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  • Richard Stout, "Evenings Fall," 1967
  • David Adickes, "Three Men on a Beach," 1953
  • Jack Boynton, "Inland Lights," 1956
  • Emma Richardson Cherry, "Southern Morning," c. 1930

This month's editorial series, True Grit: Houston Style, has sought to answer to what extent Houston embraces its Texas roots. To investigate how Houston artists have come to terms with their state's landscape, we went to William Reaves Fine Art, a gallery whose mission is to define modernism in Texas.

"We opened the gallery to convey a story about the evolution of modernism in our state," says the gallery's owner, William Reaves. He pinpoints Houston as the "birthplace" of Texas modernism for the community's willingness to display abstract works in museums and support award-winning artists as early as the 1930s. Artist-teachers like Emma Richardson Cherry and Ella McNeil Davidson had means to travel internationally and cultivated a generation of informed local artists like Robert Preusser and Frank Dolejska in the 1920s and '30s via institutions like the Art League and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Reaves notes that much ink has been spilt chronicling the first half of the 20th century in Texas art, but it was not until after World War II that the region received the necessary influx of knowledgeable artists to create an enduring community. Several local artists who stayed in Europe after the war brought back global influences. Paris was briefly home to a creative Texan expat culture, inculcating such minds as Herb Meers and David Adickes, who studied under the lionized Cubist painter Fernand Léger.

"This sort of French-looking, Texas cubist school that they created when they returned was very different from the bluebonnets people were used to seeing," says Reaves.

As the 1950s progressed, Houston became a "hotbed" for non-representational art, led by figures like Jack Boynton and Richard Stout (whose work from the era will be on view in an exhibition opening Friday). "A lot of this stuff from the '50s is new again because it's been kind of squirreled away in closets for awhile," says Reaves. "It comes off as fresh because there's a kinship with contemporary artists."

No doubt that international currents increasingly flowed into the local art mix, but did Houston artists ever completely turn their back on the Texas landscape?

"My impression is that it's a blend," says the gallery owner, citing Richard Stout as an example of an artist who has studied under other masters and blended that style with an impression of the state. Explains Reaves,

He paints in an expressionist style and has been informed by a lot of different artists over time. In addition, he was an art professor at UH for 25 years, so he's very aware of what's going on internationally. But Richard is also from Beaumont and his work almost always sees a landscape influence — a lot of coastal plains and rich atmosphere. Yet it is painted in a way that is informed by a lot of important artists from the New York School."

Similarly, Boynton and McKie Trotter presented work at New York galleries, yet their respective reductive landscapes and abstract expressionist works evince a horizon line evocative of the wide skies and flatness of Texas.

In truth, the link between Houston artists and their Texas roots is not a black-and-white issue. But to some extent, the answer is embedded in the cadre of works on view at William Reaves Fine Art. More than simply display and distribute artworks, the gallery presents curated thematic exhibitions that are accompanied by robust physical and online catalogues derived from research conducted at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Hirsch Library.

"The gestalt of what we're trying to do," says Reaves, "is trace a history of Texas art that may have been overlooked, but at its zenith, there's this beautiful, vital modernism."

The exhibitions Lone Star Modernism: A Celebration of Mid-Century Texas Art and Richard Stout: The Early Years open Friday, with a reception April 9, 5 - 8 p.m. A gallery talk will be held April 30 from 2 - 4 p.m. Both exhibitions are on view through May 7.

  • I wore faux coonskin on my head, and once told an adult that everyone called meplain old David, but that my real name was Davy Crockett.
  • The boys were very taken with all the re-enactors and even volunteered to be getup at 5:30 for the commemoration of the battle’s bloody pre-dawn conclusion.
  • I distinctly remember the panels in which Texian sharpshooters killed Mexicansoldiers and celebrated.
  • You feel them whether the gray on your head comes from your own hair or fromyour coonskin cap.
  • Yes, the epic battle was to some extent fought in defense of slavery. Jim Bowiehimself was a big-time slave trader.
    Portrait by George P.A. Healy, c. 1820
  • Stephen L. Hardin made a name for himself with his military history of the TexasRevolution, "Texian Iliad."

Remembering the Alamo — dark side and all — and how Davy Crockett's still cool

Coonskin Cap Chic

Like most AARP-eligible, Caucasian American males, I grew up under the sign of Davy Crockett Alamo, as interpreted by Walt Disney and Fess Parker. I wore a faux coonskin on my head, and once told an adult that everyone called me plain old David, but that my real name was Davy Crockett.

And because I grew up in South Texas, not far from San Antonio, the Alamo connection was particularly strong. When my mother went shopping at Joske’s, that Taj Mahal of San Antonio retail, I’d tag along, hoping to talk her into buying me a book and into letting me visit the Alamo just a few steps away.

All this was memorable enough for a small town boy, but when word came that John Wayne was going to make an Alamo movie, and play Davy Crockett himself, I suddenly felt a little closer to the center of the universe. The excitement that attended the movie’s world premiere in San Antonio made its way to my hometown. So couple of years later, when I was in seventh grade, I was reasonably excited to study Texas history, even if it was at the hands of a strange, and possibly emotionally disturbed former coach.

That’s when I first realized that the legacy of the Alamo defenders was more ambiguous and complicated than I’d realized. I distinctly remember the comic book about the Texas Revolution that we read in class. Its overt racism made me feel embarrassed for my “Mexican” classmates. I distinctly remember the panels in which Texian sharpshooters killed Mexican soldiers and celebrated by exclaiming “Got a taco bender!” and “Got a bean eater!”

That was my first inkling that the Alamo’s appeal might not be universal.

The older I got, and the larger Vietnam loomed in my life, the more ambiguous the lessons of the Alamo became. It didn’t help that LBJ was exhorting U.S. troops to “nail the coonskin to the wall” over there in Southeast Asia, where I had no intention of ever setting foot.

But the Alamo fire never completely went out for me, and part of the process of reconciling myself to being a life-long Texan, when at times I really wished I were somewhere else, was to re-embrace the Alamo, dark side and all. Yes, the epic battle was to some extent fought in defense of slavery. Jim Bowie himself was a big-time slave trader.

But still…the Alamo defenders may not have literally crossed a line drawn in the sand, but they were surely brave, just as were the Mexican soldiers who crashed the Alamo’s walls. I still can’t read Travis’ final letter — "I shall never surrender or retreat" — without getting an emotional jolt.

And the more I learned about Crockett (which isn’t a lot), the easier he was to cling to. He fell out with his extremely powerful patron, Andrew Jackson, because he opposed Jackson’s policy of Indian removal, which was the ethnic cleansing of that day. There’s a lot of mythology surrounding Crockett, of course, but he really was witty enough to say (after he lost a re-election to Congress bid) “You may all go to Hell, and I will go to Texas.”

Last Christmas, when my 12-year-old son, Gabriel, and my 10-year-old grandson, Cameron, and I made a trip to San Antonio, I took them to the Alamo and wondered how they would respond. They knew a little about the Alamo and Crockett, but they’d never experienced Fess Parker or John Wayne, and I wasn’t sure how this would all translate to their wired and digital generation.

But somehow the old shrine worked its magic, as they each left wearing coonskin caps, which they kept on as we explored the rest of the city. Gabriel even wore his to a Christmas party attended by boys his own age, and who responded predictably to the sight of the absurd headgear (which does, somehow, actually look pretty good on Gabriel). “Is that a condom on your head?” one kid asked.

I expected Gabriel to throw his cap away and foreswear Davy Crockett, but instead he got his back up. Davy Crockett was cool, whether his friends realized it or not.

Earlier this month, Cameron, Gabriel and I went back for the 175th anniversary of the Alamo’s fall. It was quite a time. The boys were very taken with all the re-enactors, and even volunteered to be get up at 5:30 for the commemoration of the battle’s bloody pre-dawn conclusion. Gabriel bought a copy of Crockett’s autobiography, which he’s promised to let me read when he’s through.

I also reconnected with Steve Hardin, whom I hadn’t seen in decades. As Stephen L. Hardin, my old friend and former fencing companion has become quite a writer and historian. He made a name for himself with his military history of the Texas Revolution, Texian Iliad. In Literary Houston, an anthology of writing about Houston that I recently published with TCU Press, I included two pieces by Hardin, who is simply one hell of a writer. One excerpt, from Iliad, vividly brings to life the Battle of San Jacinto and its revenge-and-blood-filled-conclusion; the other, from the unjustly neglected Texian Macabre, memorably describes Houston in the 1840s as “the worst place on earth.”

I rehearse all this because Hardin is so good at bringing history back to life, and to making you understand that the fighters on both sides were human beings, subject to the same emotions as us. Hardin led us on a tour of the greater Alamo battleground, which extends far beyond today’s Alamo grounds. When he came to the story of Susanna Dickinson’s exit from San Antonio, he became quite moved. This despite the fact that he’s told it, and contemplated it, many times before.

We were standing at the very spot where Santa Anna had the naked bodies of the Alamo defenders piled up and burned. Shortly thereafter, when the Alamo-survivor Dickinson left town, en route to Gonzales, she would’ve had to pass right by the smoldering ashes and blackened bones of her dead husband. As Hardin imagined the pain she must’ve felt, he was briefly brought to tears. He apologized, saying, “It’s just such a human moment.”

Despite the fact that the Alamo is surrounded by a impressively tacky atmosphere, complete with a Ripley’s Believe It or Not, these human moments still shine through, and you feel them whether the gray on your head comes from your own hair, or from your coonskin cap.

  • Kiss your grits
  • Texans quarterback Matt Schaub will be one of the judges.
  • Branch Water Tavern
    Photo by Ralph Smith
  • Ouisie's Table

True grits: Houston's best grits show Jeff Bridges who's boss

Foodie News

Grits have come a long way since being the butt of jokes on The Beverly Hillbillies. After all, when Britney Spears' dad was filmed making her a bowl of cheese grits for breakfast, the only snarky commentary was about his use of Kraft singles.

Which is as it should be. The traditional Southern dish of ground corn and creamy goodness may have humble origins, but with the rising tide of respect for Southern cuisine, grits have earned their due as a food that's both simple and delicious. (And no, they aren't just for breakfast anymore.) For the best versions in town, look no further than these restaurants

Zelko Bistro

Many do shrimp and grits well, but Jamie Zelko's version of the Gulf coast classic earned her a Rising Star award from StarChefs.com. The white cheddar polenta itself verges on the edge of too sweet, but the addition of sweet soy agave nectar at the edges of the grits strikes us as simply sublime.

Ouisie's Table

The version of sprimp and grits by Elouise Adams Jones has been the Houston standard for a decade, incorporating bacon, mushrooms, scallions, and just a hint of spice.

Haven

The locally-sourced cresenza cheese grits at Haven are simply not optional for me — luckily, even if I'm not ordering shrimp, I can add them on as a side.

The Breakfast Klub

No one fries up Southern favorites quite like The Breakfast Klub, it's true. Though the wings and waffles combo gets more ink, the 'katfish' and grits dish is just as popular and maybe even more revered. Add eggs and a biscuit for the ultimate down-home Southern breakfast.

Catalan

The version of shrimp and grits by Chris Shepherd gets a bit of a kick from roasted piquillo pepper butter, as well as a tangy goat cheese and bacon. In a word: yum.

Jasper's

Grits in the morning or at night? At Jasper's, in The Woodlands, you don't have to choose. The prosciutto-wrapped shrimp and grits with lemon-thyme butter sauce comes on both the brunch and dinner menus.

Brennan's of Houston

The granddaddy of all the Southern flavors making waves all over town, Brennan's still serves some great shrimp and grits, adding marinated sweet peppers, mirlitons, baby arugula, roasted garlic and oven dried tomatoes for some ladies-who-brunch flair.

La Vista

Taking shrimp and grits to the limit: the bacon is wrapped in prosciutto, the polenta is extra cheesy, and did we mention La Vista adds a little Grand Marnier?

Beaver's

Most grits recipes call for ground corn, but Beaver's takes the slightly more indie approach by using hominy. We dig it.

  • John Travolta in "Urban Cowboy"
    Courtesy photo
  • A familiar sign
  • Mickey Gilley, founder of Gilley's Club
  • Memorabilia from Gilly's

No (mechanical) bull: Travolta, Winger & Gilley's forever changed Houston

Urban (Cowboy) Legend

Editors Note: The opening of PBR recalls the heyday of Gilley's and the Urban Cowboy craze, so we're re-posting this story than ran March 30, 2010.

We’d like you to stop for a minute and consider Houston and its culture, then answer the following question. A perfect score will guarantee you a deep-fried sense of pride.

What is the date and location of the most important event in Houston’s history? Describe the event’s historical ramifications.

(a) August, 1836, confluence of White Oak and Buffalo bayous

(b) July 21, 1969, landing site of the Apollo 11 moon mission

(c) Sept. 8, 1863, Sabine Pass

(d) June 6, 1980, Pasadena

Correct answer (d.) On June 6, 1980, our long-neglected city and its refinery-studded sister to the south, Pasadena, finally got some street cred in the age of Dallas upon the release of the romantic drama Urban Cowboy, a gripping tale of the love triangle between country boy Bud (John Travolta), cowgirl Sissy (Debra Winger) and a mechanical bull (the center of entertainment in a sprawling Pasadena honky-tonk named Gilley’s).

Historical ramifications: For the first time in history, Houston found itself in vogue. The music and the close-ups of young John Travolta and Debra Winger stirring up trouble and sawdust at Gilley’s nightclub generated overnight interest in the Houston scene and the aforementioned bar. America wanted in.

City girls finally had an excuse to run out and buy a cute pair of cowboy boots. Guys no longer had to go to a Western dress store to get shirts with pointy-pocket flaps and pearl snap buttons. They could be found at JC Penney. Once proud city slickers started shrink-wrapping themselves into pairs of freshly pressed Levis before heading out to dance classes.

Wait a minute – dance classes?

Yes, indeedy. After all Travolta’s choreographed boot-scootin’ across Gilley’s dance floor — with a Lone Star jammed firmly into his back jean pocket — the country two-step, the waltz and, of course, the Cotton-Eyed Joe high-tailed it into the cool category of mainstream dance culture. It even spawned a new industry: Country western dance classes, led by retired small-town hairdressers, barmaids and anyone else whose mascara was heavy enough.

These were guys who previously wouldn’t be caught dead on a dance floor, but all of a sudden chicks were swooning over any rugged cowboy-type who could cut a rug. Since Marlboro Men were in distinctly short supply within the city limits, these inner-city interlopers two-stepped in to fill the void.

Western wannabes from all over the country actually booked trips to Houston as tourists to get a taste of the real (real urban, that is) country lifestyle. But more than that, the exalted honky-tonk and new cowboy-chic spread from smelly old Pasadena to points across the country faster than a new strain of swine flu. People were decking out in western duds and flocking to Urban Cowboy outposts from Washington, D.C. to Seattle – and sales of Lone Star Beer spiked across the country due to the brew’s prominent appearances in the movie.

Urban Cowboy did for Lone Star what E.T. did for Reese’s Pieces. And country record producers never had it so good.

No slap at HTown

But why, exactly, did this cinematic romance make such an impact? The only feature that sets this romance apart from so many others was, indeed, Mickey Gilley’s ball-busting play-toy, the mechanical bull. It was just another way for guys to measure their guyness. But when Sissy steps in and excels in rubbing her Wranglers around on it and not falling, well, Bud just couldn’t stand it and, in an ensuing argument, smacks Sissy across the face.

It was definitely a movie of its time. Several such incidents of what we now refer to domestic abuse are portrayed in Urban Cowboy as a way for the man to get his way or to emphasize his point, just another pitfall of a relationship gone sour.

As the movie opens, Bud is leaving his hometown of Spur to go to the big city to find work. His ma warns him that his breakfast is getting cold, but he’s in too much of a hurry and gives hasty hugs all around in a scene that seems straight out of Little House on the Prairie – not too strange a notion since the long-running series was in its sixth of nine seasons at that time.

Although Bud’s the hero, his tantrums early on (throwing his hamburger at the waitress because it’s too rare) are genuinely despicable, even more so than the bank robber parolee who gets a job at Gilley’s, courts Sissy and lives in a trailer in back. Said parolee has to really, really misbehave by hitting Sissy hard enough to mess up her face and by robbing the old lady/Gilley’s employee of the rodeo’s earnings at Gilley’s to get the louder boo’s and hisses toward the end.

Fortunately, Hollywood steps in with a subtle script to make everything right as the movie moves into its crescendo. Bud sees Sissy’s bruised face and hunts down Parolee Guy at the nightclub to avenge Sissy’s injuries.

He attacks him, causing Parolee Guy’s jacket (where he’s stuffed the money he just robbed) to come open, revealing his bad deeds, and all the rest of the cowboys jump on him.

Now, Sissy realizes that Bud really loves her and they ride off together into the sunset. Oops, no, wrong movie. They turn down friends’ offers to buy them beers and head off together to the house trailer, departing inexplicably from reality in the final scene.

After all, everyone knows the real Bud and the real Sissy in real life would stay at the juke joint. No cowboy, even an Urban Cowboy, would ever turn down a free beer.

  • First class service defines PBR.
    Photo by Cameron Blaylock
  • Tired of waiting for $10 cocktails? PBR has you covered.
    Photo by Cameron Blaylock
  • Can you keep up with the Professional Bull Riders?
    Photo by Cameron Blaylock
  • PBR first-timers line-up on the dance floor.
    Photo by Cameron Blaylock
  • The epic deck view delights the riding the professionals.
    Photo by Cameron Blaylock
  • Mastering the mechanical bull requires a distinct finesse.
    Photo by Cameron Blaylock

Chicks with chaps & a mechanical bull: A sneak peek at Bayou Place's PBR bar

First Sip

If we didn't know better, we'd swear it's Urban Cowboy all over again.

In a scene reminiscent of the classic 1980 John Travolta movie set in Houston and at Gilley's nightclub in Pasadena, a duo of sultry twenty-something cowgirls were riding dirty atop the mechanical bull on a recent night at the soft opening of Bayou Place's newest nightlife installation, PBR. That's short for "Professional Bull Riders" for those uninitiated to the much-anticipated conglomeration of bars moving into the second level of the Theater District's one-stop entertainment complex.

Part honky tonk, part skyline hotspot, PBR is poised to become the next go-to watering hole for accessible down-home nightlife.

A lengthy bar flanks the entire west side of the 18,000-square-foot space, serviced by red hot pants and chaps-clad bartenders, who occasionally take five to dance on the bar à la Coyote Ugly. Above, a trio of flat screens broadcasts the latest sports news and games. The bar service isn't so much about breadth of elaborate cocktails as it is about speedy, inexpensive service. On tap you'll find Coors, Miller Light and Blue Moon, as well as a simple array of liquors.

The generously-sized dance floor lends itself equally to raucous line dancing and intimate bumping and grinding, while a cash icebox bar allows easy access to longnecks. A third bar on the eastern edge ingeniously opens onto the indoors and an outdoor balcony populated with rows of high tables. While the veranda crowd enjoys views of downtown's Aquarium, Fish Plaza and Wortham Theater Center, the interior offers peeks into a smoky, double mirror-walled bathroom.

Of course, the main draw is a mean mechanical bull. Ready to mount that mighty stead? Not so fast — you'll have to sign a long waiver first. But once you're on that electric animal (san shoes and shot glass), you'll feel yourself immediately transported to the open prairies of the Wild West. For a brief moment, you are a Professional Bull Rider.

Rounding out the riding experience is a Jesus fish branded onto the machine's backside. The flair doesn't stop on the bull's derrière, though. On Wednesday evening, a cache of yet-to-be-hung tchotchkes rested in a corner — think steel lone stars and decorated NASCAR shirts.

Kitschy? Perhaps. But it's a far cry from the desolate "For Lease" space that has riddled the upper story of Bayou Place. Above all, the vibe is laid back. Comparisons to Rebels Honky Tonk are inevitable, but PBR promises to host none of the nonsense of the Washington Avenue scene.

When PBR opens Friday night, visitors can spy the next stages of the bar concepts that will be opening in the weeks ahead as part of the development dubbed Live at Bayou Place. Up next is Shark Bar, a venue boasting an '80s and '90s soundtrack. Developer Drew Coleman lists N*Sync and Backstreet Boys as expected dance floor mainstays.

Read more about the future of Bayou Place here.

  • Midnight with his prosthetic limb on his rear right leg.
  • Midnight's artificial leg
  • Midnight with Ranch Hand Rescue owner Bob Williams

It's just a mini horse, of course, but this one has an artificial leg

Midnight Rides

For most horses a broken leg can be equivalent to a death sentence. So for a miniature horse named Midnight, born without part of his right rear leg, the prognosis for survival wasn't good until he got a new leg and a new lease on life.

Four-year-old Midnight was recovered by authorities from a neglectful owner and brought to Ranch Hand Rescue, an animal sanctuary in the North Texas town of Argyle.

According to the Associated Press, Ranch Hand Rescue owner Bob Williams thought euthanasia might be the only option for the little colt — until he had an unorthodox idea. Williams approached Prosthetic Care in Fort Worth, which makes prosthetic limbs for people, about producing an artificial leg for Midnight. Horse artificial limbs have occasionally been tried before on horses with broken legs, but without much success.

Williams says he had only hoped a limb would allow Midnight to walk, but to everyone's surprise the colt starting running around just moments after his second prosthetic fitting.

"The first time we saw him run it made us cry, we all cried," Williams told the AP. "It's amazing that now Midnight has the opportunity to just be a horse."

Midnight is now on his third prosthetic leg, valued at $14,000, attached with velcro and worn only during the day. Williams says he hopes the miniature horse can live a long and full life.

As far as miniature horses go, he's even cuter than Lil' Sebastian.

Check out Midnight in action:

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Landmark Rice Village art gallery hosts first-ever sale event ahead of transformation into multipurpose space

thanks for the memories

For some 40 years, much-heralded Houston art maven Ron Gremillion has been a fixture of the local scene as a buyer, gallerist, and collector. Indeed, his Gremillion and Co. Fine Art complex has become a Rice University landmark.

Seemingly, the Gremillion and Co. Fine Art compound at 2501 Sunset Blvd. would endure in its current iteration for another decade. But like much of Houston these days, an enduring local space is being reimagined.

A group of Houston investors have purchased Gremillion’s property, which was designed by acclaimed architect Jim Lass and are refreshing the gallery and annex — both totaling more than 21,000 square feet. The group has also purchased an adjacent home at 2508 Nottingham St. that dates back to around 1940, which has been gutted to make way for a catering kitchen and new guest apartments upstairs for visiting artists, chefs, and other creatives tied to support inhouse programming and private events.

The result is a new multipurpose space replete with a shaded garden and tree-shaded terrace, which will be renamed Horizon on Sunset. Plans call for debuts by February 2023.

Fans can catch a sneak peek of the new Horizon Sunset during a special Gremillion and Co. Fine Art even and sale — a first in the company’s four-decade history — beginning Saturday, December 3. The specialty sale will last one month, with some 500 of Gremillion’s mostly modern assembled works on sale from $200 t0 $200,000.

Gremillion will personally oversee the sale and consult with potential buyers, along with guest curator Elise Arnoult Miller of Houston-based Arnoult Fine Art Consulting. “Gremillion is a gallery that has supported artists and put them first, and to some degree, that’s how this vast collection was amassed – pieces never stopped coming,” Gremillion noted in a statement. “This last hurrah is an opportunity to pair beautiful works of art with buyers that will be moved by them, compensate their talented creators and make way for the next chapter in a space that has made so many memories.”

Consider this a chance to score some valuable art at bargain prices, and pay tribute to a Houston institution.

-----

Gremillion and Co. Fine Art (2501 Sunset Blvd.) will host its first and only sale beginning Saturday, December 3. For hours and more information, visit www.gremillion.com.

Briargrove piano bar changes tune to new steak-driven supper club concept

No cap

A Houston psychiatrist will revive a beloved piano bar that closed during the middle of the pandemic. Caps Supper Club & Bar will open early next year in the former Caps Piano Bar space in Briargrove (2610 Briar Ridge Dr.).

Dr. Venkata Diddi tells CultureMap that he became interested in the restaurant business at the encouragement of his wife, who had worked in the industry before the couple had children and wanted to resume working now that they’re older. He found Caps at the suggestion of a friend who had been a regular at the intimate space, which had a following for its live music, strong drinks, and complimentary popcorn until it closed in 2021. Instead of simply reopening the bar, Diddi decided to add a restaurant aspect and turn the concept into a supper club.

Caps supper club Venkata Diddi Dr. Venkata Diddi will open Caps Supper Club next year.Photo by Fulton Davenport

Diddi literally plans to get the band back together. The same performers who graced the Caps stage for 17 years will return when the restaurant reopens. During happy hour and the early evening, a piano player will provide a more subdued form of entertainment.

Previously, Caps regulars would order food from nearby steakhouses, but Diddi has brought the food program in house. The proprietor turned to consulting chef Omar Pereney to create a menu of steakhouse fare and other comforting dishes.

A meal at Caps could start with raw dishes like oysters or steak tartare before moving on to shareables such as deviled eggs, fried calamari, or a charcuterie board. Entree choices include seafood, two pastas, a burger, and three steaks — all of which can be paired with sides such as creamed spinach mac and cheese, parmesan truffle fries, or crispy Brussels sprouts.

End the meal with one of three desserts. Beverage options include a range of cocktails as well as wines by-the-glass or bottle.

“People shouldn’t have to think hard when ordering from the menu. The dishes we will serve will only hold three or four components, but they make each other stronger,” Pereney said in a statement. “Our menu will be constantly evolving, and though there isn’t one flavor or ingredient that inspires it, seafood will be a main theme carried throughout.”

Scheduled to open in January, Caps will be open Monday - Saturday beginning at 4 pm with live music nightly. The space will seat just under 100 people and will include a private dining room.

Check off everyone on your holiday list at Houston's Rice Village

Wrap It Up

Make this holiday season a little more merry and bright when you shop for everyone on your list at Rice Village. The walkable shopping destination has everything from sparkly jewelry to yummy desserts to indulgent beauty treatments — take a look at some gift inspo below.

Sweet treats
Give the gift sure to please everyone: Van Leeuwen Ice Cream. Or if a frozen gift isn’t your thing, pick up a gift card for ice cream and get a scoop (or two or three) for yourself while you're there. Made from simple and choice ingredients, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream has 20-plus classic and vegan ice cream flavors to choose from.

Treat yourself and others with Sprinkles cupcakes this holiday season, with flavors like Christmas cookie, gingerbread, chocolate peppermint, and much more.

Show your host or colleague how much you care with a holiday treat from Badolina Bakery & Cafe. Their picturesque cakes — which are available in sizes of six, eight, or nine inches — are offered in a variety of shapes and flavors including raspberry rose, chocolate mousse, and cheesecake. While some are available daily on a first-come, first-served basis, it's recommended you place an order at least 24 hours in advance.

Break bread with friends by gifting one of Badolina's signature loaves. For something all wrapped up, a cylinder of triple-chocolate chip cookies or a box of florentines is the perfect present.

Festive fashion
Your search for the perfect present stops here. With crowd-favorite styles in signature soft fabrics, Tasc Performance has something for everyone on your list — all you need is the wrapping paper.

Make your holiday haul walk taller this year with a gift from Tecovas. Their handmade Western boots, bags, and apparel have a quality, fit, and feel you’ll notice from the first time you hold them and try them on.

Hospitality is a big part of the Tecovas experience, and walking into a Tecovas store is a sensory one. The smell of fine leather and the feel of quality Western goods will make you want to explore their selection of boots in calfskin and exotic styles, and maybe even grab a complimentary beverage and kick your feet up.

Vuori draws inspiration from the active California lifestyle: an integration of fitness, yoga, surf, and life. Looking for the perfect holiday gift? Lean into comfort with Vuori’s best-selling DreamKnit fabric — find it for him in the Ponto Collection or for her in the Halo Collection.

However you celebrate, Warby Parker has merriment-inspiring frames, gift cards, and accessories to make your season a success. All winter long, every pair of glasses or sunglasses comes in eye-popping, ready-to-unwrap packaging designed by artist Amrita Moreno. Purchase any two or more prescription pairs, and receive 15 percent off — like magic. (Restrictions apply.)

Good to give but better to get, Krewe is an independent eyewear company that draws creative inspiration from the vibrant culture and spirit of New Orleans and infuses it into every pair of its exceptional, hand-crafted frames.

Nanos, the Spanish fashion house dedicated to children since 1963, offers baby boy, baby girl, little boy, and little girl clothing made in Spain, where every thread is treated with love. This holiday, give the littles in your life the gift of high-quality clothing.

Merry makeup and skincare
The Haus Holiday Haul from Face Haus includes a Haus Facial ($110 value), The Rescue Worker Super Nutrient Face Oil ($39 value), The Schmoozer Hydrating Lip Care ($10 value), and a video tutorial from on of their superstar Esthies, who will help you choose a facial and share tips and tricks on how to use the products at home. Get all this for only $145.

Find fragrance gifts for $75 and under at Sephora's, and scoop up sets for everyone on your list (including you!).

Give the gift of a holiday glow-up with a SkinSpirit gift certificate that's valid on any treatment from SkinSpirit's extensive menu of medical-grade facials and aesthetic medical services.

Bluemercury is making gifting this holiday season easier than ever. Visit the link to explore their gift guide and plan your trip to your neighborhood location in Rice Village. Visit the Beauty Experts in-store for advice on all the latest limited edition gift sets. Plus, they'll even wrap your gifts for you, too.

Glittering baubles
Featuring beloved precious and semi-precious stones, like their signature turquoise sourced from Arizona and set in 14K gold, local jewelry brand Christina Greene is a go-to for gifting.

Some seasonal favorites include the Simplicity or Southwestern collections for her, cufflinks sets for him, gold beaded bracelets for the trendsetter in your life, or the Letter Necklace collection for those celebrating major milestones in their lives (like "mama," "Mrs.," and "love").

Looking for gifts that are uniquely Texas? Christina Greene also features a wide range of hat bands and badge holders that are perfect for rodeo season. True to its local roots, you can also find a unique turquoise belt buckle, statement-making squash blossom necklaces, and the popular Texas Strong necklace.

Home for the holidays
Shop for the master chef, self-care guru, WFH wiz, budding sommelier, and beyond at CB2. For the entertainer(s) in your life, think modern cheese knives and serving trays, soft throws, candles, beverage dispensers, ice buckets, and gold or marble cake stands.

For the game lover in your life, board games like chess and Scrabble never go out of fashion. Try versions made with marble or wood breathe new life into the classics.

Stop by and get some supremely soft statement gifts with an undeniable wow factor at Parachute Home. Truly thoughtful essentials to elevate the every day, these crowd-pleasers are perfect for cozy season. Choose from soft sheets, cozy quilts, joyful jammies, and more essentials to promote great sleep.

Forget the elf, we'd rather have those adorable holiday wine glasses from Cru Home on the shelf. These stemless wine glasses feature a festive and fun Christmas drinking phrase, and make the perfect gifts and stocking stuffers. Stop in to the convenient Rice Village location to stock up on these and other great last-minute gems for your friends and loved ones

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Visit these retailers and more at Rice Village, located at Kirby and University.

Photo courtesy of Sprinkles