Openings & Closings: Want Some Doughnuts With That Ice Cream?

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As May quickly approaches, we gear up to welcome several highly anticipated restaurants. But, before we get to that news, let's take a look at two notable shutters.

River Oaks and Upper Kirby folks said goodbye to Crescent City Beignets on Westheimer near the beginning of the month. The Subway, dry cleaners store and Crescent City Beignets in the Lamar-River Oaks Shopping Center will be transformed into a restaurant from Atlanta chef Ford Fry. Eric Sandler of CultureMap reports that Fry is a native Houstonian and graduated from Lamar High School, directly across the street from his upcoming restaurant which Fry hopes to open in 2015. There's no information as to why the New Orleans cafe known for its fluffy beignets and coffee drinks such as the cafe au lait, closed its doors. The Town Center Boulevard location is still open.

According to Eater Houston, Eighteenth Cocktail Bar has closed, but will be moving to a new location -- where has yet to be announced. The 2511 Bissonnet lot won't be vacant for long though. Swamplot reports that Escalante's will be taking over the space soon.

Last week, the first VERTS location opened on Yale off Washington, and the next location will open on Saturday, April 26, on West Gray. With four more locations on the way, Houstonians will have plenty of places to grab a döner kebap.

Buttz Gourmet Food Truck (don't laugh) is now roaming the streets servings its pecan-smoked pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches. The new truck will always serve two signature sandwiches: the Texas Butt sandwich with pulled pork, Texas-style BBQ sauce, yellow mustard, pickles and onions stuffed between artisan bread, and the Caroline Butt sandwich with pulled pork, Caroline mustard BBQ sauce and cilantro slaw. Other types of sandwiches include a Banh Mi pulled pork sandwich, an Asian BBQ sauce pulled pork sandwich and even a healthy sandwich with strawberries, cucumber, goat cheese, candied pecans, balsamic and mixed greens. Any of these sandwiches can be made with pulled chicken.

On May 2, another new food truck, Pepe's Grill, will hold its grand opening. The truck serves Latin American and Mexican plates such as deep fried chicken with fried plantains, grilled pork chops, fajitas, enchiladas, and side orders of cornbread, and pork and beans. Pepe's Grill even has a signature barbecue sauce used on its BBQ chicken and BBQ ribs.

Although Siphon Coffee was originally slated to open in February, the new coffee shop should be opening in a few weeks. On Wednesday, April 23, the West Alabama coffee shop posted a photo on Facebook of its sign stating, "Opening Soon." Siphon Coffee will offer craft beer and wine alongside its various coffee concoctions; chef Amanda McGraw, formerly of Brasserie 19, designed the menu and trained the in-house chef.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the former Philippe Restaurant + Lounge has been transformed into Table, and will open officially to the public on Thursday, May 15. The new restaurant is headed up by executive chef Manuel Pucha, the former chef de cuisine at Philippe. His new restaurant will feature contemporary American dishes such as a seafood risotto, brick chicken, tuna carpaccio flatbread and even a Dr Pepper cake.

While Dunkin' Donuts opens shops with Baskin-Robbins, the owners of H-Town StrEATs decided to open their own doughnut shop next door to Fat Cat Creamery. Swamplot confirms that Hugs & Doughnuts will open at 1901 N Shepherd. So, if you've got a hankering for ice cream and doughnuts, this shopping center will soon be your one-stop shop.

The folks behind Jus' Mac will open a new restaurant on TC Jester, and it's not specializing in mac 'n cheese. According to The Leader, the Jus' Mac owners will open Biskit Junkie, a Southern café featuring a variety of biscuit dishes, including a hybrid between a pancake and a biscuit, a pancuit. Diners can also build their own biscuits to create sandwiches with items like fried chicken and braised short ribs. The owners hope to have this new establishment open by May 15.

Kevin Naderi spoke with the Chronicle this week and explained the concept of his upcoming restaurant, Lillo & Ella. His current restaurant, Roost, serves dishes from multiple cuisines; diners can enjoy sweet potato samosas, and yellow corn cakes topped with a Louisiana crawfish and artichoke ragout, then move on to a blueberry and lemon curd tart with chocolate sauce, maldon salt and whipped cream. But, at Lillo & Ella, he will focus on Asian cuisine with street food dishes, large plates to share and even robata-style skewers. Some of the menu items include blue crab fried rice, mustard greens and yams in a Thai coconut sauce with chile, and quail with black bean and hoisin sauce. Naderi hopes to open Lillo & Ella in May.

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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