- 400 Cordell St. [HAR]
The sign at the Skinny Rita’s Grille at 4002 N. Main St. in Brooke Smith now states that the Mexican restaurant inside has closed, but a note on the door from “Management” is a little less definitive: “This location will be rebranding in the next few weeks and will be temporarily closed,” reads the undated notice — already annotated by a handwritten visitor complaint requesting the information be added to the company’s outgoing phone message. “Please come visit us when we reopen in a few weeks.” The restaurant followed in the footsteps of a sequence of differently branded Mexican restaurants in the same location when it opened at the site, which is bounded by Walton and Melwood streets, in 2014. A Montrose Skinny Rita’s Cantina closed down at 607 W. Gray St. earlier this year, after less than a year of operation.
EMPTY ‘END HUNGER’ WAREHOUSE BY I-45 NORTH TO BE FILLED WITH WORKERS MAKING SOUTH AFRICAN FOOD AND SEASONINGS The former Mary Barden Keegan building at 2445 North Fwy. a couple of exits north of Downtown that for more than 10 years was home to the Houston Food Bank will soon make some adjustments to its culinary mission. The Peli Peli restaurant group has announced that the 15,000-sq.-ft. building — which includes a 9,362-sq.-ft. commercial kitchen as well as office and warehouse space — will henceforth become the food-preparation hub of the growing 5-restaurant chain’s Houston operations. The kitchen that once provided space for the creation of 5,000 meals a day for needy individuals will soon house Peli Peli’s catering operation and provide space for the production of Peli Peli–brand bottled sauces and spices. (“That includes piri piri pepper, also known as bird’s-eye chili, which is used to flavor chicken and seafood and to rim martini glasses,” notes the Chronicle‘s Katherine Feser.) Peli Peli partner Thomas Nguyen tells Feser the company plans to keep the building’s signature END HUNGER graphic embedded into the building’s tilt-up-concrete panels on its freeway side, which were originally painted red when the building was constructed in 2006 but are now rendered in green. “We’re not messing with it,” he tells her. “If anything, we would like to enhance it later on.” The Houston Food Bank sold the building to Virgata Property Company last year, leasing it back until it could complete construction of an even larger kitchen operation in the much larger facility it constructed out of the former Sysco warehouse at 535 Portwall St. near I-10 and the West Loop. [Houston Chronicle; PR Newswire; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Virgata Property
COMMENT OF THE DAY: YOUR WEEKEND HEIGHTS-CREEP FORECAST “Garden Oaks and Oak Forest are [already] part of The Heights (the same way they are calling Spring Branch ‘Memorial’, and a lot of long time residents were angry that new residents called Northside Village ‘Tampico Heights’). I have bad news for the purists out there: if you live in Cottage Grove, Independence Heights, Shady Acres, Brooke Smith, Timbergrove/Lazybrook, those areas are now part of The Heights [as well]. . . . These hoods that have the 365 stores are gonna get more pricey and popular, since they are close to Downtown.” [Dj, commenting on Whole Foods’s 365 Garden Oaks Spot Now Emptied of Neff Rental Rentals] Rendering of 365 Garden Oaks: Boucher Design Group
Workers have begun attaching wire netting to the façade of the 4,344-sq.-ft. retail-turned-office building at 3715 N. Main, which county records indicate was built in 1940 and a nearby resident believes once served as a post office for the adjacent neighborhoods of Norhill and Brooke Smith. The netting is in advance, it appears, of a new stucco or stucco-like overcoat for the brick-front structure.
The Iglesia de Restauracion, an affiliate of El Salvador-based pentecostal ministry Mision Cristiana Elim Internacional, bought the building last fall; previously it served as the law offices of voting-rights attorney Frumencio Reyes. In stuccoing the structure, the neighborhood church will be following the pattern established earlier with the successive stuccovers of its own main sanctuary building, the former North Main Theater across the street at 3730 N. Main.
Here’s how that movie theater, which was built in 1936, once looked:
If you’re compiling a list of best photo spots for during or after another one of Houston’s every-dozen-years-or-so never-seen-anything-like-it flooding events, you’ll probably want to make room on it for the stretch of I-45 North between the N. Main St. and Patton St. exits. Back in 2001, images of cars and trucks floating along an insta-lake in this same spot made national news. And yesterday, pix of the automotive flotilla pictured above found their way to Facebook feeds and front pages around the globe.
But the low spot just north of Downtown wedged between Brooke Smith and the Near Northside was also a tough place to be when the water started rising, reports the Chronicle‘s Dane Schiller. Drivers found an early morning traffic jam in the rain changed nature quickly: “A surge was coming at them, squeezed by high barrier walls into the confines of the interstate. In less than 15 minutes, there was nothing to do but abandon ship.”
Somewhere within this recently renovated and expanded shingle-sided double-decker home in Brooke Smith lies the 1926 single-story version it sprang from. Can you find it?
WHERE THE LITTLE PINK FLAGS ARE WAVING NOW, NEXT TO I-45 NORTH Reader Joel Balderas seeks some Brooke Smith-area feeder road intel: “I’m curious what’s going on at the property located at approximately 2450 North Freeway. I live just around the corner and I noticed that a couple weeks ago the for sale sign was taken down and stakes were placed around the property with pink flags. The lot looks to be about an acre and a half and sits on the northbound side of I-45 between North Main and Patton. I-45 bounds it to the west. Little White Oak and Top Brass are to the north. A small home is to the south at 2406 North Freeway. To the east is a wooded area that would double the size of the lot. After the wooded area you would hit Little White Oak again. On the north east corner is a T-Mobile tower and on the south west corner is a large billboard facing north, which is currently advertising Fiesta. If you hear of anything I’d appreciate the info.” Photo: Joel Balderas
Looks like MAM’s House of Ice will be opening inside this 780-sq.-ft. former
paint supply liquor store at 1040 W. Cavalcade — just in time for winter! This spot is a bit east of where the sky-blue dessert trailer usually parks at Rutland and 20th. Why here? The owners explain to Eater Houston that they “‘tried really hard not to go into a strip center because [they] wanted to have green space’ so that families could go out, extend blankets on the green and enjoy the outdoor picnic tables.” HCAD records show that this new lot comes in at 3,500 sq. ft.
Photo: Eater Houston
An email sent out by the owners of re:HAB says that the bar will have to close and leave its Houston Ave. location by July. (A landlord issue, apparently.) But the email also says a new spot has been lined up — at 1658 Enid and Link Rd. in Brooke Smith — and that it could open as early as August “if everything goes according to plan (yeah right).”
So we’ll take things one day at a time, then. The bar first opened in the renovated (and repainted) former Houston Ave Bar spot along the Spring St. hike and bike trail. This new location is just a few blocks north of the renovated D&T Drive Inn on Enid and about a mile east of the proposed site of Town in City Brewing Co. on W. Cavalcade. The email goes on to describe this building as “nestled on the banks of ‘Little White Oak Bayou,’” explaining that you’ll be able to get to re:HAB this time “by car, bus, bike or kayak.”
A new version of the D&T Drive Inn opened up late last week, Eater Houston reports. Tucked away in Brooke Smith between bungalows brandishing Houston Texans paraphernalia at 1307 Enid St. just south of W. Cavalcade, the long-time ice house was spruced up and expanded by Down House owner Chris Cusack. Though this photo makes parking appear — well, tight, even if that Dumpster’s eventually moved, a map on D&T’s website shows that there will be a lot available along W. Cavalcade between Enid and Cordell.
Photo: Allyn West