11/24/14 1:45pm

SAYONARA FOR FISH & THE KNIFE? Fish and the Knife Restaurant, Sushi Bar, Nightclub, and Lounge, 7801 Westheimer Rd., HoustonEater Houston’s Jakeisha Wilmore is reporting that Fish & the Knife will close at the end of this month. Wilmore is basing her report on an interview with a Yelp reviewer who said that management at the Briarmeadow sushi house canceled her upcoming holiday event and told her that the restaurant was about to shut down. Wilmore could not reach management for confirmation, but should this really be the end for the 9-month-old restaurant, it would prove an abrupt final act to a bizarre and dramatic saga. The not-designed-by-Tony-Chi restaurant finally opened this February after a roller-coaster ride of a buildout that dragged on for 3 years. Wilmore’s Yelp source told her that the Fish & the Knife’s manager told her “financial challenges” were the cause of the possibly imminent shuttering. The restaurant’s demise might not be lamented in all quarters: On weekends Fish & the Knife transformed into a nightclub, and residents of nearby neighborhoods had become disgruntled with partiers parking along their streets and leaving trash behind. Update, 2:15 pm: Fish & the Knife management tells CultureMap’s Eric Sandler that the restaurant’s closing will be temporary and that the Fish & the Knife will reopen after a rebranding, while the weekend nightclub activities would continue in the meantime. Sandler also reports that opening chef, former Iron Chef America contestant Bob Iacovone, has returned to his hometown of New Orleans. [Eater Houston; Click2Houston; CultureMap; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

11/24/14 11:59am

315-fairview st, Hyde Park, Montrose

315 fairview st, Hyde Park, MontroseUpdate: 3:45 p.m. Eater Houston reports that the name of the sushi bar will be Akamaru.

According to the permit in the window at 315 Fairview, the next occupant of the mixed-use building’s downstairs will be a restaurant named Sushi Bar. 

Most recently that area had been home to a lounge called The Fairview.

Prior to its incarnation as the Fairview, the building had housed the short-lived Montrose outpost of downtown institution Dean’s Credit Clothing.

Sushi Bar will be situated about halfway between Uchi and the Bluefish.


Montrose Eats
11/24/14 10:30am

HOUSTON CHRONICLE COMPLEX DOWNTOWN GOING ON SALE — A YEAR OR 2 TOO LATE? Houston Chronicle Building, 801 Texas Ave., Downtown HoustonThe Houston Chronicle‘s former real estate reporter says Hearst is putting the Chronicle complex at 801 Texas Ave. up for sale at a less-than-ideal time. Ralph Bivins reports that the newspaper’s parent company has just selected brokerage firm HFF to market the building, on the block surrounded by Milam, Travis, Texas, and Prairie, and its separate parking garage. But “Hearst would have met stronger demand by putting the Chronicle property on the market a year or two ago,” Bivins writes. “Hearst moved too late to catch the crest of the wave. The price for the Chronicle property is expected to be less than $50 million.” In July, the company announced the newspaper’s offices would be moved to revamped facilities in the former Houston Post complex at 4747 Southwest Fwy. [Realty News Report; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Ralph Bivins

11/24/14 8:30am


Photo of Discovery Green: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

11/21/14 4:00pm

A LOFTIER VIEW OF THE HOUSTON SHIP CHANNEL Can’t stop celebrating the Houston Ship Channel’s recent centennial, but unable to make it to that exhibit downtown? Do industrially majestic helicopter shots of mighty tankers and container ships hewing their way through brown waters to and from the deep blue sea, between banks lined with tank farms and smoke-belching chemical stacks, and shorelines spanned at intervals by such engineering marvels as the Fred Hartman Bridge leave you weak in the knees? Then check out Houston Ship Channel: Deep Water Centennial, the 56-minute film produced by the Texas Foundation for the Arts. It ran recently on local public teevee, but it’s now available on YouTube (and embedded above). It features lots of stentorian narration of “commerce porn” factoids and stats (“The most foreign ship calls! . . . It’s longer than the Panama Canal! . . . Such huge gross tonnage!”) recited above beds of stirring, vaguely martial music. If you aren’t ready to commit to the full 57 minutes, you can get a sampling via the separately posted trailer. Video: Houston Public Media

11/21/14 2:15pm

THE SHIP CHANNEL’S FOLK HISTORY ON VIEW Vest-photo-boatman-300 Houston Arts Alliance’s Stories of a Workforce: Celebrating the Centennial of the Houston Ship Channel, an exhibit running through January in the Houston Public Library’s Julia Ideson building, focuses on the Houston Ship Channel’s second 50 years, a half-century that saw the port utterly transformed by the advent of the containerization of cargo.  The centerpiece of the exhibit is a John Biggers mural of African-American dockers hoisting cargo, and the room is dotted with the photographs and timelapse films of working Channel pilot and photographer Lou Vest. Newspaper clippings shine a light on the Channel’s occasional outbreaks of labor strife,while in an alcove across the hall, viewers can take in a collage of portraits of typical houses in harborside neighborhoods such as Fifth Ward, Magnolia Park, Clinton Park, and Denver Harbor that many dock workers have called home for generations.  Via overhead speech domes, you hear the pilots, stevedores, and boatmen tell their own stories in their own words. The exhibit is less a standard, top-down institutional retelling of the Ship Channel story than it is a Studs Terkelesque folk history. [Houston Arts Alliance] Photo: Lou Vest.

11/21/14 1:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: ZONE D’ EROTICA IS A SYMBOL OF HOUSTON FREEDOM Zone d'Erotica, 2626 West Loop S. Fwy, Galleria, Houston“I’ve always thought the Zone D’Erotica placement was one of the most charming things about Houston. Welcome to Houston: you own it, you use it, however you want. Other cities would be finding a way to declare the parcel blighted at Simon’s behest, but in Houston that would be rightly considered outrageous.” [Spoonman, commenting on Construction Set To Begin on the Luxury Jewel Box, the Galleria’s Chi-Chi Pad Site] Photo: Candace Garcia

11/21/14 12:00pm



In Memorial Bend, a neighborhood known for its operatic street names and steadily dwindling collection of midcentury modern inventory, one of the homes designed by architect William Norman Floyd has landed stylishly on the market, asking $798,900. A “California contemporary” in its day, the 1956 property features banks of clerestory windows and sloping, beamed ceilings throughout open, light-filled spaces.


It’s Spatial
11/21/14 11:00am


Demos appear to be ready to commence on a good-sized swath of Independence Heights surrounding Booker T. Washington High School at 119 East 39th St.

“Seems everything between Yale and Main is about to be bulldozed… an entire neighborhood vanishing,” writes a reader. “It’s really kinda spooky looking — like an abandoned ghost town”:


Independence Heights
11/21/14 8:30am


Photo of mural at 1920 Houston Ave., First Ward: Christopher Andrews

11/20/14 4:15pm



Lake Livingston laps near the lazy river meandering within a whopper-scaled waterfront pool (top) at a 2006 property that also boasts a “barndominium” (above) with its own 15-car garage, a pool house, a boat house, but no house house. Does it matter? The existing structures come with kitchens and bedrooms, and there are 6 acres of grounds to tend. Price? $2.995 million. That’s down from the $3.4 million asked in previous listings back in 2013 and 2012.

Ready for a flyover?


And a House, Someday
11/20/14 3:15pm


As of December 1, Galleria tenants and workers who park in the Blue Garage fronting Westheimer (labeled “Construction Zone” in the above site plan) will have to find another place to stash their rides. Explains an official “communiqué from the management office” of Unilev, operators of Galleria Tower II: “This relocation is to due to impending construction by Simon Properties of a free-standing retail structure that will be erected on the surface lot directly above the Blue Garage.” That structure will be going on the 14,000-sq.-ft. pad site in front of the portals to the Cheesecake Factory; it’ll be known colloquially as the “luxury jewel box.” Simon Properties intends the building to house up to 3 high-end retailers.

A user going by the name of JJ18 posted these renderings of the proposed structure to HAIF back in March:


11/20/14 1:45pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOW MT. YUPPIE WAS FORMED On Top of Mt. Yuppie“When this place opened, there was a ‘oh no, here come the yuppies‘ reaction. Now, years later, it is closing and people are complaining about how the Heights is losing its character. Basically, a reprise of ‘oh no, here come the yuppies.’ It is really just the process of yuppie sedimentary rock formation. Yuppies get older, have kids and become boring. Their hangouts go out of style and go out of business. Then, the next layer of yuppies comes in and opens new businesses and the prior layer of former yuppies groan about the neighborhood losing its character.” [Old School, commenting on Sunset Heights Wine Bar The Boom Boom Room Will Close Forever This Friday] Illustration: Lulu