The Lawsuit Behind the Paper at the 11th St. Cafe

THE LAWSUIT BEHIND THE PAPER AT THE 11TH ST. CAFE Reporter Purva Patel documents the extensive menu of lawsuits embroiling “more unlucky than most” Ruggles Grill owner Bruce Molzan — which provides Swamplot a terrific opportunity to showcase one of the several photos of the papered-over sign at the now-formerly-Ruggles 11th St. Cafe in the Heights sent in by readers earlier this month. Molzan has charged the cafe with trademark infringement, and tells Patel he pulled out of an operating agreement with the 11th St. restaurant “because he considered the quality of the food there poor.” But cafe owner Archie Patterson says Molzan refused to sign a partnership agreement after running the place for 2 months. Patterson says he had the word “Ruggles” on the signs covered — in advance of getting new ones — as soon as he heard about the worker walkout at Ruggles Grill. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Swamplot inbox

17 Comment

  • 11th St Cafe sucks. I don’t blame him for wanting out. I would cover my sign up too. Hope he skirts out of this successfully. The food is horrible, and the service has always been depressing.

  • The only Ruggles I like is the cafe over in Rice Village, and now from this article I find out that it is owned and operated by his ex-wife. Apparently, she’s the one who knows how to run a restaurant!

  • i second that shadyheightster!

  • They didnt even fix-up the inside when they took over the old 11st Cafe. it was horrible eating there… there’s cob webs on the ceilings, different color shades of paint on the walls from years of touch-ups, etc…. PLUS it smells like the gardening section of Home Depot inside with all that foliage.. YUK!

    better off going next door to Liberty Kitchen where they run a real restaurant.

  • The food remains pretty bad there, despite the high hopes that the “Ruggles” sign brought.

  • Im surprised at all the hate for 11th Street in a neighborhood where Lola and Collina’s are popular.

  • maybe that is because Collina’s/Lola have decent food at a decent price with good service… vs 11th street inedible fair?

  • I’ve been to 11st St since the change-over for breakfast a couple of times and it’s been good.

    Lola is OK but just OK. I don’t hate it, but it’s nothing special.

    Collina’s is where you go when you don’t feel like opening a can of Ragu. I realize that Houston is not exactly a mecca for Italian food but the nicest thing you can say about Collina’s is that it’s not the Olive Garden.

    I don’t think 11th St is great, I think it’s just very similar to other middle of the road places that Heights people seem to love.

  • Taste is subjective. IMO, the Glass Wall is the best Heights restaurant, for sure. They have the best mac n’ cheese and bartender in the world and I love the open and airy feel, I don’t feel like I am eating in a dungeon (ahem, Down House). And, I LOVE me some Zelko Bistro– I admit that its mostly for the kicky fun ambiance and comfort food menu. And of course I love Lola, it is a fun place to eat- but Pink’s is my fave of that dynasty. Anyway, I am not surprised. That spot seems cursed!

  • Everything is subjective. That doesn’t make Collina’s any good.

  • Funny that Molzan says the “quality of the food was poor”….he’s the chef, he’s the one who was brought in to improve it. Sounds like he’s the problem. Bruce leaves a trail of failed partnerships and lawsuits behind his restaurant ventures.

  • You didn’t hear any argument from me about Collina’s.

  • Meh – I’m not too taken by either Molzan’s OR Archie’s places….or maybe I am, just not in a good way…

  • We too had high hopes when the Ruggles name went up on the 11th St Cafe sign. Went for breakfast on their opening weekend and it was dreadful. And expensive! Breakfast for four came to nearly $60. It was an utterly disappointing experience.

    Collina’s who? For quick Italian, we hit D’Amicos and for something a little better, we roll down to Patronella’s off of Washington and Jackson Hill.

  • I heard pretty mixed things about opening weekend at 11th St. Most places have hiccups when they are first going.

    Haven’t been to danica yet; have yet to be impressed by Patrenella’s but have only been to events there so that’s not really fair. Capellini’s is underrated, probably because of the charm-free interior.

    All I want is something as good as I used to get in the North End of Boston :). But then Houston’s Italian problem is a lot like Boston’s Mexican problem.

  • the first time we ate at Ruggles 11th st the service was horribly slow, we went back a 2nd time and it was still bad,painfully slow fro 2 burgers and a salad.Cold burgers. Both times they said they were out of kids entrees.

  • Bruce is the chef, so he’s responsible for the food, he did a terrible job. Bruce isn’t unlucky, he’s not a good businessman. Look at all the past partnerships he’s participated in, all have failed in one way or another, many have been embroiled in lawsuits. His own restaurant has been in financial trouble ever since he’s been running it on his own. Tons of liens, non-payment of workers etc.