The Heights shows no signs of giving up its status as Houston's neighborhood for new bars and restaurants. After a strong 2016 that saw high quality additions like Eight Row Flint, Arthur Ave, and Ritual, the new year is already off to a strong start with Field & Tides, the Southern-inspired neighborhood restaurant from former Liberty Kitchen chef Travis Lenig that replaced Zelko Bistro, and Presidio, the family-friendly new restaurant from former Pax Americana chef Adam Dorris that features two large patios.
In the last week alone, two more new restaurants announced their intentions to open in the neighborhood, while one restaurant that's just north of The Heights proper announced it will give up its brick and mortar aspirations and return to the streets.
The first to arrive will be Balls Out Burger. While opening a burger restaurant in an area that's already home to such acclaimed options as Hubcap Grill and Down House and will soon be home new locations of Bernie's Burger Bus and The Burger Joint would seem to be a quixotic task, owner Ian Tucker has a surprising pedigree that could bolster his prospects for success. Prior to becoming a Texan, Tucker owned and operated three acclaimed bars and restaurants in Dublin, Ireland. He moved to Houston after falling in love with his now wife Casey.
BOB will transform a former gas station on Durham into a restaurant with an industrial look. Tucker hopes to set the restaurant apart with a sprawling patio, outdoor games, and lots of TVs for watching sports. Tucker also plans to open a bar and restaurant called Poitín (pronounced Putt-cheen) in Sawyer Yards, but the timeline for that concept is still uncertain.
While BOB's arrival is fairly imminent, Flying Fish isn't slated to open until this fall. Described by CultureMap Dallas as "an ode to a lakeside seafood shack," the seafood restaurant will bring its signature catfish along with Gulf shrimp and oysters and fish from local lakes to the former Houston Tire Shop at the corner of Durham and 19th. Owned by the same company as craft beer bar The Flying Saucer and popular burger joint Rodeo Goat (coming to EaDo this summer), Flying Fish is so committed to local sourcing that owner Shannon Wynne joked in a statement that he's applied for "a license from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to harvest catfish from the nearby Buffalo Bayou."
While that license is still pending, the restaurant also does its part to combat noise pollution by giving a free catfish basket to anyone who brings in a Big Mouth Billy Bass. The surrendered singing fish are proudly displayed on a wall in the restaurant.
In disappointing news, Luv Me Tenders announced on Facebook that it has closed its brick and mortar location in the former home of Treadsack's Kipper Club Test Kitchen. Chef-owner Jason "Big Sexy" Hill will operate the chicken tender concept as a food truck that's parked at Oak Forest neighborhood bar Sassafras. Fans of the restaurant who don't want to travel to its new home can get their fix via delivery apps like UberEATS and DoorDash.