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No fear? New taco restaurant becomes the latest to take on cursed Heights space

A small chain — Yucatan Taco Stand — is daring to open a new restaurant in the long snakebit former Stella Sola space on Studewood. 

The prime Heights space has been unoccupied since Stella Sola closed in May 2012 after only two years of being open. Yucatan Taco Stand plans to open late October/early November at 1001 Studewood.

This will be the third location in Texas and the fourth overall for the chain. It has restaurants in The Woodlands, Fort Worth and Oklahoma City. But taking on 1001 Studewood could be a whole different deal.

Robert Gadsby — the British-born chef and former kickboxer — opened Bedford in the spot in 2008. When it closed, renowned Reef chef and co-owner Bryan Caswell brought big plans to the space, turning it into a sleek Texan-Tuscan restaurant. When it closed, Caswell cited uncertainty about the building (owned by a third party) as one of the factors that led to the restaurant's demise. Ronnie Killen of Killen's Steakhouse fame found similar frustrations when he tried and failed to open a second steakhouse at 1001 Studewood.

"You wouldn't believe what I've gone through," Killen told CultureMap when he finally abandoned the project in September 2012, noting he spent $45,000 on granite and tile before negotiations over rent and parking hit an impasse. Yucatan Taco seems unbowed though.  

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