A First Glimpse of Uchi in Houston: Leasing Lower Westheimer Retail by the Piece

Here’s a first look at the not-so-distant future of Lower Westheimer, just a block east of Montrose, where sushi chef Tyson Cole and the owners of Austin’s Uchi and Uchiko restaurants plan to open a first Houston venture. The new Houston Uchi won’t be taking over the whole corner. The neighboring spaces will instead be available à la carte: The new owners are picturing as many as 3 separate businesses (one with a second floor and rooftop deck) leasing the 4,700-sq.-ft. building that used to house Caffe Den and Privé at 908 Westheimer. Also available, around the corner on Grant St.: a little 714-sq.-ft. structure with the address of 904B Westheimer. It’ll share restrooms with Uchi, which will be taking over the former Felix Mexican Restaurant space on the corner, at 904A. The left side of the Grant St. rendering above is the only view we’ve seen so far that shows any part of Uchi itself, but it contains a few clues about how Austin architect Michael Hsu (creator of the original Uchi on South Lamar as well as Houston’s Sushi Raku in Midtown) plans to transform a vintage Tex-Mex classic into something sushi-worthy. It looks like at least a few of those arched windows will stay:


A close-up of the side facing Grant St.:

A rendering of the 908 Westheimer spaces around the corner and next door:

Meanwhile, Felix’s vacant entry rotunda waits for its sushi order:

Images: Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, via Uchi. Photo: Candace Garcia

13 Comment

  • Sooooo…. those women are about to bit by that car on Westheimer.

  • typing too fast… hit by that car… sheesh, using about as much attention to detail as whoever made these mockups.

  • not too excited by these drawings. is very suburban blah to me. something is better than nothing though. i wonder if they are planning on starting in 2011.

  • meh…its a shame they give up on the distinctive aspect of the building so they can put an utterly generic gabled entry. Why don’t they embrace the funky situation of putting a sushi house in a classic texmex restaurant. You’d think those folks from Austin would know all about being “weird”….

  • They’d better have some really good sushi to draw the crowd away from Osaka right across the street..

  • Awful renderings… shows everything out of context. The First rendering is from Grant street. http://tinyurl.com/26ukbyh Google map example. It looks like not much is being done to change the exterior. The rotunda still has a chance. However it looks like they are just going to glue a box on to the existing building that used to house Prive, way to push the limits of design…

  • This will be interesting.
    I hope it works out for them, being from ATX could be a handicap.

  • Nice to see that strip of Westheimer get rehabed. Not much demand on design when your neighbors are a smoothie shop, candyland colored Ruggles, and a cheesy faux mediteranean Aladdins. Although, I am a bit surprised Uchi didn’t go for space on Yale in that new development. I heard they were looking to fill it with “chef driven restaurants.”

  • Anybody know if the Prive building was sold by a bank as a foreclosure? I heard the previous owner fled the country to evade taxes.

  • Sushi-disappointing end for Felix.

  • That’s fantastic news! Uchi in Austin is unbelievable. One of the most delicious meals I’ve had in my life – no joke.

  • @nickyb you’re right. That’s the backend of felix so the rotunda does have a chance to survive which is nice…though it seems idiotic to have the main entry tucked away from the street and stuck in the back. I was hoping to give them the benefit of the doubt but architecturally this seems like a questionable endeavor. I’m with you the renderings are really quite crappy…but it might be because the design is not well thought out as is often the case when people hire non-local architects (its bad enough with homegrown designers!).

  • This should be a great addition to the already fantastic Houston restaurant scene. Uchi is widely considered the best sushi restaurant in Austin, and these guys clearly know what they are doing.

    I really like the Houston retail space they’ve chosen as a location as well, in the heart of Montrose.

    Looking forward to the grand opening!