Ten Jinxed Houston Restaurant Locations

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Can restaurant locations be jinxed? Those who dwell in the cold, hard world of facts would say no. They will tell you that restaurants fail because of things like poor frontage, inadequate parking, hard to see locations, a bad report from Marvin Zindler (or his successor if such can be said to exist) or just plain bad food or service. These logic-ridden people maintain that there is nothing spooky about restaurants at any one address going under time and time again.

But we’re not so sure. Here are ten of Houston’s more prominent restaurant Bermuda Triangles. – John Nova Lomax

1. 2006 Lexington

Today: Mia Bella Trattoria / Saffron Moroccan Cuisine Yesterday: Renata’s, Te Amo Mexican Bar and Grill, Side Street Brewing, Hessni’s Restaurant

I used to live around the corner from this place, and for a few years there it seemed like there was a grand opening every month. Saffron / Mia Bella has made a good go of it there.

2. 1512 West Alabama

Today: The Skin Renewal Center Yesterday: Museum Restaurant and Bar, Rio de Janeiro South American Grill, Michaeline’s, Cortes Deli, Jenny’s Hideaway.

Infamous as a jinxed locale, apparently the new tenants have decided that no restaurant will ever succeed here.

3. 4527 Lomitas

Today: Aquarium Environments Yesterday: Scottsdale’s, El Buen Bife, Pico’s, Field House Restaurant and Bar, Argentina Grill

Tucked in the maze of cul-de-sacs around Bennigan’s behind the Kirby Taco Cabana, this super-jinxed spot has stabilized as a place to buy pet fish rather than the edible kind.

4. 4315 Montrose

Today: Brasserie Max and Julie Yesterday: Aries, Pic, Russo’s Café Anthony, 43 Brasserie

Big name chefs (Scott Tycer, Monica Pope) have come and gone here, as has the Vallone family. The Vallones also had a long run across the Southwest Freeway bridge at 4611 Montrose, another jinxed locale that now houses Danton’s but was previously Tony’s, Exhibits, O’Rourke’s, and Redwood Grill. (For that matter, most of Chelsea Market has been a killing field for its whole existence.)

5. 2300 Westheimer

Today: Palazzo Trattoria Yesterday: Two Chefs Bistro, Armando’s, Dish, Beso, Torcello's

Back in 2004, the Chronicle’s Alison Cook had this to say: “Is the jinx of this Westheimer location - in a radically rebuilt Wendy's between Shepherd and Kirby, where such ventures as Torcello's, Armando's, Dish and Two Chefs Bistro have all foundered - about to be broken?”

The answer, of course, was no, as Cook was writing about Beso, which is now gone.

6. 2704 Smith

Today: Vacant Yesterday: Craiganale’s Little Italy; other stuff.

Over the years this former convenience store has been through a taqueria phase and many, many short-lived incarnations that sometimes seem to last for mere weeks instead of months. Craiganale’s growing following among hungry Midtowners proved too little and too late to save it.

7. 3316 Milam

Today: Apparently, the building has been torn down. Yesterday: Mai Han Café, The New Orleans Pizza Joint, Smokin’ Mountain Grill, Shorty’s Grill

Like the Smith Street locale above, this is another Midtown spot that has gone through numerous changes the past seven years, and despite both being on my way from home from work, I never made it to any of them. And from the looks of it on Google Maps Streetview, it is now a parking lot, so I never will.

8. 1915 Westheimer

Today: Firkin and Phoenix Yesterday: Ciro’s Italian Grill and Bar, Ohio Grange Cafe, Sabine, Chef G.’s, Epoch Fusion Café

Nowadays, people are having a firkin’ good time amid the ruins of almost a half-dozen crushed dreams.

9. 3401 Kirby

Today: Sushi King Yesterday: Pizzeria Uno, Floridita, Corelli’s Italian Café

I’ve never eaten at any of those places either, but I heard some of them were good, and even popular.

10. 219 Westheimer

Today: Feast Rustic European Fare Yesterday: Aldo’s Dining Con Amore, Giorgina’s Ristorante Italiano, Chez Georges

Can a pan-European fusion with an upscale British pub grub tinge succeed where French and Italian has failed? Time will tell.

Many thanks to Greg "I Never Eat At Home" Ellis for the tips.

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