End of the Row
Diverse Rice Village food hall shutters due to COVID
Rice Village food hall Politan Row has permanently closed. Politan Group culinary director Kirstin Moburg-Davis provided CultureMap with the following statement about the closure:
Politan Row Houston opened one year ago, giving us just four short months to serve Rice Village before mandatory shut downs. We've been closed due to the pandemic much longer than we were actually open. This timing has been tough, especially for a group of small business owners. We want to give a huge thanks to all those wonderful customers that supported us, our staff who gave 110 percent, and our talented group of entrepreneurs who developed compelling concepts within our walls.
Politan Row Houston will unfortunately close its doors, but we want to encourage and support all the food and beverage entrepreneurs that are pressing on. Many from Politan Row are already developing new businesses designed for the pandemic and beyond. Please consider patronizing these chef-owners who have worked tirelessly during this pandemic in their new ventures.
Opened almost exactly a year ago, Politan Row arrived in Houston with a substantial pedigree. Politan Group founder and CEO Will Donaldson established New Orleans' St. Roch Market and took the concept to both Miami and Chicago before opening in Houston.
For the Houston version, Politan recruited an exciting mix of vendors, all of whom were immigrants, people of color, women, or a combination of all three. Concepts included Thai food from chef Evelyn Garcia, Mexican tacos and seafood, Nikkei cuisine, Mediterranean, and soft serve ice cream.
Add in midcentury modern design elements and prime location in a pedestrian-friendly area, and the project seemed like it couldn't fail. Enter the coronavirus pandemic, which compelled the venue to shut down for a significant amount of time and made it no longer feasible to bring large groups of people together for the purpose of dining in close proximity to each other.
As the company's statement, many of Politan Row's vendors are developing new concepts. Cochinita & Co. chef Victoria Elizondo recently told Houstonia that she's planning to open a food truck that will provide a new venue for her creative take on Mexican street food. Chef Masaru Fukuda tells CultureMap he will be making an announcement soon about the future of Pacha Nikkei, his Peruvian-Japanese fusion concept that earned acclaim for its ceviches and other dishes.