02/08/13 11:35am

Sharing Benignus Plaza with Jason’s Deli, Texas State Optical, and a salon, this 2,500-sq.-ft. suite at 10321 Katy Freeway will be the first Club Champion store in Texas. The Chicago-based company sells custom golf clubs built to fit, and it provides a demo space for practice. Sitting just east of Town & Country Village, the Benignus Plaza store will be almost directly across I-10 from Hicks Ventures’ proposed Block 10 West Office Park.

Photos: Swamplot inbox

12/07/09 9:05am

A quick roundup:

  • Closing in January: NASA hangout the Outpost Tavern, an army barracks building turned spacesuit-and-bikini-festooned party site, down NASA Rd. 1 from the Johnson Space Center at 18113 Kings Lynn St. Memorialized in the appropriately named Clint Eastwood “one last time for the has-been astronauts” flick Space Cowboys, the bar and burger joint had to be partially rebuilt in early 2005 after a short in a neon sign caused a small fire. Second-generation owner Stephanie Foster reports the property has been sold to new owners who “plan to build something new on the site, perhaps a service station or shopping center.” Fans of the Outpost Tavern’s many good ol’ days will drown their sorrows on-site in a 3-day-long goodbye-party bash, January 8-10.
  • Closed, Just a Month After Opening: The new 7,000-sq.-ft. prototype Bailey Banks & Biddle store in CityCentre. The new owners of the former Zales mall mainstay declared bankruptcy in August, but went ahead with the store’s planned move from its old location across the street at Town & Country Village anyway. Other local Triple Bs didn’t get the grand-opening treatment before going dark: “The Galleria and Willowbrook Mall locations are in liquidation, while The Woodlands Mall store and the new CityCentre location are expected to go dark on Dec. 24 following liquidation sales, according to store employees.”
  • Open Only for One Last Big Sale: Brian Stringer Antiques, strung along West Alabama just east of Shepherd in a few separate buildings for the last 40 or so years. Stringer and his wife will retire to their turreted 14th century chateau — a former fortified hospital built by monks for victims of a mysterious skin disease — in the French countryside between Bordeaux and Gers. But lucky us, they’ll stick around Houston long enough to sell the majority of their stock of European antiques, reproductions, and fabrics at 40 percent off, Joni Webb reports: “The French house is so charming – you really feel like you’re in the South of France, except for Houston’s traffic out the front window!” When you’re done shopping there, Webb commands:

    be sure to also stop in at Ginger Barber’s Sitting Room which is next door. Further up the street is Tara Shaw and Heather Bowen Antiques. Continue up W. Alabama to Antiques and Interiors on Dunlavy, Boxwood and The Country Gentleman, then hit up Foxglove and Alcon Lighting.

    If you haven’t passed out from exhaustion yet, turn around and head back to Brian Stringer’s and go the other way on W. Alabama. Stop at Jane Moore’s, then at Ferndale, go to Brown, Bill Gardner, Made in France, and Objects Lost and Found. Back on W. Alabama, continue on to Thompson and Hansen, The Gray Door, Chateau Domingue, Indulge on Saint Street, and 2620 on Joanel.

More openings and closings:


12/02/09 1:17pm

New westside restaurant doesn’t face onto a parking lot. Chaos ensues:

The dining room of Straits, the swank new Malaysian restaurant at City Centre, looks chaste and serene in its Web site photos. So I was dumbstruck by the maelstrom that greeted me on a school night the week before Thanksgiving, when the restaurant felt more like a thunderous Vegas nightclub.

The bulk of the floor plan was given over to bar/lounge seating, and outdoors–looking upon the grassy City Centre mall plaza ringed with fire pits–tented pavilions held still more tables for the cocktail crowd. A live band on an outdoor stage blared R&B standards as ice-blue holiday lights swayed, wind whipped the fire-pot flames high and merrymakers clustered on the chilly lawn.

“It looks like the Devil’s Playground out there,” murmured my dinner guest as he found me at a table beside the sleek open kitchen. We were both a little shellshocked. Judging by the avid crowds, far west Houston, out by I-10 and the Beltway, has been hungering for a capital-S-Scene, and the restaurant- and bar-heavy new City Centre development has provided one readymade.

Photo of CityCentre courtyard: Misha Govshteyn

11/20/08 4:37pm

THAT THIRD PRONTO WILL ARRIVE IN A LITTLE WHILE A third Pronto Cucinino “fast casual” restaurant is on its way: “The new restaurant will be located at 791 Town & Country Boulevard, Town & Country Village, on the west side of Houston. A March 2009 opening is planned. Mary Mandola will design the interior, as she has done for all of their restaurants. . . . This will be the sixth restaurant in the Vincent Mandola family of restaurants. The two other Pronto’s are located at 1401 Montrose, Houston and 3191 West Holcombe Boulevard . . . The family also owns and operates Nino’s, Vincent’s and Grappino’s in Houston.” [Cleverley’s Houston Restaurant Blog]