Vietnamese Restaurant & Bar in the Heights is Closing
It has been a tumultuous start to the year for the Houston restaurant scene. While 2023 ended with plenty of new openings, the last month has seen some local places calling for help from the community and others ultimately announcing closures, as was the case for Urban Eats. Dinette, located at 1018 North Shepherd in the Heights, is the latest of these closures. Its last day of service will be this Sunday, February 4.
Co-owners Jason Andaya and Raymond Chan, the team behind sushi restaurant Hando and cocktail bar Kanpai Club, opened Dinette in the summer of 2022. The concept of a fusion, Vietnamese-inspired kitchen and bar was well received. Creative, playful dishes, such as Banh Xeo Tacos, Pandan Fried Okra and Vietnamese Grilled Pizza, were served in a quaint, colorful space that was a mix of Vietnamese café and modern diner. Andaya and Chan next opened a bakery next door offering Vietnamese pastries such as Bánh Patê Sô (puff pastry pie) and Bánh Cam (sticky rice ball) in April of 2023. It too will close its doors on February 4.
The specific reasons for closure have not been provided, but in a statement, Chan expressed his appreciation. “We are extremely grateful to all of our employees and our loyal customers for their continued support of our small business,” he said. “Despite today’s announcement and the closing of this chapter, we are extremely proud of all that we have accomplished with Dinette, and we look forward to developing a new concept to open in the current space. We invite everyone to come in and enjoy their favorite meals one last time this week.”
While this is unfortunate news, the group’s sushi hand roll restaurant Hando and bar Kanpai are still going strong in the Heights, and they just opened a second location of Hando in Spring Branch. “Although we will miss serving our Heights community at Dinette, we hope to see familiar faces at our sister restaurant Hando on 11th Street, as well as at our new location in Spring Branch”, adds general manager Mandy Tran in the same statement. There’s not yet information on what the owners’ plans for the Dinette space are, but we hope to hear more soon.
With only a month into the new year, this is likely only the beginning of more of these types of announcements. Houston is one of the greatest food cities in the country for those who love to dine out. However, for restaurant owners, the fast pace, rapidly changing scene and the cost of operating in a post-COVID world continues to offer challenges. We love a good “buzzy” spot, but we have to continue to support the local businesses once it’s no longer “shiny and new”.
Minh Truong is an avid lover of the Houston food scene and has written about it since 2011, starting as a freelance contributor for the Houston Press. She never stops exploring all that Houston has to offer.