Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Roswell's Saloon Launches, FRNDS Grand Opening

Spacey cocktails for Space City.
Spacey cocktails for Space City. Photo by Becca Wright

Roswell's Saloon, 1417 Westheimer, has landed. Located in Montrose (or THE Montrose), the spaced-out lounge takes over the former Stone's Throw spot. With several areas of projection mapping, the interior offers an intergalactic experience without having to fly up to the heavens in a phallic-shaped vanity vehicle.

Be they Trekkies, Star Wars nuts or NASA nerds, the neon-bright atmosphere and creative cocktails will transport patrons to another planet, a fine thing considering how this one is faring. It's a place you can bring your tin-foil hat wearing pals or the longtime friends that you've always suspected of being a little out-of-this-world.
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Roswell's has a playful vibe.
Photo by Becca Wright
For the trip, Roswell's offers a cocktail menu that blends extraterrestrial humor and western desert details with fun flavor profiles and quirky presentations. The Crop Circles, made with a house-made elote syrup, gets topped with its own crop circle formation. The Pale Blue Dot is served in an orb meant to represent the view of Earth from space. Shots of Lithium Crystal glow bright orange like the sun and are served in iridescent shot glasses. There will be monthly Zodiac Cocktails that are inspired by the signs of the zodiac.
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The lounge is spread out over two stories.
Photo by Becca Wright
To take full advantage of the brightly-colored interior, the saloon will open at 7 p.m. with its "Sunset Hour" which offers half-priced cocktails and $2 off beer wines and bubbles until 8 p.m. It will be open 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Or nightly.
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Chef Mark Holley is known for his prowess with seafood.
Photo by ALife Hospitality
FRNDS Restaurant & Lounge, 2441 University Boulevard, is hosting a grand opening celebratory weekend beginning May 25. Though the upscale venue softly opened April 21, it has been flying under the radar, only opening a few days a week. Now, it's ready for prime time with a four-day celebration that includes evening entertainment from musicians, DJs and even a burlesque performance.
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FRNDS With Benefits blends dragonfruit with tequila.
Photo by ALife Hospitality
The full menu will be available for purchase including a dining carte that was created by local Chef Mark Holley, who is regional culinary director for ALife Hospitality, the group behind FRNDS. The menu offers dishes such as oysters on the half shell and decadent seafood skewers. There are also house-steamed dumplings plus entrees such as Thai Salmon, Brick Lemon Chicken and Rigatoni Bolognese.

The lively atmosphere welcomes guests with a chic and cosmopolitan ambiance meant to stimulate conversation and social interaction with both old friends and new. Its pricey cocktails will stimulate your wallet as well.

Lady M Confections, 5085 Westheimer, opened a permanent location at Houston Galleria May 25. The Mille Crepes brand has hosted five pop-ups over the last six years in the Houston market offering its world-famous cakes and slices. Flavors include its Signature Mille Crepes plus lavender, green tea and its new guava flavor.
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SOSH offers a comfortable place to hang out or get work done.
Photo by Stuart Rosenberg
SOSH Coffees + Cocktails, 2221 W. Dallas, opened this week at Us Bayou Park, a luxury apartment building in Montrose. It comes from Vero Sade, a Houston-based lifestyle development firm. Dan Bassichis, co-founder of Vero Sade, said in a press release, "We envision SOSH as an inviting, dynamic place for neighbors, residential members and visitors to connect." Bassichis added that there would be special programming in the future to spotlight up and coming talent in the hospitality community.

Currently, SOSH is open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. serving freshly-brewed coffee drinks from small-batch beans roasted locally.  Coffee beverages include lattes, Americanos, cappuccinos, espressos and more. There's also Rivas, juices and baked goods from Houston vendors such as chef Omar Pereney's Love Croissant. Other nosh options include charcuterie plates, pizzas, salads and sandwiches.

Though SOSH is currently focused on daytime service, there are plans for evening pop-up collaborations with local chefs and mixologists, utilizing the bar area, demo kitchen, private dining room and outdoor space that boasts a pizza oven and grill.
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Pac-Man fever is never cured.
Rendering by Gin Design Group
Nonno's Family Pizza Tavern, 1613 Richmond, is shooting to open early this summer. Located in the former home of Revelry on Richmond, the Midwestern-style pizza joint comes from Martin and Sara Stayer, owners of Nobie's. The Stayers also own and operate The Toasted Coconut, which is located right next door to the upcoming pizza concept.

The pizza at Nonno's will be square-cut, or tavern-cut, a style that originated in Midwestern bars during the Great Depression to lure in customers. The small "party cuts" make it easier for sharing. The Stayers met in Chicago and Sara introduced Martin to the thin-crust pizza. The married couple wanted to bring the shareable pizza that they have missed to locals here in Houston,  And the pizza isn't the only nostalgic throwback at Nonno's.
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Old school is now cool.
Rendering by Gin Design Group
Working with Gin Design Group, the Stayers are recreating the pizza culture of Gen Xers. Using nostalgic posters, vintage furniture and neon accents, the interior will bring to mind the old school pizza joints that were lit by Tiffany-style pendants hanging over the tables and booths. A carpeted mini arcade will bring folks of a certain age (including this writer) back to a time when you saved all your quarters to beat your loser brother in a game of Ms. Pac-Man.

Gen Xers, and anyone else of drinking age, can avail themselves of the full bar and balanced wine list while non-drinkers and wee ones can enjoy a cold root beer straight from the tap. In addition to the tavern-style pizza, there will be focaccia-style pan pizza by the slice, snacks and salads plus a few culinary surprises in store. 

Mix tapes will make a come back at Nonno's via an analog sound system from Uncanned Music and a collection of vintage speakers. The restaurant will have windows that open on both sides and a large-covered patio, providing plenty of space for couples, families and friend groups to hang out, play some pinball and reminisce about parachute pants and which member of Duran Duran was the hottest.

Beck's Prime, 919 Milam, is listed as temporarily closed. We reached out for more information but have yet to receive a definite answer on whether or not the closure is permanent.
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Houston has a lot of Caniacs.
Photo by Joel Bordelon
Raising Cane's, 1331 Gessner, opened May 23 in Spring Branch. The chicken finger chain is spreading its One Love all across the Greater Houston area and the newest store makes number 52 for the region, coming right on the heels of its New Caney restaurant which opened May 16.

The New Caney location was the scene of its first 'Raising Cane's Rodeo' and the Spring Branch spot will also host a RCR with grand opening festivities beginning at 9 a.m. The first 100 customers in line who purchase a combo will receive a free shirt and a Box Combo card for use on a following visit.

Raising Cane's is also partnering with Houston Lemonade Day's learning program to provide free samples of lemonade from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the grand opening. Five young entrepreneurs, each with their own lemonade stand, will pass out samples. There will also be an opportunity for customers 13 and up to enter its "Lucky 20" giveaway.
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Big City Wings keeps expanding across Greater Houston.
Photo by Sam Elsaadi/Big City Wings
Big City Wings, 3815 W. Grand Parkway, opened May 10 in the Morton Ranch area of Katy. It's the 13th location for the chicken wing restaurant and sports bar based in Houston. There's a wide selection of wings bone-in or boneless and they can be ordered in multiples or by the basket. There are a dozen sauces from which to choose or dry rubs including its new Tajin dry blend.
There are a lot of munchies for sports viewing.
Photo by Sam Elsaadi/ Big City Wings
In addition to its popular wings, there are crowd-pleasing appetizers such as Fried Mac & Cheese, Potato Skins, Fried Pickle Spears and Jalapeno Bombers, perfect for pairing with a cold beer or frozen cocktail. The menu also includes entree salads, a variety of burgers, sandwiches, chicken and waffles and loaded waffle fries. The Lil Cluckers menu is available for children 12 and under for $6.25 and includes meal of choice plus a small drink and scoop of ice cream. Non-alcoholic ice cream smoothies come in a range of yummy flavors such as Dreamsicle and Oreo Blast.

Tic Tac Thai
, 3416 FM 2920, opened early May in Spring. It offers and extensive menu of Thai favorites starting with appetizers such as Crab Rangoon, Crispy Spring Rolls and Chicken Satay. Traditional soups such as Tom Yum and Tom Kha are on the menu along with a variety of noodles and curries, a number of which are gluten-free.

Guests can choose from various proteins for the entree dishes like Pad Ka Pao, Thai Garlic or Pad Prik Khing or choose a specialty dish such as Panang Salmon or Duck Curry. There is a kids menu along with desserts like Mango Sticky Rice and Roti with Nutella.

There are soft drinks, Thai Milk Teas and a selection of imported or domestic beers. Lunch specials are available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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Champagne Hours at The Heights Social now include brunch.
Photo by Dylan Minor
The Heights Social, 1213 W. 20th, which recently opened in March, has just launched brunch for its weekend Champagne Hours. The special bubbles and brunch menu is available Saturday, noon to 3 p.m. and Sunday, noon to midnight.

Guests can enjoy classic items like chicken wings and waffles or a hearty egg sandwich. For sharing, there's the Brunch Board with wings, waffles and beignets. The Saturday Champagne Hours offers a roaming champagne cart with $20 glasses of high-end sparklers like Veuve Clicquot and Perrier-Jouet. For Sunday, there are bottles of rose from Miraval, Hampton Water and Whispering Angel for $45 or a bubbly rose from J Vineyards for $75.

Philly Flats, 24025 Katy Freeway, opened April 19 in Katy. The concept began as a food truck, Quaker Steaks, in 2017. Owners Scott and Kim Boyer are residents of Katy who have been selling their cheesesteaks at venues like No Label Brewing Co. in Katy. Scott Boyer is a retired Marine, originally hailing from Reading, Pennsylvania so he knows a little something about Philly cheesesteaks.

Customers can order sandwiches like the Original Philly, the Chicken Philly or the Whiz, which gets slathered with Cheese Whiz. There are also hoagies, burgers and its Knockout Wings. Sides and snacks include French fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks and its homemade Philly Eggrolls.

The new brick and mortar has a full bar with wine, beer and select cocktails.

Street Churros, 1041 Blalock, opened softly in early May. The churro brand was founded in Korea in 2014. There is another location planned very soon for 9938 Bellaire Boulevard.

It offers crispy churros like its sticks that can be served with dip for an additional cost. There are filled churros and the large O.G. Churro. Customers can also order the soft serve ice cream with churros as well. There are coffee drinks plus green milk tea, matcha latte, lemonade and shakes.
Cheerio, Bayview Duck.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
Bayview Duck, 3131 Highway 146, has closed after 27 years. The English pub was located off a busy road in Bacliff and was a popular and quirky hangout for the locals. It didn't have a bay view or ducks, but it had a lot of pub charm and kitsch.

We have reached out for more details about the closure but a local source says that the British landlord and his American wife decided to retire.

When we last visited, the owner, Alec, was particularly proud of the fact that his establishment had made it into Houston's Best Dive Bars, a book by former Houston Press writer, John Nova Lomax. Alec brought out his well-worn copy to show anyone and everyone.

Sadly, Lomax passed away this week at the young age of 53. His writing, however, lives on in his journalism and musings about Houston and the Lone Star State
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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.