For months, the shell of the former Wendy's restaurant sat forlornly amid the bustling restaurants and bars on the Westheimer strip. Although the Austin-based restaurant and bar chain Doc's Motorworks announced on its Facebook page last August that it was taking over the space, there was no sign of life.
But that's all changed.
"The expansion of Austin eatery concepts to Houston is a recent but growing trend."
Houston-based Hale-Mills Construction Ltd. recently began work on a 4,130 square foot restaurant and patio bar at 1303 Westheimer at Graustark, directly across the street from the popular Royal Oak bar. The new project is a design-build collaboration between owner Capella Capital Partners and architecture firm Mark Odom Studio, both operating out of Austin.
Renderings show a sleek modern building with a colorful pink, green and blue awning and a large, partially-covered dog-friendly patio. The former fast-food space will be incorporated into the new building that takes up much of the property.
The chain operates two Austin-area locations, including Doc's Motorworks iconic spot on South Congress. Officials hope to import the Austin vibe to the Houston location with a mix of Tex-Mex and comfort food (tacos, burgers and Frito pie) and large selection of Texas beers and specialty cocktails.
"The expansion of Austin eatery concepts to Houston is a recent but growing trend, with restaurants like Torchy's Tacos, Plucker’s Wing Bar, Freebirds World Burrito and high-end sushi concept Uchi all becoming staples here in the Houston restaurant scene," Doc's marketing director Laura Gregory said in a press release.
"Although we are an Austin-based company, our concept is to be a neighborhood bar and grill. We are looking forward to continuing to support Texas breweries and expand our draft list to include some of the Houston breweries as well.”