Américas Shuttered

Pioneering South American restaurant has closed in River Oaks

Pioneering South American restaurant has closed in River Oaks

News_Americas River Oaks, interior
Américas featured an eye-popping interior. Photo by Julie Soefer/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Americas River Oaks for lease sign
A "For Lease" sign posted at the bar entrance to Américas. Photo by Eric Sandler
Americas River Oaks website screen shot
A screen capture from the non-offline Churrsacos Restaurant Group website. Screen capture via churrascosrg.com
News_Americas River Oaks, interior
Americas River Oaks for lease sign
Americas River Oaks website screen shot

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed another high-profile Houston restaurant. Américas restaurant in the River Oaks Shopping Center has shuttered.

Although its website and Facebook page are still active, Américas appears to have closed in mid-March and will not reopen. A representative for the property's landlord, Weingarten Realty, confirms the restaurant has closed.

Fred Espinoza, chief operating officer for Américas owner Churrascos Restaurant Group, provided CultureMap with the following statement about the restaurant's closure: "Due to the business effects of the coronavirus and the high-cost structure of the operations, we decided not to reopen Américas. We are extremely grateful to all our loyal fans for all the support throughout the years, and we hope to see you at one of our Churrascos’ locations."

As Espinoza noted, Churrascos, the company's South American steakhouse, operates a nearby location in River Oaks that remains in business.

Opened in 2010 by celebrated Houston restaurateur Michael Cordua, Houston's third Américas became an instant success. With its luxurious interior and a prime location, the restaurant provided a new outlet for a wide array of South American dishes prepared by its executive chef, Michael Cordua's son David. 

The menu covered everything from ceviches to steaks, but Cordua earned acclaimed for creative dishes such as lobster corndogs, paella with smoked lamb, and black bean empanadas. A full range of craft cocktails and a wine list with plenty of South American vintages helped complete the experience.   

Founded in 1993, the original Américas location on Post Oak featured an interior by architect Jordan Mozer that recreated a tropical rainforest. It closed in 2011. A second location in The Woodlands converted into a Churrascos in 2017. Michael and David Cordua parted ways with Cordua Restaurants, now Churrascos Restaurant Group, in 2018.

Américas joins an ever-growing list of Houston restaurants that have closed since restrictions designed to limit the spread of covid-19 severely restricted restaurants' operations. They include Bernie's Burger Bus, Penny Quarter, The Tasting Room in Uptown Park, and Indika