The Messy End of Vargo’s Restaurant

It’s not just the Hunington Properties sign posted in front of Vargo’s announcing a new mixed-use development on the 8.71-acre property, or the more plaintive and direct Land for Sale notice put up more recently. (Asking price: $9 million.) Now there’s another, more compelling harbinger of doom for the 47-year-old lakeside restaurant and event venue at Fondren and Woodway festooned with azaleas and peacocks: A trustee appointed to manage the restaurant’s bankruptcy (which was filed last October but converted to Chapter 7 last month) has ordered Vargo’s shut down for failure to pay rent.


David Wu, who’s been operating the restaurant since January, is behind $150,000 on his payments, says the trustee. But, um, according to Jennifer Dawson’s HBJ report, that money is due to the property owner, TTC Plaza Ltd., of whom Wu is a principal. Dawson gets the trustee, attorney Randy Williams, to explain: “In essence, he has not been paying rent to himself.” Much clearer, thanks. If Wu doesn’t hand Williams the keys tomorrow morning, he tells Dawson, he’ll start the eviction process.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

19 Comment

  • I had the best shrimp scampi there in 1978 and then never went back.

  • I had my senior prom dinner there in 1976. It was a night to remember. The peacocks and peahens were mezmerizing. Lovely walking path and sculpted gardens. Delicious meal as well. Ahh, to be 18 again (but know all that I know now)… It will be missed.

  • My husband proposed to me and took me to dinner there in December of 1999. Sad to see it go! I remember the swans, and walking up to the gazebo on a starlit night.

  • In about ’69 or ’70, five of us co-workers went there for a farewell dinner when one was moving to another state.

    We made a vow to return there in 5 years to meet again, no matter where we all ended up living. Never happened.

    I have been back without them, but not since the early 90s.

  • Oh, how I do remember Vargos…I was blessed to be at the party for Martha Raye and Jack Benny there when they appeared at The Houston Music was Fab!!!!!yes I know what theatre?…wonderful memories….

  • Ahh, Vargos! In 1992 or 1993, I remember we took a limo from my small town into the big city and ate there for Prom. It was the first time I’d been in such a nice restaurant. And peacocks! And a gazebo! I never went back as an adult, but I’ll never forget going there for Prom.

  • In high school I had a friend who lived near Vargos – those peacocks used to scream at night, sounded just like a woman screaming. Frightening when you are not used to it.

  • I took my ex-wife there for New Years Eve 1999. That was such a gorgeous place.

  • Uh oh, hope this doesn’t mean we’ll be seeing roast swan and peacock during the last days they’re open…

  • My parents got engaged there. 1976

  • Put i t out of its misery. That place has been in the dumps for decades. It is way past its prime. The only thing worthy there is the land. And those damn peacocks stop traffic on Fondren/S.Piney Point Rd.

  • The original architect of Vargos was Roger Rasbach, who appears to have had an interesting career doing eccentric modernist work for Houston’s big-money set in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Definitely the Urban Cowboy era.

  • People making tacky comments about Vargo’s don’t remember it in the old days. As for the peacocks, well, they were lovely on the grounds. Not so lovely in the streets…

  • My husband and I got married there September 6, 1992. We often went there to celebrate our anniversary or for the Sunday brunch. Our kids loved it and we would always walk on the grounds. I hope it isn’t razed and more condos built. Vargo’s is an institution in Houston. I am sad!

  • My late husband and I ate at Vargos at least once a week and usually had the original owner of the property (Grover G.) with us.
    Loved the dirty rice and all the surroundings. Al Vargo did a great job. There are very nice homes that you can’t see on the property also, but not owned by the owner of Vargos.

  • Who is taking care of the peacocks?

  • saw the story regarding the starving peacocks
    at Vargos. I could take 5 of them and put
    them on my ranch of 50 acres. How do I
    contact someone regarding these birds. Please
    let me know.
    Thank you
    Vicki Johnson

  • Does anyone know who to get a hold of reguarding the peacocks, I would like to help with the situation, I have a large ranch and would love to house a pair or two, can find homes for thoes beautiful birds. Thank you

  • I went by today and I saw 3 peacocks still just wondering around aimlessly!!! It’s very sad and too hot for them out there in the dirt and construction! It is cruel and I am filing a complaint and calling anywhere I can to get them help… Any recommendations?