The high life in Upper Kirby
It's going to be a fab fall: West Ave reveals new tenants and preps for opening
It's been years since construction broke ground and over 18 months since the enormous West Ave complex rose at the corner of Kirby and Westheimer. And aside from the upper floor tenants and one amazing party, the retail component of the complex has sat empty for what feels like quite a long time.
But all of that is about to change. West Ave has its first tenant open for business — Rome Salon and Day Spa — plus several more announcing opening dates throughout the fall and through the new year. In addition, Beth Palka of West Ave retail leasing agent Page Partners says there will be seven to nine leases finalized within the next 30 days and that all the available spaces are in negotiations with potential tenants.
The first ground level space to open will be high-end seafood restaurant Eddie V's, which is scheduled to debut October 18. On the corner of Kirby and Kipling, the Eddie V's space will have a similar aesthetic to the current location in CityCentre, with the bar more integrated into the restaurant space, set right off the entrance and the popular oyster bar. The 10,000-sq.-ft. space is broken up by a couple elevated private dining spaces and the main dining room features a great view into the open kitchen, with the possibility of a small patio dining space outside the front door.
Also on the first floor is Ava Brasserie. A new concept by Schiller Del Grande, the restaurateurs behind RDG and The Grove.
Ava stretches along Kirby with a long, slender dining space, a large central bar area and a large patio planned along Kirby under umbrellas and awnings. The corner entrance to Ava Brasserie will also lead to a dynamic elevator to transport guests to the separate concept upstairs, Pizzeria Alto. Ava is set to open in December, with Alto debuting after the first of the year.
Anchoring the entirety of the building space that sits along Westheimer is the future location of Tootsies. Owner Mickey Rosmarin says that after 29 years in Highland Village, the new location will have double the retail space at almost 30,000 square feet, which he is using to expand his offerings in contemporary fashion, jewelry, and shoes, as well as adding new, higher couture designers and potentially more in-store boutiques.
Rosmarin is also installing a catering kitchen and bar for more and better bridal, charity and society lunches and events.
Towards the interior of West Ave. will be Pondicheri, a new concept by Anita Jaisinghani. Pondicheri, originally called Zaika, is named for a town in southern India. Owner Jaisinghani says when she fell ill as a child, a healer from Pondicheri predicted she would recover, and her mother has ascribed her life to "the healer from Pondicheri" ever since. Pondicheri, she says, "won't be anything like Indika," her renowned restaurant featuring modern Indian fusion fare.
Instead it will focus on traditional family-style recipes from Delhi, Mumbai and Karachi, where Jaisinghani hails from. Breakfast and lunch will feature counter service, with dinner offering table service. There will be a large bakery concept inside focusing on breads and baked goods — including many that are vegan and gluten-free. Pondicheri will also have pre-packaged to-go entrees. The anticipated grand opening is in early December.
Next door is Dallas import Cru Wine Bar, opening in February 2011, which brings the popular wine bar chain into Houston — currently it's a popular destination in The Woodlands, offering flights of Wine Spectator-approved wines not normally served by the glass and a full menu of French-American bistro fare. The unnamed lounge by Jeff and Darren Van Delden, the brothers behind The Drake and Red Door, is scheduled to open in March, with views over Kirby and 5,000 square feet of upscale lounging.
Also upstairs two new tenants are making waves. Azur West (whose move into West Ave was first reported by CultureMap) is one of three brand new Shu Uemura flagship salons in the United States. It will bring exalted hair care treatments with a Japanese flair starting in November or December.
Just announced is bridal boutique Ivory by sisters Sharon and Ronit Levy, scheduled to open in December. Focused on modern, fashion-forward designs, Ivory will be the exclusive location for several bridal lines in Houston, including Stephen Yearick and Alvina Valenta, as well as Badgley Mischka, Liancarlo, Rivini, Anne Barge and YSA Makino. The sisters say they want to create a pampering, personalized bridal shopping experience, with flutes of champagne and 150-square-foot dressing rooms, with dresses ranging from $3,000 to $10,000.
What West Ave shop are you looking forward to the most?