07/07/15 2:30pm

MONEY, GUNS, AND WHATABURGER Whataburger, 5436 Hwy. 6 North, HoustonWe’ve had many customers and employees tell us they’re uncomfortable being around someone with a visible firearm who is not a member of law enforcement, and as a business, we have to listen and value that feedback in the same way we value yours. We have a responsibility to make sure everyone who walks into our restaurants feels comfortable. For that reason, we don’t restrict licensed concealed carry but do ask customers not to open carry in our restaurants.” [Whataburger, via Houston Chronicle] Photo of Whataburger at 5436 Hwy. 6 North: Jessica T.

07/07/15 1:00pm

Former Chili's Restaurant, 1040 W. Sam Houston Tollway, Spring Branch, Houston

Not a whole lot has been going on at the former Chili’s at 1040 West Sam Houston Tollway next to the HCC Spring Branch campus, a reader notes. Last September, Montrose-born Greek restaurant Niko Niko’s announced it would be opening its fourth Houston-area location there, near the overpasses connecting I-10 to Beltway 8.

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Not There Yet
07/07/15 8:30am

fifth-ward

Photo of burned house on Taylor Ct., Fifth Ward: o texano via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
07/06/15 5:00pm

Churrasca Brazilian Steakhouse, 7801 Westheimer Rd., Houston

New signage is up already at the former home of the Fish & the Knife restaurant at 7801 Westheimer. The 13,000-sq.-ft. sushi nightclub at the corner of Stoney Brook opened last February after 4 years of preparation, then closed after only 9 months of operations — with promises of a reopening after a “rebranding.” But it appears that a restaurant touting itself as “Lubbock’s Finest Dining Experience” is now preparing to open a Houston branch in the space instead. “The restaurant is already hiring a full retinue of staff,” notes Houstonia‘s Katharine Shillcut of the new Churrasca Brazilian Steakhouse, “but construction and cleaning appears to be underway and could take a while.

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Churrasca Brazilian Steakhouse
07/06/15 4:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE MISSING LINKS Broken Road Link“A great comment and right on the money. Houston also needs to take the reins of community building instead of letting developers drive that bus. Subdivisions/neighborhoods are currently created by private developers without any thought to how they relate to adjacent communities, resulting in islands of development unconnected to each other in any meaningful way. How many times have we seen major roads come to a dead end because there’s a subdivision/office park/whatever right in the way? Houston’s lack of long-range regional planning (and no, I don’t mean zoning) is now coming home to roost, and I only hope it’s not too late to change direction. . . .” [roadchick, commenting on Comment of the Day: Houston’s Primary Unit of Measure] Illustration: Lulu

07/06/15 3:45pm

NEW IPHONE APP BUGS YOU WHEN IT’S TIME TO TAKE OUT THE TRASH, BUT REFUSES TO DO IT FOR YOU Screenshot of Rollout! HoustonA local CTO who knows his way around iOS programming but had trouble at first figuring out what day the garbage trucks are supposed to come by is behind a simple app that became available on Apple’s App Store just last week. Kenton Gray’s Rollout! Houston was one of the winners of the citywide Hackathon in May. The free program can’t help you lift or pull bins or navigate a path from back yard to front yard around your lot-filling townhouse, but it does do one thing well: inform you of the next pickup day for garbage, recycling, and heavy trash for whatever City of Houston location you’re in. Oh, and then it does one more thing: It lets you set reminders for each. [Houston Chronicle; App Store link]

07/06/15 12:45pm

Following up on last month’s Supreme Court decision highlighting the segregation effects of Texas’s low-income housing programs, Chronicle reporter Jayme Fraser has a few observations about how the Housing Tax Credit program has been administered around here — after studying the above map, which she assembled to show the location and details of every Houston-area property involved in the program from its start in 1987 through 2013. Using federal funds, the Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs offers tax incentives to private apartment developers in exchange for guarantees to keep rents on new or rehabbed complexes below the market rate.

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Low-Income Housing Map
07/06/15 8:30am

memorial hermann

Photo of Memorial Hermann Memorial City: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
07/03/15 8:30am

Warwick Towers, 1111 Hermann Dr., Hermann Park, Houston

Photo of Warwick Towers: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

Headlines
07/02/15 2:30pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOUSTON’S PRIMARY UNIT OF MEASURE The Measure of Freeways“Unfortunately it will take much more than sprucing up Buffalo Bayou Park to make Houston a more pleasant place. The big problem is that for most people in Houston, the only way to get to a nice place like BBP is the only way you can get anywhere — by car. And that fact alone will take years of political will, planning, and hard work to change. And as long as it doesn’t change, Houston will remain what it is currently: a road system that people sleep and work around. The primary datum in a place like NY is the human body. Planning with the human body as the primary reference point generally makes for a pleasant place for people. Here in Houston, the primary unit of reference is the automobile, as such Houston primarily accommodates cars, not people. Scale matters. Infrastructure (such as sidewalks, small neighborhood parks, bike lanes, rails, etc) matters. Buffalo Bayou Park is a nice place because it is designed for people. Houston on the other hand . . . In terms of civic amenities and property values, ‘you can’t have both’ only in the market as it currently exists. We ought to be able to have a decent city and also live in it, but that can’t happen until we decide to decide that enough’s enough and begin actually planning our city. There are people and institutions in Houston working hard to that end, but so far they are too much ‘a voice in the [civic] wilderness.’ I’m optimistic though. I see people noticing what makes a nice city, where our shortcomings are, and working toward implementing necessary changes.” [Andrew, commenting on Comment of the Day: The Buffalo Bayou Park Pinch] Illustration: Lulu

07/02/15 1:00pm

Westbury Square, West Bellfort Ave. Near Chimney Rock Rd., Westbury, Houston

Westbury Square, West Bellfort Ave. Near Chimney Rock Rd., Westbury, HoustonConfirming a rumor Swamplot noted last week, the HBJ’s Roxana Asgarian reports that “one of the largest residential developers in Houston” has plans to transform two-thirds of the site of former pedestrian shopping district Westbury Square into 100 to 125 townhomes. Camelot Realty Group’s Tom Cervone tells Asgarian a group of developers going by the name of Villas at Westbury Square has the property on West Bellfort near Chimney Rock and West Bellfort under contract from its longtime owner, Alfred Antonini.

All 11 remaining Westbury Square buildings — including the longtime home of the Company OnStage theater group — will be torn down in 30 days, the real estate agent says. Two of the more dilapidated structures from the complex were demolished last year; the Home Depot next door (visible in the distance in the photo below) was built on land that previously belonged to the complex.

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