Skinny New Restaurant Building Hopes To Squeeze in Next to Frank’s Pizza Downtown

A narrow 3-story restaurant space is planned for this long-vacant lot on Travis St. between Prairie and Preston, right next to Frank’s Pizza and Cabo’s. Plans submitted with a variance application for “Milli Place” show most of the seating would be on the second and third floors, each of which would have outdoor patio space. Why the variance? So the building can take advantage of an extra foot of width, and spread a full 31 feet along Travis St. We’ve squeezed in those narrow floor plans below:


Photo: InnerLooped

24 Comment

  • Sigh… no ground-floor retail :(

  • From what I’ve seen driving around downtown and being forced to go to one of the restaurants there for dinner (In Bayou Place), my take is that Downtown is far past it’s hay day. There’s just not enough crowd there anymore to support a vibrant destination.

  • Thanks for the link back :)

  • Put a fork in it… it’s done.

  • @commonsense: Wow, you’ve driven around downtown and been to one restaurant? Sounds like you are quite expert!

  • Allow me elaborate for the peasant plebeian masses, Amanda… The above statement was a culmination of 20 years of living in Houston and frequenting establishments from Richmond Strip (when it was hot) to Downtown, Midtown, Washington, etc. At one point Downtown was cleaned up and lots of businesses moved it and were successful, no longer. A lot of businesses are closing, a lot are suffering, and at best they can hope for flat sales (look at TABC stats as a glimpse). To make a long story short, Downtown is no longer THE destination and it won’t be again for quite a while.

  • Perbacco, Cabo, Frank’s, Irma’s, that Spaghetti place, Birraporretti’s, Mia Bella, Cava Bisto, and Azuma have all been going strong for years (save your comments on personal preference, just talking about keeping the doors open and tables filled). Admittedly given a boost from hotel traffic, but still going strong for quite some time are 17, Bistro Lancaster, Vic and Anthony’s and Quattro. And there is a pile of new entrants that are, so far, making a good run of it in Dowtown, including Yao’s, Three Forks, Mortons, Guadalajara Del Centro, Strip House, McCormick & Schmick’s, BBs, Niko Niko’s, Ziggy’s, the Grove and the amazing Bombay Pizza Co. Thus, downtown is actually rolling along quite nicely, even though the idea of having to pay a few bucks for parkings sends chills down the spine of strip mall loving suburbanites. Downtown will never be anything like NY, Chicago or Boston, but it is certainly lively enough to support a new bar/restaurant.

  • “From commonsense:

    From what I’ve seen driving around downtown and being forced to go to one of the restaurants there for dinner (In Bayou Place), my take is that Downtown is far past it’s hay day. There’s just not enough crowd there anymore to support a vibrant destination.”

    I’m sorry to hear you were forced to eat at a restaurant downtown once. I hope they caught the guy who forced you.

  • I agree with Old school (what???).

    As long as the restaurant is done well, it should do just fine. In the past 5 years I’ve seen the evening restaurant scene downtown actually improve quite a bit. (minus the still painful closing of Bosa)

  • BOOM! Headshot

  • I have never understood why the COH kowtows to every variance request that comes down the pike. They are called variances for a reason and shouldn’t be rubber-stamped.

  • @miss_msry,

    maybe because a lot of the rules are stupid and everyone knows it, but the politicians don’t want to give up their power. You know, in case somebody tries to build something to close to a neighborhood where donors live. (my vote)

    Or maybe because the rules make sense in general, but there is at least one on almost all projects that just doesn’t make sense.

    For example on this block and for two of the blocks around market square the buildings go from lot line to lot line, which apparently is against code now. I think it looks good and is a type of development that arguably should be allowed in downtown. But, the majority (i.e. 99.99%) of Houston isn’t comprised by this same kind of neighborhood so it makes more sense to write a code for non downtown type areas, and give out variances when reasonable.

  • Not to mention I can’t believe that parking lot is letting go of all those spaces. Zoned parking? Leave it that way.

    Greedy, much?

  • @ commonsense: Downtown is only maturing. That is not a bad thing. Maybe you’re just not the target audience is all.

  • @commonsense: Maybe Downtown Houston thinks you’re way past your hay day. If you were at the Richmond strip during its hay day what the heck are you doing hanging out on Washington?

    On a positive note, this restaurant sounds like a great idea and sounds similar to Hearsay, WHICH has seen plenty of success.

  • Once the LRT goes in, it will just be a hop and a skip away for UH’s burgeoning on-campus population…

  • So does anyone think this is the new Freetail Brewery? It is supposed to be three stories, right?

  • it sounds like commonsense is referring to the bar scene. Sorry broseph, but there is more to life than bars and clubs…

  • I am excited about a new downtown restaurant, especially given its proximity to the newly renovated Market Square Park. I would not be surprised if Market Square became the next hotspot. Brand new ERA is great, and the ever reliable Bitterman’s Market Square is as good as always (one of my favorite places to get a burger and cheesesteak in the city). If you haven’t been, you should give that area a chance. The park itself is beautiful, and there is plenty of parking, plenty to see, plenty to eat and plenty to do. Walk, drive or take the train!

  • @Ryan: I’ve heard that Freetail will be in the old Mercury Room location at Main and Prairie.

  • @Ryan,

    No, this can’t be the new Freetail Brewpub, it is WAY too small of a place to be able to brew their own beer onsite.

  • Commonsense- Didn’t you already claim to live in The Woodlands? If that’s the case, you aren’t the target audience for downtown. Downtown is doing rather well. Apartments are around 91% leased and rumors are two new ground-up apartment developments are in the works for downtown proper in addition to the planned Texas Company Building conversion. Sounds like your downtown died with Power Tools. That was an awesome venue, but you should have left the Tool part behind.

  • If you must know, I lived in the Woodlands and now live near Downtown, with a Downtown View so I AM familiar with the area. I’m not saying it’s dead, I’m saying from my current observations it is not as active as it used to be and looking at movement of the city’s “popular”(crowded) spots, the Downtown is at the minimum in a flatline if not in a slow decline.

  • The space looks nice, here is wishing its owners a good run. I work nearby and will make it a point to check it out. At the very least it would be a great place to go for stair training. Additionally, the patrons at Cabo’s can play catch with the patrons of this new restraunt from the second floor patios : )