Torchy’s Tacos Taking Harold’s Old Corner Spot in the Heights

Austin’s Torchy’s Tacos chain will be opening a restaurant in the former Harold’s in the Heights retail space at the southeast corner of 19th St. and Ashland, according to a flyer advertising a new development planned for the former clothing store and connected space. Harold’s closed last year after operating for 61 years at 350 W. 19th St. The flyer says Braun Enterprises — which bought the fifties-mod property from the family of Harold Wiesenthal last September — has already executed the lease with Torchy’s, which is shown taking up 3,340 sq. ft. in the corner spot. The development includes an additional unleased 7,260 sq. ft. of ground-floor space imagined as a cafe and 3,000 more sq. ft. upstairs shown as a dental office in the flyer.


Torchy’s first Houston location opened late last year at 2411 South Shepherd, and now appears to have ended whatever curse killed off a string of failed restaurants in the same spot.

Renderings and photo: Braun Enterprises

23 Comment

  • If we are getting chain food from Austin, why can’t it be Pluckers?!?!

  • I am so happy to see the building get repurposed instead of being demo-ed and replaced by stucco townhomes or an Arby’s that I have nothing to say about the changes to the mid century mod design or the Austin taco chain that is the first lessee (I will admit to stuffing my self full of Torchys now and then). Oh, how they have beaten us down in the Heights.

  • Just what we need – more overpriced crap food in the Heights.

  • If we are getting chain food from Austin, why can’t it be EZ’s?

  • Keep Austin out of the Heights.

  • Oh stop whining … this is certainly better than having an iconic building torn down or become a sitting invitaion to graffiti or worse. It will create jobs, bring more foot traffic to 19th street, and support the other shops too. If you don’t like tacos, don’t go there.

  • I love Torchy’s! Pumped its finally in the Heights.

  • On my way to get a dirty sanchez taco! Hello Torchy’s in the Heights. How late do they stay open?

  • The Heights finally gets a decent Taco Joint. Torchy’s breakfast tacos are where its at.

  • Torchy’s is perfect for the Heights. Its not expensive and its really good!

  • I love Torchy’s baja shrimp tacos. Mr. Pink is really good too if you like Ahi tuna. At least now I don’t have to drive 2.5 hours to Austin to get one.

  • If they tear down the building to build something useful, Old School complains. If they save the building and renovate it for something useful, Old School complains. If they do nothing at all, Old School complains. I’m starting to see a trend.

  • Welcome to Houston Heights….Home of the second+ location of Houston’s restaurants. Not really complaining about most of these, but it would be nice to have a few more unique Heights original locations instead of being reruns of BB’s, D’Amicos, Christians, Woodrows, Hubcap, Torchy’s, and so on. At least they’re better than national chains!

  • Dave: I just said I was so glad they saved the building that I wasn’t going to say anything about the design or tenant. I did not complain. The point about being beaten down in the Heights is valid. Just down the street from Harold’s is where the Ashland Tea House used to be before it was demo-Ed for some awful Fauxorleans town homes. If it wasn’t for people like me and many of my like minded neighbors making our voices hear, this post would have been about the demo of Harold’s to be replaced by Quiznos.

  • I’m not thrilled with Torchy’s but I’ll go there if only to drive Chiloso’s, whose service is terrible, out of business.

  • when compared to what’s going up on yale-mart, the redevelopment looks good. i can see myself eating a taco and then walking over to one of the shops.

  • Actually, Ashland Tea House was not demoed for the townhomes. It was demoed by Chef Ryan Hildebrand, who now has Triniti in Montrose. He was supposed to put a restaurant in the house, supposedly got in and realized it was too far gone (is what he claimed, anyway), and then tore it down in the middle of the night. The outcry was so great that he abandoned the project (perhaps lost investors) and the land was vacant for a while and then the townhomes were built.

  • @Walt – I heard from a good source that is exactly who is going in the other half of the Harold’s space.

  • This will inject some much needed young blood into what is a nice but fairly stodgy area of the Heights. I think it’s a great fit.

  • now if TacoDeli would only open up a Houston location….
    I wonder if someday about 15 years from now the 19th St. strip will look somewhat more like Snider Plaza in Dallas/University Park. That area went significantly upscale in the last 10 years as the median household income around it ballooned.

  • I, for one, am thrilled about Torchy’s going in the old Harold’s building. It will be great for 19th street businesses, and I love their tacos and queso, too!

  • >>Torchy’s is perfect for the Heights. Its not expensive and its really good!

    How is $8 for two tacos not expensive?

    >>…Chef Ryan Hildebrand, who now has Triniti in Montrose.

    Wait. What. A chef-driven restaurant with more than one syllable in the name?

  • Store bought tortillas surrounding lukewarm taco fillings? Torchy’s are the worst tacos in town!