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Restaurant Diversity In The Heights


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Here's my modest proposal. All blocks are by default free parking, but if 50% or more of the homeowners on a block agree, allow residents to opt for one of the following options, on a shall-issue basis (i.e. unlike current ordinance, no requirement that x% of cars during y% of the day be non-residents):

 

1 - Resident-only parking. Residents must pay for the signage.

 

2 - Metered parking. Residents pay for the meter station, but keep, say, 70% of the revenue, distributed pro-rata based on frontage. 

 

 

I live pretty close to 19th St. There are a couple of times a year when my street fills up with parked cars, but most of the time, I'm happy to have free parking on my block for myself and my guests.  If I lived near White Oak, and it was a daily occurrence, I might think differently.

 

No. They are public streets paid for by all taxpayers. Leave all blocks as free parking. The few that have been switched to resident only parking (like behind Anvil) should be switched back.

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Here's my modest proposal. All blocks are by default free parking, but if 50% or more of the homeowners on a block agree, allow residents to opt for one of the following options, on a shall-issue basis (i.e. unlike current ordinance, no requirement that x% of cars during y% of the day be non-residents):

 

1 - Resident-only parking. Residents must pay for the signage.

 

2 - Metered parking. Residents pay for the meter station, but keep, say, 70% of the revenue, distributed pro-rata based on frontage. 

 

 

I live pretty close to 19th St. There are a couple of times a year when my street fills up with parked cars, but most of the time, I'm happy to have free parking on my block for myself and my guests.  If I lived near White Oak, and it was a daily occurrence, I might think differently.

 

No. They are public streets paid for by all taxpayers. Leave all blocks as free parking. The few that have been switched to resident only parking (like behind Anvil) should be switched back.

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would two smaller restaurants need the same parking requirements of 1 large one?  If not maybe they could engineer a Haymerchant/Underbelly type layout.

 

 

Potentially. Less than 3000 s.f. it's 8 spaces per 1000 s.f., and less than 4500 s.f. it's 9 spaces per 1000 s.f.

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However, I am pretty sure that the new tenant would be grandfathered on parking if they did not increase the sq ft. 

 

 

As long as they need a building permit (which they will, since the interior was gutted), they'll need to re-approve the parking plan.

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Potentially. Less than 3000 s.f. it's 8 spaces per 1000 s.f., and less than 4500 s.f. it's 9 spaces per 1000 s.f.

Seems like a viable solution then... perhaps a dual business Bakery and French Restaurant, (or bakery and indian restaurant like Pondicheri).   Someone make this happen. = ]

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The El Cantina Superior is open.  Have not been.  Heard typical soft opening stories.  Some things are great.  Service extremely slow.  Some things are terrible.

 

Word on the street is that Someburger is finally closing to make way for parking for patrons of 1111 Studewood restaurants.  End of an era.  I really wish someone would do like they did with Mytiburger.  Buy out the business, spruce it up a bit and re-open.  Of course, in this case, you would need a new location.  Half the fun of Someburger was the old walk up burger stand.  But the other half was the great burgers made like they used to at diners all over the country.

 

 

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Mmm...Mytiburger, it's Myti good! Love the one on W.43rd, not so much the one on Kempwood.

Definitely the end of an era if Someburger does indeed meet its demise. This is the one I grew up with, but ate a few at the Patton/Airline location over the years that it was still open. I guess after all these years, it's safe to "let the cat out of the bag" for those not in the know, so to speak...

A "brown bag special" was something completely different at Someburger on E. 11th back when I was in high school, than what it ended up becoming at your local Sonic drive-in a few years later.

:o

As long as Big Burger V stays afloat, all is well in my little world.

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Lots of interesting info to be had in the TABC tax data

 

Cedar Creek has almost 3X more alcohol sales ($305k in the most recent month) than the next highest in 77008 (Down House, at $121k).

 

Heights General Store narrowly outsold Torchy's ($39.9 vs $37.7).

 

People don't tend to have wine with their Mac & Cheese (Jus' Mac did jus' $2539 in monthly alcohol sales).

 

Yucatan Taco Stand apparently holds a license for 1001 Studewood (the Stella Sola building).

 

 

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Word on the street is that Someburger is finally closing to make way for parking for patrons of 1111 Studewood restaurants.  End of an era.  I really wish someone would do like they did with Mytiburger.  Buy out the business, spruce it up a bit and re-open.  Of course, in this case, you would need a new location.  Half the fun of Someburger was the old walk up burger stand.  But the other half was the great burgers made like they used to at diners all over the country.

 

I saw a couple of tweets yesterday that indicated that contrary to rumor, Someburger isn't closing. Very much hoping that's true, although I wouldn't be surprised to see them go as more and more deep-pocketed entities like 1111 Studewood, to quote their website, "introduce the urban lifestyle to this popular community", thus ensuring that many of the quirky, longstanding community fixtures that attracted homebuyers in the first place are shunted aside in favor of redevelopment. Irony, thy name is gentrification. 

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http://blog.chron.com/foodchronicles/2014/07/martinez-sedillo-to-challenge-houston-fried-chicken-icons-at-the-chicken-ranch/#24935101=0

 

New fried chicken restaurant coming to N. Main from Goru and Gun folks.  Looks like they will beat the Liberty Kitchen folks to the punch.  Their fried chicken and donuts concept that was supposed to go in the building just to the west of Liberty Kitchen was put on hold in favor of opening a Liberty Kitchen in Austin.  No location has been disclosed, but there is rumor that the old Blockbuster is going to get converted into a restaurant.  Not sure whether the fried chicken place or something else will go in there.

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A long time Heights restaurateur told me that commercial developments are waiting in the wings for the repaving on north Main and of a recent change of ownership of the strip center on Main. There was also more interesting gossip that I will not post. :D

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http://blog.chron.com/foodchronicles/2014/07/martinez-sedillo-to-challenge-houston-fried-chicken-icons-at-the-chicken-ranch/#24935101=0

No location has been disclosed, but there is rumor that the old Blockbuster is going to get converted into a restaurant. Not sure whether the fried chicken place or something else will go in there.

Ironically enough, I know the owner of this building, and the various other properties he owns along Calvacade and Robbie. Not too long before Blockbuster finally pulled up their stakes, I asked him what he thought he was going to do with it next. He laughed and said, "Hell (purpledevil), I might just reopen the store!"

That'd be a superb building for a small, start up restaurant. I haven't stopped by and seen them in a few months, and I think I should. :D

You know, curiousity and all, lol. If it turns out to be legitimate and he's ok with me spilling the beans, you all will be the first to know.

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Maryam's Café is open in the old Crickets location on 19th st.  It is supposed to be a bit like a Persian café, but the menu is mostly domestic American dishes.  I have not been, but am intrigued.  Friends went for breakfast and liked it a lot.  Owner is usually on site and very sweet and friendly. 

 

Meanwhile, the El Cantina Superior is getting slaughtered on Yelp and other forums.  It is still very early, but people have told some pretty terrible tales of food and service in the early days of the restaurant. 

 

Skinny Rita's will open very soon.  Menu is up on their website:  www.srgrille.com  Cactus tortillas and other healthy items without calling it "fresh Mex" (thank goodness).  I am very interested in trying them out once they are up and running.  Looks like they have enough of an original concept to avoid getting lost in the forest of Tex Mex restaurants (new and old) in the neighborhood.

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Excited to try Maryam's and Skinny Rita's.

 

Unfortunately I can confirm that the service and food are severely sub-par at The El.  The atmosphere is wonderful, and my wife and I had been looking forward to trying the restaurant during this "soft opening" process.  However, bland/overcooked food, poor drinks, and slow service are hard to overlook.  On Nextdoor, experiences have ranged from similar complaints to ours to food poisoning for an entire family.

 

Hopefully things will change, but that is going to have to include some significant changes in staff and in the kitchen.

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Meanwhile, the El Cantina Superior is getting slaughtered on Yelp and other forums.  It is still very early, but people have told some pretty terrible tales of food and service in the early days of the restaurant. 

 

 

 

The Heights restaurateur I know told me his clients have said the same thing.  Doing Mexican food in this town is really competitive.  There are too many choices in Houston and even close to the Heights for good established Mexican food joints.

 

On a side note.  It will be interesting to see what establishments move into the strip center north of Spanish Flowers once Braun redoes it.  They have a good track record of turning commercial space around.

 

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http://blog.chron.com/foodchronicles/2014/07/heights-restaurant-suddenly-closes/#25241101=0

 

City Oven is gone.  Never went there.  Didn't know anyone who did.  

 

Did go to Maryam's Cafe.  The food is ok.  The juice is good.  They do a funny presentation with a little umbrella and colorful sugar sprinkles around the rim of the glass for the juice.  The folks running the place are very nice.  There is definitely a bit of a cultural disconnect between how they are running the cafe and in what most Houstonians would be comfortable with in a restaurant.  The menu is just a couple of pages of a print out with only one copy by the cash register with only a little bit of info on the chalk boards above the front counter.  I saw a couple of people walking by peak in and turn away.  The decor and set up is a bit odd. 

 

The sandwiches are pretty western, with a little touch of Persian influence, but not much.  The tea service seems to be the one thing that is pretty authentic, but I did not have any.  They also have some interesting homemade ice cream flavors.

 

I really feel like they would be a big hit if they did more Persian dishes.  The Heights is saturated with Tex Mex, comfort food and Italian.  Something unique would really be a hit if well done.  But I also feel like Jerry Seinfeld with Babu and The Dream Cafe.  Not really my place to say what they should do to succeed.  Although, I hope they do.  The title of this thread is still relevant, although for an entirely different reason.  The neighborhood is filling up with great restaurants, but could use some more diverse offerings.

 

 

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Zelko Bistro closed Did not see that coming.  Always liked it.  Jamie Zelko came to the Heights when few other restaurants were interested in the neighborhood.  The restaurant business can be very cruel possibly moving.  Landlord has put the property up for lease, but they are still open in the mean time. 

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http://blog.chron.com/foodchronicles/2014/07/zelko-bistro-losing-its-home-in-the-heights/#25275101=0

 

Good summary of the current leasing drama.  To the landlord, I would advise that a bird in the hand is better than . . .

 

 

 

According to Realtor Mike Huff of Berkshire Hathaway, representing the property owner, the building is for lease. He said his clients have been “working very hard over the last six months to extend the lease” to the restaurant but that “there’s been a total breakdown in communications in the last 60 days.”

 

Translation: "We've proposed to extend the lease at double the current rent, and for reasons we can't quite fathom, this hasn't been well-received by the tenant." 

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Maryam's will be gone within three years if not sooner. Disorganized and expensive. Which is a bummer because the owners were extremely nice and energetic and the space is great. Well, I say the space is great but once Maryam's bites it, it will have become one of those weird black holes.

 

Now don't get me wrong, my opinion from above is contingent on things staying the same. They could always get it together. Best of luck!

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Great sign of critical thinking and willingness to adjust. (Although the opposite end of the spectrum-constant fluctuation, es no bueno for a restaurant/service).

Not convinced another pizza place will go gangbusters that close to Collinas, but surely it will do better than overpriced cereal and dried Japanese seaweed snacks.

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http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2014/08/chef_randy_evans_talks_havens_closing_and_whats_next_for_him.php

 

"Evans is taking the closure in stride and already making plans to open a new venture sometime in the future, possibly in the Garden Oaks/Heights area."

 

Someone needs to use that Stella Sola space. Just saying.

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Mmm...Mytiburger, it's Myti good! Love the one on W.43rd, not so much the one on Kempwood.

Definitely the end of an era if Someburger does indeed meet its demise. This is the one I grew up with, but ate a few at the Patton/Airline location over the years that it was still open. I guess after all these years, it's safe to "let the cat out of the bag" for those not in the know, so to speak...

A "brown bag special" was something completely different at Someburger on E. 11th back when I was in high school, than what it ended up becoming at your local Sonic drive-in a few years later.

:o

As long as Big Burger V stays afloat, all is well in my little world.

 

Last weekend my wife and I needed to head up to FM1960 for an errand and wound up taking the Hardy Toll Road. On the way back into town, we stopped in at Big Burger V for lunch. I'd never been there before, but I can see them becoming a regular stop whenever I happen to be in the vicinity. Chalk up another data point in favor of the long-held Houston truism that you'll always have a good meal in a restaurant run by Greeks. 

 

My latest project is eating at all of the good burger joints in town that are somewhat off the beaten path, and Big Burger V was a fine addition to the list, so a tip of the hat to Purpledevil for mentioning them here. Next up: Cream Burger on Elgin, Champ Burger on Sampson, and Burger Park on MLK. 

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Hey, I'm glad I can send a customer their way, mkultra! I've been going there for many years, even now that I live some distance away from it. The kids run it now, and they haven't missed a beat. Even Ike ripping off the roof couldn't stop the "V". Glad you and Mrs. Mkultra enjoyed it.

It's not in the Heights, of course, and apologies for the thread diversion, but I highly recommend them to all HAIFers that want to enjoy a good, old fashioned, calorie laden, so greasy you've got to watch out that it doesn't fall out the bottom of the brown paper bag it comes in hamburger, then my friends, Big Burger V on Hardy is for you. It's one block north of Rittenhouse, southbound side of Hardy. Get an order of onion rings, too. You'll be glad you did.

I top off my burger and rings order with a chocolate malt. I mean if you're going to splurge, you might as well go all in. :D

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I have not been to Skinny Ritas, but know a lot of folks who have.  Praise has been universal and strong.  Creative menu, good drinks and very vegetarian friendly/healthy without getting all caught up in the douchy "Fresh Mex" thing that is all over Austin. 

 

I did try Alli's Pizzeria.  Heights General Store downsized the grocery into the hallway on the west side of the store and has dedicated the east side of the first floor to the new pizzeria.  I have to say that it is very good.  For $8-10, you can get a personal sized pizza that is fairly close to a Neapolitan style pizza (very thin crust).  Beats Collina's pizza by a mile.  It is quick too, as the pizzas are cooked under high heat and it is counter service.  The do serve beer and wine, too.  This is a great place to go to when you do not feel like cooking and do not want to deal with the crowds/prices of places like Down House, LKHH, etc.

 

Also, if you just haven't been able to get high end pop up dinners from talented local chef's served in a Shell station, you will be excited to learn that your wait is over.  The folks behind Down House and DT are doing a series of pop up dinners at the soul food restaurant at the Shell station on the corner of Yale and Crosstimbers.  No, really.  I am not making this up:

 

http://blog.chron.com/foodchronicles/2014/08/chef-richard-knight-to-inagurate-new-kipper-club-test-kitchen/#26014101=0

 

I have also heard that Hunky Dory/Foreign Correspondents are finally getting permits and should be breaking ground soon.

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Restaurant Death Watch: Piatto.  Anyone else notice the taped over portion on the hanging sign.  Why they ever thought they could do lunch I'll never know.  Most likely not doing the covers needed with that overhead.

 

Restaurant Death Watch Reprieve:  The El reopened on Wednesday.  Not enough time to do a total revamp, but maybe to think about addressing issues listed on Yelp, Reddit, Google, and the Houston Press.  They did seek outside expertise but no deal was executed AFAIK but maybe they will implement the free advice given.  Or maybe not. :rolleyes:

 

Rumor mill: A fine dining joint for the north Yale area (Sunset Heights)  Discussions ongoing no deal inked as of yet.

 

GOOF: Building on CoH property and an unpermitted patio.  No wonder you've been red tagged.  Way to go Berryhill! :lol:

 

Crater Heights Alliance:  The Bedford/Stella Sola building.  There are many reasons this place is still empty.  It is so bad that very successful local restaurateurs have avoided it like the plague. And when outsider moneys who are eating up the Heights hype and overpaying for everything else are avoiding it too that just goes to show you how bad it is. The only way this property will ever be useful is tabula rasa.  A gas/electrical fire would not surprise me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Problems with small landlords are endemic in the restaurant/bar industry.  Tenant puts in a bunch of buildout, gets visibility for what may have been a difficult space to lease out by being successful, landlord (who may not have a percentage rent agreement on what is often a relatively short term lease) decides it's now much more valuable and wants more... lots more, which then would make the tenant's business just as busy but not as successful.

 

Persuading those landlords that pigs get fed and hogs get slaughtered can be difficult.

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Word on Boulevard is that it was a bit more of a business divorce, but with a landlord element to it.  Owner of the property did have some sort of interest in the coffee shop with a partner who ran the business.  Owner is looking for someone else to open a coffee shop in Boulevard's place.  Boulevard people may try to reopen in another location. 

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Bird-House/689358851154810?fref=photo

 

Meanwhile, the Houston StrEats guys opened a fried chicken takeout place in the Boil House space on 11th st.  Hugz and Donuts is supposed to be ready in about a month.  I wish they would just take their food truck menu and put it in a brick and motor restaurant instead of teasing us with fried chicken and donuts.  I would love to be able to get the short rib sliders without having to chase the truck all over town.

 

Finally, Barnaby's is supposed to be replacing the shuttered City Oven on White Oak.  I used to like Barnaby's, but people in my office would insist on having lunch there almost every week and burnt me out on the place.  The name recognition will probably help overcome the parking limitations.

 

 

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http://blog.chron.com/foodchronicles/2014/09/southern-goods-a-new-project-from-charles-bishop-and-lyle-bento-set-for-the-heights/#26648101=5

 

Busy week in the Heights.  I am tempted to say "oh, no .  . . not another comfort food/southern concept in the Heights."  But each version currently in the Heights is so very different (Zelko, Liberty Kitchen, Heights General Store, etc.) that there may be room for more, especially from a talented chef.

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http://blog.chron.com/foodchronicles/2014/09/southern-goods-a-new-project-from-charles-bishop-and-lyle-bento-set-for-the-heights/#26648101=5

 

Busy week in the Heights.  I am tempted to say "oh, no .  . . not another comfort food/southern concept in the Heights."  But each version currently in the Heights is so very different (Zelko, Liberty Kitchen, Heights General Store, etc.) that there may be room for more, especially from a talented chef.

 

 

Opening in January probably means an existing restaurant space. Otherwise permits and build-out would take until spring or summer at least.

 

Any chance this goes in the Stella Sola space?

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Table 19 on the other side of the street on W 19th closed and the property changed hands.  That is probably the only other spot in the Heights other than the old Stella Sola location that would not need an extensive build out.  But, folks in the restaurant biz tend to be incredibly overly optimistic when it comes to opening dates.

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