Openings & Closings: Upper Kirby is Getting a Face Lift

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It's been a sad past few weeks for the Upper Kirby restaurant scene. Brio Tuscan Grille (3029 Kirby) shuttered just after Cafe Express, Roak, Hendrick's Pub and OTC Patio Bar, all in the same area, closed. Swamplot reports that a moving crew arrived on Sunday, June 1, to pack everything up. There's speculation the restaurant was not serving enough customers and was forced to close.

Just a few days later, Saint Genevieve at 2800 Kirby closed its doors. This hopping brunch spot and bar opened in 2011 and a representative told CultureMap Houston that the landlords want another tenant to occupy the space. No information about this future tenant has been revealed.

This closing isn't in Upper Kirby; Becks Prime Sportatorium located inside the Memorial City Mall closed on Saturday, May 31, according to Swamplot. Fortunately the other 11 Becks Prime locations in the Houston area are still open.

In happier news, Pepperoni's Pizza opened at 2710 Montrose next door to BB's Cafe over the weekend of May 31. This small pizza chain serves up gourmet pies like the Pesto Chicken with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers, onions and black olives, and the Spicy Veggie Masala with cayenne buffalo sauce, pineapple, jalapenos, onion, black olive and green pepper. Other menu items include traditional pizzas, calzones, pita sandwiches and subs. Eater Houston mentions that this location will also feature a breakfast pizza menu which you can grab and go at the drive-thru window.

It seems like there's a Pappasito's Cantina, or any other Pappas restaurant, on every street corner. Now visitors to our great city staying at the Hilton Americas-Houston (1600 Lamar) don't have to step off the premises to eat excellent Tex-Mex. Catering to the traveling and downtown clientele, this Pappasito's location will feature several special dishes for happy hours. CultureMap Houston's Eric Sandler also notes that the menu features six new ceviches and crudos as healthier options, along with a few heavier and indulgent dishes, such as the Queso a la Plancha (beef and chicken fajitas nachos) plus sugary churros for dessert.

In franchise expansion news, the second Happy's Pizza location in Houston (and Texas for that matter) opened at 7903 Beechnut. Aside from pizzas, Happy's also serves ribs, chicken wings and fried shrimp.

Another Chick-fil-A opened at 925 North Loop West on Thursday, June 5. And as with every Chick-fil-A opening, customers lined up outside up the day before in hopes of being one of the first 100 in line -- those lucky customers receive a year supply of Chick-fil-A.

Bone Daddy's House of Smoke will open its second location in Houston on Thursday, June 19, at 17381 Tomball Parkway. The Willowbrook location will feature all the popular dishes served at the Bone Daddy's in Webster, such as The Flying Pig Sandwich composed of pulled pork, link sausage, bacon and maple-glazed ham, as well as the wrapped and deep-fried smoked brisket, jalapeno, corn, onion and pepper.

Sassafras, located at 5022 Pinemont Drive opened for business on Thursday, May 28. This new dive bar was created by the bartenders at Big Star Bar and Grand Prize Bar. Currently Sassafras serves, "fancy beer, cheap beer and above average wine," but in July it promises to start serving liquor.

Houstonia's Katharine Shilcutt reports that The El Cantina Superior from restaurateur Ken Bridge will open at 602 Studewood on Tuesday, June 10. The building previously was a Texaco gas station, but now will be home to a new Tex-Mex restaurant filled with ZZ Top memorabilia and posters. Chef David Coffman won't be serving the fajitas with any peppers though, so you better like sweet, caramelized onions with your beef and tortillas.

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.

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