A downtown dining institution will soon come to an end of its 40-year run, but a promising new location is on track to open this summer. Treebeards historic location in Market Square will close on June 26, co-owner Charles Stinneford tells CultureMap.
Rather than anything to do with the coronavirus pandemic, the location is closing for a more typical reason. A proposed rent increase would have been cost more than the business' income could sustain.
"While our revenue is still very strong at this location, a massive increase in rent and the cost of capital expenditures we’d be required to make made it impossible for us to agree to terms. The proposed lease would have caused us to lose money for the next five years," Stinneford writes in an email.
While closing Market Square will be sad, Treebeards four other downtown locations will remain open. In addition, the restaurant is looking towards its new, Memorial-area location that's on track to open in July. Not only will the Memorial location, which is part of a new mixed-use development at the site of a former Toys R Us on I-10 just east of Bunker Hill Rd that will also include Masraff's and Texadelphia, be the first Treebeards outside of downtown — it will also be the first location to serve dinner.
To prepare for that, Stinneford writes the restaurant has brought in a couple of culinary heavy hitters to help it get ready.
"We are excited by the response the community has given us so far," Stinneford writes about the new location. "And when they get a taste of the bar menu that Matt Marcus is putting together and the drinks menu that Linda Salinas is developing, we’re sure the response will be even stronger."
Marcus, a co-founder of the Eatsie Boys food truck and 8th Wonder Brewery, brings a deep knowledge of what Houston likes to eat. Salinas, a beverage consultant whose past projects include Hungry's, Jonathan's the Rub at Memorial Green, and The Original Ninfa's Uptown, has demonstrated a knack for creating memorable cocktails (Full disclosure: she is also a regular contributor to CultureMap's "What's Eric Eating" podcast). Their participation will certainly give Treebeards' new location some extra buzz.
Until then, diners can make their final trips to Treebeards' original home in Market Square. In addition, the restaurant has been hosting pop-ups in different neighborhoods to accommodate downtown office workers who are missing the Creole restaurant's signature favorites such as red beans and rice and shrimp etouffee. Find ordering info and pickup locations on the restaurant's website.
KHOU was first to report the restaurant's impending closure.