panna cotta.
Bennigan's is making a comeback in Houston and the next stop for the restaurant chain is Katy at 20210 Katy Freeway. This new Bennigan's will open Monday, September 22, marking the second location in Houston from franchise owner Mohammad Amin; Bennigan's is also located in Shenandoah.
Yellow Rose Distilling is Houston's first legal distillery located within the city limits, located at 1224 N Post Oak. The distillery held its grand opening on September 20, but as of September 25, it is open for tours and tastings from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, and 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturdays, as well as by appointment. You can also purchase a bottle of Yellow Rose whiskey on-site.
Torchy's Tacos is making a major expansion throughout Houston. Last week the Austin-based chain opened in Vintage Park at 10133 Louetta, and according to the Houston Business Journal, Torchy's will open in Sugar Land within the next six months and also plans to open four more locations, potentially in the Galleria, The Woodlands, Memorial City and Baybrook.
As Phaedra Cook reported last week, eT Craft Burgers & Beer opened its second location in Houston, 19841 Northwest Freeway, on Thursday, September 25, and this is the first storefront for the brand. Stop by the newest location and create your own burger with you choice of meat, spreads and toppings.
Thanks to commenter HtownCheapEats, we now know of several more openings from last week. There's another doner shop other than VERTS in town. Dogarz Doner, located at 2101 Smith, offers three types of doners: lamb and beef, fish and chicken. Now VERTS has some competition in town.
You can also get your lobster rolls on-the-road from the Maine-ly Sandwiches food truck that launched this past week.
Kings Chicken Tandoori Cuisine opened at 2209 Highway 6 South on September 19. The new restaurant combines North Asian, Indian, Pakistani and Afghani foods and all of the meat dishes are Halal.
Haven closed at the beginning of August and a new restaurant is ready to take its place. Paul's Kitchen is slated to open at 2502 Algerian Way on Monday, September 29. Executive chef Paul K. Lewis along with sous chef Matt Lovelace and pastry chef Kelsey Hawkins will serve globally-inspired dishes featuring locally-sourced ingredients. The restaurant's design features dark oak table tops with wood accents and brick paneling, channeling a warm and comforting environment. Some of the menu items include a Country Plate appetizer with shelling pea hummus, marinated feta cheese, Linda's Pimento cheese and Benton's country ham; Braised Pork Torta with cilantro-lime crema, charred onions and poblano's queso fresco on a torta bun; and Southern Style Dobos, a banana cake with praline butter cream, bourbon butterscotch, bananas and candied pecans.
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El Pollo Loco will open its first location in the Houston area on October 1, debuting in Sugar Land at 4528 Highway 6. El Pollo Loco is known for its grilled citrus-marinated whole chicken, which is featured in a variety of items, such as burritos, chicken meals, enchiladas, bowls and salads.
The Chick-fil-A in Katy at 369 S. Mason Road has been completely renovated and will reopen on October 2. The restaurant was demolished and rebuilt after 19 years of operation; it will now have the newest Chick-fil-A design and will also feature a double drive-thru so there won't be a long wait for waffle fries and chicken nuggets.
We mentioned a few weeks ago that The Cupcake Cowgirls opened its newest location in Galveston at 2108 Church. You can also get cupcakes at Cupcake Kitchen, which opened on September 13 at 1716 Rosewood. But, the Cupcake Kitchen isn't just about cupcakes, you can also satisfy that sweet tooth with banana pudding and even a whoopie pie.
Did we miss any openings or closings? Let us know in the comments section and we will be sure to include them in next week's report.