12/08/14 3:15pm


Over Thanksgiving weekend city workers opened a portion of the proposed hike-and-hike trail that will one day link downtown and Acres Homes.

Work began last October on this new section, one that heads west from the MKT hike-and-bike trail’s former official western terminus at Lawrence Park, under the N. Shepherd Dr. and N. Durham Dr. overpasses, and over White Oak Bayou, west to Cottage Grove and north towards an eventual link with the existing White Oak Bayou trail.

This link legitimizes a an unsanctioned though fairly popular “ninja route” long used by off-trail cyclists, who had been pedaling the gravel path from the park to a rickety, burned-out White Oak Bayou railway trestle known to as the “Bridge of Death,” seen below in a 2012 photo.


That’s been demolished and replaced with a sturdy span of of concrete and steel, complete with fancy, built-in insignia, and skyline and AIG building vistas.


Bike Path Breakthrough
12/03/14 10:03am


Here’s a look at Houston’s upcoming second location of the New Orleans-based PJ’s Coffee chain. The banner is up and workers are inside the new mini-strip mall at the Cottage Grove corner of Larkin St. and Durham Dr., just south of Yuppie Dog pet care, and just north of a taco truck-friendly parking lot and a Wendy’s, and just across the Katy Fwy. from looming competition in the form of a strip-mall Starbucks.


Caffeine Fix
07/07/14 10:45am

Future Home of Samurai Noodle Ramen Shop, Durham Shopping Center, 1801 Durham Dr. Suite 1, Cottage Grove, Houston

Future Home of Samurai Noodle Ramen Shop, Durham Shopping Center, 1801 Durham Dr. Suite 1, Cottage Grove, HoustonA source tells Swamplot that the Samurai Noodle restaurant that’s scheduled to open in the former Sprint spot in the Durham Shopping Center facing the Katy Fwy. feeder road (at center in the photo above) is in fact a first out-of-state venture for the acclaimed 3-location Seattle ramen shop of the same name. The I-10-facing spot in the strip center at 1801 Durham Dr. is wedged between Golden Hunan restaurant and the SNAP Spay-Neuter and Animal Wellness Clinic (not to be confused, we earnestly hope, with SNAP Kitchen). In Seattle, Samurai Noodle offers non-pork broth options for non-traditionalists, and allows customers to specify their preferred level of noodle firmness.


By the Katy Feeder
05/02/14 5:00pm

MAYBE WE SHOULD ROUND UP THE USUAL SUSPECTS Former Home of the Usual, 5519 Allen St. at T.C. Jester Blvd., Cottage Grove, HoustonWhat’s happened to the bar building by the Cottage Grove railroad tracks at 5519 Allen St. at the corner of T.C. Jester since lesbian bar The Usual shut down there in February? Perhaps a sale of the property and something new going in — but what? “Looks like someone bought the former home of The Usual,” reports a reader who drove by the site Friday and sent in this photo. “For sale sign is gone and there were workers in there today.” [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

03/13/14 2:45pm

Solea, 1500 Shepherd Dr., Cottage Grove, Houston

A 2-location British restaurant chain specializing in Italian pizza and pastas has plans to open in the former spot of Solea (pictured above) at 1500 Shepherd Dr. at the corner of Maxie, just north of Washington Ave in Cottage Grove. Solea shut down a 14-month stint in that location last September, its owners hinting at the time of plans to reopen an entirely new restaurant in the space after a break, with perhaps a more focused menu than the one offering Mexican, Cajun, and Middle Eastern delights previously. Swamplot readers had noted the building’s construction back in 2010, when it was slated for a location of Bullritos.

No opening date is listed on the website of the Italian replacement, called Il Mascalzone. But the company site does list a second planned location in Houston, to supplement its Edgware and Putney spots in the UK: in a strip center at 12126 Westheimer, between Kirkwood and Dairy Ashford.


International Attention
02/24/14 11:00am

LATEST EXPLETIVE-LADEN, LANDLORD-BLAMING, BAR-CLOSING TIRADE COMES FROM THE USUAL The Usual, 5519 Allen St., Cottage Grove, HoustonCottage Grove lesbian bar The Usual shut down its patio-by-the-railroad-tracks location last week, and marked the occasion with a Facebook announcement declaring enough was enough: “We planned on remodeling but our landlord refused to pay for all the roofing and electrical needs (as most of you know was much needed) . . . we decided to say fuck it and we will do it and make The Usual look better than ever . . . but then we got news that our renewal would double our rent and our landlord is such a dick he knows we can’t afford that and he is so greedy and wanting to sell the property and could not because we were still there, he knew he had to get us out . . . well . . . we fought and fought but unfortunately had to make the decision to move . . . we will be absent for a short while but will return soon and can’t wait to see all of you!” A mysterious post on Yelp from a first-time reviewer points to an alternative — or perhaps additive — explanation for the sudden closing of the bar at 5519 Allen St., facing onto T.C. Jester: a TABC license that had expired at the end of last November. A more recent Facebook posting declares The Usual is “On the hunt for our NEW location!!! Only going bigger and better!!” [The Usual on Facebook, via Culturemap] Photo: LoopNet

01/27/14 10:45am

935 Algregg St., Norhill, Houston

5018 Darling St., Cottage Grove, Houston

“Interesting to see,” writes a regular Swamplot reader, “what appears to be two identical models of house built a couple years apart and a couple miles apart for sale at the same time.” Though the the 3-story, 5-sided brick design they share is distinctive, there are a few differences between the models — most obviously the fact that one is listed for almost twice the price of the other. Over in Norhill, 935 Algregg St. (pictured at top) was built in 2001 on a 5,000-sq.-ft. lot. It’s listed for sale for $585,000. Two years later in Cottage Grove, 5018 Darling St. was built a 2,796-sq.-ft. lot. It’s now asking $300,000. But there appear to be some differences in the interiors as well.

Here are views of the living room and kitchen of the Norhill model:


Which One of These Is Not Like the Other?
12/30/13 1:45pm

5746 Larkin St., Cottage Grove, Houston

5746 Larkin St., Cottage Grove, HoustonReader Seán Judge notes the recent transformation of a warehouse property on Larkin St. near the corner of Sherwin in Cottage Grove, where something that “LOOKS like a little restaurant” is taking shape from a once-ramshackle property presided over by a metal building: “There’s a bunch of ‘parking lot’ space on one side, and what look like bistro tables sitting outside the building,” he notes. “It is definitely looking at least bar/loungey with a lot of liquor, cushy seats, tables outside. And a sign on the door saying ‘Private Party: Thank you. Management.’ . . . Any idea what may be going in there?”


Light Metal
01/24/13 4:00pm

Office building or home? It depends on which listing you read. One on LoopNet appears to have marketed the property for a while at $599,000 — as an office building. But it popped up as a single family item this week on HAR, asking $535,000. Built in 2001 and updated in 2010, the corner-lot custom live-work structure is 2 blocks south of the Katy Fwy. in the Brunner subdivision in Cottage Grove.


11/01/12 3:25pm

ALL PATIO, NO PATIO HOME IN COTTAGE GROVE A reader writes: “Any news ever come down the pike about the huge empty lot on the Northeast corner of Larkin and Arabelle? It’s been empty for years, and all I’ve ever seen done is occasional mowing. . . . When I first moved into the neighborhood in 2006, there used to be an old blue shack house and the rumor was it was a brothel. But it was knocked down (I THINK in 2007 or 2008?) and goes from overgrown grass forest to freshly mown about once every 3 months. I could have sworn there was a real estate agency sign on that fence before, which was what I thought that No Trespassing sign was from afar, but it seems to be gone now. The other weird things is that they are CONSTANTLY building new patio homes in the area. . . . 3 more just went up a few doors down on Larkin street. But this land . . . just sits.Photo: Swamplot inbox

01/06/12 11:57am

Another reason for checking Swamplot’s Daily Demolition Reports on a regular basis: You might find your home listed on it. Two years ago today, the city’s neighborhood protection department took out demo permits on the houses at 1315 and 1317 Shepherd Dr. at the southeastern tip of Cottage Grove, listing them as dangerous buildings; they showed up on Swamplot the next day. But in a lawsuit filed this week, Bellaire Bead Shop owner Katie Koenig claims she was never informed about the impending demolition of her 2 houses, where she stored her bead inventory. Koenig says she only discovered the houses had been torn down when she tried to visit them sometime around January 8th, 2010; she also claims she was injured on the property after tripping over fencepost stumps left after city crews came back later and partially removed a 6-ft. privacy fence she had had built surrounding the houses.