If you're looking for a place to eat on Washington Avenue, it might be more difficult than it used to be. A few weeks ago, Coppa Ristorante closed. Last week, we reported that Polovina was locked out for not paying the rent.
(Houston Chronicle has since confirmed that it is indeed closed.) Polovina's owner confirmed to Cleverly Stone on her CBS SportsRadio 650 show that Polovina is indeed closed. Eater Houston has a recap of that conversation.
Close by in the Montrose, 1308 El Tiempo Cantina is being forced to move because the landlord wants to sell to a developer who wants to put apartment buildings on the lot.
Add TQLA, the Southwestern restaurant and agave bar, to the list. November 10 would have been its four-year anniversary.
Syd Kearney of the Houston Chronicle posted today that "the phone is disconnected, its Facebook page is gone and the website is 'no longer accepting reservations.'"
Kearney contacted TQLA partner Scott Lindsey for comment, who said, "due to higher food costs and the decreased traffic flow on Washington we just couldn't continue to provide the quality of service and fresh quality product that our customers have come to expect from TQLA."
Sadly, this is likely to be just one more in a string of closings, as well as a marked slow-down in independent restaurant openings.
Anthony Calleo of Pi Pizza truck is actively searching for a storefront and it's been exceedingly difficult to find a compatible space. He gave us permission to use a quote from his Facebook page that we feel encapsulates the current difficult dynamic between independent restaurants seeking spaces and landlords wanting to capitalize on Houston's burgeoning real estate prices:
"Called on a building today on northern outskirts of what would be stretching the term "The Heights". Vacant 6 years or so. In C- condition on the outside. God only knows about the inside. Owner quoted $10k a month + NNN. [Note: NNN stands for Net-Net-Net where a lessee agrees to pay all real estate taxes, building insurance, and maintenance] Landlords have officially lost their fucking minds in this city. If anyone has noticed a drop in the mom & pop stores that used to proliferate this city... This is a big reason why. Fucking nails in the coffin man. If this keeps up, in 3 more years we're all gonna wake up to a Houston wearing a really tacky LA cosplay outfit."