The mushroom salad at One Fifth Romance Languages
The mushroom salad at One Fifth Romance Languages
Photo by Julie Soefer Photography

Openings and Closings: Welcome, One-Fifth Romance Languages and Baileson Brewing

The restaurants of Houston weathered the floods of Hurricane Harvey with varying degrees of damage and distress, much like the area’s residents. Some restaurants have closed temporarily to repair and rebuild, many others remain open and need our patronage. Some restaurants that have been preparing to make their debuts are still forging ahead with grand openings. This is a good time to take your fellow flood victims out for a meal after tearing out dry-wall and wet carpet. And maybe order up a stiff drink or two.

Bryan and Jennifer Caswell’s new restaurant, Oxbow 7, 1121 Walker, was set to premiere August 29, but the five-day rain event of Hurricane Harvey has delayed the opening. One of Caswell’s other restaurants, Reef, sustained some damage in the dining room which has led to an extended closure. Despite this, according to Eater Houston, dozens of chefs and restaurant industry volunteers worked in the Reef kitchen to prepare meals for flood victims.

The Caswells have been focused on the relief effort, including producing more than 10,000 meals for first responders and victims. They have also been busy with their non-profit, Southern Salt Harvey Relief, which is transporting non-perishables, toiletries and other necessities to outer areas like Beaumont, Port Arthur and Rockport. Oxbow 7 is slated to open in mid-September, possibly September 19. It is likely that employees from Reef will be transferred to Oxbow 7 while repairs are done.

Houston-based salad bar restaurant, Salata, canceled the grand opening of its second northeast Houston location at 14237 East Sam Houston Parkway. The Westlake Marketplace store will be the 35th location in Houston, but the opening is postponed until further notice.

Lunch is served.EXPAND
Lunch is served.
courtesy of Fielding's Rooster

Fielding’s Rooster, 4223 Research Forest, started its lunch service on August 31, available daily at 11 a.m.

Chris Shepherd’s highly anticipated opening of One-Fifth Romance Languages was postponed until September 8.

Chris Shepherd’s non-profit, Southern Smoke, has teamed up with Legacy Community Health to raise money for Harvey relief. The non-profit normally raises money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, but has turned its focus this year to aiding Houston area restaurant employees and suppliers who were victims of Harvey. The non-profit will return to raising money for the MS foundation in 2018. Those interested in donating to Southern Smoke for Harvey Relief can text SouthernSmoke4Harvey to 243725.

Baileson Brewing
Baileson Brewing
Photo by Houston Press

Baileson Brewing, 2322 Bissonnet, will finally open its doors to the public on Saturday, September 9, at 11 a.m. The West U nanobrewery’s grand opening party will feature Buttz Food Truck, serving up barbecue sandwiches, and 100 percent of Baileson’s T-shirt sales will go to the JJ Watt Foundation for Harvey relief.

The brewery’s hours will be as follows: Fridays, 4 to 10 p.m., Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 9 p.m.

Los Tios at 4840 Beechnut has closed for remodeling, according to Eater Houston. Its three other locations are still open. It claims to have introduced frozen margaritas to Houston in 1975. We all could use one of those about now.

Brenner’s Steakhouse on the Bayou, closed due to flooding damage, expects to reopen in a month. The restaurant’s location at One Birdsall Street is along Buffalo Bayou.

The Kingwood area saw massive amounts of high water, especially around Lake Houston. King’s Harbor Waterfront Village at 1660 W. Lake Houston Parkway was inundated by the surrounding lake and is closed until further notice. The affected restaurants are Raffa’s, Waterfront Grill, Chimichurri’s, Sharkey’s, The Berry Bar, and Zammitti’s. King’s Harbor is a popular lakeside dining destination for local residents, especially in spring and fall weather.

The newest Whataburger in Kingwood, at 4545 Kingwood Drive, was submerged in flood waters and the subject of many social media videos. The San Antonio-based company announced a $1 million donation to the Whataburger Family Foundation to assist employees and also $150,000 to the Red Cross and $500,000 to Texas food banks last week. Another reason, as if we needed one, to love Whataburger.

Many other Kingwood restaurants suffered damaging floods, including the new Torchy’s Tacos at 4529 Kingwood Drive, Suite 180. All Houston area Torchy’s were closed during the hurricane, but most have reopened. The Kingwood location does not have a reopening date as of yet.

Goode Company Kitchen and Cantina, 8865 Six Pines, opened Tuesday, September 5. The Woodlands-area Tex-Mex restaurant is serving farm-raised Texas quail and family platters. It is located right next to a new location of Goode Company Barbecue, which opened in early August.

The Goode Company keeps expanding.EXPAND
The Goode Company keeps expanding.
photo by Liz Grimm

Kenny and Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen locations, 2327 Post Oak and 5172 Buffalo Speedway, are opening for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for the first time in their 17-year history. On September 20, both locations will serve a three-course menu for Rosh Hashanah, starting at sundown. There will be a multi-choice menu for $40, plus tax and gratuity. There will be traditional New Year’s dishes such as brisket and matzo balls. Reservations are required by September 15. There will be open seating for a special Yom Kippur menu on September 30.

During the months of September and October, Kenny & Ziggy’s will donate a 5 percent portion of proceeds from all sales to the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston to aid in relief for victims of Harvey, primarily in the Bellaire and Meyerland area.

Houston Restaurant Weeks, which raises money for the Houston Food Bank, has been extended for another four weeks, running until September 30, with specially priced prix fixe menus available now at many local restaurants. The event is encouraging its fans to make short videos challenging more people to dine out in Houston and post to social media.

Fajita Pete’s will open in late fall at 8552 Highway 6 North, Suite 400, according to Community Impact. It offers delivery, take-out, and dine-in service with a menu of Tex-Mex favorites including fajitas, quesadillas, and burritos. There are plans for two more area locations at 2600 Travis in Midtown and 6144 Sienna Ranch.

A quality meal for Houston's quality police officers at B&B Butchers and Restaurant.
A quality meal for Houston's quality police officers at B&B Butchers and Restaurant.
photo courtesy of B&B Butchers and Restaurant

Despite his own home being badly flooded and his family displaced, Benjamin Berg, owner of B&B Butchers and Restaurant, fed 180 police officers at the restaurant from a special Houston Heroes menu for first responders on August 31. The restaurant also delivered more than 2,000 hot meals to the sheriff’s department and surrounding fire and police stations.

The Dickinson area suffered tremendous flooding and Dickinson BBQ and Steakhouse, 2111 FM 517 East, which was heavily damaged, has merged temporarily with its sister restaurant next door, Marais. Open daily at 11 a.m., the restaurant will serve Dickinson BBQ favorites along with Marais soups and salads. At 4 p.m. the restaurant magically turns back into Marais.

The pepperoni rolls are a a must at Dattz Pizza.EXPAND
The pepperoni rolls are a a must at Dattz Pizza.
photo courtesy of Dattz Pizza

Dattz Pizza, 11730 Grant, one of the best pizza carry-outs in the Cypress area— a completely biased opinion from this writer— suffered a double blow this week. The family-owned shop was first flooded by Harvey’s relentless rains. After dealing with the clean-up and loss of everything but the ovens, on September 3, the shop fell victim to a fire that spread from a nearby business and is closed until further notice. We wish the restaurant a quick recovery for its family and employees. Plus, they make a legit Eggplant Parmigiana, not an easy find in Houston.

Felix Florez, founder of Black Hill.
Felix Florez, founder of Black Hill.
Photo by Max Burkhalter

Felix Florez, co-owner of Ritual and founder of Black Hill Meats, which the Press reported had 300 heritage breed hogs stranded on flooded ground near Katy during Harvey, has checked back in with an update on his pig farm: “We moved the ones who didn’t have dry ground, but lost over 100 young pigs and some of the big breeders, too. Now all we have to do is wade through the two to three foot deep waters, up to where they are, to feed them each day.” Time to send this rancher and restaurateur some good vibes if you haven’t already.

Chef Richard Knight of Feast and Hunky Dory fame, and his wife Carrie Jean Night, were able to help organize a multi-purpose relief effort with many other chefs, industry professionals, and dozens of volunteers at a base location called The Midtown Kitchen Collective, owned by Adam Brackman, who is also co-owner at Axelrad Beer Garden. As reported by the Houston Chronicle, Brackman offered the space, formerly the SEARCH Homeless Services building, so that a number of businesses, restaurants, and volunteers could coordinate their food donations, meal tasks, and deliveries in a fairly organized manner.

The building also offered a place for the Cajun Navy to stay, since there are bedrooms with private bathrooms. Because of the number of volunteers, they delivered thousands of meals to hospitals, rescue centers, shelters, police departments, mobile home communities, and relief workers. Their relief efforts extended to Beaumont and Port Arthur as well.

The collective was putting out an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 hot meals a day and 1,800 sandwiches an hour.

Among the Hurricane Harvey chaos, Houston lost one of its Tex-Mex pioneers, Eugene Ybarra. According to the Houston Chronicle, he passed away from complications of diabetes at the age of 81.

Ybarra founded the first El Toro restaurant in 1960, which expanded to eight locations. His company also produced their own corn and flour tortillas at El Matador Tortilla Factory in Baytown, which now supplies restaurants all over Texas and several other states. It employs over 500 people.

He is survived by his wife of sixty-one years, Alice, plus eight children, 26 grand-children, and seven great-grandchildren. His children are all involved in the restaurant business.

That’s it for this week’s Openings & Closings. Leave a comment if we missed something major in your neighborhood.

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