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Cabo just the latest

Why is downtown dying? Restaurants keep shuttering as Super Bowl revitalization goes bad

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Cabo has closed its doors after more than a decade RoadsOfStone
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El Rey at Main Street ended operations in late 2011 Photo by Patricia S.
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Cielo and Cava Bistro were both closed by early 2011 Photo by Joel Luks
Byrd's Market lasted only a year and a half, closing in July 2011 Photo by Sarah Rufca
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Latin Bites is relocating to a larger space in west Houston Photo by Clifford Pugh
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cielo cava closed
era tables
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Downtown Houston has claimed another restaurant victim . . . Cabo, "the Original Mix-Mex Grill," has closed its doors after more than a decade of business.

The shuttering is just the latest in a string of notable downtown restaurant closures in the last 12 months — Cielo and Cava Bistro in January of 2011, Byrd's Market in July, ERA in the fall, and the El Rey at Main and Congress in December. Even the wildly popular Latin Bites Cafe in the Warehouse District is relocating to a larger space on the west side.

Cabo ownership was unable to be reached for comment on the closing, although several other recently shut down restaurants in the area cite a lack of walk-in diners and ongoing construction as major contributing culprits.

In 1998, Cabo opened at the dawn of Downtown's most recent period of revitalization. Starting in the late 1990s and culminating in 2004 with the Super Bowl and the creation of the light rail along Main Street, the renaissance brought new nightclubs and restaurants to what was once a relatively nine-to-five part of town.

 Recently shut down restaurants in the area cite a lack walk-in diners and ongoing construction as major contributing culprits. 

More than 10 years later, though, downtown residential activity remains light, leaving restaurants and bars to rely heavily on weekday foot traffic and rare weekend warriors.

Recent efforts to draw more residents into the city center seemed to have turned away from northern Downtown, focusing instead on the warehouses near the near Dynamo Stadium in the newly-dubbed EaDo and especially the blocks just west of the popular Discovery Green.

There's still a glimmer of hope for a boost to the northern portion of Downtown, which hopes to enjoy traffic from two new MetroRail lines along Rusk and Congress by 2015. But what will be left by then?

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