Changes in River Oaks
Gourmet food shop brings classic American fare to River Oaks after bistro shutters
The turbulent River Oaks dining scene that's seen Taco Milagro become Local Foods, 60 Degrees Mastercrafted become The Harwood Grill and Brio become SaltAir Seafood Kitchen added another switcheroo to its roster Tuesday.
"The first thing is the deal itself was great. I just couldn’t refuse the offer," Bird and the Bear co-owner Wafi Dinari tells CultureMap. "The second thing was the construction all over Westheimer. We have something going on that we’re looking into doing. We think it’s better to move forward without The Bird and The Bear."
Meanwhile, things are status quo at Wafi and his partner Elouise Adams Jones's other restaurant, iconic Southern restaurant Ouisie's Table, but Wafi has plans for a new concept, which he describes as "vibrant, chic Moroccan."
Turning to Relish, owner Addie D'Agostino tells CultureMap that she's excited about moving beyond her store's prepared gourmet items into a full service restaurant. "We’ve developed a good relationship with River Oaks at Relish, and we are hoping to give them a more high end dining experience," she says.
While the construction on Westheimer has been a challenge for restaurants in the area, D'Agostino says the improvements will ultimately benefit the neighborhood. "They’re going to make it easier for the neighbors to walk and access the area," she notes.
D'Agostino says the restaurant, which will be lead by Relish's executive chef Dustin Teague, will feature "really classic American fare. Simple food is what we like to cook and what we like to eat . . . There’s not a lot of just simply cooked cuisine (in River Oaks). That’s the direction we’re heading in."
Interior changes should take approximately six months, which puts Relish on track to open in the spring of 2016. "Basically, we’re going to redo the interior," D'Agostino says. "We’re going to put a new bar in, make that the focal point of the restaurant. It really needs an update. I don’t think it’s changed since Rickshaw. We want to give it a whole new look."
The Chronicle first reported The Bird & The Bear's closure.