Happy Hour Scene

Openings and Closings: Postino Will Hit Montrose, International Smoke Does Brunch, Lunch

Postino by twilight.
Postino by twilight. Photo by Becca Wright

Postino WineCafe, 805 Pacific, is slated to open in the first quarter of 2019. The wine and nosh bar will occupy the building which originally housed Montrose Mining Company, the longest operating gay bar in Houston, since 1978. It closed nearly two years ago in September 2016.

This will be the second Houston location for the Phoenix, Arizona-based company. The first opened in April at 642 Yale in the Heights.

The company's model is based on taking older, historic and sometimes quirky buildings and doing renovations and remodeling that are compatible with the architecture and style of the renovated structures. The original wine cafe opened in 2001 in an Arizona post office from the 1940's. The Heights restaurant is located in a 1940s warehouse.

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Settle in and get comfy with a friend or two. And wine.
Photo by Becca Wright

As for the upcoming Montrose location, co-founder Lauren Bailey says "We've fallen in love with Houston. Since we first opened our doors in the Heights neighborhood, we found ourselves drawn to Montrose time and time again."

Postino has been a hit with the Heights Mercantile area, popular for its bruschetta boards, paninis and happy hour from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Heights location is adding five new shareable plates to its Snacky Things menu, including meatballs in pomodoro with goat cheese and blistered Shishito peppers. And wouldn't you know, there's also a vegetarian-friendly dish of crispy cauliflower with sultana raisins and romesco. We told you cauliflower was hot. They're the new Brussels sprouts.

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Michael Sambrooks and Steve Breaker take over Cherry Pie's restaurants.
Photo courtesy of The Pit Room

Cherry Pie Hospitality has been bought by restaurateur Michael Sambrooks. We reported last week in the Houston Press that there have been issues regarding Cherry Pie Hospitality and some of its businesses. Now, Sambrooks has taken over the company which operates three restaurants currently; Star Fish Coastal Kitchen, Pi Pizza and Lee's Fried Chicken and Donuts. There will be name changes for the latter two and some updated branding and menu twerks as well.

Native Houstonian, Steve Breaker, will join Sambrooks Management Company as director of operations. Breaker has more than 25 years of experience, including stints at Uchi and Bryan Caswell's still-shuttered restaurant, REEF.

Sambrooks management was founded by David and Lisa Sambrooks along with David's sons, Michael and Laine. The company owns The Pit Room and The Patio at the Pit Room. The Pit Room opened in August 2016 and was declared one of Texas Monthly's Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas.

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Fuego's Brunch at International Smoke.
Photo by Mad Maven

International Smoke, 800 Sorella Court, opened for dinner service July 5 with a promise to open later this summer for lunch and brunch. In Houston, September is still summer, so they made the deadline.

The San Francisco-based concept comes from James Beard award-winning chef Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry, cookbook author, Food Network celeb and wife of NBA star, Stephen Curry. While there is barbecue and smoked meats, the globally-inspired menu leans a little more exotic.

The new brunch service begins September 9 at 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Billed as " Fuego's Brunch", the multi-station set-up will feature a sweet and savory station with house-made and locally made breads and pastries like croissants, coffee cakes, red curry cornbread and Columbian empanadas.

There will be dishes like like shakshuka, a dish of poached eggs in tomato sauce with chickpeas and Yemenite curry or Gulf crab scallion crepes. Look for seasonal specialties like Whole Hog Kalua BBQ and St. Louis Cut Smoked Ribs. Besides the American BBQ sauce for the ribs, there will also be choices such as Mexican Al Pastor and Korean Sesame-Gochujang.

The Sunday brunch is $35 per person, $12 for kids ten and under. There's also a Bloody Mary bar with options like candied bacon.

The first lunch service will begin on September 10 with ala carte items like Double Duck wings and 44 Farms Texas sirloin wedge salad. A three course lunch will be available Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $29.

Bluefin Poke, 20702 Katy Freeway, officially opened August 15. There are signature poke bowls and create-your-own options. For non-pokeys, there are seafood choices like fried shrimp, catfish or calamari, with fries.

There are fruit juices and milk teas or you can opt for a smoothie made with dairy, soy, or coconut milk. There are plenty of vegan and gluten-free options.

The attractive bar offers a happy hour daily from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Those in need of caffeine will find espresso, cappuccino and lattes available, along with nitro-infused cold brew.

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Katy will get a new Brazilian steakhouse in 2019.
Screenshot courtesy of Gauchos Do Sul
Gauchos Do Sul,a traditional Brazilian steakhouse, announced that it will open a second location early next year in the District West center at the southwest corner of Westpark Tollway and Peek Road.

The first Gauchos Do Sul opened at Vintage Park in Cypress in 2016. The restaurant participated in its first Houston Restaurant Weeks this year. Owner Ledersan Erdmann said of the experience, "We are excited to be part of something so big, so awesome."

The restaurant offers rodizio service, in which diners pay a fixed price for all-you-can eat grilled and roasted meats brought out by waiters until the diners signal they are done. At Gauchos, the prix fixe is $49.50.

There is also a gourmet salad area, cocktail lounge, wine room and weekly piano bar.

Jonathan Levine is ready to rub some pan-Latin spice into your life.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan's the Rub
Jonathan's the Rub, 12505 Memorial, is set to open at the end of September. This will be the second location of Brooklyn native and executive chef Jonathan Levine's critically acclaimed restaurant. A press release terms the new spot as an upscale version of the original with 5,000 square feet of space and a full cocktail bar featuring the expertise of beverage consultant and bar program designer, Linda Salinas. While loyal patrons of the original Jonathan's have enjoyed the BYOB policy for years, the new location has utilized Shepherd Ross as wine and operations consultant, which means the carefully curated wine list will include expertly chosen varietals to pair with the pan-Latin flavors and international cuisine of chef Levine.

Alicia's Mexican Grill, 20420 Southwest Freeway, will open in October, taking over the space which formerly housed another Mexican restaurant, El Rancho.

This will be the fifth location for the Tex-Mex restaurant, owned by the Herrera family. David Herrera and his sons, Dario, Ubaldo and Marvin are working hard to get it open to serve the Richmond/Sugar Land area. The restaurant is named for David's wife, Alicia.

There will be a full service bar for handmade margaritas and specialty cocktails. The Richmond location will also feature the quarterly wine and tequila dinners that are popular at the other stores.

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FM Kitchen + Bar hosts a Friday Market.
Photo courtesy of FM Kitchen + Bar

FM Kitchen + Bar,1112 Shepherd, kicks off a new Friday market September 7. The market will feature artisans, local eggs, fresh produce, food, beauty products and more. The market will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Friday until December 14. Afterward, you can lounge on the patio with your best friend, human or canine, and have a burger and  brew. FM Kitchen + Bar is also family friendly.

Spring Branch Burger Shack, 1415 Murray Bay, opened August 23. With three patios under mature shade trees, the new burger spot offers a relaxed ambiance for trying out one of the juicy burgers, each named for a Katy-area road or street, like the Antoine, Gessner or Blalock. For those who can never decide if it's burger or pizza night, the I-10 Burger has a personal-sized pizza as its top bun. The best of both worlds.

There is a kids menu and some snacks to start off with like fried pickles or onion rings.

Shabu Zone, 11201 Bellaire Boulevard, opened softly on September 1. The all-you-can-eat Japanese shabu offers hot pots with a variety of meats and seafood. Start with one of its seven broths like spicy house or tonkotsu. Diners can choose different beef cuts like prime rib or Wagyu chuck. There is also pork loin, pork belly, chicken breast and lamb. The seafood choices are even more bountiful.

The prices start at $18.99 for lunch and $27.99 for dinner. It pays to be vegetarian at this restaurant. The vegetarian option is $12.99 for lunch and $18.99 for dinner. Sounds like a great option for Meatless Mondays.

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Perry's Champions made it through the rain like Barry Manilow.
Photo courtesy of Perry's Steakhouse
Perry's Steakhouse Champions, 9730 Cypresswood, completed its ongoing renovations September 4. The main dining room has been completely updated and the refreshed Bar 79 now has a new island bar. There are six enhanced private dining rooms and a dramatic wine tower showcasing the different varietals that Perry's has to offer.

The Champions location suffered flooding during the Tax Day Flood in 2016 and was closed for two weeks. Then, came Hurricane Harvey and flooded the area even more drastically. I should know. I live down the road. The restaurant reopened September 11, 2017.

Now, the new decor is similar to the Memorial City location which was revamped last year. The steakhouse, which started as a butcher shop in 1979, has 14 locations across Texas, Chicago, Denver and Birmingham. The newest Perry's Steakhouse is expected to open in the River Oaks Shopping Center, in late 2018.

H-Mart, 23119 Colonial Parkway, opens September 21, according to Eater Houston. The Katy Asian Town center is booming and we've memorized the address because we write about it so often. Now, along with businesses like Beard Papa's and Phat Eatery, it can boast of a Korean grocery store. H-Mart operates two other locations currently in Houston.

There will be a wide selection of banchan, kimchi and pre-marinated bulgogi. It will also have a food court serving up Korean fried chicken and teriyaki dishes. Tous Les Jours, a South Korean bakery, will offer sweet treats like macarons and milk bread.

There are plenty of Asian pantry imports, but also fresh seafood, meat and produce.

Finally, will restaurateur, Ford Fry, be bringing a New American seafood concept to 1818 Washington? Both Eater Houston and the Houston Chronicle have hinted at the possibility. The Atlanta-based chef has already returned to his Houston roots with State of Grace and the very soon to open, Superica and La Lucha. We will keep our eyes peeled.
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Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.