Sweet Paris Creperie and Cafe, 2701 Drexel, opened December 8. The new Highland Village location makes the sixth since the creperie began in 2012, founded by husband and wife, Allison and Ivan Chavez. The duo have traveled the world and are on a mission to revive the art of eating crepes.
The cafe offers sweet crepes like the S'mores or Nutella, the crepe choice of many a European. There are also substantial savory crepes like the chicken enchilada or ham and gruyere. Breakfast crepes like Le Mexicain and the croque madame are served until 3 p.m. The creperie also offers panini and salads.
Sweet Paris will open a location in The Woodlands in early 2019 and there are plans to expand to Baybrook and eventually San Antonio, Texas.
Blanco Tacos takes its place among some wallet shocking dining establishments such as Nobu, 51Fifteen, The Oceanaire and Fig and Olive. The new Mexican restaurant offers a bit less expensive option for mall shoppers and diners who are brave enough to face the Westheimer and 610 Loop traffic.
There is valet parking at the Galleria, but it's not cheap. The brown garage at Sak's Fifth Avenue is the closest free parking.
As with most Mexican restaurants, margaritas are on the menu, in the $10-$14 region. The fajitas are a little different, with some using soy and garlic reflecting the influence of Chinese immigrants in Sonora. The queso, served with guacamole and sour cream is definitely different from what most Houstonians are used to and it comes in at $10. However, Blanco Tacos offers a happy hour Monday through Friday, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., in the bar, so you can try out its house rita ($5) and queso ($6) and see how it compares to Houston favorites. If you're shopping with pals at the Galleria, take a break and enjoy the happy hour pricing.
Diners can start with the bread service ($5), which comes from Cake and Bacon, a local wholesale bakery and butchery. Other local farmers and vendors are featured, including Houston 's darling of the chefs, 44 Farms, which provides the ribeyes and New York strips served at the restaurant. For dessert, there's ice cream from Fat Cat Creamery.
R Bar, 1302 Houston Avenue, celebrated its grand reopening December 1. The neighborhood bar was originally located off Memorial for eight years. It closed this past March in order to move into a bigger space with a larger outdoor patio.
Owners Mark and Kelly Fenity and Matthew and Kelly Simon met at Roeder's Pub 15 years ago. The Simons got the opportunity to buy into the business six years ago and both couples have kept the business successful despite their full time jobs.
The bar is a local place to hangout with friends and watch the game. After the new year, the owners plan to bring back the popular Thursday Trivia Night. There is no food menu, but food trucks are brought in to feed hungry imbibers.
The Marquis II, 2631 Bissonet, reopened December 5, after a two-day temporary closure. The bar was purchased by longtime General Manager, Al Jara, from the previous owner.
The neighborhood hangout has seen a major loss of revenue due to the ongoing construction along Bissonnet, due to the difficulty of access and parking, a story so often heard in this booming city. The original Marquis opened in 1945 in River Oaks. After the previous owner's death, the bar was purchased by two employees in the 1960s. It moved to two other locations before landing at its current spot in West University in 1985. The building had been a doughnut shop and a gentleman's establishment prior to the Marquis II.
Now, Legacy Restaurants CEO Jonathan Horowitz is stepping in with a helping hand. Two Legacy restaurants, The Original Ninfa's on Navigation and Antone's Famous Po'Boys, will host a pop-up fundraiser and customer appreciation event December 20 at the Marquis II from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be tacos and tamales from The Original Ninfa's executive chef, Alex Padilla, and some of Antone's classic po'boys like the The Super Original. The Marquis II will have plenty of bar beverages for purchase, including its renowned Texas Tea. So, go out and buy some food and drink to support a family-owned, local business.
Known for its extensive menu, Sunday brunch buffet and lush courtyard garden, Baba Yega originally opened in 1975 and has been a lunch staple for the Montrose set ever since. The vegetarian and vegan menu offers items like the Hippie meatloaf made with organic quinoa, black beans and vegetables. The eclectic decor and comfort food like the French Dip sandwich and its variety of burgers has kept the public happy for more than 40 years. Here's hoping for a quick rebound.
Tiki lovers can get a taste of The Toasted Coconut before its spring opening with the once a month, Toasty Tuesday events at Nobie's which will preview the cocktails and cuisine of the new restaurant. The first Toasty Tuesday, will take place at Nobie's February 12. Check out Nobie's Facebook or the Facebook page for The Toasted Coconut.
Snooze:An A.M. Eatery, 5000 Westheimer,opened December 12. This is the sixth Houston area location for the ever-expanding breakfast and lunch restaurant out of Denver, Colorado. Early shoppers in the Galleria area can fuel up with a variety of eggs Benedicts, or Bennys, as they're called or some of the delicious pancakes. The good thing about Snooze, if you're indecisive, the menu allows you to create your own Benny Duo, so diners can try two different combinations. Also, if the pancake choices baffle your just-out-of-bed-head, go for the pancake flight which offers three different flavors. And if you are a mix and match kind of eater, the Ahhh la Carte section is made for you. Wash it all down with a Boss Hog bloody Mary and you're all set to tackle the Christmas list.
If you're not an early riser, Snooze is open for lunch as well, with plenty of sandwich choices. The restaurant also uses local vendors like Slow Dough Baking Co. and Black Hole Cold Brew Coffee.
Parking is never easy in the Galleria, but the front lot at Snooze offers free parking.
By Popular Demand, 12420 Memorial, opened November 6. The new whiskey bar and cocktail lounge comes from the Masraff Family of Restaurants. It offers comfortable, communal seating around indoor fireplaces or outdoor fire pits on the patio. The feel is of a living room away from home, a perfect spot to relax with friends, while keeping warm in these few days of Houston winter.
There are also dining tables and a small food menu. Shareables like queso, hummus and cheeseburger spring rolls are on offer, but it's the Pigs on a Blanket that has us intrigued. It's five buttermilk pancakes topped with jalapeno boudin, goat cheese and a vanilla bourbon glaze. It sounds crazy, yet wonderful.
Buffalo Wild Wings, 11985 Grand Parkway, opens December 17. The wings chain joins a number of other restaurant chains, clothing stores, entertainment venues and shops in this huge multi-use complex in New Caney. An Olive Garden, Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, and Sub Zero join the pack in 2019.