Comment of the Day: Send the Trendies Outside the Loop, Please

COMMENT OF THE DAY: SEND THE TRENDIES OUTSIDE THE LOOP, PLEASE Inside and Outside the Loop“Ridiculous that all trendy restaurants must be packed in the same area. Move out of the Loop and dominate. Spring Branch north of I-10 for example has Heights-y demographics but the restaurant dollars go elsewhere for the most part. Take a risk like some are already doing and venture out. The old Hollister Grill location is getting a trendy new restaurant and one of the bartenders from Anvil (I think it is) is opening up shop on Long Point Rd. Karbach’s already has a new restaurant on Karbach Street in Spring Branch. Sheesh people. Move outward!” [Spring Branch, commenting on Hunky Dory and Bernadine’s Are Not Dead Yet] Illustration: Lulu

29 Comment

  • Yeah, Houstonians needs encouragement to spread out.

  • This!!!! Yes Someone please put some non chain restaurants/trendy bars in meyerland/westbury area!!

  • I feel the same way! It’s a huge city but everything gets so concentrated in Montrose or The Heights. I’m glad to finally see something new coming to the East End (Nancy’s Hustle on Polk) I hope others will start to think outside the box a little more and take advantage of the cheaper real estate out this way. Maybe they wouldn’t have to file for bankruptcy if they didn’t have to pay those high rents.

  • Duh! …that’s where the money is!

  • @Mrc: You are someone! Do this:
    1. Go to the bank.
    2. Get a loan.
    3. Open a restaurant in Westbury. I will eat there, but I am not enough.
    4. Make a little money at first.
    5. Make less and less as the novelty wears off.
    6. Declare bankruptcy so you don’t have to pay the bank.

  • You’re suggesting that a restaurant should choose a location that is less densely populated and therefore have a smaller customer base within a reasonable drive time….good luck with that.

  • I agree. As a Meyerland resident surrounded by neighbors with high disposable income, it mystifies me why we have to go back inside the loop for a cool place to eat. You would think these restaurateurs would be excited to corner the market in an otherwise hip-starved area. I assume they know their business much better than I do, there has to be a reason!

  • Noooooooo..Not my trendy food bars/ restos outside the 610 Loop !! At least I’l have place to park .As it now, I walk,cycle,motorcycle,car & driver to different places in the Montrose /Heights …

  • It’s also like asking for all the trendy restaurant in New York City to go to the Bronx or even Westchester County. These restaurants are usually not only meant to simply be in the trendiest areas but also the areas most people are mostly like to stay and hang around in and walk around. It is precisely why many of these places are in Midtown, the Heights, Montrose, Downtown or Uptown. These are all places where people typically do more than drive their car to a restaurant, but they can walk to shows, clubs, bars, museums, and shopping …

  • Not to seem overly snarky, but I find the comment a bit contradictory. It starts out by complaining about the trendy places opening up in one area to the detriment of Spring Branch and finishes by mentioning three restaurants opening in Spring Branch that sound potentially trendy.

  • lolololololololololololololol

  • Marine’s was in Montrose; moved to Hillcroft (BFE); and then moved even farther to the Carillon (BBFFEE).

  • This is a consequence of having a good freeway system. Philly has trendy restaurants on the Main Line and in Bucks because the Schuylkill and 95 are horrible. But Houston? Y’all Meyerland folks can hit Beechnut to the Loop, and in 15 minutes you’re in Midtown or Montrose.

  • Yes but it can’t be trendy anymore as soon as it’s outside the loop…

  • The point is so many restaurants in the loop are cannibalizing each others business to the point that some are failing. Torchy’s Taco’s gets it. They have locations in soon to be 4 suburban locations, like Kramer dominating the dojo.

  • For reference, yuppies in the Heights complained about a dearth of “trendy restaurants” for over a decade before “trendy restaurants” really started taking root. All you “trendy people” in Spring Branch need to bear in mind that even though your property values have risen dramatically, legacy homeowners don’t just immediately convert or turn over into “trendy people”. That’s a process that takes time.
    Once it happens, you’ll feel nostalgia for the way things were. The newcomers won’t be “trendy”. That term has positive connotations and you’ll reserve it for yourself. You will speak of them in derogatory tones, using words like “yuppie” and “hipster”. You’ll complain about how they’ve overrun your neighborhood, creating parking snafus, cyclist-disrespecting traffic, and drunk drivers. You’ll complain about how closely-packed the new townhomes are, even though you live in one; and about how loud the bars are, even though you bought a house next to one that had been there for 20 years. You’ll complain about how your property taxes rise 10% per year every year and simultaneously protest new public housing, even though your unrealized capital gains are being subsidized by state statue — and you’ll demand even more subsidy! You might even vote for Dan Patrick. You’ll vote for localized prohibition and think that it’s “weird”, kind of like living in Austin would be, except you don’t live in Austin and aren’t as weird as them — which is a terrible thing because they aren’t very weird either. You will have been co-opted by the powers that be. This is understandable. You were trendy and will fall in line with somebody, sort of thoughtlessly, and complain relentlessly. That’s what it is to be trendy. It’s what you always wanted.

  • No issues with businesses congregating around a particular area in town. The issue arises when chain restaurants outcompete local establishments, this ruins the balance that you normally find amongst local businesses and also depletes the ‘trendyness’ out of so called trendy areas.

  • @TheNiche,
    You have poignantly, darkly and accurately addressed everything.

  • Bramble tried being trendy on South Voss and it didn’t work

  • Guys, come on – the #1 reason why people don’t move to the suburbs is because there is nothing there (community, culture, arts, food, fun, like minded people, wishing to know your neighbors, etc.). That’s not a new sentiment. Goodness.

  • What you are really asking is “why doesn’t my deed restricted residential neighborhood attracted more restaurants to the few strip malls that line the few noisy and congested main thoroughfares that separate the different neighborhoods?” The answer for Spring Branch is because developers dumped everything into City Centre and Memorial City. The answer for the rest of the outerloop is that most of the retail is in large strip malls. Anyone wanting to do a trendy chef driven place is not going to be too excited about being buried in a large strip mall with a cell phone store and a TJ Maxx. Until the retail and residential layout changes in these areas, the trendy restaurants are not going to be showing up anytime soon. Case in point, the “town center” developments in the burbs like the Boardwalk at Towne Lake and Sugar Land’s Town Square have attracted trendy spots even though they are well outside the loop.

  • Nicely put, TheNiche.
    I strongly second the view that many people in the Heights when I lived there (early 2000s) complained about having to drive to Montrose or elsewhere for what the deemed “decent” restaurants. One example: the current Ruggles Green on 11th was 11th Street Cafe, never quite clean and serving marginal-at-best pizza yet attractive to those on a budget since it was BYOB. Restaurants using a + instead of an & in their names had not yet emerged, nor had those, even with the private club alcohol loophole, with craft cocktail “programs”. I do still yearn for the old King Biscuit, which was also shabby but charming.

  • Trendy restaurants thrive by being a destination, not a neighborhood joint. The latter market is well-served by the panoply of hole-in-the-wall Tex-Mex spots that dot the suburban strip mall landscape.
    Of course, when you’re a destination, logistics are your primary concern. These restaurants stay inside the loop not because it’s hip or trendy, but because it’s central, minimizing the distance from all points in the Houston area. Houston really doesn’t have any destination towns that are an existing draw in its hinterland (other than Galveston), owing to development patterns. Therefore, go with what’s the least distance from the most people: inside the loop, or just outside it.
    If Uptown were more walkable, the destination restaurants would be there (in the population center), just as they were in Greenway a generation ago, when walkability wasn’t as highly prized.

  • Alternatively, skip trendiness and try some of the great restaurants happily operating outside the loop. Want Houston’s best Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Polish, Russian or Korean food? You won’t find it inside the loop, or even in the new city center simulacra. It’s in the far flung run down strip centers next to noisy freeways. Easy in, easy out and plenty of parking.

  • @Spacehound- That isn’t location driven. That was ownership/chef driven. Rucker has the worst track record in the industry. Killen’s STQ is doing great numbers in the space. The neighbors, Roegels and The Dell, along with Arturo Boada, all do really well.

  • I agree with Memebag’s comment: if you’re looking for the most authentic ethnic cuisines, you’ll have to travel OTL since these mom-and-pop enterprises are trying to make a go of it and paying cheaper rent.
    Plus, it is good for some of my fellow Inner Loopers to get out of the “bubble” and see how the rest of the metro area lives. :)

  • It’s not economics, but priorities. There is tons of disposable income in the suburbs, but most suburbanites with families have moved past the trendy restaurant stage of life.

  • @ Former Heightsian:

    +1 on your comments – we lived in the Heights at the same time – I too still miss King Biscuit.

  • Like Former Heightsian, I miss the old King Biscuit and the days when interesting food inside the loop came at something resembling a bargain. Upscale tacos? I guess, but please acknowledge that it’s just fundamentally wrong.