What’s Becoming of Harold’s in the Heights?

The former menswear mod on W. 19th St. and Ashland is being outfitted with some contemporary effects, it appears: Purchased back in 2011 by Braun Enterprises — which also recently snapped up and plans to knock down 2 Baptist Temple Church buildings to make way for retail just north of here — the building has got the signage for what will be Houston’s 3rd Torchy’s Tacos and some fake graffiti advertising a September opening. In the back, the buildout is a bit more substantial: The roof has been popped out rather jauntily for the Heights General Store, a small market and restaurant that will have a terrace, and women’s clothier Emerson Rose.

You can see more photos, going around the corner spot, after the jump:


That view is from Ashland.

Below: The east side of the building, with the old signage still in place:

Photos: Allyn West

29 Comment

  • Someone should buy the old Harold’s sign. It’s awesome.

  • Yeah, why wouldn’t you open a new restaurant/shop and call it “Harold’s”? Such an iconic sign.

  • Hi – the sign on the east side stays and the the name is The Heights General Store @ Harold’s. Come see us when we open and you will see other Harold’s Memorabilia!

  • Torchy’s looks so out of place there. I wish they had put in a diner. It could have been Harold’s Diner. It would have been way, way cool. Ah, well, just another Torchy’s for me to not go to.

  • Overpriced, smug, invented nostalgia, conjuring an overly-romanticized history that never existed aside from the racial and socioeconomic segregation of its clientele.

    It’s perfect for the Heights. I’m sure that it’ll do well.

  • What a cliche, catch-all comment. Come up with something original. I have no dog in the hunt, but I can still call hyperbole a spade. Sounds more to me like intelligent, eager business owners fulfilling a small, niche desire in a market. Actually, no, that’s exactly what it is. I’m excited for another passionate, involved community member.

  • I agree with Jack – incredibly out of place there. Will this market even support so many Torchy’s? It’s not even that good.

  • I have nothing against a taco place taking over the space – but come on. That graffiti signage is awful. It is just trashy and does not fit in with he rest of 19th Street.

  • @ monstermash: Yes, you nailed it and I have absolutely nothing against the business owners for engaging in what will likely be a successful venture.

  • I have been waiting for that torchies to open since I heard it was a possibity almost two years ago. I lived at an apartment not too far from 19th st and would have walked there atleast once a week. There is already a diner, fast food and trendy restuarants in the area, but torchies will fill a niche for nicer fast food thats open at night that 19th st is missing. Unfortunately, I moved at the beginning of the year so I won’t be able to enjoy walking there. On another note, hopefully the graffiti is temporary.

  • Oh great. Another Torchy’s location filled to over capacity with brainless people over paying for their mediocre tacos. The tacos from the Taco Caliente truck at the West Alabama Ice House are half the price and light years better.

  • Contrary to the rest of you here, I actually like Torchy’s Tacos. I wish they would build one in The Woodlands. A Market Street, or Waterway location would be awesome!

  • @ 12: and cue the burbscorn in 3, 2…

  • There are two kinds of tacos in this world. There is the gringo-ized variety, and there is the real thing. Torchy’s is one of the better versions of the gringo variety.

  • I have to agree with Sadz. Im not a big fan of the black painted building with graffiti signage. Looks like a tattoo shop.

  • @lhd: Apples and oranges. There’s plenty of room in the market for all types of tacos despite whatever any one person’s preference may be.

  • This is going to be an amazing little development once completed. It is absolutely wonderful that the developers kept the original building instead of demoing it and putting in another strip mall. The Torchy’s graffiti is on a temporary construction wall that will be removed when they finish the building. Torchys will serve the neighborhood well. Fast, kid friendly, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their Dirty Sanchez may be one of the best breakfast tacos ever. And if you think they are overpriced, you better not look at any real estate listings for the Heights. It is also exciting to see what the Heights General Store will be like. If another restaurant goes in on the site of the old Baptist church up the street, 19th street may finally begin to reach critical mass needed to have the shops stay open later, making the street a real destination in the Heights.

  • That taco place is okay… But nothing compared to Laredo Tacos or La Mexicana on Montrose.

  • Be careful what you wish for. Sysco food truck has blocked 18th at Yale from time to time serving Downhouse. Beer delivery trucks, additional commercial waste pick ups will be coming along with the cutesy facilities.

  • Could not agree more with Old School. As a resident of the immediate area, I am pumped for Torchy’s (yes, they are $4 delicious gringo tacos, deal with it) but much more excited for Heights General Store. They are doing some amazing renovation in that building, lots of good info on their Facebook page. It is going to be epic.

  • Agree with Old School and Ian, psyched for Torchy’s and HGS to open up! And looking forward to the restaurants and retail that get put in at the old Baptist church; I definitly see 19th street hitting critical mass with these developments…

  • And as a side note, the great thing about 19th street is that it has achieved its development organically, with true character, like a normal neighborhood/city… not some preplanned corporate mega development that inspries as much as hotel art… anyway love 19th street!

  • And as another side note.. will Kroger please buy out the 20th St. / Yale strip and knock it down for a flagship store, please?

  • What’s interesting to me is how this hip little area is always going to be checked by the retirement community in the highrise right in the middle of it all. And the one on Heights/20th, and the one going up at 14th/Studewood. I got nothing against old folks but I can’t help but wonder if a proliferation of retirees is going to take a little bit of the steam out of the Heights’ hip factor.

  • Anse, you’re forgetting the hip replacement factor.

  • @ Ian: We don’t need another Kroger’s in the Heights, what we need is a REAL HEB, instead of the postage stamp sized one we have that used to be one of the miserable entities known as “HEB Pantry Stores”.

  • I like the graffiti sign , realzing it is onlt temporary and there to let people know whats coming and to provide cover for that area while they rebuild . And as a bonus provided work for an Artist . The wall is gone now , the new one is up .

  • I also love that they kept the original Harolds bldg in stead of starting from scratch , I wish they were doing the same with the old church .

  • @ Anse – Most of the Heights has been chock a block with geezers since at least the FDR administration (when the first generation of homeowners started getting there). At 24 years and counting, I’m STILL not the longest term resident on my block, nor the oldest.