12/18/15 12:30pm

Construction of Lee Highschool Rebuild, 6529 Beverly Hill St., Woodlake/Briar Meadow, Houston, 77057

Currently rising behind Lee Senior High School: Lee Senior High School. The new building is going up on the south side of the block east of Hillcroft between Beverly Hill St. and Skyline Dr., 1 block south of Richmond Ave. The first foundation slab was poured last Friday, and steel has been going up this week— pictured above are the servery, kitchen, and utility areas, according to the Twitter narration of Brent Oldbury. (The distant Williams Tower can be seen peeking through the steel on the right.)

A north-facing entrance is planned, allowing the school to hold on to the current Beverly Hill St. address despite shifting to the Skyline side of the block. The old building (behind the steel to the left, in the photo above) will watch its younger, prettier replacement going up next door until demolition in early 2017 makes way for sports facilities and parking.

A few renderings were presented at an October 2014 community meeting about the new building’s construction and timeline:


Second Secondary on Hillcroft
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.


Churrasca Brazilian Steakhouse
11/25/14 4:00pm



Tweaks to a 1977 Briarmeadow home have left it looking rather peachy inside, thanks to a dream-state color wash. The heavy-roofed French-ish property last sold in 2013, for $291,040, and has appeared in an assortment of listings and relistings ever since. Updated in that interim, the westward-facing home is now  attempting a flip at $409,000. Previous listings sought a high of $489K in July 2013, with reductions to $459K in September 2013, $449K in April 2014 (which snagged a contract but not a closing), and $429K in July 2014 — before taking a breather from the market in August. Renovations picked the bones clean and added new ingredients . . .


11/24/14 1:45pm

SAYONARA FOR FISH & THE KNIFE? Fish and the Knife Restaurant, Sushi Bar, Nightclub, and Lounge, 7801 Westheimer Rd., HoustonEater Houston’s Jakeisha Wilmore is reporting that Fish & the Knife will close at the end of this month. Wilmore is basing her report on an interview with a Yelp reviewer who said that management at the Briarmeadow sushi house canceled her upcoming holiday event and told her that the restaurant was about to shut down. Wilmore could not reach management for confirmation, but should this really be the end for the 9-month-old restaurant, it would prove an abrupt final act to a bizarre and dramatic saga. The not-designed-by-Tony-Chi restaurant finally opened this February after a roller-coaster ride of a buildout that dragged on for 3 years. Wilmore’s Yelp source told her that the Fish & the Knife’s manager told her “financial challenges” were the cause of the possibly imminent shuttering. The restaurant’s demise might not be lamented in all quarters: On weekends Fish & the Knife transformed into a nightclub, and residents of nearby neighborhoods had become disgruntled with partiers parking along their streets and leaving trash behind. Update, 2:15 pm: Fish & the Knife management tells CultureMap’s Eric Sandler that the restaurant’s closing will be temporary and that the Fish & the Knife will reopen after a rebranding, while the weekend nightclub activities would continue in the meantime. Sandler also reports that opening chef, former Iron Chef America contestant Bob Iacovone, has returned to his hometown of New Orleans. [Eater Houston; Click2Houston; CultureMap; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

03/18/14 11:30am

Fish and the Knife Sushi Bar, Restaurant, and Nightclub, 7801 Westheimer Rd. at Stoney Brook, Houston

Fish and the Knife Restaurant, Sushi Bar, Nightclub, and Lounge, 7801 Westheimer Rd., HoustonAn attorney representing international hotel and restaurant designer Tony Chi has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the owners of the Fish and the Knife, complaining that the recently opened Houston sushi restaurant and nightclub has “repeatedly and intentionally” claimed that Chi was responsible for the restaurant’s design. “As you most certainly know,” the letter reads, “Tony Chi had no role whatsoever in connection with the Fish & The Knife and most certainly is not answerable for its operation, particularly its delayed opening.”

A Facebook post published by the restaurant shortly before its February 13th opening claimed that Tony Chi had designed the interior — and implied that his involvement bore some responsibility for the restaurant’s notably delayed debut: “The owner commissioned Tony Chi, famed architect and interior designer, to fit the restaurant into his relentless schedule,” reads the post (which may also have been issued as a press release) in a sentence that directly follows a reference to repeated postponements of the restaurant’s opening. It then goes on to name-drop several of Chi’s former clients: “Based in New York City, Chi owns and operates a global design powerhouse that has an unrivalled reputation in the hospitality industry. Some of Chi’s designs include restaurants for Wolfgang Puck, Alain Ducasse and Michael Mina. In addition to restaurants, he designed many Ritz-Carlton, Park Hyatt, Intercontinental and Mandarin Oriental hotels around the world.” But Chi’s designs do not appear to include Fish and the Knife.


Credit Where It Isn’t Due
02/13/14 10:30am

Fish and the Knife Sushi Bar, Restaurant, and Nightclub, 7801 Westheimer Rd. at Stoney Brook, Houston

Note: Story updated below.

O ye of little faith, casting doubts here and there that a little 13,000-sq.-ft. standalone fine dining and lounging experience on Westheimer across Stoney Brook from AutoZone would ever open its doors after a mere 3 years of construction, a few long silences, and working so hard behind the scenes to get every detail right! It takes time, and actual anticipation, to truly earn the status of Houston’s Most Anticipated Restaurant. So take this: Fish and the Knife opens today. As in: You can park your car in the big parking lot out back, walk right in through the big wooden doors, and order yourself some sushi and a Japanese-style steak. And maybe this weekend, or some other big weekend night soon, wiggle your tail and fins to the rhythms and the flashing lights in the transformed 4,000-sq.-ft. “Las Vegas-style” nightclub inside.

Okay, but really, what took this place so long to open? Here’s the owner of the new spot at 7801 Westheimer, trying valiantly to explain it all:


A Good Restaurant Took Time
01/30/14 12:00pm

Fish and the Knife Sushi Bar, Restaurant, and Nightclub, 7801 Westheimer Rd. at Stoney Brook, Houston

Fish and the Knife Sushi Bar, Restaurant, and Nightclub, 7801 Westheimer Rd. at Stoney Brook, HoustonOn-again off-again would-be Westheimer sushi-nightclub debutante Fish and the Knife has given up on target opening dates, reports Eater Houston. “The big debut is back on track,” reports Darla Guillen in a post that includes actual photos of the actual completed interior at 7801 Westheimer. After almost 3-and-a-half years of construction and several blown promised-opening deadlines, she writes, “the owner is (understandably) reluctant to announce an official date.” But, um, the restaurant is “definitely on schedule to open soon, and is currently hiring staff.”

Update, 3 pm: A daring update to Eater’s report notes the owner now “expects to be open by Feb. 10.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Sooner or Later
01/09/14 11:30am

PHEW! FISH AND THE KNIFE IS BACK TO ITS USUAL ‘OPENING SOON’ STATUS Fish and the Knife Restaurant, Sushi Bar, Nightclub, and Lounge, 7801 Westheimer Rd., HoustonAfter announcing just last week that it had given up all hope that the 3-and-a-half-year-long construction project on the corner of Westheimer and Stoney Brook Dr. would ever open its doors as a restaurant, the crack team behind the b4-u-eat newsletter declared yesterday that its loss of sushi faith was unwarranted: “Fish & The Knife mystery solved,” the latest email report reads. “The facebook page was removed because it was created by an employee who is no longer there. There were a lot of workers there today and the beautiful fish tank contains live fish now. The owner says they expect to open in 3 weeks.” [b4-u-eat; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

01/03/14 2:15pm

IS FISH AND THE KNIFE CUTTING BAIT? Fish and the Knife, 7801 Westheimer Rd., Briarmeadow, HoustonRestaurant review website b4-u-Eat appears to have given up all hope of sushi bar, nightclub, and restaurant Fish and the Knife ever opening. That’s kind of a big deal for a project that’s been under construction since 2010. The huge modern building at the corner of Westheimer and Stoney Brook Dr. (just west of Voss) appears to be complete, but all communication has suddenly gone dark. “They expected to open Oct, Nov, Dec 2013,” reports the site newsletter, “but didn’t and their facebook page with all construction photos disappeared this week.” [b4-u-eat; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

09/11/13 10:00am

APARTMENTS COULD REPLACE CLOSING LANDRY’S ON WESTHEIMER The Landry’s Seafood House at 8816 Westheimer Rd. has lost its lease, apparently, and will close: This Sunday, reports Food Chronicles, brings the restaurant’s 20-year run in this spot to an end. But it doesn’t appear that the 4.5-acre site at Westheimer and Fondren will remain without activity for very long: “The landlord . . . sold the property to an apartment builder. According to Landry’s, the restaurant and other buildings . . . are slated for demolition.” [Food Chronicles] Photo: Landry’s Seafood

03/13/13 12:00pm

This Briarmeadow contemporary with broken-pediment facade bleached its previously ruddy exterior as part of an all-over renovation sometime after last December. That’s when it was bought by its current seller — for $247,000. It’s back on the market now, lighter in color but heftier in price, listed for $449,900. The home’s dog-leg driveway across the front lawn still feeds into a side-entry garage, now showing a newly uncovered cinema-screen expanse of wall to the street. Replacement landscaping at the base of that blankness will screen more of it, eventually. Despite the speedy roof-to-garden change-outs outside and flooring-to-cabinetry swap-outs inside, the listing explicitly declares that the transformed 1977 property is “NOT A FLIP.”


02/19/09 2:14pm

How easy is it to win the Neighborhood Guessing Game? If this week’s round is any indicator: It’s a breeze. Of course, it helps if nobody else comes close.

There were 2 guesses each this week for Willowbend, Jersey Village, and Walnut Bend. Other guesses traveled as far as Wharton, Porter, and Splendora. The rest: Briargrove, “a nicer part of Spring Branch,” Clear Lake, Missouri City, Briar Forest, Tealwood, Yorkshire, Katy, “west or southwest, close to a Home Depot and elementary school,” Oak Forest, Garden Oaks, Friendswood, southwest Houston, Meadows Place, Hearthstone, Alief, Mission Bend, and Westchase.

Nobody named the correct neighborhood! But not all of the guesses were wrong. Which one was right?

How about this snarky entry:

Single story, black aluminum frame windows, vaulted ceilings, and a plethora of ceiling fans indicate this is a pre-oil bust tract home. The house has had some custom woodwork installed by a weekend warrior owner, but they never got around to staining or painting it. I’m guessing west or southwest, close to a Home Depot and elementary school.

So let’s plot those coordinates: 1.4 miles to the Westheimer Home Depot. 1.1 miles to Piney Point Elementary. Close enough! Howard Hughes, you just won a one-year individual membership in the Rice Design Alliance. Congratulations!

An honorable mention goes to Pat, for getting the time frame right:

Well, 60s, not 50s. Bathrooms are more spacious. So there’s that. Then someone did some very interesting handi-crafting there in the 80s, during that “let’s do everything pink and blue” period “and while we’re at it, let’s bump out windows and then turn a boat or two upside down and make them the ceiling.”

You want some details on this place?