A Bigger and Fancier Mai’s Restaurant Reopens April 16th

Sporting a new stick-on West Elm look outside but a more modern feel inside, the rebuilt Mai’s Restaurant will open next month, a year and 2 months after a fire gutted the Midtown Vietnamese pioneer. A Swamplot reader who lives nearby and says he’s been “waiting patiently” to eat there again sends in this photo from this morning of the building front at 3403 Milam, along with a few notes and questions. But first, a few sneak peeks at the restaurant’s not-quite-finished interior from earlier this week:


The space upstairs:

Writes the neighbor:

The house directly behind Mai’s (that also had fire damage) was demolished within the last day or so (noted that your listing of the demo permit was ~1/21). Looks like they will have the lot cleared by the end of the day. I wonder if Mai’s owns that property and plans to use it for more parking. Could they really need more parking? They have the lot across Milam and another lot across Francis – not to mention all the street parking.

The sign says the re-opening will be April 16 and has a phone number to make a reservation. That scares me. Is the new Mai’s going to be too nice? I can’t imagine it will be the late-night hangout it once was if it’s a “nice” restaurant with prices to match. We’ll see . . .

Photos: Swamplot inbox (exterior) and Mai’s Restaurant (interior)

15 Comment

  • I know not everyone agrees with me, but I thought the food and the service suffered after Vietnam Restaurant on 19th expanded and renovated. Obviously, Mai’s didn’t have much of a choice. If they lost a lot of the staff during the rebuild, they may suffer the same fate.

  • in the 10+yrs i had been a customer of mai’s, the service always kinda sucked…however, i went w/the expectations of it as such. i’m hoping the food will be what it’s always been though, as it was the only reason i went. definitely not b/c i wanted to be waited on w/a friendly smile lol

  • looking good

  • Per Height Life comment – I have noticed that phenom time and again, when a restaurant expands or relocates, it looses its mojo.
    Anyone eaten at Red Onion lately? Food quality has fallen off a cliff, at least at the Kirby location.
    Then, at the Hot Bagle Shop on Shepherd, they contracted and, while the bagels are still excellent, the vibe changed to quiet and sad.
    Was never a huge Mai’s fan. I’m sticking with Huynh.

  • Hot Bagel should move north of I-10 on N. Shepherd. There are no breakfast options (non-jack in the box) with a drive-thru. I’d be there at least once a week. W Grill is way overpriced and crap (I can microwave day-old stuff myself) at Washington & Durham.

  • +1 for a bagel place North of I-10. North of I-10 is a bagel desert, unless you count the poor specimens at the 11th Street Kroger.

  • From Mai’s to bagels in the same story?

  • IMO Mai’s hasn’t been that good since at least Y2K.
    No matter how good the food, an ass-wipe attitude from the help is a deal breaker. I bet prices go up at Mai’s, will be more like Mo Mong.
    We use to LOVE the Hot Bagel Shop, but a couple years back had to quit… couldn’t take no mo of the old lady’s(the mom) continual bitching and verbal abuse of her family/employees. What an un-happy camper.

  • Food is nothing special, there a dozens of places on Bellaire in Chinatown that have just as good and many that better food. Of course the service is better at those places too.

  • Serves food…check
    Open late…..check

    That’s all it takes to be a successful restaurant in H…shocking more places haven’t figured that out along with 1+1=2.

    Mai’s – Open Late – True Houston Visionary

  • I agree with those that think Mai’s food was average vietnamese but it was good, close to our house and open late – that was a no brainer for healthy good option late at night. As far as the staff – we were treated great as regulars that were also good tippers. We did see some people getted treated poorly but they usually had it coming because they were drunk, difficult or too demanding. When they are busy they can be a little curt.

  • I’ll add a +1 for bagels north of I10. You would think that would be a no brainer.



  • Thanks magic for enlightening us with your immense knowledge and bombastic tendency to be overly verbiose. Mai’s requires a couple drinks, or a late night bun craving, though I will agree the owner (Mama-san) is a tyrant to her employees, and the food definitely had gone down hill, but hopefully with the new digs they’ll find their niche again and ideally the food will be back to what I used to enjoy at 3am after a show. If you don’t like it though, go elsewhere, there are other places out there longing for your hard earned buck(s).

  • And agreed W grill is AWFUL, shoot a breakfast jack from Crap’n’the’box has a better chance of being made fresh. I have no idea how that place does mad business.