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Restaurant's Spirit Returns

A beloved, closed-down Houston restaurant's spirit returns in a new neighborhood joint

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Red Ox Grill February 2014
Lily Hernandez and Terry Flores stand behind the bar of the Red Ox Bar & Grill, their new restaurant that's opening soon.  Photo by Eric Sandler
Red Ox Bar and Grill logo
Jesse Prieto designed the restaurant's logo.  Image via Red Ox Bar & Grill/Facebook
2 Red Ox Grill February 2014
Red Ox will serve burgers, but this painting won't be part of the design.  Photo by Eric Sandler
Red Ox Grill February 2014
The new patio will be dog friendly.  Photo by Eric Sandler
3 Red Ox Grill February 2014
The menu will include a mix of new items and favorites from Bocados.  Photo by Eric Sandler
Red Ox Grill February 2014
Red Ox Bar and Grill logo
2 Red Ox Grill February 2014
Red Ox Grill February 2014
3 Red Ox Grill February 2014

Terry Flores and Lily Hernandez are getting close to opening Red Ox Bar & Grill, the successor restaurant to longtime Montrose favorite Bocados, which closed last year after a farewell service on Cinco de Mayo. With most of the permitting complete and the restaurant ready to paint, Flores and Hernandez let CultureMap take a sneak peek inside the new space, which should open in six to eight weeks.

"It was time for a change for Terry and myself," Hernandez tells CultureMap. "We’d been at that location for 15 years. We saw our opportunity to buy another piece of property. We decided to lease the property out and take a little break." (Louisiana-based breakfast and lunch restaurant Brick & Spoon opened in the former Bocados location in November.)

 "After we get this project done, if we don’t kill each other, we’re going to go to my side of town (the East End) and open the Lazy Ox."  

As for opening just north of downtown off the newly expanded METRORail line, Flores says it was a natural. "This is where I grew up. I’m coming back to where I’m from. We said we can make it happen over here and serve delicious food."

She thinks Bocados fans will make the trip from Montrose. "They know the kind of food we put out. It’s all about the flavor . . . ," Flores says. "We’ll do everything by hand, still."

Flores says that the name comes from her favorite color and the fact that both she and Hernandez were born during the Chinese Year of the Ox. "We were sitting at the Tall Texan. That's where we came up with the name," Flores recalls with a laugh.  

The menu will mix some of Bocados' most popular entrees, like fajitas with Cuban items from the duo's Bocachica concept, and a new menu of burgers, salads and seafood items. Burgers will be ground in-house from organic beef and feature a variety of creative toppings. Drink options will include craft beer, margaritas and Bocados signature sangria. "We’ll be offering Saturday and Sunday brunch. I know a lot of people are looking forward to a brunch place in this area," Flores adds.

The business partners worked with local architect (and longtime Bocados customer) Paul Henry on the design, which includes building a new patio and raising the building's ceiling. Kristin Bricker Henry (Paul's wife) and YMS Interiors collaborated on the inside, which uses wood reclaimed from both Flores and Hernandez's homes. Custom tables are made from wood that was previously bowling lanes.  

Another long time customer, Jesse Prieto of Bayou City Display, developed the restaurant's logo that can be seen above. 

In addition to maintaining their ownership of the Bocados building, Flores and Hernandez also own the property that houses D&T Drive Inn, which they have leased to the Down House partners for their craft beer bar. Both women laugh at the suggestion that they're building an empire in Houston's up-and-coming neighborhoods, but that doesn't mean they don't have specific guidelines for their purchases. Flores says they would rather purchase unique locations than lease in a strip center. They're also already targeting their next project. 

"After we get this project done, if we don’t kill each other, we’re going to go to my side of town (the East End) and open the Lazy Ox," Hernandez says.

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HTX Good Eats 2014