Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Wild Montrose Debuts, Mala Sichuan Now Open

The Whole Crispy Thai Style Fish is meant to be shared.
The Whole Crispy Thai Style Fish is meant to be shared. Photo by Steven Cromer

Wild Montrose, 1609 Westheimer, opens September 19. It's the second Wild CBD coffee shop from the founders of Grinder's Coffee Bar and The CBD Apothecary. The first Wild opened in the Heights in February 2022. The new locations takes over the space which formerly housed Underbelly Hospitality's UB Preserv.

The Wild concept is a blend of coffee shop, dispensary and cocktail bar but the new Montrose hot spot will also have executive chef German Mosquera turning out a menu of high-end plates and tapas. Mosquera is a graduate of the Culinary institute of America and has worked with master chefs in the United States and Europe and was most recently head chef at the vegan restaurant Verdine, which shuttered at the end of July this year. His experience, however, ranges from fast casual to fine dining and his culinary focus is on sourcing heirloom produce and heritage meat breeds. 
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The sleek bar adds to the immersive experience at Wild.
Photo by Steven Cromer

The fare at the new Wild will take guests on a culinary journey from regional coastal foods to vegan offerings and guests have the option to infuse their plates with CBD or THC. Some of the menu items include small plates such as Tiradito, bluefin tuna belly lightly kissed with charcoal and served with rainforest honey bubbles. There's also Buckwheat Tempura Cauliflower for a gluten-free option. Among the large shareables is a Whole Crispy Thai Style Fish and a Wild-branded Wagyu Beef Tomahawk. 
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The Mango Rye Tai is refreshing and strong.
Photo by Steven Cromer
Along with its dinner service, Wild will also offer a daily brunch menu with dishes like Pain Perdu, its version of the French "lost bread" made with croissant cubes, pure maple syrup, banana brulee and Chantilly cream. It also offers a twist on migas with plantains and chorizo.

There will also be cocktails, wine and cannabis pairings available with a similar bar program as the Heights location.

Wild Montrose will be open daily from 8 a.m. to midnight. Brunch is served until 3 p.m. and dinner service is from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
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The interior is natural and rustic but elegant.
Rendering by Gin Design Group
Mila Sichuan, 600 N. Shepherd, softly opened September 9 and is now fully open for business. Located at M-K-T Heights, the authentic Sichuan concept is owned by Cori Xiong and Heng Chen and has four previous locations.

The new space was designed by Gin Braverman of gin design group and is meant to evoke the natural beauty of the Sichuan countryside with a handmade wooden frame of a Chinese pagoda installed over the central seating area. Dozens of Chinese lanterns glow above looking as if they were just released into the sky with some floating up to 20 feet high overhead.
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Chinese lanterns seem to float overhead.
Rendering gin design group
Impressions of ginkgo leaves on earthen plaster walls and traditional clay roof tiles on the bar facade add to the rustic, natural feel. That sense of nature is further enhanced by the outdoor patio's connection to the Heights Hike and Bike Trail and guests can take advantage of the stadium seating to face out onto the green space while enjoying their al fresco dining experience.

Braverman has spent time abroad herself, living in Asia and working with a Taiwanese design firm and her experiences helped her bring to life the vision Xiong and Chen had for the space.

The M-K-T location has its full food menu with a small cocktail program.
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A high-end tequila bar and restaurant is headed to downtown.
Rendering by Grant Gay/Courtesy of Gensler
Real Agave, 1100 Louisiana, opened September 14 on the ground floor of the 55-story building in a spot which previously housed a bank. The upscale tequila concept comes from the ownership of 1100 Louisiana, Hines (a real estate investment firm) and Bill Floyd Concepts.  Bill Floyd is well known in the Houston hospitality industry and one of his concepts, El Real, stood on Westheimer for eight years before closing in 2019. Now, it has reopened at 1100 Louisiana in the downtown tunnel system and will serve as the kitchen for Real Agave.

Along with high-end tequilas and spirits, the menu at Real Agave will offer elevated Mexican cuisine from Chef Derek Cooper whose previous experience includes Fielding's Management as a sous chef. The restaurant is currently open for drinks and light bites Monday through Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. with lunch service to be added in October.
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The Lyric Market Garage is high-tech, colorful and artsy.
Photo by Lyric Market
Lyric Market, 411 Smith, is finally opening this fall and it announced this week some of the vendors that will be occupying the food hall with a range of cuisines. The market will span an entire city block in Houston's downtown Theatre District with a 7,500 square-foot deck, communal plaza, a street-side terrace and private event space. It is also adjacent to the Lyric Garage, what it calls the most technically advanced garage in the world.

As the downtown work force has sprung back to life and diners are swarming the foodie scene once more, projects that have been long in the works are coming to fruition. Lyric Market comes from Hospitality HQ, a creative consulting and management group led by chef/restaurateur Akhtar Nawab. HHQ is currently the fastest-growing food hall management company in the United States, operating restaurant and communal dining projects in more than 15 states.
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Press Waffle will open at Lyric Market this fall.
Photo by Lyric Market
When the Houston food hall opens, visitors will find culinary concepts ranging from Mexican cuisine at Ivy Stark's Mexology to grab and go Indian food from Kati Roll Wala. The new vendors include Sushi Muse, a NYC-based sushi concept from Michelin-starred chef Hiroki Odo, and Lottie's Smokehouse, a food stall serving authentic Texas BBQ from veteran pitmaster Scott Lottie. In keeping with the ongoing popularity of hot chicken, BAD CHX will serve both Southern-fried and Nashville hot chicken. Houstonians can never get enough Cajun cuisine and they will find it at 1929 Po-Boy Kitchen with Louisiana-style po'boys and other Cajun dishes from chef Monica Landry. For those seeking out something sweet, Press Waffle Co. will offer Belgian waffles with a multitude of sweet and savory toppings.
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The Cacio e Pepe is a spectacular and delicious dish.
Photo by Becca Wright
Numero28, 3974 Westheimer, quietly opened the first week of July and is now ready for prime time. This is the third location of the Italian concept by co-owner and operator Bernardo Nolfo, a Sicilian native who moved to Texas to open the concept with partner Leo Gravina. The duo opened the first in Austin in 2014, followed by a second location in North Dallas in late 2020.The Texas outposts were done with the endorsement of Nolfo's friend and partner Rolando Biamonte and the Biamonte family, who founded Numero28 in New York City. The Highland Village location is a collaboration with Biamonte and Marco Borghi.

The crossroads of Italy intersect with both the owners and the menu itself which is filled with authentic, regional Italian cuisine. Bread, pizza dough and fresh pasta are made in-house daily and guests can stop in for a quick bite or linger over a multi-course meal.
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That's our kind of amore.
Photo by Becca Wright
The antipasti  offerings include Caponata paired with homemade crostini, and  Arancina Tradizionale, saffron-spiced risotto balls stuffed with beef Bolognese and green peas. For beef antipasti, guests can try the Carpaccio di Manzo, thinly shaved slices of raw beef, or Bresaola Rotolini made with air dried beef carefully wrapped around a filling of arugula and ricotta.

For lunch, there is a selection of panini made with light and airy bread and a variety of oven-fired pizza with red sauce or white (no sauce). Pasta options include Pappardelle alla Bolognese, Gnocchi al Pesto and Lasagna Bolognese, made with homemade Bolognese and bechamel sauce. The ever-popular Cacio e Pepe is a showstopper at Numero28; served tableside from a Pecorino cheese wheel.

The wine list has a number of Italian varietals from Tuscany to Sicily with a handful of California wines available as well. There are classic Italian cocktails like the Aperol Spritz or signature drinks such as a Basil Martini and the Margarita N28 with Socorro tequila, Aperol, Cointreau, fresh lime and a splash of soda.
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Chris Manriquez, Anthony Heins and master brewer Henryk Orlik are composing new beers.
Photo by Becca Wright
Black Page Brewing, 210 Glen Park, is shooting to open in late fall near the banks of White Oak Bayou on Houston's Near Northside. Owners and co-founders Anthony Heins and Chris Manriquez have enlisted master brewer Henryk Orlik to produce traditional German-style lagers and innovative American ales at the 7,400 square-foot space. It includes a taproom and production area inside a restored 1940s warehouse in a neighborhood that was fittingly Houston's Germantown in the late 1800s.
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Cheers and beers are coming to the bayou.
Photo by Becca Wright
While Heins is a real estate professional, Manriquez is a Houston hospitality veteran with partnerships in restaurants and bars like Trash Panda Drinking Club and Chivos. Orlik is a well-known and respected German brewer with experience from big players such as Louisiana's Abita Brewing Company. Orlik was trained as a brewer in his native Germany before coming to the U.S. in 1994 for a job opportunity, according to brewersassociation. org. Some of his best-known American brews are Abita's flagship Purple Haze, Turbodog and Andygator.  Much of the past year, he has spent installing the brewing equipment to his specifications. Customers can expect to find him roaming the brewery grounds on the weekends sharing his passion for craft beer with the public.
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An outdoor patio will let beer drinkers be one with nature.
Photo by Becca Wright
The owners want the new brewery to be a comfortable hideaway for beer lovers, with the natural beauty of the Little White Oak Bayou and its wildlife adding to the serenity. As for food, Black Page is partnering with La Macro taco truck to create a menu that fuses traditional German food with Houston's affinity for street tacos.

Getting its name from a Frank Zappa song, "The Black Page", the brewery's mission is similar to that of the avant-garde musician's pursuit of artistic perfection in an extremely difficult composition. In a press release Heins said, "We can't wait to let everyone taste what we've composed."
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Gerogia James is giving diners a bird's eye view.
Photo by Michael Anthony
Georgia James, 3503 W. Dallas, unveiled its 11,000 square-foot rooftop September 16 at Regent Square. The steakhouse from Underbelly Hospitality reopened at the retail and dining development this past July. It began as a steakhouse homage from James Beard Award-winning Houston chef Chris Shepherd who named it for his parents, Georgia and James Shepherd. It first opened in Montrose in October 2018. Just a few weeks after Georgia James moved to Regent Square, Shepherd announced that he was leaving Underbelly Hospitality for other projects, as we reported here in the Houston Press.

The new rooftop lounge has dual terraces with barrio lighting, fire pits and comfortable seating. Overlooking downtown's skyline along Buffalo Bayou, the rooftop lounge has 7,000 square feet of covered and uncovered outdoor space with and additional 4,000 square feet for interior dining.
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Shrimp and grits and smoked redfish dip are non-steak options on the rooftop.
Photo by Michael Anthony
For diners on the rooftop, there is a special menu from Executive Chef Greg Peters with new items such as marinated crab fingers, pork rillettes, house-made prosciutto and cheese and its version of shrimp and grits with Tabasco sofrito and country ham. Familiar favorite such as the 44 Farms strip steak, Japanese A5 Wagyu and smoked redfish with fried saltines will be available on the rooftop as well.
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Honest Eats' Thai Beef makes healthy eating delicious.
Photo by Andrew Hemingway
Honest Eats, 600 N. Shepherd, has opened its first brick and mortar and its grand opening weekend is September 17 and September 18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  with giveaways each day. There will be gift cards for the first 20 people to arrive, a chance to win a week's worth of free meals and free in-store samplings. For those who don't often get puppy love, there will be a Puppy Kissing Booth sponsored by Doggedly Dog Rescue Society.

The brand was founded in 2013 by Barbara Zuluaga as Elite F'ing Meals, inspired by her niece's brain cancer diagnosis at the age of three. Zuluaga began investigating the links between nutrition and chronic illnesses, including cancer. The company offers customers paleo, ketogenic and plant-based prepared foods according to their dietary needs and preferences. The meals are made with organic ingredients, zero-processed sugar and no chemical preservatives.
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Barbara Zuluaga has a new brick and mortar on Shepherd.
Photo by Heirloom Interactive
Eggs and proteins are sourced from local farmers and customers will find grab n' go choices such as Paleo Buffalo Chicken Tenders, Ketogenic Barbecue brisket and Cauliflower mac, Paleo Crack Brownies and the Plant-based Cashew Burger. In addition to the wall of grab n' go prepared foods, there are meal plan pick-ups a hot bone broth bar and a dessert case of gluten-free and ketogenic treats. There are also retail products like holistic remedies and MCT oils.
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The patio is now open for a boozy brunch or lingering lunch.
Photo by The Toasted Yolk
The Toasted Yolk, 8408 Katy Freeway, celebrated its grand opening September 12. The restaurant gave away free Churro Donuts to every guest that day and three lucky winners waiting in line received free breakfast for a year.

The Spring Valley location donated 10 percent of the grand opening day sales to M.E.N. Inc., a local non-profit which supports young men with sets of skills such as team building, financial literacy, conflict resolution and career advancement.
The Southwest Arnold gives eggs Benedict a spicy sausage and queso twist.
Photo by BubbleUp
This will be the 16th Houston-area location and the 23rd overall for the breakfast, brunch and lunch concept. It was founded in Houston in 2010 by friends and business partners, Chris Milton and Mathew DeMott. The menu allows guests to make their meal choices throughout the day with coffee, juice and breakfast items, boozy brunch cocktails, a variety of Arnolds (its version of eggs Benedict), salads, soups and sandwiches.

Raising Cane's, 2473 Bay Area Boulevard, is having a grand opening party September 20 beginning at 9:30 a.m. with a $5,000 check presentation to members of The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation. Raising Cane's is donating the money for its scholarship program. There will also be performances from the Break Free Hip Hop School and the opportunity for attendees to show off their best moonwalk and robot dances for a contest. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., DJ Rod Ryan from 94.5 The Buzz will be broadcasting on-site.

Guests who arrive early can submit entries from 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. for a chance to win "Free Cane's for a Year!" The entry submission is for ages 13 and up and the winners will be announced during the ribbon cutting ceremony. In the evening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. team members from Space Center Houston will have science activities, crafts and space ice cream. There will also be Cane's SWAG prizes.

The new location will have a double drive-thru in addition to dine-in and patio dining.

The Melting Pot, 6100 Westheimer, is introducing its first ever Oktober FondueFeast.  The dining experience is available Monday through Wednesday from September 19 through October 26. The three course menu ($45 per person) begins with Bavarian Beer Cheese Fondue accompanied by Bavarian dippers which include pretzel bread, bratwurst slices, short rib, new potatoes and vegetables. The second course is a choice of one of four salads. For the third course, guests will receive a pot of Black Forest Chocolate Fondue, with a hint of cherry. It includes dippers like cream puffs, waffle pieces, brownies, strawberries and bananas.

Diners can add an additional fourth course, the Oktober FondueFest entree for $14. It offers a variety of meat choices and guests can pick three proteins to cook themselves at the table in the hot pot of broth. Mushrooms, potatoes and veggies also come with the entree course. The Oktober FondueFeast requires a minimum of two orders.
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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and artist/entrepreneur Bun B will pop up at City Hall with smashburgers and fun.
Photo by Marco Torres
Trill Burgers will pop up at Houston City Hall, 901 Bagby, September 18 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. which just happens to be National Cheeseburger Day. Bun B himself will be on hand for the event as Mayor Sylvester Turner issues the proclamation from the city deeming it "Trill Burgers Day." Bun B and his team at Trill Burgers recently received the designation of Best Burger in America by the television show Good Morning America.

The full menu for Trill Burgers will be available for purchase on a first come-first served basis. There will be some of the rap artist and burger meister's favorite local food concepts as well including Fluff Bake Bar, Kicpops, Captain Ceviche, Rick's Seafood and Boutte BBQ.

The family-friendly event will feature live musical performances from hip hop act Buddy Rhoe and country artist Rich O'Toole.
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The Upside Pub is celebrating Rosh Hashanah.
Photo by Paige Lujan
The Upside Pub, 3402 N. Shepherd, launched its weekday happy hour September 12. From Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., there will be $5 beer of the day, $8  select red/white wine and $1 off well liquors. Food specials for happy hour include 1/2 order Potato Latke Balls ($4), 1/2 order TX Diner Fries ($6), Queso-dilla ($6) and Sweet & Sour Plate ($6).

The neighborhood pub, which recently opened this past August, will also host a Rosh Hashanah party September 27 at 5 p.m. The Jewish New Year party will feature food specials such as matzah ball soup, noodle kugel balls and an apples and honey dessert. To celebrate the new year at sundown, there will be a ceremonial dipping of apples in honey and patrons will be able to participate in Tashlich if they wish by casting their sins (symbolized by pieces of bread) into a trough of water. 
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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.