Critic’s Choice: Tower Theatre Will Go Tex-Mex

Permitting has already begun for a new Tex-Mex restaurant in Montrose, which will be neatly inserted into the former Tower Theater building on Westheimer at Yoakum. The marquee on the Art Deco building has already been restored to neon-and-fluorescent glory. Next up: rebuilding the theater’s former balcony, removed when the building was gutted and converted to a Hollywood Video store a few years back. The yet-to-be-named restaurant will be a joint project of Bill Floyd and Bryan Caswell of Reef and former Houston Press restaurant critic Robb Walsh, who’s written several Tex-Mex cookbooks. My Table reports the new restaurant is scheduled to open at the beginning of 2011.

Photo: Matthew Rutledge [license]

21 Comment

  • Well, this isn’t the worst that could happen. I am pleased that they want to do some restoration and preserve the facade and neon. And rebuilding the balcony means that it could someday be a live music venue again, something I would love to see.

  • Well, this should be interesting. The Robb Walsh aspect is a surprise. Hopefully,Robb’s love for old school cheese enchiladas and taco truck faves will influence the menu. I’m glad I can walk to this new place ‘cuz the parking is going to suck it bigtime. I’m sure the owner of Mo Mong is just thrilled.

  • The neon looks awesome. Thanks,whoever.

  • So the chips and salsa are the previews?

  • Must be nice to have a nice bankroll to take a risk in this economy.

    The cost of renovating Felix’s would have been far less and probably drawn a crowd particularly if they opened up the roof patio but I guess some just can’t resist seeing their names on the neon signs of life.

  • Better than hollywood video, yes. Best use of that historic space? That remains to be seen.

  • There’s no pleasing some people is there. Someone is actually devoting the time and expense to retain a building and the best we can do is complain that we might have preferred them to use either another space or to do something different in this space.

    The costs of refitting a 60 year old restaurant building versus the cost of outfitting a bare space as a restaurant are far from a foregone conclusion. To assume that somehow such a decision is purely ego driven is pretty ludicrous.

  • WOW, that neon looks fantastic! I agree this is better then the Hollywood Video and certainly not the worst that could happen. I look forward to trying the food at the new restaurant!

  • Right on Jimbo! All you’d get from a Felix remodel is all those tired losers who’d complain that the queso isn’t as good or the margaritas are too expensive or gnash their teeth that Mrs. Felix would rollover to see her tacky iron grillework removed etc…..
    Bring it on and light up the sky!

  • wow…that would be absolutely awesome if the work on the outside is any indication. Living in the area, I would have little complaints about this as a remodel. I mean what do y’all want? Another theater? I’d rather have a nice restaurant there than an empty storefront for the next few years in hopes of the alamo ice house. And given the work done on Reef, I trust that they will find a good architect that will make good use of whatever space and details remains inside. The corner of westhiemer and montrose is dying a slow death so any life nearby is seriously welcome.

  • Amen, Jimbo. Anything that prevents another historic demo converted (perverted?) to “luxury” high-rise condo building from littering the landscape is fine with me.

  • Jimbo, YOu’re the hero of the day.

    I don’t think is the ultimate, supreme best use but it’s better than if Weingarten got their hands on it.

  • Someone is actually devoting the time and expense to retain a building and the best we can do is complain that we might have preferred them to use either another space or to do something different in this space.


    So they’re retaining a building. They’re not preserving anything but a marquee. That is all that’s left of the Tower. The marquee. The theatre itselfs was torn out a long, long time ago.

    But the chi-chi crowd wants a Tex-Mex restaurant in what they will claim is the Tower Theatre. And be proclaimed preservationists. While two blocks away, a real Mexican restaurant, that could have been restored and brought back to life along with the memories inside that building for quite a few, will be torn down. For a sushi restaurant. A chi-chi sushi restaurant.

    What will be next as the chi-chi crowd begins to “preserve” Westheimer?

  • speaking of which…the fact that some sushi restuarant has hired the Raku architect for ole’ Felix…..doesn’t sound good to me.

  • I so agree with Melanie (and Jimbo). And Matt, if you use the term chi-chi one more time, I’m going to have to hit you with a rainbow-colored penalty flag.

  • Apparently Felix’s is saved. Now all we have to do is convince them to serve ceviche instead of sushi.

    And now we have chi-chi people waving rainbow flags. Please. Take it to Southampton.

  • Just what we need, another one.

  • Good grief! And we wonder why there are wars??!!

  • Sorry Matt, I was just trying to be silly and it came across totally wrong. No more comments from me.

    I just have fond memories of the Tower (favorite: seeing Paul Westerberg play there back when I lived in the area). I’m happy it is being saved in some way. And I like Robb Walsh too.

    Peace out guys…

  • The Tower hosted a lot of great shows in its day. I think my favorite was Cyndi Lauper. It was a great venue, large enough for a big crowd and small enough for an intimate experience.

  • A bunch of my friends near the old Felix and Hollywood are excited. They love eating out in the Montrose/Lower Westheimer areas but within walking distance. these would be good additions to the area. Neither seem to be high end like Mark’s, Hugo’s, Stella Sola etc which is hard to do on regular nights.