LIBERTY KITCHEN NOW FREE FROM GARDEN OAKS 5 months after a grand reopening to celebrate the end of road construction along Alba Rd. that had been hindering access to the restaurant, Liberty Kitchen Garden Oaks has shut down. Last night was its last meal. The restaurant had opened at 3715 Alba Rd. in June 2016, taking over a renovation of the property (and demolition of an adjacent Quonset hut to make room for parking) originally intended to house a Facundo Restaurante. “We debuted a new menu, a new beer garden and a new parking lot in an effort to revitalize patronage” after the road construction ended earlier this year, write the owners of Liberty Kitchen. But that wasn’t enough, and Hurricane Harvey “served as an additional financial hurdle company-wide.” The Liberty Kitchen Heights, San Felipe, and Memorial City locations remain open; the Little Liberty in the Rice Village closed this past March. Photo: Oksana W.
Not surprising, but the Harvey excuse rings of BS. GO/OF isn’t seen as a dining destination and doesn’t have the demographics or density to support very many neighborhood restaurants at this price point.
I’m so disappointed! LKGO was such a great neighborhood spot! We will miss them.
I don’t know all the details, but this feels like yet another case of overambitious expansion. Houstonians with successful restaurants seem obsessed with turning them into big chains very quickly—with questionable results. Opening one additional outpost across town or in the suburbs may make sense. But go/of is just the next neighborhood north from the Heights!
The Harvey excuse may soon be a fraud case if they try to collect federal money to pay for their “loss of business” … they were never that busy before the storm
W 34th street is going to be the next White Oak and Washington for restaurants. They should have been patient and waited to go in now that 34th Street is going thru a big revival. :-)
Also, LKGO made a BIG MISTAKE going so far off the beaten track. Who did they think they were fooling?
Finally, it did not help them that the street in front of them got torn up to kingdom come just after they opened. It was a long shot from the beginning.
Alba Rd. construction was a tough break. But it is very difficult to pull of the GOOF/Heights double. There are just way too many choices in the Heights to expect anyone to cross 610 to go to a very similar version of the same restaurant in the Heights. And GOOF residents are very used to heading south into the Heights for food and fare.
Too pricey to be a once or twice a week stop, and based on location, that is what they need–local neighborhood residents support. Look at Petrol Station, that place is always packed. Even Crow Bar is crowded although their draw isn’t really the food which is merely passable.
A restaurant in the middle of a neighborhood with very little street traffic. I wonder why it failed?
I think it’s possible for a restaurant in the middle of a residential neighborhood with little or no street traffic to thrive, but it depends on the neighborhood.
One of my favorite restaurants in New Orleans, Clancy’s, is on a corner in a residential neighborhood, surrounded by single family detached houses. It’s not near hotels or tourist areas. It’s not in an “entertainment district”: there’s only one other restaurant within 4 blocks. It has zero parking. In Houston, we would call this a recipe for failure, but in fact, it’s a thriving neighborhood business.
The difference is that the neighborhood that Clancy’s is in, despite being platted for single family residential, is actually pretty dense. The houses have minimal front and side setbacks, and the rights of way are reasonably narrow. There are probably 300 residences within a 1000-ft walk down pleasant tree-lined streets.
In the case of LKGO, there are maybe 50 residences with a 1000-ft walk along a street with no sidewalks that’s still largely industrial. The point being, we can have great neighborhood restaurants, but we need to start by having great neighborhoods.
Visited several times but was never our prime go to spot. Between Petrol, Cottonwood, Plonk, Shepherd Park Drought-house, or Crowbar you never had to go south of 610 for great on tap beer selections or food. This version of LK didnt have the standards of the Heights or Riveroaks locations that we preferred. Location didnt really matter as Petrol is in the middle of the neighborhood and not that far from LK, and it’s packed regularly. Being a fan of Fegen I was happy he put a concept in the area since Surfing Cowboys never happened, but we have a whole slew of new local restaurants about to come on line or be constructed, so it’s a good time to live in the GO/OF area.
This building has a sordid past history of code enforcement non-compliance. It should never have been allowed to open as a restaurant (it never legally was allowed!) But the LKGO people want to use Harvey as the excuse.