Restaurant News

Rest(aurants) in Peace: Notable Closings of 2012

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Twice Bitten

Some locations are just unlucky for reasons of location, traffic, parking or simply bad vibes. Whatever it is, four restaurants in two different locations came and went over the course of the last year, starting with the ill-fated Oceans. Owners Jorge and Isaac Alvarez took over the old Bistro Vino spot on West Alabama with a big splash, but the ceviches and high-end Mexican seafood dishes didn't quite catch on. Undeterred, the brothers closed Oceans in May and partnered with chef Jonathan Jones -- who'd just left Xuco Xicana -- to reopen the space as Concepcion. But even Jones's talents couldn't save the old white mansion, and Concepcion closed in September after Jones departed for a position at The Monarch at Hotel ZaZa.

Meanwhile, down in Alvin, seafood-happy steakhouse The Barbed Rose received plenty of good press under chef Jason Chaney after opening in 2010, but perhaps the exurb wasn't quite the best market for the upscale restaurant -- it closed in June. Only five short days after closing, the space reopened under the same ownership as Coastal Crossing Grill -- but that wasn't the right fit either, as it closed only a few months later in October.

And just as the old white house on West Alabama may be a permanently jinxed location, the restaurant space at 1001 Studewood may be joining that list -- although it's really too soon to tell. After hosting exponential failure Bedford when it was first built, the spot also lost Stella Sola in one of 2012's biggest restaurant closings after opening to great acclaim in late 2009.

Stella Sola went through three chefs during its short but spectacular run: Jason Gould, Justin Basye and Adam Dorris -- all of whom are incredible talents. When the restaurant closed in May, steakhouse stalwart Ronnie Killen attempted to open a second outpost of Killen's Steakhouse there but was stymied by a War and Peace-length lease that the landlord wanted signed. The space remains vacant for now, and what will move in there remains to be seen.

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Katharine Shilcutt