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Downtown Restaurant and Bar Scene - More Coming


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Went to a preview event here last week.  Food was great but what stood out for me was the views from the outdoor deck.  Cocktail hour is definitely going on the list for out-of-town guests.  

There's no such thing as "taco critical mass."

@CrockpotandGravel, I think I speak for everyone here when I say that we greatly appreciate your contributions to this site, and I’m grateful for the information that you’re able to hunt down out of s

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10 minutes ago, CrockpotandGravel said:



It must be hard to comprehend. Because clearly this will be Shake Shack's second downtown Houston location. A fact you continue to want to ignore and them have the balls to say Minute Maid Park is not downtown as to make your point as fact.


 

 

What I actually said: "Yes, this location is physically downtown, but it is entirely irrelevant to the actual Downtown restaurant and bar scene."

 

I know this is the internet, but I really hope this isn't how you talk to people in real life. This is bizarrely rude and over the top for what should be a relatively mild disagreement. 

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I suspect (s)he is on the spectrum.

 

A restaurant open 81 days a year that requires an admission ticket qualifies as a real “location”?

 

Do they even serve the full menu? Is it staffed by Aramark? I’d say those are pretty relevant questions. As C&G says, “not hard to grasp.”

 

The above said, it’d be great if MMP was modified such that there were some street-level outlets open 365 days a year and closed to the public during games. There are plenty of examples of that.

 

If Shake Shack operated that way, then I’d consider it a “location.”

 

Great news re Treebeards!

Edited by mattyt36
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1 hour ago, txtiger said:

This is news to me…:

 

https://www.aquariumrestaurants.com/downtownAquariumHouston/promos/new-tiger-exhibit/

 

Am at least glad the animals will be able to get some vitamin D.

 

I think the real question is: are indoor tigers a “real” tiger location? Does downtown therefore currently have a tiger location or will it only have a tiger location once this outdoor pen is constructed?

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3 hours ago, downtownian said:

 

I think the real question is: are indoor tigers a “real” tiger location? Does downtown therefore currently have a tiger location or will it only have a tiger location once this outdoor pen is constructed?

 

Our definition of locations doesn't matter, it only matters if the Aquarium considers it one or two locations.  If they call it a location on their website, that makes it true.  

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20 hours ago, downtownian said:

 

I think the real question is: are indoor tigers a “real” tiger location? Does downtown therefore currently have a tiger location or will it only have a tiger location once this outdoor pen is constructed?

I mean you have to pay for a ticket to get to the current tiger location

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  • 3 weeks later...

Counting a concession stand inside Minute Maid Park as one of the "many" restaurants in downtown is pretty ridiculous. However, a few posts back, some of you counted the AMC movie theatre as a restaurant. Just wondering if you guys still do, or if your thinking has evolved? 

 

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On 5/27/2019 at 2:34 PM, 102IAHexpress said:

Counting a concession stand inside Minute Maid Park as one of the "many" restaurants in downtown is pretty ridiculous. However, a few posts back, some of you counted the AMC movie theatre as a restaurant. Just wondering if you guys still do, or if your thinking has evolved? 

 

 

There's a hell of a lot of difference between a movie theater having a restaurant and bar open to the public, without requiring separate admission, every day of the week during lunch and dinner hours and a Shake Shack that's open 81 days a year for 5-hour blocks at most.

 

Your point otherwise?

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1 hour ago, mattyt36 said:

 

There's a hell of a lot of difference between a movie theater having a restaurant and bar open to the public, without requiring separate admission, every day of the week during lunch and dinner hours and a Shake Shack that's open 81 days a year for 5-hour blocks at most.

 

Your point otherwise?

 

What is the "restaurant" inside AMC 8 in downtown? Is beer, popcorn and soda a restaurant now? What's on the menu at AMC?

 

My point is I just simply want to know why  @CrockpotandGravel was attacked for his MMP restaurant claim, yet this forum was silent on the movie theatre "restaurant" claim just a few posts before.  What's the difference? At least Shake Shak at MMP has a hot grill and fryer. Is it that this forum is intellectually dishonest? You can answer yes.

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1 hour ago, 102IAHexpress said:

 

What is the "restaurant" inside AMC 8 in downtown? Is beer, popcorn and soda a restaurant now? What's on the menu at AMC?

 

My point is I just simply want to know why  @CrockpotandGravel was attacked for his MMP restaurant claim, yet this forum was silent on the movie theatre "restaurant" claim just a few posts before.  What's the difference? At least Shake Shak at MMP has a hot grill and fryer. Is it that this forum is intellectually dishonest? You can answer yes.

 

I haven't been to that theater in years.  It used to be the case that there was a restaurant and a bar, before you entered the theaters.  It may not be the case anymore since it converted to AMC.  It was certainly not a destination restaurant, but, hey, if you wanted to go you could any day or night of the year without paying admission.  A downscale version of whatever was at the Hobby Center.  In any case, I don't care.  The comparison to a concession outlet at Minute Maid Park is ridiculous and banal.

 

IIRC the discussion of whether it was a restaurant was with regard to counting it as such on a long list.  Don't want to count it?  Fine.  No skin off my back.  It's not like there aren't plenty of restaurants downtown these days.  Who cares if it's 50 or 49?

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  • 4 weeks later...

 

Photos: Sky-high downtown Houston restaurant now open 

The main dining room at Strato 550.
 
 
laura-gillespie-1*90xx1000-1333-0-0.png
By Laura Gillespie  – Reporter, Houston Business Journal 
6 hours ago
 

Strato 550, a sky-high downtown lunch spot, is now open. The first Houston venture from Compass Group, a global hospitality and foodservice management firm based in the U.K., was announced in February and occupies the entire 43rd floor of 1415 Louisiana. Now, the restaurant is open to the public, serving cocktails and Mediterranean plates. 

The name references the Latin root word for “level” or “layer” and the venue’s location 550 feet in the air, according to a press release, which claims Strato 550 will be Houston’s highest vantage point open to the public. The new venue replaces The 43rd Restaurant & Lounge, a lunch spot and cocktail lounge. 

Click through the slideshow above for a look at Strato 550.

Strato 550 features both a restaurant and a conference center space. The restaurant offers seasonally driven, “approachable cuisine with a Mediterranean influence” and will focus on sourcing from Texas farms and purveyors, the release states. The restaurant will offer both à la carte and prix-fixe menus plus a wine list highlighting premier wine-making regions around the world. 

Evan Parker was announced as the executive chef for Strato 550 in late April. Parker is best known for his work at Mélange Catering & Special Events in Houston but has also cooked in Austin and Portland, Oregon.  

Separately, the conference center has four meeting rooms that can accommodate groups of up to 12 and can be expanded into the larger dining space. The conference center has its own customized menus and will follow a family-style format. 

Strato 550 was designed by Houston-based Abel Design Group and features floor-to-ceiling windows, an open floor plan and “pops of color set against a soothing gray and white scheme,” per the release. The venue aims to create a refined, yet comfortable, setting. Houston-based O'Donnell/Snider Construction is the general contractor for the Strato 550 project. 

 

The building, formerly known as Wedge International Tower, completed $10 million in upgrades and renovations in 2016. Upgrades included a new modern lobby with Italian stonework, a new entryway, elevator cabs and a main elevator lobby, plus a new hanging light display and updated outdoor signage. Ken R. Harry Associates, which was acquired by Abel Design in 2015, was the architect on the project. 

The building was built in 1983 and previously renovated in 1993, according to Colvill Office Properties, the landlord brokerage. Houston-based The Wedge Group owns the building, and Houston-based Hines has provided property management and construction management since 2014, according to Hines’ website

The restaurant will be open for lunch weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for cocktail hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Customized menus will be offered for groups and events. 

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Was able to go to one of the few soft opening events for Strato 550.  Food is tasty.  Chef(s) and staff, very friendly.  Some snapshots, below.  (Views from Strato 550 of the city can be found in the Skyline thread).

 

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IMG_9636_zpsmuerzg3j.jpg

 

IMG_9618_zpsm9wvwx0s.jpg

 

IMG_9634_zpsnnsqkrvs.jpg

 

IMG_9615_zpssbgodf7t.jpg

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  • 5 months later...
  • 6 months later...
8 minutes ago, nate4l1f3 said:

Boomtown coffee closed for good? How long has this been the case?

 

The Boomtown location on Main St. shut down when COVID kicked off and hasn't re-opened since then. All of their tables and equipment were still in place last time I walked by.  The location inside Understory (Bank of America Tower) was open last week when I walked through. 

 

Cafe Express (Main Street Side of 601 Travis Garage) and Azuma (909 Texas Under the Rice Apartment Canopy) have both closed and removed all furniture, equipment, and signage.

Edited by jermh
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1 hour ago, jermh said:

 

The Boomtown location on Main St. shut down when COVID kicked off and hasn't re-opened since then. All of their tables and equipment were still in place last time I walked by.  The location inside Understory (Bank of America Tower) was open last week when I walked through. 

 

Cafe Express (Main Street Side of 601 Travis Garage) and Azuma (909 Texas Under the Rice Apartment Canopy) have both closed and removed all furniture, equipment, and signage.

Hate to see  it... downtown Houston worked so  hard to build up it core and just when it seems like it will finally  start to   explode... something comes along to set it back... seems to always happen 

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4 hours ago, jermh said:

 

The Boomtown location on Main St. shut down when COVID kicked off and hasn't re-opened since then. All of their tables and equipment were still in place last time I walked by.  The location inside Understory (Bank of America Tower) was open last week when I walked through. 

 

Cafe Express (Main Street Side of 601 Travis Garage) and Azuma (909 Texas Under the Rice Apartment Canopy) have both closed and removed all furniture, equipment, and signage.

I did notice a for lease sign as well on the window of Boomtown, just wasn’t sure if it might have been for the space above? I loved Honeymoon when it first open- didn’t feel like old Houston when I was in there. 

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I heard this a while back, like the first week of the shutdown. I loved the place and was a regular but I think there was always a problem with identity here. As honeymoon it looked like a classic cafe but they shut food down fairly early and tried to operate as a bar at night. The cafe feel just wasn’t conducive. When they rebranded to boomtown, they made it even less like a bar, shut down food earlier then still tried for evening crowds. It just never worked after about 2:00 each day. I think a more rounded design or a commitment to being either a cafe or a coffee shop or restaurant or bar would have made this more successful.  I’ll miss it.

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I don't think downtown is slowing down because some bars and restaurants have had to close. Once all of this is over, I'll bet anything it takes off even faster simply because people want to get out. 

 

How are Understory and Finn Hall doing during all of this?

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16 minutes ago, j_cuevas713 said:

I don't think downtown is slowing down because some bars and restaurants have had to close. Once all of this is over, I'll bet anything it takes off even faster simply because people want to get out. 

 

How are Understory and Finn Hall doing during all of this?

 I will say one key difference...the increase in population downtown.. which means even if a business closes...something else is likely to  pop up in it place. Because there is now a night crowd to serve.

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11 minutes ago, Moore713 said:

 I will say one key difference...the increase in population downtown.. which means even if a business closes...something else is likely to  pop up in it place. Because there is now a night crowd to serve.

And that's only going to increase with the next couple of residential mid-rises currently under construction. 

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17 hours ago, kbates2 said:

I heard this a while back, like the first week of the shutdown. I loved the place and was a regular but I think there was always a problem with identity here. As honeymoon it looked like a classic cafe but they shut food down fairly early and tried to operate as a bar at night. The cafe feel just wasn’t conducive. When they rebranded to boomtown, they made it even less like a bar, shut down food earlier then still tried for evening crowds. It just never worked after about 2:00 each day. I think a more rounded design or a commitment to being either a cafe or a coffee shop or restaurant or bar would have made this more successful.  I’ll miss it.

Touché. I hated the transformation to Boomtown. Either way it goes this is a great location once all this mess is over with. 

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3 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

How are Understory and Finn Hall doing during all of this?

 

Finn Hall was just starting a turnover when all this started.  As of now, Sit Lo is gone, as is Low Tide.  Oddball took over Low Tide's space and is open, as are the pizza place, Lit Chicken, and Craft Burger.  The Mexican place taking over Goode's space, Dish Society, and Yong are all apparently closed but still have their equipment in place; best guess is that they plan to reopen once enough people come back to work.

 

In Understory Seaside Poke, Boomtown Coffee, Flippin Patties, Mona Italian, and the new farro bowl place are up and running.  Of course the bar appears closed because bar, and East Hampton Sandwich and Mama Ninfa's haven't reopened.

 

In both cases there aren't many customers, as is the case with downtown in general.  Parking hasn't been this easy in decades. :ph34r:

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47 minutes ago, mollusk said:

 

Finn Hall was just starting a turnover when all this started.  As of now, Sit Lo is gone, as is Low Tide.  Oddball took over Low Tide's space and is open, as are the pizza place, Lit Chicken, and Craft Burger.  The Mexican place taking over Goode's space, Dish Society, and Yong are all apparently closed but still have their equipment in place; best guess is that they plan to reopen once enough people come back to work.

 

In Understory Seaside Poke, Boomtown Coffee, Flippin Patties, Mona Italian, and the new farro bowl place are up and running.  Of course the bar appears closed because bar, and East Hampton Sandwich and Mama Ninfa's haven't reopened.

 

In both cases there aren't many customers, as is the case with downtown in general.  Parking hasn't been this easy in decades. :ph34r:

Thank you for the update Mollusk!!! 

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  • 1 month later...

It doesn't matter what time of the day you go downtown now. Late at night or during the peak lunchtime hour, downtown is dead right now. I expect more restaurants and businesses to shutter downtown. Hopefully in 2021 or later this year, we have a vaccine so that people can start feeling comfortable coming back to work there and out to the bars at night. 

 

One thing I am concerned about for downtown is if we could possibly be in a fundamental shift of working from home. Granted, once this starts to calm down, more and more businesses will start hiring again and will want some of their workforce to return... but if that's the case that more people are staying out in the suburbs to work, there might be a permanent sting to downtown even with the increase residents.

 

Hopefully we get a boom in 2021.

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10 hours ago, Triton said:

It doesn't matter what time of the day you go downtown now. Late at night or during the peak lunchtime hour, downtown is dead right now. I expect more restaurants and businesses to shutter downtown. Hopefully in 2021 or later this year, we have a vaccine so that people can start feeling comfortable coming back to work there and out to the bars at night. 

 

One thing I am concerned about for downtown is if we could possibly be in a fundamental shift of working from home. Granted, once this starts to calm down, more and more businesses will start hiring again and will want some of their workforce to return... but if that's the case that more people are staying out in the suburbs to work, there might be a permanent sting to downtown even with the increase residents.

 

Hopefully we get a boom in 2021.

 

Not only downtown is dead, but midtown/montrose/galleria bar and restaurant scenes are dead too. I mean Chris Shepard was saying he might have had to close UB Preserve if HEB didn't let them sell their meals at HEB. And Chris kinda rules Montrose. So to me, its not just a downtown thing. The biggest shift when I go around is that there are less people "out" at the bars/restaurants/stores in the core, but more people in the parks (My god, Memorial and Bayou Parks).

 

I think I was worried about work from home too, but the more my clients get comfortable with COVID, the more and more I have seen medium sized businesses and financial places bring people back on a limited basis. Work from home makes sense for Tech and certain other businesses that have established business culture, I'm not sure if it really translates well to anyone else. Even your Exxon's/Shell's/Chevron's who have huge HQ teams involving sectors that could easily be remote (HR/IT/Upper Management/Project Engineers) have been working towards bringing everyone back eventually. We'll see. Most of my restaurant clients, if they made it this far, are OK. Alot of these closings are places that were on the fence before, like Im surprised Saint/Springbok didn't close earlier.  

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23 hours ago, Triton said:

It doesn't matter what time of the day you go downtown now. Late at night or during the peak lunchtime hour, downtown is dead right now. I expect more restaurants and businesses to shutter downtown. Hopefully in 2021 or later this year, we have a vaccine so that people can start feeling comfortable coming back to work there and out to the bars at night. 

 

One thing I am concerned about for downtown is if we could possibly be in a fundamental shift of working from home. Granted, once this starts to calm down, more and more businesses will start hiring again and will want some of their workforce to return... but if that's the case that more people are staying out in the suburbs to work, there might be a permanent sting to downtown even with the increase residents.

 

Hopefully we get a boom in 2021.

 

This is a shame, after we'd finally taken off for the first time in decades. Although I guess looking on the bright side it is lucky we did take off before the pandemic hit, because people will remember what was possible downtown and will come back looking for it in the future. If a pandemic had hit back in 2017 or so, all those new apartments would be empty and the downtown renaissance would have been stillborn.

 

On a different note, I was in Denver a couple weeks ago and their downtown is doing just fine. 16th Street had plenty of people walking along and sitting at restaurants, the wine bars on Larimer Square had plenty of people, and the free trolley on 16th was mostly full at night. Houston's got a long way to go.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 8/31/2020 at 10:14 PM, H-Town Man said:

 

This is a shame, after we'd finally taken off for the first time in decades. Although I guess looking on the bright side it is lucky we did take off before the pandemic hit, because people will remember what was possible downtown and will come back looking for it in the future. If a pandemic had hit back in 2017 or so, all those new apartments would be empty and the downtown renaissance would have been stillborn.

 

On a different note, I was in Denver a couple weeks ago and their downtown is doing just fine. 16th Street had plenty of people walking along and sitting at restaurants, the wine bars on Larimer Square had plenty of people, and the free trolley on 16th was mostly full at night. Houston's got a long way to go.

 

Haven’t been on this board in a while.  Relocated from Houston Downtown to Denver downtown in May 2020.  I will say this:  Denver downtown (Post-Covid)  is MUCH more lively than Houston (pre--Covid) ever was.    However, Denver downtown is also only a fraction of its former self. Maybe 30-40% of what it was pre-Covid.  Some generational and  iconic entertainment venues have closed in Denver.  Still a lively scene compared to the best of houston (pre-Covid) but not as lively as years past.

 

office workers in downtown Denver are trickling back and are increasingly on the streets.  I am told that downtown Denver hosted 140,000 office workers each day.  I am also told that it seems to be only about 20% of that now.  The saving grace for Denver seems to be that about 15,000 -18,000 people live downtown (in about the same footprint as downtown houston) and it keeps things “lively”, especially when you add the amount of folks who come downtown from the ‘burbs to recreate .....

Edited by UtterlyUrban
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On 9/26/2020 at 5:43 PM, UtterlyUrban said:

Haven’t been on this board in a while.  Relocated from Houston Downtown to Denver downtown in May 2020.  I will say this:  Denver downtown (Post-Covid)  is MUCH more lively than Houston (pre--Covid) ever was.    However, Denver downtown is also only a fraction of its former self. Maybe 30-40% of what it was pre-Covid.  Some generational and  iconic entertainment venues have closed in Denver.  Still a lively scene compared to the best of houston (pre-Covid) but not as lively as years past.

 

office workers in downtown Denver are trickling back and are increasingly on the streets.  I am told that downtown Denver hosted 140,000 office workers each day.  I am also told that it seems to be only about 20% of that now.  The saving grace for Denver seems to be that about 15,000 -18,000 people live downtown (in about the same footprint as downtown houston) and it keeps things “lively”, especially when you add the amount of folks who come downtown from the ‘burbs to recreate .....

And on another note Denver is a fraction the size of Houston. Most people in Denver travel to downtown Denver because it’s the main entertainment area. That’s not the case here. 

On 8/31/2020 at 11:14 PM, H-Town Man said:

 

This is a shame, after we'd finally taken off for the first time in decades. Although I guess looking on the bright side it is lucky we did take off before the pandemic hit, because people will remember what was possible downtown and will come back looking for it in the future. If a pandemic had hit back in 2017 or so, all those new apartments would be empty and the downtown renaissance would have been stillborn.

 

On a different note, I was in Denver a couple weeks ago and their downtown is doing just fine. 16th Street had plenty of people walking along and sitting at restaurants, the wine bars on Larimer Square had plenty of people, and the free trolley on 16th was mostly full at night. Houston's got a long way to go.

 

We’re going to be fine. If anything the momentum isn’t gone, it’s just stagnant at the moment. But construction continues to boom downtown. There is still a lot happening that will draw people post Covid. The is just another round of change for downtown. 

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On 9/26/2020 at 5:43 PM, UtterlyUrban said:

Haven’t been on this board in a while.  Relocated from Houston Downtown to Denver downtown in May 2020.  I will say this:  Denver downtown (Post-Covid)  is MUCH more lively than Houston (pre--Covid) ever was.    However, Denver downtown is also only a fraction of its former self. Maybe 30-40% of what it was pre-Covid.  Some generational and  iconic entertainment venues have closed in Denver.  Still a lively scene compared to the best of houston (pre-Covid) but not as lively as years past.

 

office workers in downtown Denver are trickling back and are increasingly on the streets.  I am told that downtown Denver hosted 140,000 office workers each day.  I am also told that it seems to be only about 20% of that now.  The saving grace for Denver seems to be that about 15,000 -18,000 people live downtown (in about the same footprint as downtown houston) and it keeps things “lively”, especially when you add the amount of folks who come downtown from the ‘burbs to recreate .....

 

What's crazy is that their downtown population is so huge but they have hardly any residential highrises. They're just stacked shoulder to shoulder with midrises in places like the area around Union Station. I spent some time in Denver back in 2008 and it was nothing like it is now. Looked up the demos and their urban core population has grown even faster than ours over the past decade (at the 1, 3, and 5 mile radii), both percentage-wise and in sheer numbers.

 

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  • 1 month later...

The city council approved a plan to temporarily close off main street between Commerce and Rusk for use as outdoor seating for the restaurants and bars on main street.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/transportation/article/Houston-OKs-plan-to-let-downtown-bars-15736736.php

 

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City Council on Wednesday approved, after some delay, plans for the More Space Main Street program which would close the road to automobiles and allow bars and restaurants to create outdoor seating spaces in the street.

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The program, which city officials approved as a pilot until March 2022, includes possibly closing Main downtown from Commerce to Rusk, depending on which businesses seek to participate. 

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Barriers would be placed to close Main Street off to traffic, while allowing cross streets to continue for vehicle use.

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Aimed at helping the bars and restaurants weather the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the plan to close Main builds on the More Space program Houston’s planning department created to allow restaurants to use their parking lots to provide al fresco dining.

 

 

Here's the relative agenda item: https://houston.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/CoverSheet.aspx?ItemID=21005&MeetingID=453

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