Houston Food News Bites: Downtown Bar Shutters & New Tex-Mex On The Block

Week of December 18

Welcome to the last issue of Houston Food News Bites for 2017. The week kicks off with sad news of a classy cocktail bar closing, announcements of a new restaurant and the downsizing of an existing one. Also, Hanukkah is winding down, Christmas is ramping up and New Year’s is literally right around the corner.

Still finishing holiday shopping? Be sure to check our gift guide. We’ve also got lists of where to dine on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and recommendations on the best Hanukkah foods in Houston.

Houston Food News Bites will return after New Year’s Day. To all of our readers: have a wonderful holiday season!

Upcoming Closings

Barringer, 108 Main: Sadly, owners Robby and Chieko Cook are closing up shop at their charming downtown cocktail bar. There’s one last hurrah, though. They are inviting all friends and patrons to join them on December 22, the bar’s last day of service, for discounted libations and to share memories.

“After much consideration, we have decided to take an offer and move on to other ventures,” says Chieko Cook in a press release. “We have built a family with our Barringer staff and made friends with all of the neighborhood businesses and residents downtown. All of the support, guests, and industry friends have made this insanity totally worth it!”

Stay tuned for details on what’s next for the space.

New Restaurant Openings

Picture of nachos topped with crab meat, pico de gallo, sour cream and cheese.
Crab-topped nachos are on the menu at the newly opened Goode Co. Kitchen and Cantina. Photo courtesy of Goode Co. Kitchen and Cantina.

Goode Co. Kitchen & Cantina, 9005 Katy Freeway: Hot on the heels of the opening of the new Woodlands location, Goode Co. debuts the latest in its empire. Located in the space formerly occupied by The Mason Jar, the Tex-Mex restaurant Goode Co. Kitchen & Cantina began service on Monday, December 18. On the menu are sizzling fajitas, crab nachos and, naturally, margaritas. The cantina is the family company’s first new concept since 2004, when restaurant, bar and honky-tonk Goode Company Armadillo Palace opened on Kirby Drive.

Upcoming Openings

Photo of interior of Sweet Paris CityCentre
Three more Sweet Paris locations are set to join the current spots in Rice Village and CityCentre (pictured). Photo by Julie Soefer.

Sweet Paris Crêperie & Café, 2420 Rice and 797 Sorella Court: The casual crêperie, known for an airy interior and menu that offers both sweet and savory options, is expanding. Spring 2018 will see openings in College Station, Katy and The Woodlands.

Harlem Road Texas BBQ, 9823 Harlem, Richmond: Ara Malekian tells us he’s putting the finishing touches on his restaurant, figuring he’ll open the first week of January. He promises traditional Texas ‘cue, a chef’s table and Armenian coffee (which goes into both his BBQ sauce and bread pudding.)

Grazia Italian Kitchen, 9415 Broadway, Pearland and 1001 Pinelock: The popular Italian eatery is expanding to Katy in spring of 2018. The 7,100-square-foot location will be located in Villagio Town Center at 22764 Westheimer Pkwy, and include a full bar and private dining. There are also plans to incorporate a speakeasy fashioned after the Pearland location.

Underbelly is Downsizing And Getting A New Name

James Beard Award winner Chris Shepherd has made no secret of the fact that he wanted a permanent spot for his steakhouse, born from the success of temporary pop-up One Fifth Steak. (The concept has since been replaced in the former Mark’s by One Fifth Romance Languages and will be followed by two other restaurant models over the next three years.) He found the perfect building for it right under his nose. Shepherd and his fellow owners of 1100 Restaurant Group are shuttering Underbelly and revamping the space as Georgia James, a steakhouse named for Shepherd’s parents. Underbelly, meanwhile, is moving down the street to 1609 Westheimer and will be rebranded as UB Preserv.

Matzo Ball Countdown

The countdown is on to Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen serving its 2 millionth matzo ball. Whoever happens to order it will get a $100 gift certificate. Photo courtesy of Kenny & Ziggy’s.

Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen, 2327 Post Oak and 5172 Buffalo Speedway: Two million is a big number. And when this New York-meets-Texas deli serves up its 2 millionth matzo ball, all missuga (craziness) is going to break loose. The restaurant expects to hit the milestone in January, and whoever happens to order the matzo ball soup that mark it will be presented with noise, hoopla, gifts and a Kenny & Ziggy’s gift certificate worth $100. The lucky winner also gets a t-shirt that says, “My Matzo Balls are Bigger than Yours!” which we’re sure they’ll wear with pride all over Houston.

Upcoming Events


December 23

Wine barrels stacked on each other
Tour Messina Hof’s cellars this holiday season and sample their wines. Photo by Savannah Gaines.

Messina Hof Winery and Resort, 4545 Old Reliance, Bryan: The Texas winery’s annual Christmas Cellar Tours offer an exploration of the winemaking process, complete with samples of four Messina Hof wines. Guests will also learn about Christmas traditions in Italy and Germany, the family origins of Messina Hof owners Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo. Visit the Messina Hof event page for tickets, which are only $25 each.

December 24

See The Houston Food Finder Guide To Dining Out On Christmas Eve for a terrific list of festive meals.

December 25

Lots of restaurants on closed on Christmas Day, but there are still plenty ready to serve a terrific holiday brunch or dinner. See The Houston Food Finder Guide To Dining Out On Christmas Day for the list.

January 6 – 21

Galveston Restaurant Week is a chance to sample pre-fixe menus from more than 30 island favorites. Two- and three-course dinners (between $20 and $35), as well as lunches, breakfasts and brunches (between $10 and $20) are available. A portion of Galveston Restaurant Week proceeds will be donated to Access Care of Coastal Texas to provide lunches for patients living with HIV or AIDS. Visit the website for the full list of options.

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