BIKE RACKS FOR INNER LOOP EATERIES Buried in Anvil owner Bobby Heugel’s long complaint about Houston Press coverage of possible neighborhood opposition to an application for an on-street valet parking zone for the Hay Merchant and Underbelly in the former Chances Bar space on Westheimer at Waugh: News of a new initiative sponsored by OKRA, the restaurant advocacy group he helped found. “We’re going to start providing complimentary bike racks to small restaurants and bars inside the loop, at our cost, to encourage alternative transportation in Houston. This is for OTHER restaurants and bars, not our own, which already have bike parking.” [Eating Our Words] Photo of Underbelly, 1100 Westheimer: Vinson
COMMENT OF THE DAY: BUT A SPOONFUL OF SUGAR WILL HELP THE HISTORY GO DOWN “If you wonâ€™t drink coffee at the former Maryâ€™s building, then you probably donâ€™t want to know what went on at The Empire Cafe, when it was known as The Locker.” [Darogr, commenting on Restored Maryâ€™s Mural on Westheimer Painted Over Again]
Hey, wasn’t that mural on the side of the former Mary’s bar recreated with great effort just last year? As of last night, it’s been covered over — except for a bit of blue painting tape that’s allowing the red border underneath to reappear. What happened?
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UNDERBELLY AND THE HAY MERCHANT GOING WHOLE HOG TOGETHER Co-owner Bobby Heugel tells Amber Ambrose the craft beer bar he’s been carving out of the former Chances space at the corner of Westheimer and Waugh and the meat palace built from scratch next door for former Catalan chef Chris Shepherd will be attached but operate separately: “For the sake of efficiency and competitive pricing, the one area shared by both Underbelly and the Hay Merchant is the butchering room, with its massive double doors that can accommodate an entire cow, pig or other large animal. Certain cuts suited more for the restaurant’s menu will go into the kitchen at Underbelly and the remaining trim that make up the creative pub menu of dishes like burgers, sweetbread po’boys and crispy sweet and sour pig’s ears inside The Hay Merchant will go next door, although we suspect there will be plenty of sweetbreads and pig’s ears on Underbelly’s menu at times too. Otherwise, the two businesses are taking great pains to keep their identities separate, even going as far as banning employees of each from stepping foot into the other while they’re on the clock.” [Eater Houston] Photo: Candace Garcia
Another year has passed, which means it’s time for yet another business to move into the little house across the street from Hugo’s Restaurant, at the northeast corner of Westheimer and Mandell, where the Westheimer Curve finally figures out how to go straight. So what comes after Juliet and Romeo, Remix, and the Pleasure Chateau? Thanks to an inquisitive Swamplot reader with a camera, we know that the next tenants at 1550 Westheimer will be a Mixxwell Audio Lab. According to a construction worker our reader spoke to, it’s a DJ school.
Sadly, it appears the Pleasure Chateau’s lovely chandeliers have been removed:
I asked if I could look inside, the contractor explained that he didn’t have any access inside, but that the instructors would be there sometime this week. I did get a chance to look through the window and I must say it looks completely redesigned . . .
Photo: Swamplot inbox
What’s so special about this forlorn and blue bungalow just west of the Westheimer Curve? It’s the now-former home of Taurian Body Piercing, the shop where — in late January 2004, Janet Jackson’s stylist purchased a now-famous breast-shield nipple ring. A few days later, near the end of the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show in Reliant Stadium, Justin Timberlake gave the sunburst-shaped piece of Montrose nipple jewelry a good half-second of international media exposure; at least that part of Jackson’s wardrobe didn’t malfunction.
What’s happening to this former armory, having served its forces so well in the Culture Wars, five years on? Taurian recently moved to that Warehouse District tucked below I-10 Downtown — it’s now cohabitating with Epoch Tattoo at 1306 Nance, down the street from the Last Concert Cafe. And the bungalow?
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ANVIL STRIKES THE DAIQUIRI FACTORY Beaver’s barkeeps Bobby Heugel and Kevin Floyd will be opening their own place in the former Daiquiri Factory on the Westheimer Curve: “Our new bar, Anvil, located at 1424 Westheimer, will be opening in mid-November. Beneath the decades of former bar structure and traffic, lies a beautiful building with priceless windows, historic brick, and exciting features that are certain to make Anvil a site to see.” [Drink Dogma]