A branch of Taiwanese pastry chain 85˚C Bakery Cafe looks to be headed to the strip center endspot right next to the 99 Ranch Market at the intersection of Blalock Rd. and I-10. A permit to remodel the former East West Bank branch into a bakery was issued in December; Weingarten now has the shop listed in on its own leasing materials for the strip center (marked down for the spot closest to the grocery store, in the siteplan above).
Meanwhile, Eater Houston’s Amy McCarthy made note of a note of a coming soon banner for the chain over somewhere over in Chinatown this morning; the company has also been posting job listings since last fall for Houston-area warehouse positions, so multiple stores could well be in the works.
Images: Weingarten Realty (top); CBRE (bottom)
Spring Branch Branches
Up top is a fresh snap of the former home of veggie-friendly-cafe-turned-music-club Mango’s, where Biskit Junkie’s new not-quite-I.P.A.-standard signage is in place over the now-grey entryway. The all-biscuit restaurant, from the starch-centric folks who started Jus’ Mac, closed its Oak Forest location at 2925 W. TC Jester in mid-December to focus on what was then revealed to be a move to the corner of Westheimer Rd. and Taft St., rather than the opening of a second location as previously announced.
The building’s current flat grey exterior hides all traces of Mango’s full technicolor exit at the end of 2014, shown below:
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Spelling It Out
Blank Slate Tattoo Removal decamped from the corner spot of this building at Houston Ave and Crockett St. at the end of January. (You can head for 5320 Cornish Rd. in Cottage Grove now to correct your body-inked misspellings.) In its place, there’s a new sign up at 1720 Houston Ave., providing evidence that a new beer-and-wine-serving cafe is getting ready to move in — right next door to Café Brussels. The street-front First Ward building just north of downtown was built in 1925.
Photos: Swamplot inbox
CAT CAFE LOOKING FOR A COZY SPOT TO CURL UP SOMEWHERE NEAR MONTROSE, RICE VILLAGE, WEST U A group looking to establish Houston’s first-ever combo café and cat lounge is focusing its search on existing retail or former restaurant spaces to lease in the Montrose, Rice Village, or West University areas. The website for Lola’s Cat Café says the new venue will be “more than just a coffee shop with cats.” Instead, it’ll be a hangout for people “who are either looking to adopt a cat or would like to spend some time hanging out with our resident kitties.” All cats on hand will be adoptable. [Lola’s Cat Café] Photo: Lola’s Cat Café
HOW YOU CAN HELP HOUSTON’S FIRST FULL-TIME HUMAN TRAFFICKING COFFEE SHOP COME TO LIFE Been looking for a good coffee shop somewhere around the Heights where folks can get together and discuss Houston’s role as a major hub for human trafficking? Where caffeine-hunters can experience moments of genuine outrage — then find themselves drawn toward information sessions, group discussions, planning meetings, and double espressos — knowing that all profits from their chatting and coffee-drinking habits will go toward charitable stuff like providing classes and counseling for survivors of human trafficking? If so, then you’ll be happy to learn about A 2nd Cup, which opened as a part-time “incubator” project a couple of years ago. Now the nonprofit, led by former junior-high science teacher Erica Raggett, has begun work on a buildout for a permanent, full-time home — in the Vineyard Church of Houston’s Storehouse storefront at 1111 E. 11th St., just east of Studewood St. (pictured above, right next door to longtime late-night cop favorite Andy’s Café). A 2nd Cup’s backers are trying to raise an additional $100,000 toward the effort on Indiegogo now. [Indiegogo] Photo mockup: A 2nd Cup
COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE MORNING RITUAL “. . . They subject themselves to the wait. They have to sit in their cars, inching forward, seething with rage at the a-hole in front for being slow, cursing the a-hole behind for being impatient, wasting precious minutes of finite existence, instead of sipping a cup of joe in tranquil splendor with the morning digital paper at the kitchen table.
I understand the desire for convenience. I don’t understand how morning rush hour Starbucks can be seen as anything but torture.” [Memebag, commenting on Hedwig Village’s New Freeway-Side Starbucks Drive-Thru Is Coming To Save Your Missed Exit] Illustration: Lulu
Headed into the Loop along I-10 and missed the exit for the Starbucks in the shopping center at Echo Ln.? Construction has already begun on your new inbound coffee-stop backup. The former site of the stone-encrusted Village Mobil gas station at the corner of Brogden and the eastbound Katy Fwy. feeder road (pictured here as it appeared before it was torn down last year) between Campbell and Voss is currently being transformed into a brand-new Starbucks drive-thru, a source tells Swamplot. And you can reach it from the next exit, for Bingle and Voss — if, in your uncaffeinated state, you can move 3 lanes over on the feeder fast enough. (If not, just apologize to the drivers you almost cut off and try to duck into the Sweet Tomatoes parking lot across the way to work your way back; if you miss that, you can take a mile-long turnaround through the neighborhood by making a right turn on Old Voss Rd.)
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Katy Fwy. Coffee Chase
The latest in a stream of coffee shops to grace the bungalow at 1030 Heights Blvd. will open next month, the owner of the new establishment reports. Equilibrium Social House will serve coffee, teas, and baked goods in a building that’s been repainted (see above) since the departure of Boulevard Coffee. Inside, there’s a new counter and serving area and new furniture. New sliding doors will allow some interior spaces to be closed off for private meetings. The EQ patio will be open to both humans and dogs.
Photo: Equilibrium Social House
Three for Coffee
Minus the crew of bearded lookalikes with whom he toured the Galleria earlier this year, Houston Rockets guard James Harden shows off a pizzeria-ized Siphon Coffee in this just-released ad spot for Foot Locker. The coffee shop at 701 W. Alabama St., which normally features no boxed items on its menu, was transformed into a pizza spot for a day-long shoot on November 9th.
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LONGTIME HEIGHTS CAFE JAVA JAVA NOW TRYING TO SELL ITS GROUNDS A reader notes that the owner of Java Java Cafe on 11th St. and Herkimer has placed the building at 911 W. 11th St. and its adjacent parking lots up for sale. Java Java is still open for business, however. Pay $1.25 million and you’d get close to 17,000 sq. ft. of land with street frontage on 3 sides, along with the 2,450-sq.-ft. building, which dates from 1940. But you’d need to fetch your own coffee. [HAR]
The number of grocery-store-type places open Downtown is down by one: Georgia’s Market, the cafe-and-bar-with-staples at the corner of Rusk and Main St., shut down at the end of last month. A note on the door at 420 Main St. informs customers that the 3-year-old establishment has closed for some sort of “revamp,” and refers patrons to the company’s website for “days open and future plans.” But the website isn’t much more helpful. “Thank you all for your past patronage and healthy intentions. Please stay tuned to further development at the Downtown location,” it notes dryly. The Georgia’s Market Memorial Village (now at 9201 Katy Fwy. at Piney Point; the one at Dairy Ashford closed) remains open.
Photo: EaDo Life
The Heights coffee shop that took over the former Waldo’s Coffee House bungalow on Heights Blvd. just south of 11th St. earlier this year will be shutting down at the end of this month, a reader reports. Boulevard Coffee had opened at 1030 Heights Blvd. in March of this year. A note taped to the shop’s cash register (at right) tells customers the story. Photos: Laura H. (patio view); Swamplot inbox (note)
The Last Drop
THERE SHALL BE NO NET LOSS OF SUGAR ON GRAY ST. IN MIDTOWN Top Chef: Just Desserts contestant and $53,580 Kickstarter winner Rebecca Masson has finally announced the exact Midtown location of the Fluff Bake Bar storefront she’s been working on since late last year, on account of she just signed a lease last week: It’s set to go in place of the shuttered Sweet Lola Yogurt Bar, (pictured) which ended its reign at 304 Gray St. in Midtown last September. The spot is one of the city’s relatively small number of to-the-sidewalk retail spaces with actual apartments above. Downstairs, customers will be able to dig into Fluff’s Chocolate Stout Syllabub, risotto fritters with gingered blueberries, or chocolate beet cake with cream cheese ice cream — along with beer and wine — but give her another 3 or 4 months to build out the space before you come knocking, please. [Food Chronicles; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Bluebirds and Butterflies
DIRK’S COFFEE ON MONTROSE IS SHUTTING DOWN TODAY The Dirk’s Coffee drive-up spot on the corner of Montrose and Branard is closing its business today, reports Eater’s Darla Guillen — along with a number of disappointed caffeine-starved fans on Twitter and Facebook. Opened as an outpost of the Diedrich Coffee chain in the
mid-aughts mid-nineties, the 4005 Montrose Blvd. location changed its name to Dirk’s Coffee a few years ago after its former parent company exited the retail hot-brew-serving business. “No word yet on why they’re closing, if they’re moving to a new location or if they plan to rebrand yet again,” writes Guillen. Swamplot reader (and social media director at the mayor’s office) Melissa Ragsdale Darragh notes a Dirk’s employee confirms that they will close at the end of the day today: “He stated they would love to reopen at a new location in the future however nothing is planned at this time.” [Eater] Photo: Jazi H.
The sign has been changed and the green hues have been removed from the mansard-roofed exterior of the former First Stop Food Store at the corner of Stanford and Hawthorne in Audubon Place. That’s where the Montrose Mercantile is set to hold its grand opening this weekend — though the combo espresso bar and mini-mart at 3321 Stanford St.
created by the owner of Washington Ave’s Catalina Coffee has already been open for a couple of weeks. The original Mercantile opened in the Rice Village last fall.
Photos: Montrose Mercantile
Drive Up, Sit Down