Openings and Closings: Lost Outpost of the Space Cowboys

A quick roundup:

  • Closing in January: NASA hangout the Outpost Tavern, an army barracks building turned spacesuit-and-bikini-festooned party site, down NASA Rd. 1 from the Johnson Space Center at 18113 Kings Lynn St. Memorialized in the appropriately named Clint Eastwood “one last time for the has-been astronauts” flick Space Cowboys, the bar and burger joint had to be partially rebuilt in early 2005 after a short in a neon sign caused a small fire. Second-generation owner Stephanie Foster reports the property has been sold to new owners who “plan to build something new on the site, perhaps a service station or shopping center.” Fans of the Outpost Tavern’s many good ol’ days will drown their sorrows on-site in a 3-day-long goodbye-party bash, January 8-10.
  • Closed, Just a Month After Opening: The new 7,000-sq.-ft. prototype Bailey Banks & Biddle store in CityCentre. The new owners of the former Zales mall mainstay declared bankruptcy in August, but went ahead with the store’s planned move from its old location across the street at Town & Country Village anyway. Other local Triple Bs didn’t get the grand-opening treatment before going dark: “The Galleria and Willowbrook Mall locations are in liquidation, while The Woodlands Mall store and the new CityCentre location are expected to go dark on Dec. 24 following liquidation sales, according to store employees.”
  • Open Only for One Last Big Sale: Brian Stringer Antiques, strung along West Alabama just east of Shepherd in a few separate buildings for the last 40 or so years. Stringer and his wife will retire to their turreted 14th century chateau — a former fortified hospital built by monks for victims of a mysterious skin disease — in the French countryside between Bordeaux and Gers. But lucky us, they’ll stick around Houston long enough to sell the majority of their stock of European antiques, reproductions, and fabrics at 40 percent off, Joni Webb reports: “The French house is so charming – you really feel like you’re in the South of France, except for Houston’s traffic out the front window!” When you’re done shopping there, Webb commands:

    be sure to also stop in at Ginger Barber’s Sitting Room which is next door. Further up the street is Tara Shaw and Heather Bowen Antiques. Continue up W. Alabama to Antiques and Interiors on Dunlavy, Boxwood and The Country Gentleman, then hit up Foxglove and Alcon Lighting.

    If you haven’t passed out from exhaustion yet, turn around and head back to Brian Stringer’s and go the other way on W. Alabama. Stop at Jane Moore’s, then at Ferndale, go to Brown, Bill Gardner, Made in France, and Objects Lost and Found. Back on W. Alabama, continue on to Thompson and Hansen, The Gray Door, Chateau Domingue, Indulge on Saint Street, and 2620 on Joanel.

More openings and closings:


  • Opened Last Month: West U. local grocery Matthews Market, in the space formerly occupied by Matthews Motor Co. at 6203 Edloe, between Westheimer and Alabama. The relocated reincarnation of the old JMH Market is “pulling in four times the sales that we originally projected” just a month after its grand opening Catholic mass, owner Jim Reid tells the Houston Business Journal.
  • Finally Closed: Montrose brunch has-been La Strada, at 322 Westheimer, almost 20 full months after its emergency bankruptcy. The final, death-dealing blow was a loss of its liquor license, writes the HBJ‘s Allison Wollam.
  • Opening: Former stone-faced strip center slinger Rob Johnson is now stuffing burritos into parking-lot-oriented retail locations in Sugar Land and Briargrove, and looking for open slots around West U, The Woodlands, Memorial City and Midtown. Bullritos burritos and margaritas joints on Highway 6 at Williams Trace will open next week; the San Felipe and Voss store is scheduled to open in February. Meanwhile, other franchisees are heading for Deer Park (at 3709 Center St., opening next week), Pasadena, and Briar Forest. Already opened: Johnson’s franchise outside the Richmond and Weslayan Costco, plus two other locations: on FM 1960 at Eldridge, and across the parking lot from founder Russell Ybarra’s flagship Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen off Spencer Hwy. in LaPorte.

Spot any more comings and goings? Send ’em to Swamplot!

Photo of Outpost Tavern: Juho V