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Popular Houston restaurant suffers a big blow as its new treehouse dining plan falls apart

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Jonathan's the Rub new location
Jonathan's the Rub won't be moving to a new location after all. Jonathan's the Rub/Facebook

Looks like Jonathan's the Rub, the popular restaurant in the Memorial Villages known for its eclectic menu and BYOB-friendly atmosphere, won't be moving to a new location. In a post on his personal Facebook page, chef/owner Jonathan Levine's son Sam revealed the restaurant's plans to move to the new "treehouse" headquarters of real estate firm MetroNational had fallen through.

The restaurant followed up with its own Facebook post this morning confirming the decision. The statement reads as follows: "We have made a decision within our family to stay in our current location and continue doing what we do best. We have a great thing going on and an incredible customer base at our unique location on Gaylord Street and will continue providing the best food, the best service and a great experience to our customers. We are exploring exciting opportunities, which will ultimately be better for the organization, the Memorial Village community and our family."

 The idea that he simply changed his mind with two months to go before opening is hard to fathom. 

No public explanation for what happened has been provided. A representative confirmed as recently as Aug. 15 that the move was still on track for November, and the restaurant provided a splashy construction site tour to the Chronicle days later. 

While parties are typically polite about business deals that fall apart, the text about making a decision to stay in the current location rings a little hollow. When Levine first discussed the move with CultureMap back in November 2013, he was excited about the prospects of serving more guests, adding a wood-burning grill and working with Reserve 101 co-owner Mike Raymond on a top-notch bourbon list. The idea that he simply changed his mind with two months to go before opening is hard to fathom.

Levine declined to provide any additional details about the circumstances surrounding his decision, but a representative says he's still on the hunt for a new location.

Where will it be? When will it open? Those are just two of the many questions surrounding today's unexpected turn of events. 

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