New Houston Restaurant Will Take Up Residence in Former One Fifth in Montrose

1658 Westheimer former One Fifth building

The old church located at 1658 Westheimer Road — formerly the home of both Mark’s American Cuisine and Underbelly Hospitality’s One Fifth — is getting an exciting, luxe makeover courtesy of newly signed leasee Gitano Capital, the same company behind burgeoning Mexico City restaurant chain Ojo de Agua. Plans are underway to convert the historic Montrose mainstay into a yet-to-be-named upscale Japanese restaurant slated to open in 2025. Plans are to staff the restaurant with a roster of “world class” chefs and mixologists — also still to be named. 

Via press release, Gitano Capital co-founder Patricio Quiroz says, “We could not be more honored to have the opportunity to build upon the storied legacy of the numerous quintessential Houston establishments to occupy 1658 Westheimer over the past several decades. The building itself is an innate part of the fabric of the broader Montrose neighborhood that surrounds it, and we feel that Montrose — one of the city’s most eclectic and vibrant nexuses — is the ideal setting for us to unveil an original culinary offering to the City of Houston.” 

Gitano Capital is keeping details of its concept and staff hush-hush for the time being, though they promise the announcement of a tantalizing “world-class roster of chefs and mixologists” to come. The Japanese concept will be Gitano Capital’s second in the Houston area, as it opened Ojo de Agua in the River Oaks District in May. The Mexican café serves fresh, vibrant juices — including some harder-to-find options like fig and starfruit and cocktails alongside a variety of bowls, salads, sandwiches, tacos and ceviches. It also offers up a breakfast menu with options both healthy and energizing as well as a bit indulgent. The principals of Gitano Capital seem to have a strong believe in the Houston market, as the city was only the second in the United States to get an Ojo de Agua. (The first to open stateside was in Miami.) 

The building opened in 1926 as the first home of St. Matthew Lutheran Church. By 1938, the congregation had outgrown the space and moved to its current location on Main Street. The old church was later well-known as the home of chef Mark Cox’s award-winning Mark’s American Cuisine, which opened in 1997 and shuttered in 2016. 

Its successor, One Fifth, was the brainchild of James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly Hospitality. Only the second restaurant after Underbelly, it opened in 2017 with a bold and innovative concept: One Fifth would stay open for only five years, and each August, it would close, reopening in September with an entirely new menu and ambience. The iterations included One Fifth Steak, the predecessor to Georgia James Steakhouse and One Fifth Romance Languages. It closed for good in March 2020. 

Gitano Capital is inheriting a legendary culinary spot. Hopefully, it will continue the legacy when it opens its never-before-seen Japanese restaurant at 1658 Westheimer.              

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