11/22/17 11:00am

The vacant former-ice-house-turned-furniture-store at the corner of W. 15th St. and Prince St. appears ready to serve drinks again: Gregg Goldstein and Katz Coffee owner Avi Katz, the proprietors of the almost-ready-to-open Golden Bagels and Coffee on White Oak and Oxford, bought the former El Viejo Mexico Custom Furniture spot at 1701 W. 15th spot over the summer. (The furniture shop has since decamped outside the South Loop, at 4114 Belk St. near Cullinan Park.)

More has changed in this corner of the Heights near Shady Acres since the building’s ice-house days: “Nearly every home in a block radius has been torn down and 3 put in its place since the time that bar was there,” a neighbor tells Swamplot. Now posted to the façade of the 1,344-sq.-ft. structure: a TABC license application for mixed-beverage permits at this location — under the name of Birdocks 50 Fifty.

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Birdocks 50/Fifty
11/08/17 10:45am

HEIGHTS ALCOHOL ‘DRY ZONE’ NOW MOSTLY WASHED AWAY With 2 successful ballot initiatives in successive years, the rules that for more than 100 years restricted alcohol sales within the portion of the Houston Heights that was once a separate city (outlined in the map shown here) have now been whittled down to a single prohibition: Grocery and convenience stores in the area are still not allowed to sell liquor. In yesterday’s election, 1,479 Heights residents voted in favor of Proposition F, allowing the sales of mixed drinks in the district — in effect ending the quirky gotta-join-a-club loophole run through by alcohol-serving restaurants. 960 voted against. [Harris Votes; previously on Swamplot] Map of Heights dry zone: HoustonHeights.org

11/07/17 3:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: IF THE HEIGHTS LIQUOR SALES REFERENDUM GOES DOWN “I understand that data is not the plural of anecdote, but I’m pretty sure Prop F (the relaxation of prohibition in the Heights) will fail to pass. Turnout is going to be very low, especially among the demographic that would favor repealing the dry status. Also, the best argument for lifting the alcohol sales ban, getting a decent grocery store, was rendered moot by the partial repeal last year. If people want to try again, I suggest they wait until the next presidential election year, where turnout would be higher, and consider restricting the local option to food and beverage permit holders only, as a lot of the neighborhood seem to be terrified of bars opening near them.” [Angostura, commenting on EaDo for Offices; Heights Mercantile Near Capacity; Heights Liquor Laws on the Ballot Today] Illustration: Lulu

11/02/17 11:30am

Specialty hot dog shop and bakery Happy Fatz closed its bungalow doors for good yesterday at 3510 White Oak Dr. — after 6 and a half years in the Heights. “The uphill battle with the ‘neighboring’ house for the last 2 years became a greater challenge than expected,” reads a brief announcement posted yesterday to the restaurant’s Facebook page. A new 2-story, 4,400-sq.-ft. home was constructed last year on an adjacent property — a portion of which formerly served as a patio and parking lot for the restaurant. It’s currently listed for sale.

Happy Fatz’s owners write that they’ll continue to open pop-up shops in the Houston area. But they say they’ll be turning their attention to the Hill Country, opening a restaurant called Wildflour Artisan Bakery & Grill in Canyon Lake.

Photo: Kim W.

Out of the Dog House
10/31/17 3:45pm

What’s clearly frightening about the home for sale at 806 Oxford St. in the Heights: Its listing photos, posted last week, capture the property in full Halloween dress-up mode. At front, rows of draped ghouls festoon the double-porch streetfront façade of the 3-year-old mansionette (above).

And the freak show continues inside the house, as costumed mannequins have been artfully arranged in holiday set pieces. Here, a bloody zombie sits at the head of the dining-room table, while a creepy butler stands by, ready to serve:

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Trick or Treat?
10/19/17 11:00am

Here are a few shots of 195 Yale St. just south of I-10 from yesterday afternoon, showing workers a few letters away from spelling out the long-delayed LA Fitness at the Yale Street Market shopping center. The sign, which faces the freeway, was completed by the end of the day:

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Fitn In
10/13/17 10:15am

16 months after the Fiesta Mart on site was torn down and 11 months since Heights-area voters approved a modification to longstanding local dry-zone prohibitions to allow alcohol sales for off-premises consumption, H-E-B at last appears ready to begin construction of its store at 2300 N. Shepherd. This week fencing went up around the site, which stretches between W. 23rd and W. 24th streets — and a couple of trailers have rolled onto it. An official groundbreaking is scheduled for October 24th.

The store will sit on the east side of the site but up one level, on top of a concrete parking deck. Here’s a view looking east along 23rd St. toward that part of the site and Lawrence St. beyond:

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10/06/17 4:15pm

THE HEIGHTS HISTORIC DISTRICTS’ NEW HEIGHTS The public comment period for the latest (and presumably final) draft of the design guidelines for the Houston Heights’s 3 historic districts ends today. The latest version of the 223-page document dates from August and covers a range of issues important to the historic districts, including proposed standards for construction and renovation — from roof pitches and “character defining elements” to maximum allowable foundation height (30 inches from natural elevation for new construction and additions) — but does not appear to include any mention of flooding. The guidelines, once adopted, would be used by the Houston Archeological and Historical Commission in its determinations of what proposed building projects would be allowed. [Planning & Development Dept.; previously on Swamplot] Photo of home at 8th St. and Arlington St., in Houston Heights Historic District South, during Harvey: Swamplot inbox  

09/25/17 2:30pm

Fans of the mozzarella with balsamic, black beans & agave with lime curd, or mango & dried chilies ice creams, or the cucumber with cherries or watermelon & parsley sorbets dreamed up by pastry chef Chris Leung and offered this summer by Cloud 10 Creamery in the Rice Village will be happy to learn that the adventurous ice cream shop opened its Heights outpost late last week. Cloud 10 fills the former bungalow at 711 Heights Blvd. — now upgraded to an address of 711A in honor of a separate building added behind it — anchoring one end of the boulevard-facing section of the Heights Mercantile development.

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Cloud 10 Creamery No. 2
07/28/17 10:00am

Here’s the scene from Heights Blvd. this morning, where the former Heights Finance Station — that was the fancy name for the neighborhood’s main post office — lies in trucked-off ruins. The construction fence along the right side of the image lines 11th St. The view from Brie Kelman’s camera faces west, toward Yale St.; the former Citgo gas station now known as whiskey bar Eight Row Flint, on the opposite side of Yale, is visible just to the left of center in the distance (if you look closely).

Here’s a different view of the site from just a few days ago:

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07/27/17 2:30pm

Here’s a glance at how the now-redone North Shepherd strip center that used to house the Texas Cafeteria is looking this week, about a month before the second-ever location of sandwich joint Krisp Chicken & Batter opens up on the building’s south end. A raised bit of concrete slab seen on the near side of the building in the photo above will form the foundation of a planned dining patio. According to the building’s leasing flyer, a 1,825-sq.-ft. space in the building is still available for lease adjacent to Krisp; the rest of the building will become a Verizon store.

The center at 2400 N. Shepherd Dr. is immediately north of the former Fiesta lot where H-E-B plans to start construction on a new Heights market late this summer.

According to Culturemap’s Eric Sandler, the owners of Krisp are already planning to open additional locations in Memorial, Bellaire, and Downtown in the next few years — and possibly Pearland and Cinco Ranch after that.

Photo: Swamplot inbox

Next Month
07/25/17 1:45pm

The former Heights Finance Station post office at the corner of Heights Blvd. and 11th St. — its parking lot and front door face Yale St. — is coming down in a hail of lovingly painted bricks today. The post office was closed at the end of 2015 and subsequently purchased by developer MFT Interests. The single-story building was later festooned with an assortment of romance– and ZIP-code-themed murals.

MFT is calling the new development it has planned for the 1050 Yale St. site Heights Central Station. It’ll consist of two 2-story painted-brick buildings fronting 11th St.:

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Heights Central Station
06/28/17 12:45pm

BOBCAT TEDDY MAY BE HEADED TO JIMMY’S ICE HOUSE A new business name has just been registered  for the White Oak Dr. address of Jimmie’s Place, which claims to have held the spot for some 75 years (though under the variant Jimmy’s for at least part of that). The actually-used-to-sell-ice ice house was sold early this year to serial redeveloper Braun Enterprises, with some sideline speculation that an up-to-code remodel of the 1940s space might prove prohibitively expensive. But city records show an electrical plan review process kicked off in March; the name Bobcat Teddy’s Ice House was registered for the spot early last week.  [Previously on Swamplot] Photo of Jimmy’s at 2803 White Oak Dr.: David Richmond/Houston Ice House