New Downtown Restaurant Shutters
One of the new downtown restaurants is already closing: The rebirth can't save everyone
The upstairs balcony at Pepper Jack's Mexican Grill and Cantina near Market Square Park would be a perfect downtown destination for enjoying an al fresco lunch during this small window of bearable springtime but, alas, the short-lived concept has already closed its doors for good.
Katharine Shilcutt first reported the news, with sources pinning Pepper Jack's downfall on the fact "the landlords figured it would be simple to continue operating a Tex-Mex restaurant in the same spot" after Cabo, "the Original Mix-Mex Grill," closed in Jan. 2012.
Cabo's was one in a string of downtown dining closures at the time. Representatives from the failed restaurants told CultureMap at the time that a lack of walk-in diners and ongoing construction negatively affected their bottom lines.
The north end of downtown has since experienced something of a revival — with the OKRA Charity Saloon, Batanga and a string of Main Street bars opening alongside stalwarts like Treebeards, Warren's Inn and La Carafe — so perhaps the real culprit in the closings was the food's quality. Reviews have been mediocre at best since Pepper Jack's opened at 419 Travis last August.
Building owner Merg Meraia (who partnered with John Bigam on Pepper Jack's) tells the Houston Chronicle that he is already in negotiations with the next tenant, another restaurant and bar that already has "a few successful locations."