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Porchman

Kraftsmen Baking and Textile

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Reported this morning in the Houston Chronicle's Business Section.

Kraftsmen Baking's Scott Tycer plans to move the company the 114-year-old Oriental Textile Mill at Lawrence and W. 22. He will also be operating a retaurant there, "Textile", with a planned opening in July. Kraftsmen currently operates near Rice Military.

This is exciting. It's a cool building, and I'm glad to see an investment in it. I'm also glad to see another new dining attraction come to the area. He will, of course, need to incoporate similar "club" rules as Shade, because that area is within the dry zone.

EDIT: I'm pleased that there will be some retail outlet for Kraftsmen at the site. We can stop by on our trips to Fiesta. (Missed that paragraph in the article earlier).

Edited by Porchman

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Very exciting. I wondered as I was reading the article if anyone had mentioned it here. WTG Scott Tycer!

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I'm also thrilled with the news. If the new restaurant ends up as high profile as Aries, it could be good for the neighborhood b/c it will bring a national focus on the history of the area that the suits at city hall won't be able to ignore.

i've mentioned this before on this forum, but i think that the "club" thing isn't such a big deal. restaurant row in dallas has the same laws and they are booming. i think the dryness of the area is *not* what has stopped restaurants from moving in. i think they have been waiting until the gentrification has moved a little farther along. they were waiting for the 1st million $ home and now they have many. thank goodness it was someone like Tycer who decided to come in next and work with the historic nature of the 'hood! the article talked about good will like it was some simple nicety, but we all know "good will" in the heights is more than just a sentiment.

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I was very happy to see that article, always good when an old bldg. finds a new use, and is left standing. Found the conversions & Vacant Bldg. tidbit interesting. one listing under Vacant: (Minimax Store No. 2: 5210 Almeda Rd. built in 1938.) from Houston Chronicle -Business Sec.D Sun., May 18, 08.

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Anyone know when this (bakery portion) is supposed to open? I thought the article said June 1st but it doesn't look anywhere close to being finished at this point. Looking forward to it and the restaurant. Can't wait!

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Anyone know when this (bakery portion) is supposed to open? I thought the article said June 1st but it doesn't look anywhere close to being finished at this point. Looking forward to it and the restaurant. Can't wait!

They look like the have the distribution portion open. A full fleet of delivery trucks was on site a few days ago. I couldn't tell if they were selling bread out of the back door.

Notice of Textile's alcohol permit app. is posted in a window facing W22.

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They look like the have the distribution portion open. A full fleet of delivery trucks was on site a few days ago. I couldn't tell if they were selling bread out of the back door.

Notice of Textile's alcohol permit app. is posted in a window facing W22.

They will be opening in the next few weeks! Very excited!

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Just as an FYI, Dax McAnear will be working at Textile with Tycer. Which...is interesting. McAnear was formerly the head chef and "pit boss" at Beaver's and was supposed to be quite the barbeque master. So, I'm just trying to envision how that whole thing is going to fit with the modern French-American thing that Tycer is going to be doing at Textile. :huh: Can't wait to see for myself... :)

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Via HP and swamplot, Textile is closing. The Kraftsmen wholesale operation will continue in the space on 22nd St.

So much for Heights "good will". It's too bad. The Montrose operation seems to flourish in comparison, even during this rough economic patch.

the article talked about good will like it was some simple nicety, but we all know "good will" in the heights is more than just a sentiment.

Anybody want to get a betting pool going on a Walmart close date?

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So much for Heights "good will". It's too bad. The Montrose operation seems to flourish in comparison, even during this rough economic patch.

The Montrose operation is a Kraftsmen storefront, basically selling breads and sandwiches.

Textile, on the other hand, was supposedly a "chef-driven" restaurant, offering diners a choice between a $115 7-course tasting menu (+$75 wine pairings) or an $85 5-course tasting menu (+$55 wine pairing). The real problem with the place was that, aside from the desserts, which are interesting and change frequently, the savory side of the menu was, while tasty, a little dull and relatively static. The 5-course tasting menu on the website is virtually the exact same one I had last fall, and isn't remotely seasonally appropriate.

The whole exercise just seems phoned-in.

I think it's incredibly disengenuous for Tycer to blame the neighborhood for his restaurant's lack of success. You can't really say that El Bulli, the Fat Duck or Noma succeed due to their location. If a restaurant is good enough to justify the kinds of prices Tycer was charging, location wouldn't really matter. The fact of the matter was that the experience at Textile just wasn't all that good (on one visit, the mushrooms in the mushroom tart had clearly not been properly cleaned). At a price tag of close to $500/couple, you're fishing in a pretty shallow market, which means you need a lot of repeat business. But if you never change the menu, why would anyone want to pay those kinds of prices to have the same meal over and over again.

That said, a Kraftsmen storefront probably would do well in that spot. Especially if it sold some of Plinio's stuff as well, like his foie gras ice cream or bacon jam.

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This is the kind of thing you need to be doing to be successful at $115/pp (not sure what he charges for these dinners at Bootsie's, but his Tenacity dinners were usually around $75, BYOB).

Randy Rucker is drawing 30 people to Tomball. On a Tuesday!

Tycer's problem was not location.

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I will try most new restaurants in the Heights and all over Houston (if I know about them). We eat out a lot and love new places. We tried to go to Textile twice. The reservation process was a real run around- you have to call his catering manager, leave a message and they will call you back... maybe. When my husband finally got ahold of someone, the person he spoke to was very rude and condescending. My hubs isn't easily put out by people but this guy seriously annoyed him. We couldn't get a reservation for a number of weeks so decided to move on. Second time, we could never get anyone on the phone and messages were not returned. So, I had the good will. Textile was the one lacking.

I do have a couple friends who were lucky enough to get in. No one had anything spectacular to report. One friend mentioned it was a real disappointment compared to tasting menus from other restaurants in town.

If I was going to go at all at this point, it only would have been for Plinio's desserts.

This discussion was also happening on a local message board I read and most of the people tend to live outside the loop. Several commented to me that they have never even heard of Textile and one person who lives in the Heights commented that she hardly ever saw or heard anything about Textile [in the press].

Anyway, I don't think the neighborhood is to blame. Worse places have survived in equally bad locations. I think PP made a good point that at his prices, Tycer has to really deliver- esp when you only have like 10 tables. HOw much you wanna bet the next location is a heck of a lot bigger?

And, I don't really trust Tycer. He closed Aries, which was popular and nationally recognized, at the peak of its renown and reopened in the same place as Pic- which we gave 2 chances and it was abhorrent. It closed after only a couple months in business. He thought he was infallible that time and I wonder if this time he isn't just looking for a scape goat?

Tweeted this morning by HouPress's food blg: Textile isn't closed indefinitely, but only "temporarily" for the summer while Tycer scouts a new location. Relief? Or diversion?

I vote for diversion.

ETA: and his new business partner doesn't have much of a friendly following in the Heights. Whether it's deserved or not is debatable but the fact is Ryan Hildebrand has a bad reputation after tearing down Ashland House. Again, some people didn't care but enough did that I was surprised he even accepted the job at Textile. I bet he knew they were going to move :mellow:

Edited by heights_yankee

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This is the kind of thing you need to be doing to be successful at $115/pp (not sure what he charges for these dinners at Bootsie's, but his Tenacity dinners were usually around $75, BYOB).

Randy Rucker is drawing 30 people to Tomball. On a Tuesday!

Tycer's problem was not location.

But don't some think it was in large part location that killed Rucker's Laidback Manor?

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Speaking of Laidback Manor, a new Indian restaurant called Kormasutra just opened there. Yatra failed there about six months ago or so.

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So much for Heights "good will". It's too bad. The Montrose operation seems to flourish in comparison, even during this rough economic patch.

I don't think it was the neighborhood that did Tycer in, I think it was prices, economic forces, and the concept. Let's not forget that Bedford, which had a similar concept (though not tasting menus) also failed due to price.

Then let's look at what's thriving in the Heights: Stella Sola and Zelko Bistro. Zelko certainly doesn't have a ton of seating but the menu is good, the prices are decent, and people come back. The same thing with Stella Sola.

My point is, I'm not convinced that Textile's failure is due to the neighborhood.

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I ate at Textile ONCE and that was all it took for me not to go back again. I told all my friends in the Heights it was not worth it as the service was HORRIBLE. Location is not the issue.

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while undoubtedly location isn't the sole reason it failed, i think that it contributed to it. textile catered to a very high-end clientele, and the heights is surrounded on three sides with neighborhoods that could not afford it. furthermore, there are not many businesses and hotels in the area, both of which would provide business travelers and expense accounts to pay for such expensive meals (granted downtown isn't far away, but it takes awhile to get over there from DT). again, no doubt the restaurant had other issues, but if it had been in the Galleria, Village, Greenway, Montrose, or River Oaks it would have had a better chance of surviving.

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while undoubtedly location isn't the sole reason it failed, i think that it contributed to it. textile catered to a very high-end clientele, and the heights is surrounded on three sides with neighborhoods that could not afford it. furthermore, there are not many businesses and hotels in the area, both of which would provide business travelers and expense accounts to pay for such expensive meals (granted downtown isn't far away, but it takes awhile to get over there from DT). again, no doubt the restaurant had other issues, but if it had been in the Galleria, Village, Greenway, Montrose, or River Oaks it would have had a better chance of surviving.

Restaurants fail in those neighborhoods all the time. I would even venture to guess that they fail in greater percentages due to the amount of competition. Any half way decent concept in the Heights has done very well. Even Happy All Cafe manages to stay open. However, you are right- it takes more than just neighborhood folks to support these restaurants and they certainly do. I know people who drive in from The Woodlands to eat at Stella Sola, have run in to a guy my husband works with from Memorial at Shade, talked to someone just the other day who came from the museum district to eat at Zelko. I mean, Textile wasn't Tony's as far as price. Depending on how much you drink, the prices were commensurate with dinner at Stella Sola or Glasswall. You can't blame prices alone and you can't blame the Heights. Bad concept, inaccessible, bad service, big ego.

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He was talking about re-opening Textile somewhere else as a slightly different concept. I wonder if this means those plans are shelved.

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i think this idea will do much better. The Montrose Ave location is nice, and this having more food options then just sandwiches will be a nice addition to the hood.

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There was a small sign up at the corner of 22nd and Lawrence announcing the opening of the new Kraftsmen store. Today, IIRC.

Edited by Angostura

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There was a small sign up at the corner of 22nd and Lawrence announcing the opening of the new Kraftsmen store. Today, IIRC.

Yes, the new bakery/sandwich shop opened today. Didn't get to stop by but a friend of mine did and enjoyed it.

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My wife and I drove by around 5:30 to see if they were open for dinner, but we couldn't really tell if anything was open. We saw some cars but thought they were for the employees working the bakery. Any idea where the cafe part is? It's a pretty big building.

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Looking for the Heights store hours, I noticed on their website that they have a place holder for West Ave. location. Assuming this is happening, it is nice to know there will be a reasonably priced food option in West Ave. Awesome

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I guess Tycer is focusing his efforts into Kraftsmen since several of his other concepts failed, and the new planned restaurant never got off the ground.

Edited by kylejack

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I guess Tycer is focusing his efforts into Kraftsmen since several of his other concepts are failing, and the new planned restaurant never got off the ground.

He is supposed to open a Kraftsmen Cafe in the same building as the wholesale bakery on W22nd. Not sure to what extent that space is the same as the now defunct Textile. Kraftsment has talked about having a Cafe in the new West Ave development on Kirby for a few years. Not sure if that is happening or not. Tycer is looking for a location in the Galleria to try for a new restaurant. I think Tycer just can't find a groove like he did with Gravitas. Aries and Textile were pushing too hard to be the uber dinning experience and could not completely live up to the hype. But it is just a matter of time before a new Tycer venture hits the ground.

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My wife and I drove by around 5:30 to see if they were open for dinner, but we couldn't really tell if anything was open. We saw some cars but thought they were for the employees working the bakery. Any idea where the cafe part is? It's a pretty big building.

I think they close(d) at 3. Not sure if this will be the case going forward or not.

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He is supposed to open a Kraftsmen Cafe in the same building as the wholesale bakery on W22nd. Not sure to what extent that space is the same as the now defunct Textile. Kraftsment has talked about having a Cafe in the new West Ave development on Kirby for a few years. Not sure if that is happening or not. Tycer is looking for a location in the Galleria to try for a new restaurant. I think Tycer just can't find a groove like he did with Gravitas. Aries and Textile were pushing too hard to be the uber dinning experience and could not completely live up to the hype. But it is just a matter of time before a new Tycer venture hits the ground.

Aries always lived up to the hype. It was well regarded locally and given accolades in the national food press. It was a shock to everyone when Tycer closed it. Aries was a pre- Gravitas.

The new location will only have breakfast and lunch and is in the same space where Textile was.

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Don't forget Pic Café.

Pic was what Tycer opened after he stunned people by closing Aries. Pic stunk and it's short lifespan surely showed it.

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I had lunch at the new Heights location today. It was great! The potato leek soup was out of this world, and it was much less expensive than Lola's. Although the fries at Lola's are my own personal crack.....

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