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Byrd's Building - 420 Main St.


GovernorAggie

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I really hate the commentators on the Chronicle website...especially when it comes to downtown.

http://blog.chron.co...7/bye-bye-byrds

Yes, definitely quite a few "Debbie Downers."

I've gone a couple of times, but I was unimpressed with the food as well as the service. Hopefully OPP will offer a much better location for Phoenicia.

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I noticed the shelves had been cleared yesterday. I'm sort of ashamed to admit that I walk by there twice a day and only went in once (for a menu).

You shouldn't be. It didn't entice you, and obviously, didn't entice enough others either. Yeah it sucks that the local shop closed, but it sucks more that he didn't have a strategy that worked, cause now that shop is gone, and others will use that as an excuse not to try.

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Yes, definitely quite a few "Debbie Downers."

I've gone a couple of times, but I was unimpressed with the food as well as the service. Hopefully OPP will offer a much better location for Phoenicia.

Being right across the street from the park and directly underneath some posh condos, they should. Assuming it's like the Phoenicia on the west side of town. I'll stop by, at least to buy some hookah tobacco.

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I went to Byrd's twice for lunch, it was nothing to write home about. Their windows were very poorly presented to the public, with a spare and almost desparate look about them. The first time my wife and I walked in during the evening it was so uninviting (staff/interior layout/branded products) that we walked the circulation, took a gander at the menu, and promptly left.

Hopefully another operater can make that location work (especially in tandem with the renovation of that other old little bldg by Z-C down the block from them).

Edited by infinite_jim
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The food they made ranged from mediocre to quite good, but the retail component was always a big disaster. They offered very very little and it was all way overpriced. They were selling Lola Savannah (which comes from the warehouse about ten blocks away) at a very significant markup. They ditched the fresh produce and replaced it with expensive cleaning supplies. Maybe fresh produce wasn't working, as it does spoil, after all, but they didn't make much of an effort, in my opinion, to revive or renovate the retail side.

Revival Market is a pretty good example of what Byrd's should have been.

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Well, that's a bummer.

As someone who lived close by, it was nice to be able to get milk and bread without having to get into my car.

I will admit though, they always seemed to be dropping certain items from their inventory. When it opened they had produce, deli meats and cheeses, milk, juice, etc. It was nice for a little while. However, for a regular customer, it was sort of like a guessing game going in every week to see what products they would no longer be carrying. While I sort of understood why they stopped carrying perishables (low sales), I always wondered why their stocks of wine, pasta, and other long shelf-life items dwindled. I always felt like they should have tried a big retail push or two towards the end, but it's not my money.

Well, I was hopeful when I saw the sign on the window that it would change for the better. Now I am confused as to what is going to happen to that space, why put up a sign saying you are updating/upgrading if you are closing for good? From now until whenever Phoenicia opens (Was supposed to be early 2011, then April, then May, then June, July, August, and now September), I guess I will be getting the basics at CVS.

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Well, I was hopeful when I saw the sign on the window that it would change for the better. Now I am confused as to what is going to happen to that space, why put up a sign saying you are updating/upgrading if you are closing for good?

Not sure if it is the case here, but sometimes businesses will do this so that they can move out all their inventory before the building owner locks them out for breaching the lease contract.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 months later...

It looks like construction is wrapping up on the new place (Georgia's?). They've cut a hole in the back area floor and installed a stairway. It's hard to say what the subsurface area will be used for.

At basement level will be The Cellar, a beer and wine bar. The basement will also serve as an event space.

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  • 1 month later...
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I work and live in downtown so i really want Georgia's to make it, but i won't hold my breath.

First, the good; Thier prices are reasonalbe (mostly organic and local, so it will cost more, but still reasonalbe compared to Whole Foods), store is clean, employees are friendly, good selection of local beers and their is a good selection of organic produce, the food from the bufett bar tastes good. The bad, their overall selection is limiting. No bakery section, convienance store sized dairy section, convienance store sized meat/poultry selection. Overall beer and wine selection is too small. The check-out process is too slow. Everytime i've tried to checkout, i've had to move to a different register, because not all the registers have scales? Also i'm used to watching on a screen as my groceries are added, but here i'm just supposed to "trust" the price is right? Also, there is no drug section; no soap, toilet paper, shampoo etc... Also, their meat and poultry is grass fed and local, but i didn't see an Organic label on them, so i'm not sure if it's technically organic.

The store just opened, so from what they have told me they are getting new items in everyday and some things things are not fully operational yet. So i'll give them a little more time...

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The checkout speed is something that will improve with time. Someone there told me they were forced to open prematurely (City? Landlord? He didn't say) so hopefully they can get prices on everything soon. I have some suggestions for them, but I was going to wait for them to settle in before sending them. One example is that $7 for a pint of local craft beer is way too much, unless it's something really special. $4 is typical, and $5 is an upper boundary, imo.

Anyway, I hope they're successful. I think it's still a challengingly small place to have a grocer. They blow Byrd's away and are making fairly good use of the space.

Edited by kylejack
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Went in yesterday evening with a friend from St. Germain. Items were pricey IMO. Including us, they had 4 customers.

We went in about 2 weeks ago - around 5:00pm....1 other person in the store....I also agree, prices seemed high....$4.99 for a jar of dill pickles -- not some fancy kind, the same kind I buy at HEB for $1.99 !! Some of the produce seemed like it had been sitting out - unrefrigerated - for the whole day. I wonder what kind of lunch business they do, the prepared food looked good.

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We went in about 2 weeks ago - around 5:00pm....1 other person in the store....I also agree, prices seemed high....$4.99 for a jar of dill pickles -- not some fancy kind, the same kind I buy at HEB for $1.99 !! Some of the produce seemed like it had been sitting out - unrefrigerated - for the whole day. I wonder what kind of lunch business they do, the prepared food looked good.

There were quite a few tables occupied for lunch yesterday.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Like some of the comments made in the chron article, I really wish we could somehow get a mini HEB or something that sells everyday items for the people that live downtown.

It's nice to have these upscale places downtown but I think the HEB would add a little more traffic to the area which might entice people to stop into these fancier places.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 months later...

I really tried to support this place, but it's too frustrating. The bulk bins are empty and have not been restocked in weeks. Produce sits out for days. I walked over today to buy dishwasher detergent and the shelf was empty. Who is their target customer? Is it the m-f worker crowd or the local downtown resident crowd?

Anyways their website (the downtown website) is down for non payment.

http://georgiasdowntown.com/

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wow...can anyone fully decide on what the true downtown market really is? It seem's like Byrd's didnt know who their target audience was and it seems like Georgia's is starting to fall into the same hole...I understand that there may not be as much foot traffic over there as opposed to over by Phoenicia but they really need to get some basic necessities for the resident's - which is one of the reasons I still go to Randall's over Georgia's or Phoenicia...

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It would be interesting to poll downtown residents about where they shop for grocery's and why they don't shop at downtown grocers.

I'm not a Downtown resident, but in Montrose so pretty close. I go to Phoenicia at least once every 2 weeks. Any time I'm there I see a healthy number of customers in the store... it's developed a regular and stable following.

Phoenicia is different from other Houston grocers of course... it has a very European setup, and remind me of the supermarkets I went to in Paris or the UK. But the prices are quite comparable on many items to Randall's or Kroger. Some items like pasta noodles or some of the cheese are actually cheaper than the chain grocers.

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Yeah I think Phoenicia makes clear what a downtown grocer has to do to survive: they need to offer people who live in the surrounding neighborhoods a reason to drive into downtown. Phoenicia offers something different enough from Kroger, Fiesta, HEB, Central Market or Whole Foods that it's somewhat of a destination. Plus, yeah, their prices are actually very reasonable.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 8 months later...
  • 8 years later...

I haven't been downtown in awhile, so I don't know when Local Foods closed its downtown outpost at 420 Main St. It was closed during the height of the pandemic in 2020 with plans to reopen in 2021, but I don't know if that happened or not.

Moving into Local Foods former ground floor space in the Byrd Building is neo-soul/Southern restaurant Taste (Taste Bar + Kitchen / Taste Kitchen + Bar).

I think the restaurant from Don Bowie is relocating from Midtown, 3015 Bagby St (former Sterling House). 

Taste is (or was) being sued by its landlord Amir Ansari for a host of things and was locked out briefly earlier this year, according to documents submitted to Harris County court (Bowie is also being sued by investors of Rare, the steakhouse and lounge on Washington Avenue). The documents also disclosed Bowie's plan to relocate Taste.

 

 

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  • The title was changed to Byrd's Building - 420 Main St.
  • The title was changed to Culture Map Is Saying That Byrd's Market Is Closed For Good

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