When you've got a neighborhood as trendy and popular as Lower Westheimer, nothing stays empty for long.
So it's not suprising that the much-publicized sale of Nabi led to competing offers to take over the space. The winner was Shawn Bermudez, who, as the owner of Royal Oak, Boondocks and thrift stores Taxi Taxi and Leopard Lounge, has long been a Westheimer curve insider.
"We're going to try to pull off something that's very difficult to acheive: 50 percent bar and 50 percent restaurant all in the same area," says Bermudez.
Bermudez is currently turning the Nabi space into Pistolero's, a Mexican/Latin concept with a focus on tequila and a menu by Brandon Shillings, who worked in the kitchens at Ibiza, Catalan and Benjy's before becoming managing partner at Pola Artisan Cheeses.
"We're going to try to pull off something that's very difficult to acheive: 50 percent bar and 50 percent restaurant all in the same area," says Bermudez, who is also a partner in food trucks Koagie Hots and The Golden Grill.
"A lot of places get kinda confused trying to be a little bit of everything but we're going to pull it off. People are going to come for the food and stay for the drinks, and at the same time people are going to come out to the bar and see the food."
Bermudez says the planned menu is designed to be light so as not to derail a night out on the town, with tapas, small plates and about a dozen tacos, including ones with oxtails and red mole, as well as a crispy cactus appetizer that will take the place of beer nuts.
"One of the things I talked about with Brandon was how I went with a few friends to a tequila bar — our idea to go there was to have a few drinks, but by the time we finished our apps we were done. It was just so heavy. The entrees that we're serving, they're not going to ruin your night."
Pistolero's is scheduled to open in the spring of 2013, around the same time as another new bar concept from Bermudez that will be just down the street.
He's turning the former Liquid space across the parking lot from Boondocks (and across the street from Anvil) into Stone's Throw, which Bermudez describes as "just a classic Americana bar."