04/11/14 10:45am

zimms-sticks

The restaurant spot at 4319 Montrose Blvd. just south of Richmond Ave (at left in the photo above) that until mid-February was home to Thai Sticks — and was earlier the longtime home of Monica Pope’s Boulevard Bistro — will soon be home to an unidentified new restaurant run in part by Dan and Mark Zimmerman. Four years ago, the Zimmermans turned the restaurant at their parents’ La Colombe d’Or into Restaurant Cinq; they later opened and closed Zimm’s Little Deck in the 610 Richmond spot also owned by their parents (that spot is now home to the Brooklyn Athletic Club).

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Replacing Thai Sticks
11/19/13 1:00pm

Kraftsmen Cafe, 611 W. 22nd St., Houston HeightsThe undisclosed location of the planned Fluff Bake Bar retail location and bar is somewhere in Midtown, owner Rebecca Masson tells Swamplot. But there’s a bit of fundraising to do before the former Top Chef Just Desserts contestant can sign the lease she’s been getting ready for the space. The self-described “Sugar Hooker” currently operates her wholesale dessert business out of space she shares with 5 other businesses in the Kraftsmen Cafe kitchen at 611 W. 22nd St. in the Heights, selling fluffernutters, cake-in-cup cupcakes, and macaroons to retailers such as Revival Market, Double Trouble, Southside Espresso, and Inversion Coffee House. But if her just-launched Kickstarter campaign bears fruit . . . er, compote, she’ll move all operations to the new space. In addition to desserts, Masson is hoping to serve beer and wine at her “proper dessert bar.” She’s hoping to bring in $50,000 in crowdfunded donations within a month.

Photo of Kraftsmen Cafe: Soo Kim

A Dessert Bar Bar
10/23/13 12:00pm

BARS WITHIN A BAR AT LOWBROW IN MONTROSE Eater Houston reports that Lowbrow, the restaurant and bar from Free Press Houston founder Omar Afra, will open tomorrow night here at the corner of W. Main and Mandell in Montrose. This photo shows the mural that’s replacing the former Sophia sign. Inside, there will be even more art: The place will have wallpaper that sports drawings of the Astrodome, Houston Oilers logo, and Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk sculpture at the nearby Menil Collection. And it appears that there will also be a channel of rather meta reality programming for you to watch: “[A] projection screen . . . will play scenes from other local bars.” [Eater Houston; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Eater Houston

10/17/13 2:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE FIRST 3 STEPS OF RETAIL REVIVAL “It seems like bars are the first businesses to move into an area as it becomes established/gentrified. Other food and drink places seem like a logical next step, but what comes after that? In my mind a neighborhood has officially arrived when it has a grocer with decent produce, but there must be several intermediate phases.” [Alec, commenting on Affecting the Bar-to-Restaurant Ratio in Midtown]

10/17/13 11:15am

AFFECTING THE BAR-TO-RESTAURANT RATIO IN MIDTOWN An update about the former Midtown bar that a Swamplot reader reported was turning into a new Midtown bar: It’s gonna be a restaurant (that will serve drinks). Eater Houston reports that Michael Paolucci, who owns Pub Fiction, will be opening Cook & Collins, not (as had been reported) Bremond Street Grill, here in the former El Xuco Xicana space at 2416 Brazos near Bremond. Was there a change of heart or something? Nah, says Paolucci: “I know [M]idtown very well. There are too many bars and not enough restaurants. Until the restaurants start coming, it won’t become a world-class neighborhood. I’m from Chicago and in Chicago, for every bar there’s a restaurant; in [M]idtown, for every 20 bars there’s one restaurant.” [Eater Houston; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

10/10/13 3:35pm

Here’s one more place where you will be able to drink some beer in Midtown: A reader sends these photos that show one of those TABC signs and peek over the weed-draped chain-link fence that surrounds this property next to Luigi’s Pizzeria on the 3700 block of Almeda, just around the corner from HCC and the Station Museum. It appears that something called the Victory Beer Garden is intended for this site, which county records show is owned by an entity controlled by Urban Deal’s Adam Brackman. As it happens, Urban Deal owns several parcels of land in the surrounding area. And a marketing flyer for one such parcel reveals an early version of a site plan for this garden of drinking . . .

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10/08/13 11:00am

DOWNTOWN’S LITTLE DIPPER WILL BE VISIBLE THIS SATURDAY Now there’s an astrological sign on the window foretelling all the boozing to come: Eater Houston’s Darla Guillen reports that the owners and operators of hipster havens Antidote, Poison Girl, and Black Hole are preparing to open their latest venture, Little Dipper, at 304 Main St. Downtown “in the weeks to come.” And if you can’t wait that long, Guillen adds that the bar will be open for a few hours this Saturday for a preview party. [Eater Houston; previously on Swamplot] Photo: @LittleDipperBar

10/02/13 10:00am

THE NEW MONTROSE BAR SPORTING HOUSTON SPORTS WALLPAPER Looks like the name of the bar and restaurant that will be taking over the old Sophia and Café Artiste spot in Montrose just around the corner from the Menil Collection will be Lowbrow — and not, as the TABC sign that was hung in the window in April suggested, Faustian Bargain. Developed by Omar Afra, who heads up Fitzgerald’s and the Free Press Summer Fest, Lowbrow will be stocked with local craft beers and local insignia too, reports Culturemap: “[Artists] Blake Jones and Dual have partnered to create a wallpaper that incorporates iconic Houston images such as the Astrodome and the Houston Oilers derrick logo.” [Culturemap; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Allyn West

09/27/13 11:00am

The owner of Hughes Hangar is building another bar about 50 ft. away on Washington Ave. Culturemap reports that the De Gaulle, rendered here with old-timey airplane, will share the property at 2811 Washington that backs up against the Washington and Glenwood Cemeteries. Owner Bien Tran explains to Culturemap that the concept’s name, design, and accoutrements, all right across Rue Washington from that recently opened Sonic, “will create an old world Parisian atmosphere complete with a miniature Eiffel Tower.” Opening night will be Halloween, Tran hopes, following an Edgar Allan Poe theme party.

Wanna see a rendering of the interior?

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09/17/13 5:00pm

A reader has spotted some signs hanging on the fence outside 4003 Washington near Leverkuhn, where the Guadalajara Bakery used to be: The slick one in the photo above for La Roux, and another just a few feet away indicating that La Roux has applied to sell alcohol. County records show that the 1930 4,368-sq.-ft. building at 4003 Washington and 2 nearby vacant lots — the 5,100-sq.-ft. one at 4011 Washington, and the 28,045-sq.-ft. one at 4015 Washington — are all owned by Kaplan Kalan Properties.

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08/27/13 4:15pm

A reader frequently on the lookout for new TABC signs has noticed one in the window of this former lounge at 908 Henderson, just a block south of Liberty Station on Washington Ave. Says the sign-spotter: “I was always told [this] was going to be a pizza place but never really believed it.” Does that sound too good to be true? County records don’t show a change in ownership of the 1915 3,036-sq.-ft. structure since 2008, but the TABC sign the reader saw does appear to date to this June.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

08/26/13 4:00pm

This wobbly 108-year-old house in Midtown, remodeled in 1999, might be fixed up one more time and converted into a bar. Or it might be demolished to make room for something new, says the reader who sends this photo and word of a recently secured TABC license for the so-called Sterling House here at 3015 Bagby St., just 1 block north of Elgin. The 1905 2,850-sq.-ft. house, sitting on a 4,918-sq.-ft. lot at the corner of Bagby and Rosalie, changed hands back in 2009, but it appears to have been waiting around for something to happen since then.

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08/22/13 11:05am

Uchi and Sushi Raku architect Michael Hsu is behind these designs for Hunky Dory, the open-air bar and restaurant to be built over the next year in the Heights. Located just about 3 blocks north of the very recently proposed Heights Bier Garden at the old Longhorn Motor Company dealership, the new all-good hangout will also be replacing a used-car lot — Salmex Auto & Trucks at 1819 N. Shepherd, between 18th and 19th St. Alison Cook reports that Hunky Dory — with a courtyard designed around an 85-year-old live oak — is a collaboration among Down House and D&T Drive Inn owner Chris Cusack, former Feast chef Richard Knight, and current Down House chef Benjy Mason.

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08/21/13 11:10am

‘SPORTS BAR WITH CLASS’ REPLACING SPORTS BAR ON WASHINGTON AVE The prophecy foretold by that plagiarized message put up in July on Sawyer Park’s marquee has come to pass: A new “sports bar with class,” Social Junkie, will be opening here on Washington Ave on Sept. 13, reports Culturemap. Social Junkie’s owned by Saleem Fernandez, who also owns Roosevelt Bar and 5th Amendment in Midtown. Fernandez tells Culturemap that this bar, like his others, will have a pretty strict dress code — and lotsa sports: “‘Tuesdays we will have a live video broadcast with a Texans player . . . . We will also have a live radio broadcast here — an a.m. sports radio station.’” [Culturemap; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Allyn West

08/20/13 4:30pm

A reader sends this photo of the long-time Longhorn Motor Company property at the corner of N. Shepherd and W. 15th St. in the Heights. Longhorn, writes the reader, “recently got rid of all its cars and went on the market. A couple of weeks ago an application to TABC turned up. I tried to do research and found nothing on it but the prospect of a nice little beer joint on that stretch of North Shepherd is pretty exciting.” County records show that the 1.15-acre property changed hands in June. That TABC sign the reader mentions is dated July 2; it names “Heights Bier Garden” as the applicant here at 1433 N. Shepherd.

Photo: Rachelle Varnon