After just a few months on the job, exec chef Craig Shelton has departed The Inn at Dos Brisas in Washington, TX. No word as to where he has gone. Raj Dixit who was Shelton’s chef de cuisine/sous chef is now the chef … David Coffman (formerly of Benjy’s and The Tasting Room) is the new exec chef at *17 in the Alden Hotel.
Américas, Michael Cordúa’s iconic Houston restaurant, is closing the doors of its original Post Oak Blvd. location August 20 with the expiration of the lease. In the meantime, a special menu humorously dubbed “The Last Supper” and featuring many classic favorites will debut July 25 and run through close. We’re especially sorry to see the end of architect Jordan Mozer’s astonishing bar and dining room. When it was completed in 1993, it thrilled Houstonians and visitors alike with its strange (psychedelic, some said) organic interpretation of a tropical forest. As we’ve reported before, Cordúa and Mozer are teaming up for a new Churrascos, to open this fall in Sugar Land.
Byrd’s Market & Cafe downtown has closed, as has the Memorial location of La Vista. And Feast’s New Orleans’ location has also closed.
On a more positive note, there are many openings to report. Petite Sweets at 2700 W. Alabama in the old Blueberry Hill yogurt shop location, is set to open soon. It’s a joint effort by Susan Molzan, Lance Fegen and Carl Eaves. They recently sent over some samples, including cupcakes, cake pops and very possibly the best macaroons we’ve ever eaten … The Brownstone is back, but it’s not anything like you remember from Beau Theriot’s previous incarnation. This cafe and crêperie is casual, with mis-matched furniture put together in a way that seems both careless and charming. The French menu by Olivier Ciesielski (formerly exec chef at Tony’s) includes both sweet and savory crêpes, quiche, hot and cold sandwiches, omelets and pizza. There’s a full bar, and the patio is being rehabilitated. Prices are very reasonable. Ciesielski is also working on his own new spot is on lower Westheimer.
Also coming very soon:
* Sorrel Urban Bistro, which is supposed to open next week at 2202 W. Alabama in the old Ziggy’s location, represents the second collaboration between owner Ray Salti and chef Soren Pedersen. (They also work together on Ray’s Grill in Fulshear.) Again, it’s a field-to-table concept. Plus, there’s a dedicated charcuterie for sliced-to-order cured meats and Texas cheeses. Steven DiMatteo is GM and beverage director.
* Convivio, 700 Durham south of Washington Avenue, is opening soon in Table 7’s old location. It’s a Spanish tapas restaurant, and owners Oscar Aguilar (Decco Cafe in the Decorative Center) and Marta Vina promise true Spanish-style late-night hours. Daniel Saenz (formerly Ouisie’s Table, Post Oak Grill) has been hired as GM.
Grant Cooper and Charles Clark are working to transform their now-closed Catalan (5555 Washington Ave.) into their new Italian concept, Coppa. It won’t be much longer. Ditto for Hubcap Burgers & Beer Garden at 1133 W. 19 St. from Ricky Craig. Liberty Kitchen and Oyster Bar at 1050 Studewood is also close. Tookie’s in Seabrook is still aiming for a late-July re-opening. We also hear that Jacques Fox, whom we’ve known for years as a hotel and country club chef, is finally opening his own place. It will be downtown near Sushi Raku.
The Laurenzo family’s Chispas Del Tiempo (1504 Airline), which opened and closed so quickly earlier this year, has been reconcepted. It’s now Bambolino’s. Serving pizza, pasta, salads and wings, it’s intended mainly for take-out and delivery (in the Heights) with a few tables for dining in.
Finally, Jonathan’s The Rub (9061 Gaylord) has finished their new dining room, effectively doubling the occupancy inside to 75.