The big news earlier in the week was the closure of Stella Sola in the Heights, but brace for impact, folks: Houston's losing an old-timer this week, too.
Vargo's has closed after 47 years; signs are already up in front of the restaurant's rolling green acreage off Fondren that denote a "mixed use development" coming soon. Although Vargo's and its peacock-populated grounds were a popular dining (as well as wedding and other special occasion) destination for many years, its star hadn't shone brightly for decades: As far back as the 1998 Zagat guide, Vargo's was already said to have "gone downhill" from its former glory days in the 1970s and '80s.
The restaurant changed hands several times during its life and was most recently owned by David and Mary Wu, who had reportedly been trying to turn the property into a La Torretta del Lago-style resort within Houston proper. Hunington Properties, Inc. -- the company which now owns the land -- has not yet returned a call for comment on its future plans for the property.
No word yet on what will become of Vargo's large flock of peacocks, either, although West Houstonians know that the birds are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves while terrifying everyone in the neighborhood with their mating cries that sound like the last screams of a dying woman.
Meanwhile, in other redevelopment news, Luigi's, the pizzeria on Almeda with a wicked bocce ball court,
is no longer BYOB. Since the completion of its patio extension, Luigi's has obtained a wine and beer permit, so leave those coolers at home the next time you head out for bocce and a slice. Note: We received incorrect information on Luigi's, and it is -- blissfully -- still BYOB.
Calliope's Po-Boy is in the process of obtaining a wine and beer permit. However, according to its Facebook page, owner Lisa Carnley still plans to allow her customers to bring their own beer and wine to enjoy over po-boys. "It's still gonna be free BYOB!" she stated on Facebook. "I don't mind."
Last but not least, Mike Ricetti at the Examiner reports that a Texadelphia will be moving into the space vacated by Terlingua at Studemont near Washington. The sandwich store should be open within a few weeks.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.