In a city that loves to tear down history and replace it with parking lots and multi-use high rises, it’s nice that some restaurants are still here, even if they morph into different eateries.
I recently got into a game of Name the Previous Restaurant with my favorite waiter at Frank’s Americana Revival, and I lost. Of course, before Mike Shine bought it, it was Frank’s Chop House but before that I remember it as being Joyce’s Ocean Grill. But then Fernando brought up the fact that it was originally an outpost of The Stables, a River Oaks classic known for strong cocktails, grilled steaks and people watching.
Haven’t thought about that place in years.
That building has been more eateries than even I can remember. We used to call it the Bermuda Triangle of restaurants.
And take the new 60 Degrees Mastercrafted on Westheimer Road. The former home of John Moore’s Palazzos Trattoria, this building goes way back. Originally built as a fast food drive through, when I first came to Houston it was Armandos, then something I vaguely remember called Dish either before or after it was an outside the Loop version of Two Chefs Bistro, which had wonderful angels on horseback, a hot appetizer of baked oysters wrapped in bacon by chef Andreas Zierau.
Then for a long time it was Arturo Boada’s Beso before becoming Palazzos. And now 60 Degrees Mastercrafted, yet another new restaurant I haven’t gotten to yet. New restaurants opening in Houston in the final months of 2013 have been as numerous as bluebonnets sprouting in springtime.
But I did make it over to the new Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette in the former Vida Tex-Mex spot, which, if I recall correctly was once a Mary Lee Donut shop. If you like oysters, raw or grilled, this is a fun spot for slurping and noshing.
And it’s hard to imagine now, when dining at the elegant The Pass & Provisions that not only was it once Scott Tycer’s Gravitas, but that for ages Houstonians used to sit at picnic tables and eat tuna wraps there at the original Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys & Deli.
Braving The Curse
What about Torchy’s Taco on South Shepherd Drive? That building has been more eateries than even I can remember. We used to call it the Bermuda Triangle of restaurants. I can’t believe anyone would want to open another restaurant there, but it looks like Torchy’s just might make it work out.
And so it goes. Local Foods is about to open a second location in the former Taco Milagro spot and Pico’s Mex-Mex appears to be finely ready to open in the Old Ninfa’s at the corner of Kirby Drive and Richmond Avenue. There is a sign up that reads “Now hiring.” Yeah!
In the honor of full disclosure, I should mention between these two icons there was also the short-lived Maggie Rita’s in this building. But that’s enough said about that.
There is one spot I’ve been keeping an eye on, waiting for news of a new eatery at — and that’s the location of the original Andre’s Café at the corner of Westheimer Road and River Oaks Boulevard. For as long as I remember it was a quaint little spot for coffee and pastries with a pretty hearty breakfast and lunch menu. It’s a shame it’s been empty so long.
Hopefully something will go in there soon.