9 things to know

9 things to know in Houston food right now: Openings, closings, and boss burgers

9 things to know in Houston food: Openings, closings, and more

BCK Kitchen & Cocktail Adventures burger options
BCK has revamped its menu.  Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
Sweet Paris Creperie toasted bueno crepe
Sweet Paris has opened in The Woodlands.  Photo by Shannon O’Hara Photography
Linda Pearson
Pokeworks brings its fresh fare to the Galleria area.  YouTube
BCK Kitchen & Cocktail Adventures burger options
Sweet Paris Creperie toasted bueno crepe
Linda Pearson

Editor’s note: Houston’s restaurant scene moves pretty fast. In order to prevent CultureMap readers from missing anything, let’s stop to look around at all the latest news to know.

Openings and closings

Sweet Paris Crêperie & Café has opened its fifth Houston-area store in The Woodlands. Located in the Market Street development at 9595 Six Pines Dr., the new restaurant gives area residents a place to satisfy cravings for sweet and savory crepes, waffles, salads, panini, milkshakes, and more.

“We are delighted to have found the perfect location right in the middle of such a vibrant and fashionable community,” co-founder Alison Chavez said in a statement. “We are looking forward to welcoming everyone to Sweet Paris Market Street!”

Sandwich shop Rhotey Rotisserie has closed. Back in October, Vincent Taylor received some positive media coverage for his creative beef, chicken, and porchetta sandwiches, but he wasn’t able to turn the attention into enough sales to sustain his business. While Taylor has temporarily shelved the idea, it seems like a natural fit for one of Houston’s upcoming food halls like Politan Row in Rice Village. 

Victorian’s Barbecue has canceled its plans to open in Houston’s East End, pitmaster-owner Joey Victorian announced. At last year’s Houston Barbecue Festival, Victorian revealed plans to open at 19 North York St., but the plans never quite came together. What’s next for Victorian isn’t quite clear, but his smoked tri tip deserves a wider audience.

Pokeworks continues its rapid growth in Houston. Known for its fresh fish, creative toppings, and poke burritos, the New York-based restaurant recently opened a Galleria-area location (1609 South Post Oak Ln.) to give it six Houston-area outposts: near The Heights, adjacent to Montrose, Pearland, Katy, and Baybrook.

Jenni’s Noodle House has reopened its Greenway Plaza location. Originally opened in 2016, owners Jenni and Scott Tranweaver closed it in 2018 to launch their Dream Tacos TX concept, but the eclectic taco restaurant closed after six months. Once again, diners can visit the Regions Financial Center building (3737 Richmond Ave.) to get their fill of the restaurant’s signature Asian-inspired dishes.

Mascalzone has closed its Westchase location after four-and-a-half years. Founded by former Olympic boxer Andrea Magi, the Italian restaurant came to Houston via London in 2014. A second location on Shepherd Drive opened in 2015 and closed in 2017. Some comments on social media suggest the location may reopen soon with a new name, but CultureMap has been unable to confirm whether or not that’s true.

Other news and notes

BCK Kitchen and Cocktails Adventures has revamped its menu. When it opened in the Heights last year, the restaurant, a sister concept to Galleria-area whiskey bar Bosscat Kitchen & Libations, focused on serving nostalgic fare inspired by its owners’ childhoods. When only a few of those dishes connected with diners, the restaurant has now pivoted to focus on more burger options, which puts it into more direct competition with the Heights outposts of restaurants like Bernie’s Burger Bus, Hopdoddy, Hubcap Grill, and Becks Prime.

“Our original concept was a beta test for ideas we had,” owner John Reed said in a statement. “People thought it was cool, but they weren’t coming back time and again. Frankly, we missed the mark. Without a clear identity, we felt the confusion from the consumer and ourselves.”

The new menu includes six burger options, including the Tex-Mex Burger (pickled jalapeno, cilantro, and enchilada mayo, the Return of the Mac (bacon, tomato and spicy mac ‘n’ cheese)), and the Mushroom & Quinoa Burger (vegetarian-friendly mushroom-quinoa patty that’s topped with smoked provolone, spinach, tomato, and onions). Even better, diners may add a draft beer to any burger for $3.

Punk’s Simple Southern Food has revamped its menu. Clark Cooper Concepts Southern-inspired Rice Village restaurant now serves its signature fried chicken by the piece or in combos, which means diners no longer have to commit to a whole or half bird to get their fix. In addition, the restaurant now serves select brunch items like breakfast tacos and an avocado omelette every day from 10:30 am to 3 pm. Those seeking something lighter may opt for one of the restaurant’s new salads.

Every month, Etoile Cuisine et Bar offers prix fixe menus at dinner and brunch to benefit a local non-profit. This month’s beneficiary is Music Doing Good, which offers innovative, music-based programming and performance experiences that provides musical experiences for children who would otherwise not have access to it. The four-course dinner menu costs $65 (with a $7 donation) and the three-course brunch menu costs $29 ($4 donation).