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Houston Food News Bites: Perfect Fall Events & Recent Restaurant Closings

Black Pepper Tagliatelle at Backstreet Cafe


Fall seasonal dish Black Pepper Tagliatelle at Backstreet Cafe. Photo by Paula Murphy

Posted: October 12, 2017 at 1:08 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Week of October 9, 2017

We know our readers are as busy as we are and thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to have just one roundup of important food news for the week? So, welcome to the inaugural edition of News Bites. It’s full of short, sweet and tasty tidbits. We hope you find it an informative timesaver for catching up on all the good things going on around Houston, as well as significant developments in the restaurant and bar scene.

October breathes a little bit of life back into the Bayou City with some cool fall breezes. That means it’s patio season once again and there are some upcoming events perfect for enjoying it. On the sadder side of Houston food news, three area favorites have closed and one plans to shutter in December. Some cite the financial toll of Hurricane Harvey as the reason.

Molina's on Washington

Molina’s Cantina on Washington Avenue. Photo by Jordan Chan

Recent Restaurant Closings

Bosta Kitchen, 1801 Binz: Eric Sandler at CultureMap Houston reports that owner Christopher Balat has decided to close the Museum District café and coffee shop. Instead, he’s partnering with family friend Fadi Dimassi on a new Fadi’s Mediterranean Grill in that location. It’s very similar to what happened with Balat’s previous restaurant in the same building. Museum Park Cafe was ultimately replaced with a Barnaby’s.

Holley’s Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar, 3201 Louisiana: Executive chef and owner Mark Holley sadly announced last week—just a few months after its three-year anniversary—that his eponymous restaurant has closed. The restaurant released a statement on their Facebook page stating, “It is with a heavy heart that we announce this, and we are truly grateful for each and every one of you and your contribution[s] to the restaurant.” After leaving Pesce in 2013, Holley opened his restaurant the following year to much anticipation. During its run, Holley’s Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar received awards and much acclaim from the Houston community. Fans will surely miss the Shrimp & Grits, Gumbo, NOLA Oysters, as well as the popular Sunday Fried Chicken Dinners.

Molina’s Cantina, 4720 Washington Avenue: Houston’s oldest family-owned and operated Tex-Mex restaurant has closed the doors to one of their popular locations after announcing that they would not renew their lease. According to a press release, Ricardo Molina says they have plans to relocate, “Our immediate goal is to find a new location west of Houston, along Katy and Fulshear corridor, which our longtime customers have been requesting for years.” Patrons can still enjoy the tasty Tex-Mex from the Bellaire and Westheimer locations.

Upcoming Restaurant Closing

Carmelo’s Ristorante Italiano, 14795 Memorial: After serving the Houston community for 37 years, Carmelo Mauro has announced his restaurant is closing. The final meal will be the traditional Christmas Day brunch buffet on December 25. Mauro and his family released a statement saying, “Thank you for making us your favorite place to celebrate your daily moments and your special days. Thank you for the smiles, the joy, and the tears you shared with us. Thank you for choosing us to be a part of your life.” Diners still have time to enjoy their favorite authentic Italian dishes before saying “Arrivederci” for good.

Arnaldo Richards of Picos

Chef Arnaldo Richards of Picos. Photo by Nick de la Torre

Upcoming Events

Thursday, October 12

Rum & Tequila Dinner at Arnaldo Richards’ Picos Restaurant, 3601 Kirby: Act very quickly (like, now) and ahead of this upcoming weekend with an evening of rum and tequila accompanied by a special four-course Tex-Mex dining experience. It’s happening tonight, October 12. Chef-owner Arnaldo Richards is overseeing the food while his daughter, Monica Richards, takes care of the beverages,. Guests can expect a unique spread of hors d’ouevres and craft cocktails on the lounge patio at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner. Tickets are all-inclusive for $99; make your reservations by calling (832) 831-9940 ASAP.

Saturday, October 14

Learn How To Make Enchiladas at Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen, 1140 Eldridge Parkway: On Saturday, October 14 from 1 to 4 p.m., practice making “north of the border” enchiladas with the “Enchilada Queen” herself, Sylvia Casares. Specifically, attendees will get hands-on practice making West Texas Style Enchiladas (popular in Lubbock), Laguna Madre (Crab Enchiladas) and Donna Enchiladas (Beef Enchiladas). The cost $64 per person which includes all class materials and a meal. Register online or call 713-334-7295.

Sunday, October 15

The 2nd Annual Butcher’s Ball, Rockin’ Star Ranch, Brenham: Read the full article on one of the biggest, most meat-centric events of the fall. Guests can even opt to be chauffeured to the beautiful host ranch in Brenham via shuttle.

Wednesday, October 18

Casa Madero Dinner at Caracol, 2200 Post Oak: Slowly, Mexican wines are being more widely understood and appreciated in the Houston area. Casa Madero has the distinction of being the oldest winery in North America, dating back 1597. Daniel Milmo, a fifth generation member of the Madero family, will host a dinner showcasing the wines alongside chef Hugo Ortega’s food on Wednesday, October 18. The cost for the four-course pairing dinner is $95 plus tax and gratuity. Call $95 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Call (713) 622-9996 to reserve.

Antonio Gianola and Chris Shepherd celebrate the fundraising effort at a previous Southern Smoke event. Photo by Catchlight Photography.

Sunday, October 22

The Third Annual Southern Smoke Festival, 1100 Westheimer: This year’s event is going to be different from the norm “thanks” to Hurricane Harvey. Usually, the festival raises money for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. This year, it is raising money for the many hospitality professionals and businesses that suffered losses due to massive flooding. Read our latest update for details, including some nationally renowned chefs who have been added to the roster, or, visit the Southern Smoke website for tickets.

Food, Drinks & Fall Centerpiece-Making At Ouisie’s Table, 3939 San Felipe: On Sunday, Oct. 22 from 2 to 5 p.m., Shundra Anderson with Oui & Me Floral, a service associated with Ouisie’s Table, will share tips and tricks on making centerpieces that include pumpkins. Expect an afternoon of food, drinks along with the hands-on class. The cost is $75, or bring a friend and purchase two spots for $125. Included in the cost are all materials, flowers and vases. Guests who choose to stay for dinner afterward will receive an additional gift during the meal. To make reservations, call reservations call (713) 528-2264 or email [email protected]

Oceanaire oysters

Lobster and oysters on the half shell at Oceanaire. Photo courtesy of Landry’s

Oyster Bash at Oceanaire Seafood Room, 5061 Westheimer: The annual Oyster Bash is offering up Houston’s best variety of seafood on October 22 from 2 to 8 p.m. Savor a delicious selection of hors d’oeuvres, and unlimited oysters as well as an array of featured wine and spirits with live entertainment from the popular Houston Latin variety band, Yelba. Tickets are limited and cost $75; call (832) 487-8662 to make a reservation.

Grimaldi's Pizza

Pizza coming out of the woodfired oven at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. Photo courtesy of Grimaldi’s.

Ongoing Through October

Drink Wine & Fight Cancer at 13 Celsius, 3000 Caroline: Not that anyone ever really needs an excuse to drink wine, but now there is even more incentive. Through October, stop by during to enjoy 13 featured wines created by female winemakers. A portion of the proceeds collected from the sale of the featured wines will be donated to Suites of Hope, a non-profit organization that provides affordable housing to women who travel to MD Anderson for cancer treatment.

The New Fall Menu Is Out At Backstreet Cafe, 1103 Shepherd: Believe it or not, Backstreet Cafe celebrates its 34th anniversary this month, and it’s also time to debut the new autumn dishes from James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega. These include Brisket Wraps with Bibb lettuce, roasted brisket, rice noodles, sprouts, cucumber, carrot, herbs and dipping sauce as well as Black Pepper Tagliatelle with grilled kale pesto, Brussels sprouts, winter squash and crumbled goat cheese. That’s really just to name a few of the new items. Visit the website for the full menus. (There are intriguing new Sunday brunch dishes as well.)

Snag A Weekday Deal at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria (five locations): October is National Pizza Month, so every Monday for the rest of October, Grimaldi’s traditional 16″ pizza is only $10. The offer is valid for dine in or take-out from open until close. (Cost does not include additional toppings, white pizzas or pesto pizzas.) Alternately, visit any weekday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. for $2 off draft beers, $2 off glasses of wine (house wines excluded) and $2 off Bruschetta Trio and Antipasto platters.

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