07/20/18 10:00am

BRASA’S STEAKHOUSE WILL DEBUT IN ABANDONED KALEIDOSCOPE THEATER ON CAPITOL Recent permit filings show that the abandoned Kaleidoscope Theater on the Capitol-St.-side of the St. Germain Lofts at 705 Main St. is about to be reborn as a steakhouse. Founded by 2008 American Idol contestant Colton Berry 6 years ago, the theater played host to cabaret-style productions during its time in the space. But in the summer of 2016, Berry told the audience at a production of “PEOPLE” that the theater company was shutting down and splitting from the building, reported the Chronicle. That left a roughly 8,000 sq.-ft. hole in the north side of the residential structure — pictured above from the corner of Main and Capitol where the theater is survived by another, once-neighboring ground-floor tenant, Flying Saucer Draught Emporium. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Realtor.com

07/19/18 4:00pm

In other abandoned Montrose restaurant news: crews have finished smashing up the Burger King on Westheimer a block west of Montrose Blvd., leaving the property in fast food limbo ahead of its planned takeover by Houston’s fourth Shake Shack location. Pictured above is the restaurant’s drive-thru lane minus the accompanying drive-thru infrastructure.

A Cherry Demolition excavator is still picking through scraps left behind from the teardown; they’re now spread out atop the former building’s foundation, visible below:

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Nothing-Burger
07/19/18 2:00pm

The owners of the 22,860-sq.-ft. warehouse at the bend where Wash Ave becomes Hempstead Rd. have plans to refashion the building as Houston’s latest food hall, complete with 25-plus restaurant tenants, a few grocery and trinket vendors, and an adjacent beer garden — all fronting 22,000-sq.-ft.-worth of park space. Aside from homonymous salad bar concept Let Us, no specific tenants have been announced for the space yet — formerly home to the Emmett Perry oriental rug store and Sugar Creek Interiors’ design studio. But the developer hints that most food stalls at Railway Heights will be of the fresh-never-frozen variety, staffed by “the farmer who reared the animal, the fisherman who caught the fish, the baker who baked the bread.

Later on, plans call for a 600-car automatic parking garage (about 2-and-a-half-times the size of that other robo-valet proposed next to Tacos A Go Go on White Oak) to be added on to the site at 8200 Washington, along with a complex of “container apartments” in the southeast corner of the things.

It’s all shown in the map below:

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On the Timbergrove Menu
07/17/18 12:45pm

The new owner of the floody Spaghetti Warehouse building downtown has cooked up a novel idea for how to deal with its proximity to Buffalo Bayou: crack open its lower stories and fill them with a floodable dining area that sits below an upper-story bar. Renderings from Diamond Development show how they’re hoping to pull it all off by removing several doors and windows from the back of the 15,000-sq.-ft. building (which an application to Houston’s historic commission notes will be stored away for potential future use) and adding louvers to the building’s east side.

The slats would go in place of the parking-lot-fronting wall shown missing part of its face during Harvey:

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Floodable Food Court
07/16/18 5:00pm

A row of 3 tall windows now opens up the Fairview-St.-side of the former McGowen Cleaners, currently being converted into a health-minded restaurant dubbed Vibrant on the corner of Morse St. As for a patio shown cut into the building’s windowed corner in earlier renderings from architect Lake Flato — it’s yet to be installed. But a bunch of other outdoor features such as shrubs, grasses, and the beds that hold them are now in place outside the structure.

They’ve taken over the frontage previously occupied by chopped-up pavement:

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Hyde Park
07/13/18 10:00am

YOUR ODDS OF WINNING A YEAR’S SUPPLY OF CHICKEN SANDWICHES AT CHICK-FIL-A’S NEXT PEARLAND GRAND OPENING One in 1,365, a little slimmer than the chance of landing heads on a coin toss 10 times in a row. The Chick-fil-A in question, Pearland’s fifth, opens at Hwy. 288 and Aldine-Fort Bend Rd. on July 25, and in keeping with custom, the store is giving away 52 free #1 meals (chicken sandwich, medium Waffle Potato Fries, and a medium drink) to a group of 100 lucky loyalists selected from those who spend the night before camped out at the location, reports the Chronicle’s Dana Burke. This time though, the franchise is taking measures to ensure that only hometown competitors 18-and-up get access to the prize by limiting eligibility by zip code. The challengers: 77584, 77581, 77588, 77578, 77048, and 77047 — home to 136,500 legal adult residents of Pearland, Brookside Village, Shadow Creek Ranch, Manvel, and parts of Southeast Houston including Crestmont. To keep things competitive, reports Burke: “All participants must remain in their designated spots the entire time, with the exception of bathroom breaks.” [Houston Chronicle] Photo of 2016 Chick-fil-A First 100 event in Prestonwood, Texas: Chick-fil-A

07/12/18 12:00pm

Update: A Swamplot reader notes that BurgerIM originated in Israel — and that in Hebrew, the suffix “-im” adds a plural meaning to the word it ends. Read with that grammar in mind, the restaurant’s name translates roughly to “burgers.”

Although BurgerIM’s previous attempts to come online next to Subway in the corner of the strip center at Richmond and Shepherd were met with red tags from city inspectors, those notices have now been taken down — reports an employee at the neighboring Honey Art Cafe — and a building permit filed yesterday grants the new instant-messenger-themed restaurant clearance to proceed with renovations to the space.

Previous high-tech retailers in the endcap include Clear Wireless and Wireless Toyz; analogue merchandiser Gold and Silver Buyers held the place down in between their tenures and Mattress Overstock retired from the space most recently, at the end of last year. When the burger place opens, it’ll be the franchise’s first inner-Loop spot, topping off its existing Cypress and W.-Lake-Houston-at-Beltway-8 locations.

Photo: Fox E.

Strip Steak
07/11/18 4:45pm

Victorian’s Barbecue has now made its mark at 19 N. York St., including a bovine play on that lovable Austin mural; it’s featured on the East End building’s McAshan-St.-side. The former food truck business put its vehicle up on Craiglist last month and began blackening the exterior of the stationary spot it plans to take over.

Both its street-fronting sides started out pink (as shown above), with some green in the rear:

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Keep East End Werid
07/03/18 5:00pm

Coming soon to the west side of the warehouse-turned-Shops at Sawyer Yards building on the corner of Sawyer and Edwards streets: Awesome Bites, a health-minded bakery specializing in fruit- and vegetable-based muffins made without eggs, butter, or milk. A building permit filed last Friday for the strip at 2313 Edwards — the nearer building in the photo above — has the new 1,600-sq.-ft. venue slotted into suite 185. That puts it west of Pokeology in either the box labelled B above (where B&B Butchers once left its mark but never materialized) or potentially right next door to the raw fishery — if the adjacent, yet-to-be announced taco shop’s plans fall through.

Images: Lovett Commercial

First Ward
07/02/18 10:00am

TEXADELPHIA’S TAKEOVER OF THE WOODEN BOX ON MONTROSE BLVD. NOW NEARLY COMPLETE With construction on Houston’s second Texadelphia now wrapping up ahead of its planned opening, it appears the restaurant’s remodelers have opted to preserve the woodsy exterior decor originally added onto the end of the strip center just shy of 2 years ago — when the storefront switched over from Berryhill Baja Grill to Yucatan Taco Stand. That gives the restaurant a different outward character than the chain’s only other Houston location — its first step back into the city after and 2-year absence — on the corner of Westheimer and Dunvale Rd. Over there, renovations stopped short of any exterior work as well (save for the installation of the brand’s signage in place of longtime tenant Potbelly Sandwich Shop’s), leaving the restaurant to pick up in a pale stucco endcap that’d been unchanged for over a decade. [Previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplox inbox

06/29/18 2:45pm

Pacific Poke is the latest newcomer to Houston’s booming raw fish restaurant scene, and it’s taking over the empty 1,802-sq.-ft. spot on Richmond once occupied by Starbucks, next to what’s now Roostar Vietnamese Grill. The Starbucks location — shown above —  closed down shortly before a brand-new Starbucks showed up across the street from it, just east of Chimney Rock in early 2016.

That left the building briefly vacant before Roostar arrived the following year in the spot next door to the abandoned coffee shop — now slated for a redo. Its Vietnamese restaurant space is shown below, done up with the 2-location chain’s abstract poultry-like logo:

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Raw Seafood Chaser
06/29/18 9:30am

Caffé di Firenze is the name of the coffee shop now on its way to the 127-year-old Henry Brashear building at 910 Prairie St., across from El Big Bad and Local Foods’s downtown location. Despite a renovation in 2016 that added red face-paint to the building’s formerly-black façade, its first floor has remained vacant for the past several years. Plans now call for that story to include a sidewalk seating area that’ll hang out in front of it.

Meanwhile, the building’s longtime owner is still working to get one or more tenants in the upper 2 floors — which include this outdoor patio:

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Coffee Grounds
06/19/18 5:15pm

Coming soon to the block across Durham from W Grill, just south of Washington: Otto’s Barbecue & Catering. The 67-year-old chain has plans for its first standalone location since the original on Memorial Dr. was sold in 2009 (for less than its owners felt it should’ve been) and demolished to make way for a collection of strip buildings.

Until last November, Luke’s Icehouse (pictured above) was the only structure standing in the way of the planned new restaurant on the corner of Lillian St. and Durham — but after shuttering last June, its building was torn down 5 months later. The rendering above shows Otto’s taking over the site from the north above Durham, where a courtyard fronts a covered patio adjacent to a parking lot.

Inside, the site plan indicates that 3,293-sq.-ft. would be devoted to the restaurant, while 1,722 would make up an attached catering kitchen:

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Smoke Signals
06/19/18 11:00am

The curbside rendering above from Schaum/Shieh Architects shows off the changes coming soon to 612 Live Oak now that developer Bercon is redoing it for Brass Tacks, a coworking space with on-site kitchen and bar. Both the TABC notice heralding the bar’s arrival and the door it’s posted on will vanish in the redo, replaced by the single window to the right of the main entrance shown at top. A current garage entrance will also give way to the double-doors and surrounding glass planned in the middle of the facade. Stripped of their existing awnings, newly-uncovered stained glass openings will bookend the building’s face. A fenced-off patio sits adjacent along Live Oak.

Lifting the lid, you can see all kinds of business planned inside, between the single-story structure’s 2 side parking lots

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Coworking Conversion
06/18/18 10:45am

B&B Butchers owner Benjamin Berg has a new restaurant in the works for the former Caddy Shack Bar & Grill building pictured at top, across the street from his existing venue’s parking lot on Wash Ave and 2-doors down from the redone building now housing Gus’s Fried Chicken. An entity connected to Berg filed a permit last Friday to prep 1809 Washington for the new business it’ll host, dubbed Cafe Lemon.

Caddy Shack (not to be confused with Candy Shack, the drive-through daiquiri spot 2 miles west on Washington) debuted in the 1,968-sq.-ft. structure 6 years ago following the Broken Spoke Cafe’s shutdown and posthumous fire. After a brief stint as Turkey Leg Hut — a Cajun restaurant which brought hookahs to the patio pictured above — the space rebranded back to Caddy Shack before shuttering for good around the end of last year.

Photos: Gil G. (Caddy Shack); Te Y. (patio)

Cafe Lemon