The Ella Creek Apartments at the corner of Ella and 22nd St. (and just a block of away from a jog in that creek called White Oak Bayou) have been completely vacated, a reader tells Swamplot: “On a recent drive by I noticed there were no cars in the parking lots and the complex looked even worse than usual. It is a very large tract, and I’m wondering what the future land use will be.”
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MEANWHILE, ACROSS THE DRIVEWAY FROM A NORTH LOOP WHATABURGER From reader David Hille comes this report of the latest parking lot pad site takeover: “After a morning run to the ‘Brinkman’ Home Depot on 610 near N. Shepherd, I became curious about the temporary fencing which was being erected around the northeast quarter of the parking lot. So, I stopped, and spoke to a couple of men who were reviewing a fairly large roll of blueprints on the lowered tailgate of a truck. I had a little head rush when I was told that a new Chick Fil-A was about to be erected . . . right there in the parking lot. Makes sense, as I can’t remember that portion of the lot ever being full of cars. A similar scenario took place last year at the Lowes down the street. Part of that property which held a retention pond is now home to a brand new CVS. Prior to that, some of the Lowes parking lot was sacrificed for a Murphy Express gas station . . .” Photo: David Hille
COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: DRYING OUT NORTH SHEPHERD “In a perfect world, the ‘dry’ restrictions from the Shepherd/Durham corridor would be removed, yet the residential areas to the east would stay dry, and Shady Acres over to Ella would also be dry, except on 19th and 20th. This would spur commercial development onto the more high traffic streets, and let the others with their 18′ wide pavement and drainage ditches stay residential. But hey, it’s Houston, so not gonna happen.
I think commercial businesses from out of town still are unaware of the income growth around the Heights and are using old demographic numbers. A new strip center took the place of one of these used car lots up at 22nd and Shepherd last year. It has yet to be more than 50% leased out. I think it holds a precious metals buyer and a pay by the month cell phone store. It’s going to take a few more years, and some better income surveys before there’s a rush to develop this corridor.” [ShadyHeightster, commenting on A Guide to North Shepherd's Auto Parts]
It seems that the townhouses overlooking this lot at 1016 W. 22nd St. might soon be seeing something more than a pair of apparently shy pick-ups: That TABC sign, dated June 12, indicates that The Orange Grove wants to sell booze at this spot to the people of Shady Acres. (The fairly dilapidated single-family house that used to stand here showed up in a September Daily Demolition Report.) This is one of several developments coming to the area: The restaurants Hughie’s and Spaghetti Western are renovating old joints west of T.C. Jester Blvd. and TikTok, a bar and concert venue, is planned just southwest of here on W. 20th St.
Photos: Swamplot inbox
RUDYARD’S OWNER BUILDING BIGGER BAR IN SHADY ACRES The owner of Rudyard’s British Pub in Montrose has announced that she’ll be building TikTok, a bar, restaurant, and venue for live music in Shady Acres — and, apparently, this new one will be a lot more building than what you get at Rudyard’s. Owner Leila Rodgers tells the Houston Business Journal that TikTok “is expected to have a capacity of 750 to 800 people. She said she expects to be able to host 450 to 500 people in the performance area and 250 to 300 in the restaurant area.” Rudyard’s is at 2010 Waugh Dr. When it opens next summer, TikTok will be at 1412 W. 20th St., near the intersection of W. 20th and T.C. Jester Blvd. — that’s just around the corner from the Hubcap Grill. [Houston Business Journal; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Panoramio user hermieb
A NEW YORK POST REPORTER’S LOST HOUSTON WEEKEND “Exhausted and content, I retired to the patio at El Gran Malo, a cool but divey tequila bar on a superbly awful corner facing a shoot ’n’ stab gas station, a Mexican restaurant and other assorted random Houstonia; I went here because every chef I encountered during my visit told me that this was the spot. I absolutely had to go, they said.
So I went and I drank tequila, because that’s what I saw everyone else doing. A lot of it too, apparently — by the end of the night, I vaguely remember being on the other side of town stalking a food truck selling lobster that may or may not have actually existed. Which was fine — it would be days before I was in a position to eat a proper meal again.” [New York Post] Photo of El Gran Malo: Almost Veggie Houston
The almost here, the already here, and the soon-to-be-departed:
- Opening Soon: City inspection issues having been conquered, Hubcap Grill‘s new Heights-ish outpost in Shady Acres is now aiming for an opening “mid/late” next week, tweets burger-slinger Ricky Craig. The converted drive-up at 1133 W. 19th St. is just around the corner from Cedar Creek. Plenty more patio seating in back.
- Already Open: So sorry you missed the christenings, but the nightclub, restaurant-bar, and wading pool carved out of the former Settegast Kopf funeral home at 3320 Kirby, have been open and holding events for a week or 2 already. That place wearing its paneling on the outside is Hendricks Pub and Eatery. Roak is the nightclub; the atrium pool has its own name: Rush. The bars and their neighbors in the David Crockett subdivision immediately to the west will have plenty of time to become acquainted with each other before their court date next May. Some local residents have filed suit against the bars’ owners, claiming the clubs are in violation of local deed restrictions:
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The owners of Pub Fiction and Shot Bar in Midtown plan to make over the former Shady Grocery at the corner of Bevis and 23rd St. in Shady Acres into Crisp Wine Bar and Eatery, which will also feature craft beers on tap, an “Italian-influenced” menu (including pizza and deli-style hoagies), a retail wine shop, and a separate entrance for customers who just want to order takeout. Also: a patio next to the kitchen’s new herb-and-vegetable garden that’ll be carved out of the asphalt. Guy-in-charge Al Scavelli tells Swamplot many of the details are still being worked out, but he hopes to open the place at 2220 Bevis up by next January.
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COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE RESTAURANT RUSH IN SHADY ACRES “Given the success of hugely popular Cedar Creek just down the street…and the new Hubcap Grille opening about a block away on 19th…and Gatlin’s BBQ…and the new spot opening soon on 23rd…I’d say this part of town has a hungry (and thirsty!) population who will ensure that this new Corkscrew location does well. Welcome to the neighborhood – very happy to have you here!” [LaLa, commenting on The Corkscrew Pops Open in Shady Acres]
Reopened in a new location over the weekend, after a year or so of mellowing: wine bar and former Washington Ave nightlife pioneer The Corkscrew. That mysterious Heights location turns out to be in Shady Acres, in the former strip-center Washateria at 1308 W. 20th St., where there’s now this patio out front.
Photo: Candace Garcia
Is there an Onion Creek magnet effect? Reader Mary Ellen Arbuckle notes a second location of stylized Midtown Mexican-food joint Tacos A Go-Go will be shimmying into this strip-center spot at 2912 White Oak, just a few doors down from the Onion Creek Coffee House. The location is the former home of the International Ballet of Houston; there’s a TABC application notice up in one of the windows. Also scheduled to move in nearby, closer to the Onion Creek vortex: Christian’s Tailgate.
Meanwhile, half a mile west of the Heights’ western border, owner Ricky Craig has leased the former home of Mi Cocina Victor’s Cafe at 1133 W. 19th St., where he plans to open a second non-mobile location of tiny Downtown burger joint Hubcap Grill:
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The third-most-famous retractable roof in Houston opened up for visitors last Friday for the first time in 2 years. Artist James Turrell’s Skyspace — in the Live Oaks Friends Meeting House at 1318 W. 26th St. in Shady Acres — will again be coaxing in the night sky for the public every Friday evening, starting an hour before sunset. What shut out the twilight for so long?
The ceiling’s hatch runs on rails that until recently were mounted on a wooden support that was sheathed in metal. Thanks to Houston’s semitropical climate, water worked its way into the wood and began rotting it out, [property clerk Philip] Koch said.
“We didn’t know this for sure until we actually did the repair work, but it was making some pretty ominous noises and was getting stuck,” Koch said. “We didn’t want it to get stuck in the open position because we’re open to the heavens and the rain comes in.”
Members initially thought the system could be repaired, but further assessment showed it would need to be redesigned and replaced, adding a $50,000 price tag to the $100,000 the Live Oak Friends Meeting had already received from the Houston Endowment based on early estimates.
The new design replaced the metal-sheathed wooden curb with what Koch described as “a piece of pipe, basically, that’s square in cross section and that has special pieces on the side – both to keep the hatch from moving off the rails and also to keep it in place in the event of a hurricane. That had to be custom made, and so did the pieces to attach it to the roof.”
Photos: Flickr user TxTamz (Meeting House); Devin Borden Hiram Butler Gallery (Skyspace)