The Biggest Disappointments of 2011

I think that 2012 is shaping up to be Houston's year, after a long 2011 featuring false starts, delayed openings, unexpected closings and failures to launch.

That's not to say that 2011 didn't have its perks: Look for our list of the year's best new restaurant later this week. But it came with its share of disappointments, too.

Byrd's Market flies the coop: After what seemed like eons, Rusty Powers finally opened Byrd's Market, which many downtowners hoped would be the great grocery store they'd lacked for years. The location at Main and Prairie was perfect: right on the light rail line and close to the action, in a beautifully redone historic building with high ceilings and plenty of light. But the space was utilized poorly, with most of the footprint devoted to Powers's cafe instead of the tiny grocery and deli section. Less than a year after opening, the produce bins were devoid of fruits and veggies and the shelves carried only gourmet dried goods that could be procured anywhere else in town. The food in the cafe was never very good either, and Byrd's Market finally gave up the ghost in July. The silver lining to this cloud? The much more established Georgia's Farm to Market is moving in, and bringing real groceries with it.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Katharine Shilcutt