Foodie News

Beloved, stand-alone restaurant suddenly shutters in CityCentre: The land where only chains thrive?

Stand-alone restaurant suddenly shutters in CityCentre: Land of chains

Flora & Muse with waitress walking
Within its casual space, Flora & Muse offered coffee, pastries, plated entrees and flowers.  CityCentre Houston/Facebook
Evan Turner
General manager Evan Turner announced the closing toward the end of a wine dinner Monday night. Photo by Kimberly Park
Flora & Muse with waitress walking
Evan Turner

Towards the end of Monday night's high-profile dinner celebrating Greek wine and food at Flora & Muse, general manager Evan Turner announced that the CityCentre cafe, coffee shop and florist would be closing at the end of service. Chronicle restaurant critic Alison Cook, a long time fan of Turner's, was on-hand for the dinner and reports that, upon hearing the news, she "went into a minor state of shock" to the extent that she was unable to fully appreciate either the lamb with truffled white bean puree or the accompanying red wines.

While the people who lost their jobs may still be trying to process the closing, Cook, thankfully, "revived" in time to enjoy dessert.

 Unfortunately, Flora & Muse's ambiguous concept couldn't find a sufficient audience. 

When it opened in 2010, CultureMap praised Flora & Muse for its eclectic design and relaxed atmosphere. Despite the somewhat pretentious-sounding name, the off-beat environment let diners determine whether to buy stationary or pastries in a casual, friendly atmosphere. Chef David Luna blended his signature Texan cooking with Turkish staples to make Flora & Muse a unique destination in a shopping center that's mostly populated by a mix of local and national chains.

The restaurant floundered a bit after Luna left for the Hotel Icon's Line & Lariat in 2011, but seemed to be on an upswing with the addition of Turner and chef Kelly Boyd earlier this year. Unfortunately, Flora & Muse's ambiguous concept couldn't find a sufficient audience.   

For his part, Turner tells CultureMap the decision to close "happened quite suddenly." Neither he nor Boyd have figured out their next moves, but Turner's well-regarded stints at Gravitas and Branch Water Tavern have earned him fans around the city. Whatever he does will certainly be worth watching. 

Meanwhile, Seasons 52, the healthy outpost of the Darden restaurant empire (Eddie V's, Olive Garden, etc) posted on Craigslist that its upcoming CityCentre location is hiring.