Hue Gone Away

A couple of readers have written in to let us know that Hue Vietnamese Restaurant — otherwise known as the first but hopeful occupant of the revamped but still extremely lonely strip center at the southwest corner of Richmond and Kirby — has closed. One writes:

I have a feeling it was a casualty of a low occupancy building with additional damage inflicted by continual Kirby Ave roadwork. It’s a shame, the food and drink were mighty tasty and the building itself has some nifty lighting. Better looking than most new builds.


Azuma and Soma owner Yun Cheng opened Hue last summer. Clearly the brightest spot in the L-shaped corner strip, the restaurant never lacked for parking. Real-estate investor Jonathan Kagan bought the center in 2003, telling the Houston Business Journal at the time:

I don’t know what I will do with it, but I will not leave it the way it is.

True to his word, Kagan removed the center’s existing tenants and added a second story as part of a long renovation that never quite lived up to the drawings used to advertise it.

Photo of Hue interior: Jenny Wang

16 Comment

  • I never actually tried it for myself but every review I read slated the food as pretty mediocre. My impression was that it was hoping more to cater to the young asian bar crowd than be a restaurant. The fact that it was alwas empty certainly didn’t help tempt me in.

  • Back in 2004 before I moved out of the Upper Kirby area (lived at Oak Lane Apts), this shopping center started it’s renovations. Hue just opened in the last year or so. It took forever for the shopping center to open, and when it was open the commercial retail space market was falling fast.

    Does anybody know why it took so long to open the center? Money? Permit hell? Contractor issues?

  • I only ate their once last summer. I thought it was a nice, modern space and food was ok. Hue probably didn’t know if it wanted to be a bar or a restaurant.

    I think Hue was probably “too hip” for the center. People were use to Jamaica Jamaica.

  • It was a mismatch for its location. Even with the construction the place had a huge audience of office workers looking for a quick lunch. There is a large selection of restaurants nearby but no Vietnamese place. Sometimes people drive to Midtown to get Vietnamese food, but Hue lacked the all-important street food sandwich in its menu.

    That shopping center used to have a great donut shop and late night Mexican restaurant that did well. Now its empty.

  • I got to agree with b.s.

    When renovations started, I was thinking they would just tear it down and build something new. The new center really isn’t much different except for the addition of second floor office space. The existing shops that were frequently visited lost a good location.

  • The businesses that used to be there before the center was renovated — why didn’t they come back after the renovation? Did the owner just terminated their leases, or did the tenants backed out, due to the fact that the renovation took so long. (It seemed like it was 2 years which was ridiculous for a strip mall.) And why did the owner have trouble finding tenants? I know the economy is terrible, but the strip had been already open by the time economy crashed and as other commenters pointed out, the strip *is* in a prime location.

  • Food was subpar to the Vietnamese places in Midtown and the prices were much too high. I think a bowl of pho cost at least 8 dollars there.

  • One of the Vietnamese restaurants in Midtown (like Pho Saigon, maybe?) should look into opening a second restaurant at this strip mall. It shouldn’t do too badly, and another advantage is that it’s fairly close to 59. Oh, and parking should be much better. :-)

  • Kagan screwed the pooch on this deal from Day 1. A comedy of errors. I don’t even know where to begin. The only thing not funny is the amount of money he flushed down the toilet. Hopefully it was his own money and not some investor was sold a bill of goods.

  • This is a modern strip center at the corner of a major intersection in Houston, TX that is COMPLETELY EMPTY.

  • first of all don’t chase off paying tenants. duh! even wulf in the galleria isn’t doing that.

    there any number of interesting restaurtants over in the bissonnett area that might do well here. ethnic, good and not expensive says success to me.

  • I miss Donut Wheel. It was there. RIP Donut Wheel.

  • There was a good little diner there in the 80s. Greek-owned, I believe. It had a peppy name like Pokey’s or Tippy’s. What was it called? Anyway, after it left I never stopped at the center again, even though i passed it practically every day for a dozen years.

  • The biggest loss here (and there are many) is that Canton Chinese restaurant in the old center was by far the best Chinese restaurant inside the loop.

    Fancy space? no. Great food? yes. They left when the renovations started, and never returned. Too bad all around.

  • Remember, no one really left this center. They weren’t ask to come back. And with the insane renovation time, no real business could survive the wait.

  • Scott: Yes, I remember that place. It had one of my favorite dishes: Asparagus wrapped in chicken.

    Sounds crazy, but it was an outstanding dish.

    That was a great restaurant.