On my way home a few nights ago, I noticed that a hunch I'd had was true: Bibas Brooklyn Express had closed after only six short months in business on Main Street. I'd noticed the lights off for a few days, and a new spread of brown paper in the windows meant only one thing. B4-U-Eat reports that the paper indicates something new is in the works, though: "We hear it opens in 2 to 3 weeks as a Romas Pizza," reported its weekly newsletter.
And in other closings, our own Brittanie Shey's favorite Hawaiian joint has shut its doors: Hula Mama's -- which Shey called "paradise in a double-wide" -- took its tiki torches down for good over the weekend. According to B4-U-Eat (which has all the good scoop this week): "Chief Tama Satoa is moving to Maui to open a restaurant Luau show there. For Luau shows here, Drums of the Pacific is still open, operated by his daughter.
In happier news, there were three fun openings to round out a fairly quiet week.
Witchcraft Tavern & Provision Co. opened in the old Dragon Bowl space at Shepherd and 11th Street, bringing another excellent craft beer selection to the Heights. Owner Ken Bridge (who owned Dragon Bowl, and who also runs Lola, Pink's Pizza and Shepherd Park Draught House) was on hand when I visited this past week, showing his new chefs how to cook up a menu of simple pub favorites.
I even got a quick peek in the back, where Bridge has built possibly the finest tap room in town; each keg has its own individual regulators, and there's plenty of room for cask ales too. Witchcraft also has the same rock 'n' roll vibe of Shepherd Park Draught House, with more of Bridge's rock memorabilia on display and a stunning piece of wall art made out of retro speakers.
And speaking of craft beer, a new underdog is set to be the best bar to open on Washington Avenue since the original incarnation of Pearl Bar: The appropriately-named Underdog's has been operating quietly in the old Lot space for the last four months, offering an incredible selection of microbrews at ridiculous prices. I'm talking $3 for nearly any pint -- even stuff like Saint Arnold Pumpkinator and Sixpoint Autumnation -- and only $6 for heavy-duty brews like Narwhal. It's the best-kept secret on Washington Avenue for now, but I doubt it'll stay that way for long.
Coming up at the end of December, look for another much-anticipated opening: Blacksmith, the coffee shop from David Buehrer and Ecky Prabanto. When it was first announced that Blacksmith would be taking over the old Mary's space on Westheimer in August 2011, the pair thought that it would be open by this past spring. But if there's one truism when it comes to opening bars, restaurants or coffee shops in Houston, it's this: Nothing ever happens according to schedule.
Undaunted, Buehrer and Prabanto plowed on and announced a late December opening this week, as well as a new chef: Erin Smith, previously the popular executive chef at Plonk Beer & Wine Bistro. In a press release, Buehrer said: "We're happy to bring Erin Smith on board to make sure the food is as good as the coffee is going to be. I think that the full breakfast experience with amazing coffee and awesome food is going to be unique and exciting for Houston."
For the full month in openings and closings, head to the next page.
The Burger Guys, 706 Main, 713-223-4897 Cafe Pita+, 5506 Richmond Casa De Bravos Mexican Restaurant, 4514 Highway 6, Sugar Land, 281-242-2272 Cheesecake Factory, 500 Baybrook Mall, Friendswood, 281-488-0822 Coco Pazzo by Aura, 3340 FM 1092, Missouri City, 281-403-2872 Cove, 2502 Algerian Way, 713-581-6101 Crisp Wine Bar & Eatery, 2220 Bevis, 713-360-0222 Elevation Burger, 3819 Kirby, 713-524-2909 Fusion Noodle House, 27110 Cinco Ranch Boulevard, Katy, 281-394-5377 Jimmy Changas, 2504 Gulf Freeway, League City, 832-340-2446 The Lodge Texas Tavern & BBQ, 3130 S. Main, Stafford, 281-499-1335 Nonno Tony's World Kitchen, Pier 21 at Harborside Drive, Galveston, 409-621-5100 Nosh Bistro, 3963 Kirby, 713-522-6674 Sultan Turkish Grill, 8050 N. Sam Houston Parkway W., 281-894-5529 Taste of China, 8260 Louetta, 832-717-3888 Walker Steet Gastropub, 2006 Walker, 713-247-0900 Witchcraft Tavern and Provision Co., 1221 W. 11th, 713-426-2750
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AURA Restaurant, 3340 FM 1092, Missouri City Bibas Brooklyn Express, 302 Main Block 7 Wine Company, 720 Shepherd Dragon Bowl Asian Bistro, 1221 W. 11th Hula Mama's, 8550 FM 1960 W., Humble Seoul House Restaurant, 10603 Bellaire Boulevard Ziggy's Bar & Grill, 702 Main