- 400 Cordell St. [HAR]
Cricket Wireless shuttered in the northwest corner of the building on N. Main at Pecore St. a few years ago, leaving O’Reilly Auto Parts alone in the structure. Now, signage for Asia Market Thai-Lao Food is up on the carrier’s former location. The aerial photo above views the building at 3600 N. Main adjacent to Whataburger from up over El Taquito Rico’s former spot (also undergoing a turnover) on the narrow corner across the street.
The original Asia Market included a store in addition to the restaurant. Here’s what it looked like in the strip on Cavalcade between Norhill Blvd. and Michaux St. it occupied since 1987:
The sign at the Skinny Rita’s Grille at 4002 N. Main St. in Brooke Smith now states that the Mexican restaurant inside has closed, but a note on the door from “Management” is a little less definitive: “This location will be rebranding in the next few weeks and will be temporarily closed,” reads the undated notice — already annotated by a handwritten visitor complaint requesting the information be added to the company’s outgoing phone message. “Please come visit us when we reopen in a few weeks.” The restaurant followed in the footsteps of a sequence of differently branded Mexican restaurants in the same location when it opened at the site, which is bounded by Walton and Melwood streets, in 2014. A Montrose Skinny Rita’s Cantina closed down at 607 W. Gray St. earlier this year, after less than a year of operation.
Workers have begun attaching wire netting to the façade of the 4,344-sq.-ft. retail-turned-office building at 3715 N. Main, which county records indicate was built in 1940 and a nearby resident believes once served as a post office for the adjacent neighborhoods of Norhill and Brooke Smith. The netting is in advance, it appears, of a new stucco or stucco-like overcoat for the brick-front structure.
The Iglesia de Restauracion, an affiliate of El Salvador-based pentecostal ministry Mision Cristiana Elim Internacional, bought the building last fall; previously it served as the law offices of voting-rights attorney Frumencio Reyes. In stuccoing the structure, the neighborhood church will be following the pattern established earlier with the successive stuccovers of its own main sanctuary building, the former North Main Theater across the street at 3730 N. Main.
Here’s how that movie theater, which was built in 1936, once looked:
Somewhere within this recently renovated and expanded shingle-sided double-decker home in Brooke Smith lies the 1926 single-story version it sprang from. Can you find it?
A funny thing happens in Pooja Lodhia’s teevee report on the whole Tampico Heights dust-up. Yes, she gets Jim Badger, the creator of the Tampico Heights website, to come on camera, and she notes that his renaming project was meant as a sort-of joke. But more interesting: She finds a couple people who claim that the inside-the-Loop neighborhood west of I-45 and east of North Main St. should be called Northside.
They aren’t wrong.
TAMPICO HEIGHTS RISES AGAIN, THIS TIME IN A BUMPER STICKER CAMPAIGN In a setback for the upstart movement to rename Brooke Smith and portions of East Sunset Heights east of N. Main St. and west of I-45, the appearance of the name “Tampico Heights” on Google Maps got shut down late last month by a couple of eagle-eyed citizen editors who noted that the name was “being used by a small group of residents to try and encourage the adoption of the name for this neighborhood, much to a larger group’s displeasure.” The newfangled designation has now been removed. But pro-Tampico campaigners have taken to the streets — or at least the shopping-center parking lots: A reader sends Swamplot this photo of a Tampico Heights bumper sticker spotted on a Chevy TrailBlazer parked in front of “Party” Kroger on Studemont St. over the weekend. [previously on Swamplot] Photo: Mel
‘TAMPICO HEIGHTS’ IS NOW A THING ON GOOGLE MAPS Near Northside residents who didn’t want their neighborhood to be called Tampico Heights have been successful in their campaign to keep the new name out. But it looks like Tampico Heights may be settling in as a new neighbor. A reader reports — and a quick online search confirms (see screen capture at left) — that Google Maps has now begun applying the new name Tampico Heights to area maps. Northside Village has been spared the Heights creep: The Tampico Heights name appears to have been applied to inner-loop neighborhoods Brooke Smith, East Sunset Heights, and portions of Sunset Heights west of I-45 and east of North Main, and not to Northside Village or the Near Northside, which lie east of I-45. That’s a more reasonable spot for a Tampico Heights to land anyway, since it incorporates the Tampico Refresqueria at 4520 N. Main St. and Tampico Seafood & Cocina Mexicana, at 2115 Airline Dr. [Previously on Swamplot]
Local art guide Robert Boyd takes himself and readers on a photo tour of the outbuildings surrounding Nestor Topchy’s home “just south of the North Loop,” catching readers up on a few of the structures the artist has built since (or salvaged from) his residency at the legendary TemplO (earlier, Zocalo), the 6-acre arts commune he ran on a rented former truck depot at 5223 Feagan St. in the West End from the late eighties into the early aughts. And he finds much to impress, including the glass-walled tin-roofed structure pictured here, which Topchy pieced together from steel windows and doors salvaged from buildings in Houston and Argentina, and which fronts a pond on the acre-plus property. Topchy calls it the Crescent:
A reader whose new property tax assessment is feeling pressure from all the construction nearby in Brooke Smith writes in with questions about HCAD’s “economic misimprovement” classification. That’s the label HCAD often applies to older houses in neighborhoods where similar structures are being torn down and replaced with new construction. (It’s “an adjustment to the dwelling to limit the remaining building value as the land value increases.”) Writes the homeowner: “I was wondering if my fellow co-readers would have any information about filing your home as an economic misimprovement and how to do so with HCAD. Also, are there any disadvantages of doing so?”
Some background: “I bought my home in 2012; my property taxes from 2011–2012 increased by 40 percent. I prepared a thorough protest, but the ARB essentially denied my protest by comparing my home to the new homes/heavily remodeled homes in the neighborhood.”
WHERE SKINNY RITA’S WILL BE SQUEEZING IN ON NORTH MAIN Contractor-turned-Realtor-turned-fraud investigator-turned-restaurateur Randy Bower and the team behind Ruggles Green plan to open the first of 2 Skinny Rita’s Grilles in the space at 4002 N. Main St. on the triangular block bounded by Walton and Melwood in Brooke Smith that’s been home to Rico’s Cantina, Rico’s Luchadores, and more recently the Frida Kahlo-themed La Casa de Frida and Frida’s Cucina later this year. Skinny Rita’s Grille is meant to be a “farm-to-table” Latin restaurant. “Skinny Rita’s food is rustic, healthy, and ‘sexy to the bone®’ as are our drinks and décor,” reads the text on the restaurant’s dummy website. A rooftop patio will feature long views of Downtown. A second Skinny Rita’s is apparently being planned for Kemah. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Skinny Rita’s Grille
Looks like MAM’s House of Ice will be opening inside this 780-sq.-ft. former
paint supply liquor store at 1040 W. Cavalcade — just in time for winter! This spot is a bit east of where the sky-blue dessert trailer usually parks at Rutland and 20th. Why here? The owners explain to Eater Houston that they “‘tried really hard not to go into a strip center because [they] wanted to have green space’ so that families could go out, extend blankets on the green and enjoy the outdoor picnic tables.” HCAD records show that this new lot comes in at 3,500 sq. ft.
Photo: Eater Houston
An email sent out by the owners of re:HAB says that the bar will have to close and leave its Houston Ave. location by July. (A landlord issue, apparently.) But the email also says a new spot has been lined up — at 1658 Enid and Link Rd. in Brooke Smith — and that it could open as early as August “if everything goes according to plan (yeah right).”
So we’ll take things one day at a time, then. The bar first opened in the renovated (and repainted) former Houston Ave Bar spot along the Spring St. hike and bike trail. This new location is just a few blocks north of the renovated D&T Drive Inn on Enid and about a mile east of the proposed site of Town in City Brewing Co. on W. Cavalcade. The email goes on to describe this building as “nestled on the banks of ‘Little White Oak Bayou,’” explaining that you’ll be able to get to re:HAB this time “by car, bus, bike or kayak.”