Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: TEN Sushi is Open, La Diabla Next Week

Cucumber-wrapped Sashimi sits amid a bounty of sushi dishes.
Cucumber-wrapped Sashimi sits amid a bounty of sushi dishes. Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

TEN Sushi + Cocktail Bar, 4200 Westheimer, opened November 17. The new sushi hotspot is from Daily Dose Hospitality Group, the folks behind Bosscat Kitchen & Libations. The original location opened more than 13 years ago in Irvine, California under different ownership before being acquired by Daily Dose co-owners Leslie Nguyen and John  Reed in 2014. The Houston location, which is on the ground floor of Stonelake Capital Partners' 200 Park Place, will be the second for the concept.
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The stunning sushi bar at TEN glows.
Photo by Dylan McEwan
The Asian cocktail and sushi bar space has a lush, modern and colorful atmosphere in a 2,800 square-foot space that seats 80 guests. There is also an outdoor patio. It design was a collaboration between co-owner and chief designer Nguyen, Josh Weisman of Construction Concepts and California artist Jason Roose. Houston imagery is weaved within the California-inspired decor.

At the helm of the kitchen is executive sushi chef Toshi Miura and executive chef Peter Petro. The management team includes Wilson, Siew, Anthony Abreu and Andy Molleda with Brian Gilic as general manager. Matt Sharp, who formerly served as bar director for the hospitality group's now shuttered BCK, is in charge of the cocktail program as bar director.
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John Reed and Leslie Nguyen are expanding their restaurant group's footprint in Houston.
Photo by Dylan McEwan
The elevated sushi menu offers a wide variety of sushi and sashimi like albacore belly, yellowtail, Spanish mackerel, a5 wagyu and chutoro. Specialty Sashimi includes Yuzu Salmon, Truffle Tuna, Halibut Sea Salt and Cajun Seared Albacore. There are a number of different rolls such as Forbidden, with black rice, seared ahi, albacore, crab, spicy tuna, avocado sweet soy and jalapeno sauce. Another roll is the cheekily-named Eggplant Emoji, a vegan option. The sushi restaurant also has a menu of entrees such as Shaken Beef Filet, Bangkok Curry, Honey Walnut Shrimp and Chicken Bibimbap.

The cocktail choices include signature drinks such as a Spicy Yuzu Margarita and Lychee Like That. The bar nosh includes small plates like Chicken Gyoza, Firecracker Wontons and Smoked Tuna Dip.
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La Diabla is going retro Mexico City
Photo by Sergio Trevino
La Diabla Retro Bar, 300 Main, opens its doors December 15 in Market Square. The new night club and bar comes from the Mexican street food masters Ramon Soriano and Fernando Villegas, at La Calle Tacos.The first location of La Calle was founded in 2016 and there are now three restaurants. With the soon-to-open La Diabla, the duo is creating an ode to 80s and 90s Mexico City pop culture with cocktails, chelas (beers), music, and art that express the chido, or coolness of the 1980s Mexico City experience. With modern takes on classics like margaritas, Micheladas, pina coladas, mojitos, La Diabla will also feature fresh fruit cocktails, tequila and mezcal selections and Mexican staples such as caguamas, Mexican slang for 32-ounce beers

The nightclub will span 4,000 square feet and hold 200 guests. There's a 400-square-foot patio that seats 50 people, a perfect spot for people-watching along the city's hopping Main street. The large bar is 8 feet tall and almost 30 feet long, showcasing an extensive tequila selection, exclusively focused on tequilas found in Mexico City cantinas.
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The strawberry margarita is fresh and exciting.
Photo by Sergio Trevino
The juices for the margaritas are squeezed fresh daily and blended with El Jimador 100 percent Blue Agave. Flavors include Limon, Sandia, Pina, Fresa, Mango and Chamoy. The pina coladas are made from scratch as well using La Calle's original recipe. The Micheladas ket a kick from La Calle's secret sauce which is made with five-chili mix, Clamato, cayenne and more secret ingredients. The mojitos are also a guarded recipe with pressed mint, fruit and Blue Chair rum. There's also Mexican Candy shots.

La Diabla will offer live music every evening that it is open, which currently will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. though 2 a.m. On Thursday night, there will be live balada, soft and romantic Latin pop , while Friday will offer Latin pop. Saturday nights will be devoted to Latin rock favorites.  Brightly colored portraits of 80s and 90s Mexican pop and rock icons such as Juan Gabriel, Thalia and Luis Miguel, adorn the walls, adding to the musical ambiance. A DJ will also spin classics every night and television screens will display original music videos for the songs the live bands perform, as well as lyrics., to encourage singalongs.

If cocktails and singalongs make you hungry, La Diabla has a snack menu of flautas in pollo, carnitas and Papa con Queso options.

La Diabla co-owner Ramon Soriano, who created the menus and vision along with co-owner Villegas says, "We are serious about fresh ingredients, Mexico City, music, and good times. We are 80s guys, and we love the way the music of that decade is connecting with a new generation. La Diabla is bringing the tastes and sounds of our youth back again in ways that can feel both nostalgic and new, all at the same time."
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Steak & Shrimp Fra' Diavolo will warm the tummy.
Photo by Lindsey Cooper-Trevino and Sergio Trevino
Louie's Italian American, 3401 Harrisburg, opens in the space which was formerly Cafe Louie. Brother and sister Angelo and Lucianna "Louie" Emiliani announced the closure of their six-month-old Cafe Louie  on Facebook November 27 and teased the new Italian concept. Despite good reviews, Cafe Louie never took hold in the neighborhood as a dinner spot. Louie's Italian American will be open for dinner service Thursday through Monday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The duo began Red Sauce Sundays at Cafe Louie because they grew up with Italian American cuisine. Its popularity caused the siblings to "take a good look in the mirror" as the Sunday special brought in more customers than Saturday dinner service. Angelo Emiliani says, " We poured our hearts into Cafe Louie but we must be responsible as small business owners and give people what they clearly want."

With the new rebranding comes a tight menu of handmade pastas like spinach ravioli, rigatoni, tajarin and tagliatelle with a choice of sauce. Options include Italian American classics like vodka sauce, meatballs and gravy, red sauce, and cultured butter-based sauces. Sticking with the theme, the menu also includes Chicken Parm, Redfish Piccata, Steak & Shrimp Fra' Diavolo, house-made Garlic Sausage & Peppers and Vinegar Chicken. Side dishes like Roasted Pumpkin, Braised Greens and Seared Cauliflower are also on the menu.

The starters on the menu are varied and guests will find traditional items like Frutti di Mare, Caesar Salad, Burrata and Prosciutto along with more unique offerings like a Vegetarian Antipasto and Sicilian Sashimi, made with catch of the day.
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Aperol Spritz is a refreshing cocktail for Houston's unseasonably warm December.
Photo by Lindsey Cooper-Trevino and Sergio Trevino
With Chef Louie's pastry experience leading the way, there will be desserts such as Tiramisu, Meyer Lemon Posset and Carrot Cake Bundt. There will also be a Gelato of the Day. Chef Louie's talents don't end at pastries. She has also created a cocktail program with Italian aperitifs such as Frozen Negroni and Aperol Spritz. Her favorite flavor, passion fruit, shows up in the House Martini.
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Chewy, gooey and crispy are the hallmarks of Detroit-style pizza.
Photo by Via 313

Via 313 Pizza
, 10201 Katy Freeway, will be coming to Houston in 2023, along with another new concept at Memorial City, PINCHO. The upcoming restaurants were announced by MetroNational, a Houston-based real estate investment, development and management company. A spokesperson for Via 313 Pizza told the Houston Press that the restaurant is shooting to open in August 2023.

Via 313 Pizza was founded in Austin by two brothers, Zane and Brandon Hunt, as a food trailer. The duo's brand is Detroit-style pizza, a 70-year-old creation based on Sicilian-style pizza. Different than Neapolitan. Chicago, Roman and NYC pizzas, the Detroit version deep dish and rectangular, allowing for a crust that is both crispy and chewy with cheesy edges. The 313 in the restaurant's name is a nod to the Detroit area code.

The pie at Via 313 Pizza was named one of Food Network's "Top 5 Pizzas in America" and its quality ingredients have earned it a cult-like following across Texas and two outposts in Colorado and Utah. The Memorial City location will be the first for Houston.

In addition to the traditional crust, the restaurant offers vegan and gluten-free options which extends to the toppings as well.
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PINCHO is bringing its Miami flavors to Houston.
Photo by PINCHO
PINCHO, 10210 Katy Freeway, will join Via 313 Pizza in early 2023 at the Memorial City development as well and it will be the first outside of Florida for the Miami-based Latin brand. It was voted "Best Burger in South Florida" but along with its Latin-inspired burgers,the menu also features kebab plates, with chicken, fajita beef and shrimp. There are also protein bowls, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and its Pincho-Trio (topped with a choice of three sauces).

Alonso Castaneda,  Vice President of Brand Development and Strategy for Savory Fund, the primary investor of both restaurant brands says,  "The standout community is a dining destination and a clear choice for our expansion. We know locals and visitors alike will fall in love with our vibrant spaces, bold flavors, and addictive menus. From Via 313’s Detroit-style pizza to PINCHO's Miami-born burgers, we’re bringing the heat to Houston."
Look for the maple leaf.
Rendering by Tim Hortons
Tim Hortons, 5312 W. Richey, will celebrate its grand opening December 16 beginning at 5 a.m. This is the second location for the Canadian coffee shop which opened its first Houston store this past September. A third location is planned soon for 13451 Northwest Freeway.

Founded in Canada in 1964 by professional hockey player, Tim Horton, it now has more than 5,000 shops globally with the majority in Canada. There are over 600 stores in the United States. The Texas expansion is a partnership with brothers Ali and Emad Lakhany, native Houstonians born to Pakistani parents who immigrated to the U.S., eventually opening and operating several Popeyes Louisiana locations across Texas. The Lakhany brothers began as dishwashers in the family business and worked their way to owning 70 Popeyes restaurants. Their goal for the Tim Hortons expansion is 30 locations in Texas.

Tim Hortons is to Canadians what Dunkin' Donuts (Yeah, we're sticking with the Donuts part) is to Massachusetts residents. Tim Hortons does make a Boston Cream Doughnut, so doughnut lovers on both sides of the border can argue among themselves about whether it's better than Dunkin's Boston Kreme.

It's a quick spot for a coffee and a doughnutnut or a place to linger over a breakfast sandwich and iced brew. Its version of doughnut holes, the Timbits, are a popular item. They come in various flavors such as Old Fashioned Plain, Chocolate Glazed, Apple Fritter, Blueberry, Strawberry and Lemon, depending on the location. 
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The burgers at In-N-Out rank among the highest in the fast food industry.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
In-N-Out Burger, 1717 Lake Woodlands, opened December 1. Founded in 1948 as a hamburger stand in Irvine, California, by Harry Snyder, the company is still owned and operated by the Snyder family and none of its units are franchised.

The new store will have fresh ingredients delivered from In-N-Out from a warehouse and state-of-the-art patty production facility in Lancaster, Texas where hamburger is ground from 100 percent American beef and whole chucks by In-N-Out's own butchers. The meat is never frozen.
The Animal Fries are a popular, not-so-secret menu item.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
The fast food restaurant will have one drive-thru lane, indoor seating for 84 guests with an additional 24 seats on the covered patio.

The Woodlands location will be managed by Jason Korthuis who has worked with the brand for 17 years. The new location will also employ 80 team members with a starting wage of $17 per hour.

Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, 140 W. Airtex Boulevard and 8055 Spencer Highway, both had grand opening celebrations December 8.

MOD Pizza, 20175 Eva, officially opens December 13. Ahead of its opening, the location in Montgomery, Texas is hosting Bridge Day December 11 and December 12 with lunch from 11 a.m. through 2 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. through 8 p.m. Attendees will get a sneak peek of the new restaurant and 50 percent off food purchases. The Bridge Fund, a crisis relief fund for MOD employees, will receive 100 percent of the proceeds for the two days.

Founded in 2008 in Seattle, MOD offers individually-sized, customizable pizzas and salads. There are more than 40 toppings, eight finishing sauces and eight dressings to personalize the pizzas and salads. There's also its Cheesy Garlic Bread for a side or starter and No Name Cake for dessert. For drinks, there are house-made lemonades, fountain sodas, beer and wine.

In keeping with its mission to give back to the community, MOD Pizza Montgomery will also have a Community Day December 28 with 100 percent of sales going to Kids Meal, Inc.

For the grand opening December 13, the first 50 customers will receive a free MOD-size pizza. Doors open at 10:30 a.m.

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There's a new Faema e71 for espresso drinks.
Photo by Michael Horne
Kolache Shoppe, 4521 Kingwood Drive, opened quietly November 15 and began its grand opening Thursday December 8 with a ribbon cutting ceremony with owners Randy and Lucy Hines and Kingwood franchisees Jordan and Kristy Armendinger. The new kolache shop will host Benefit Day December 9 with 20 percent of sales going to The Village Centers, an organization which seeks to enrich the lives of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and offer support to their families.

The grand opening continues December 10. The first 50 guests who make an in-store purchase will receive a punch card for one complimentary sweet or savory kolache and one free small drip coffee each month for a year.
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Franchisees Jordan and Kristy Armendinger celebrate with owner Randy Hines (center).
Photo by Isabel Protomartir
Kolache Shoppe has been serving its scratch-made kolaches to Houstonians for over five decades using the same dough recipe since 1970. In 2014, the Hines' took over the business from founder Erwin Ahrens, continuing his legacy. Now, there are 24 signature flavors and the business often uses local purveyors  such as Kiolbassa Provision Company and Tin Roof BBQ for the meat fillings.
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Kolache Shoppe has boudin and praline kolache specials.
Photo by Becca Wright
This month, all three Kolache Shoppe locations will offer special collaborative kolaches for December. The Brennan's Praline and Cream Kolache is a partnership with Brennan's of Houston, using the restaurant's famous pecan pralines mixed with praline liqueur atop a cream cheese filling. The Boudin Kolache uses fresh pork boudin from La Boucherie in Spring and is making its return due to its popularity. At the Greenway Shoppe, the December specials will be available Thursday through Saturday. The Heights and Kingwood stores will have them Friday through Sunday. 

Brennan's of Houston, 300 Smith, has added Monday dinner service for the month of December, excluding December 26. The Creole-Cajun fine dining restaurant is also kicking off dinner service an hour earlier with a starting hour of 5 p.m.
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Tokyo Maid Cafe is a mix of Japanese culture, Asian cuisine and cosplay.
Photo by Tokyo Night Festival
Shun Japanese Kitchen, 2802 S. Shepherd, will host a Tokyo Maid Cafe pop-up event December 11 with seatings from 11 a.m. through 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. through 8 p.m. The event comes from Tokyo Night Festival, which strives to bring cultural aspects of japan to Houston. 

The Maid Cafe will have hot food, cocktails and parfaits with "kawaii" service. A sort of anime and manga cosplay, young people dress as maids, welcoming guests and creating tableside ketchup drawings on Japanese curry and rice dishes.

There will be short interval dance performances and each guest will receive a personal "cheki", a polaroid souvenir photo with the maids. 
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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.