02/15/18 4:30pm

If the Platform Group has settled on a plan for redeveloping the corner of W. Gray St. and Stanford, it hasn’t made it known yet. An entity connected to the developer bought the white corner building home to the Traci Scott hair salon and the former Skinny Rita’s restaurant adjacent to it last December. The firm’s website now explains it’s “in the early stages of feasibility studies” for the pair of 2-stories at 615 and 607 W. Gray.

The 2 buildings share the parking lot visible in the snow-capped aerial above with entrances on W. Gray as well as one on Stanford, behind the hair salon. Not pictured is a narrow patio that runs along the chop shop’s Stanford side. A larger fenced-off seating area and upper deck currently front W. Gray outside the former restaurant, which closed last February after just under a year in the building.

Here’s a closer up view of Skinny Rita’s seating taken from the parking lot entrance between the 2 buildings just after the restaurant vacated the premises:

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Skinny Rita’s Plus One
02/06/18 12:00pm

A sideways glance at the renovations underway on 1815 Washington — formerly home to the Pandora Lounge nightclub, and even more formerly to Throne Ultra Lounge — reveals 2 new openings in the building’s east side ahead of its coming grand opening as Houston’s first Gus’s Fried Chicken location. The older listing photo above depicts the full building on the block between Silver and Sabine back when its street frontage was a wall of bricks. The white wall and front door shown on the right in the photo at top had replaced the brick face and garage entrance by the time Braun Enterprises bought the place in late 2015.

Renderings of the building released by Braun around the time Gus’s signed up for it in 2016, however, showed plans to rebrick it, as well as add new windows and a patio on its east side:

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Tennessee Transplant
02/01/18 3:45pm

Update: Despite Swamplot’s earlier report, The Ginger Man’s Rice Village building is not up for lease, says a Braun Enterprises representative. The W. Gray location will be an expansion for The Ginger Man.

A flyer now being passed around by Braun Enterprises shows The Ginger Man’s 1,907-sq.-ft. house and outdoor furnishings in Rice Village up for lease ahead of its planned relocation expansion to a vacant Fourth Ward building. An entity connected to Braun bought the tap house at 5607 Morningside Dr. last December.

Renovations are now underway on a soon-to-be new location of The Ginger Man at the crossroads of W. Gray and Webster — in the building where the Junction Bar & Grill shuttered last year. When it opens, the expansion will be the 7th Ginger Man in Texas. 4 exist in and around Dallas and Fort Worth, and one is located in Austin. The chain also claims a more tenuous connection to a group of restaurants on the East Coast.

The photo below shows the Fourth Ward building with a new green paint job:

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Village Bar Expansion
01/31/18 11:45am

The turf is down and the Adirondack chairs are seated in the front courtyard of Frank’s Backyard — the new 2,520-sq.-ft. beer garden wedged in Frank’s Pizza’s side yard on Travis St. Frank’s opened the lawn 2 days ago in place of a parking lot that once spanned all the way from the historic restaurant building on the corner of Travis and Prairie — home to both Frank’s and El Big Bad — north to Preston St. Hines’s Aris Market Square apartment has since taken over the northern portion of that lot along Preston. Its ground floor tenant Bravery Chef Hall borders Frank’s Backyard’s northern side.

At the end of the courtyard, an Airstream trailer-turned-bar sits parked beyond the garage door:

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Downtown Beer Garden
01/26/18 4:30pm

The lights are off and the gas station signs have come down from the 2,770-sq.-ft. building formerly home to Doc’s Motorworks Bar & Grill on the corner of Westheimer and Graustark St. The nighttime photo above shows the auto-themed Montrose restaurant before it closed down at the end of last year.

Underneath the restaurant’s sign on Westheimer, the rusted flatbed truck has also hit the road from its long-term parking spot:

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A Montrose Goodbye
01/26/18 1:30pm

DRINKING WINE AT LUNCH IS NOT A CRIME, pleads signage outside of Postino, a chain of 7 restaurants in Arizona — and one in Colorado — now on its way to the west side of the Heights Mercantile development on W. 7th St. The photo at top shows construction underway on Postino’s patio, which will sit outside the restaurant on the corner of Yale and 7th St.

Clothing stores Rye 51 and The Gypsy Wagon opened adjacent to Postino’s planed spot last year inside the structure labeled “Bldg. 1” in the Heights Mercantile site plan below:

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7th at Yale
01/25/18 4:45pm

Pictured above during its final stand on Slowpokes cafe’s patio last Saturday as workers took it down limb by limb: one of a pair of oak trees the landlord had long threatened to remove. The 2 trees — now fully chopped — stood on a lawn where Slowpokes patrons hung out between the strip mall that houses the cafe and Gardendale Dr., which runs to its south. The leafier photo shows the same tree alive in the coffee shop’s backyard last year.

A view from the corner of Alba St. and Gardendale looks west to show that tree about to be chopped and the other one already stumped:

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Shade Away
01/19/18 2:30pm

Davis Commercial is showing images of a renovated building on the corner of 11th St. and Rutland in hopes of enticing a burger-flipping collective or something similar to take over the space. Q St. Salon & Boutique shared the 2,712-sq.-ft. building behind the parking-lot gazebo with Heights Discount Dry Cleaners until the latter closed down last year. A bungalow that now sits adjacent to Q St.’s spot to the west (hidden behind the building in the photo at top) is excised from the renderings.

The rendering above shows the building’s windows wiped clean of advertisements for laundry deals and extended to the ground. New awnings are shown in place of the blue vinyl ones now covering the storefronts at 402 W. 11th.

An 800-sq.-ft. patio is also planned for the building’s frontage along 11th St.:

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Wash Cycle
01/10/18 4:45pm

The pile of signage lying on the grass in the photo above is on its way up over the front door of Ethiopian restaurant Blue Nile ahead of its planned opening on Saturday at 3030 Audley St., just off Westheimer. Blue Nile is expanding to Upper Kirby from its original location on Richmond between Gessner and Fondren, which opened in 1994. Luigi’s Cucina Italiana closed down in the gabled building last year after moving into it from Galveston in 2014.

The new restaurant’s signs are replacing Luigi’s old ones — now fully unlit and unmounted:

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Cherry-Picked
01/08/18 1:30pm

Is the site of shuttered gay bar Montrose Mining Company destined to become a parking lot for nearby restaurant Baba Yega Cafe? The new owner of Baba Yega, developer Fred Sharifi, bought the 39-year-old bar on the corner of Pacific and Grant streets from longtime proprietor Charles Armstrong last month. When the bar closed in 2016, Armstrong said he was working on plans to bring a new restaurant to the building within 18 months. A sign posted on the door of 805 Pacific St. now directs would-be patrons to one of Armstrong’s other hangouts across Pacific — JR’s Bar & Grill. Above that flyer, a notice from the city dated December 14 — 2 days after the 2,809-sq.-ft. building was sold — tells its owners to stop all unpermitted plumbing and structural work on the site.

Sharifi has now purchased at least 5 Montrose properties within the last 2 years, including Baba Yega, Montrose Mining Company, and 3 sites slated to be part of a project he’s developing on Fairview Ave.one of which was home to Armstrong’s nightclub Meteor. In addition to his projects in Montrose, Sharifi also owns Hungry’s Cafe in Rice Village.

Armstrong still appears to own a vacant, 6,648-sq.-ft. property that wraps around the east side of Montrose Mining Company:

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Old Gay Bars of Avondale
01/02/18 4:30pm

Flower Child — the health-minded restaurant that announced it was coming to Houston back in October — will take over the space that houses women’s clothing boutique BB1 Classic in the Cafe Express building at Uptown Park. Bidding is already underway for construction that will turn the 2-story, corner-side store into the new restaurant, whose owners already run North Italia and True Food Kitchen, both located in the same shopping center just south of Uptown Park on Post Oak Blvd. at the corner of San Felipe St.

Ads for a moving sale were posted on the high-fashion retailer’s Facebook page last Thursday. BB1 Classic’s current location opened in 2003. Before that, the store had spots in Memorial City, south of Uptown Park on Post Oak, in River Oaks, and in the Galleria.

Photo: BB1 Classic

Dining in Style
12/21/17 3:15pm

Renderings now up on Lyric Market’s new website reveal more of what’s planned for the parking-garage food hall. The image at top shows David Adickes’s self-playing cello sculpture ascended atop a new pedestal at the corner of Smith and Preston streets. Behind the artwork, outdoor seating and what the website describes as a private terrace back up to the food hall’s main entrance. The new structure, currently under construction, is shown on the left of that rendering — adjacent to the existing Lyric Centre office tower.

Here’s a full view of the completed parking garage from across the intersection of Preston and Louisiana:

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Downtown Food Hall No. 4
12/19/17 10:15am

YES, THE HARP ON RICHMOND AVE IS CLOSING DOWN There’s a reason why Braun Enterprises has been trying to find a new tenant to replace the Harp at 1625 Richmond: it turns out that the bar’s founder, Declan Plunkett, is retiring, Craig Hlavaty reports. The Ireland transplant plans to close the 18-year-old bar when the lease expires at the end of February, meaning there won’t be a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Harp next year: “Plunkett is planning a weeklong bash to see the bar off. ‘We might sell some of the stuff off the walls for people who have been such dedicated patrons,’ Plunkett says.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on SwamplotPhoto: Braun Enterprises

12/15/17 4:00pm

Keeping with its tradition of opening restaurants in clusters, Goode Co. Kitchen and Cantina will open Monday just west of an existing Goode Co. Barbeque. Just Clifford Rd. and 3 structures — a 3-story office, Saltgrass Steak House, and Carter’s Country gun store — separate the new Goode Co. location from the existing one at 8911 Katy Fwy. The new restaurant will open in the former Mason Jar Restaurant & Cafe pictured above at 9005 Katy Fwy., a 6,500-sq.-ft. building that’s been closed since the lease ran out last year.

Goode Co. opened its first Kitchen and Cantina restaurant 3 months ago in the same building as an existing Goode Co. Barbeque in Shenandoah. In Upper Kirby, the 40-year-old chain’s original barbecue spot sits within 2 blocks of 3 other Goode Co. restaurants.

The 9005 Katy Fwy. restaurant will be the brand’s 9th store total.

Photos: Barry B. (Mason Jar), Goode Co. (Kitchen and Cantina)

Kitchen and Cantina
12/15/17 11:30am

A flyer put out by Braun Enterprises indicates that the Harp Irish Pub’s spot at 1625 Richmond Ave is available for lease. A partnership controlled by Braun bought the decked-out bar along with its 3 eastern neighbors (at that time Orange Bar, Maria Selma Mexican Restaurant, and Lucky Burger) in 2011. Since then, Lucky Burger was replaced by Oui Banh Mi on the corner of Richmond and Mandel St., Orange Bar ceded its space to Revelry on Richmond, and Maria Selma reopened — then closed — as Texas Shrimp Shack.

Texas Shrimp Shack’s vacant lot at 1617 Richmond, right next to the Harp, is also up for lease.

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Castle Court