Arthur Ave To Close And Become Helen In The Heights—Updated
The management team of Arthur Ave at 1111 Studewood—sommelier Evan Turner, executive chef William Wright, chef de cuisine Mercedes Gomez and director of operations Tim Faiola—has announced via press release that they intend to close after its final service on March 19. Despite critical accolades, “a consistent pattern of underperforming sales over the last few months has indicated that the team’s passion for the Italian concept ultimately did not translate to its Studewood location.”
What’s to come, though, seems like an imminently sensible step: the spot will become Helen In The Heights, a spinoff of the team’s successful and nationally acclaimed Helen Greek Food & Wine. The Rice Village restaurant was a James Beard Award nominee last year for Best New Restaurant. This year, chef William Wright is a Rising Star Chef finalist.
Regarding closing Arthur Ave, sommelier Evan Turner is quoted in the press release as saying, “We’re closing with a lot of takeaways from this experience. We learned some things that worked and some things that didn’t. In the end, our goal is to create a place people love where they can get really good food and wine and receive A+ level service.” Update, 3/13/17, 10:43 a.m.: A representative for Arthur Ave says that until it closes, all bottles of wine are half price.
Helen In The Heights will not be a clone of Helen. “Helen Greek Food and Wine explores the diverse regionality of Greek cuisine. Helen in the Heights will revel in the iconic dishes and themes of a classic Greek taverna,” explained Turner. “The only thing we can’t do is break plates—at least so says our lawyers.” Expect approachable Greek classics at Helen In The Heights, such as pastitsio and moussaka.” Turner also says there will be “lots of juicy, decadent meat on skewers and Ouzo. Lots and lots of Ouzo.”
It will take a little time to modify the Arthur Ave space to suit forthcoming Greek taverna, so an opening date has not quite been set yet. That, and other details, will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.