Restaurant News

UPDATED: Openings & Closings, Heavy on the "Closings"

Update: We erroneously reported that The Davenport had closed, which owner Duane Bradly was surprised to hear. "We're still open after 15 years," says owner Bradley. "Still the same awesome martini bar that we've always been." The confusion arose when The Davenport's number was disconnected for over a week, its Web site had been taken down and no updates had been posted to its Facebook page for over a month. Three independent sources reported the closure to Eating...Our Words as well. Bradley says that another event may have also caused some confusion: a closing party held a few months ago, which was meant to celebrate the end of an annual DJ night the bar had held.

In fact, says Bradley, in addition to The Davenport in Clear Lake (which is still going strong), he just opened another bar with friend Outlaw Dave of Houston radio fame: Outlaw Dave's Worldwide Headquarters, at 6502 Washington and I-10. "We're serving craft beer and really good food," says Bradley.

The Houston Press regrets the error.

While there wasn't a whole lot of good news to report this week, there was a rash of closings. The holidays can be killer like that.

After many years in business serving martinis to the Shepherd Plaza crowd, The Davenport closed last week. Often dubbed "The Davensnort" for the, ahem, activities that allegedly took place in its restrooms, the martini bar was one of the last remaining vestiges of a time when Shepherd Plaza was the Richmond Strip / Midtown / Washington Avenue of its day.

Speaking of Washington Avenue, Convivio -- the tapas restaurant just south, on Durham -- closed after a few months of rumors that it, too, was struggling. In her January 2012 review of the restaurant, Houston Chronicle food critic Alison Cook wrote that it "wander[ed] in the tapas wildnerness," and gave it no stars. My own solitary meal there echoed Cook's review and I often wondered how the place managed to stay open.

Another spot which stayed open far longer than expected was the Doneraki on Fulton, which closed this past week. Between the ongoing light rail construction and the pure fact that the food hadn't been good in ages -- a visit a few months ago reaffirmed my decision to continue eating elsewhere along Fulton, as the area is rich in Tex-Mex options -- I'm surprised this Doneraki location lasted as long as it did. The other two spots in Gulfgate and at 7705 Westheimer are still open.

And down in Galveston, acclaimed restaurant 901 Postoffice -- which was located in a beautifully restored cottage in the island's historic district, and which always received high praise on sites such as Yelp -- closed as well.

In better news, B4-U-Eat has a few choice tidbits to report: The second location of La Casa de Frida opened this past Monday at 3452 Ella, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. And The Fish and the Knife at 7801 Westheimer "has started and stopped construction since early 2010," the weekly newsletter reports. But "just this month a new round of permits have been issued."

And those of you who've read all the way to the end this week deserve a special treat, so here's a juicy blind item: Two long-term, side-by-side Montrose restaurants have been sold and will soon shutter. But the tenant who's moving in will be a welcome face in the neighborhood, since his popular pescatarian palace was closed unceremoniously last year.

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Katharine Shilcutt