Rice Epicurean Giving Up the Groceries, Leasing 4 Locations to Fresh Market

Rice Epicurean Markets is finally giving up on 4 of its 5 remaining locations, the company announced today. The lone holdout is the company’s store on Fountain View at Inwood, which will remain open for the foreseeable future. Its Holcombe, Weslayan, Tanglewood, and Memorial locations will be leased to The Fresh Market, a chain based in North Carolina.


The grandchildren of William and Edna Levy, who in 1937 opened the first Rice Blvd. Food Market at 2501 Rice Blvd. in a then-empty Rice Village, indicate in a statement that they intend to follow a path paved by the successor owners of another local grocery chain, Weingarten’s: “Throughout our history our business has naturally expanded into real estate, primarily in neighborhood shopping centers with our own stores and other quality retailers,” they write. “With this transaction, our family’s progression and growth in the Houston real estate business continues.” The company will be Fresh Market’s landlord in 3 of the locations.

The 4 Rice Epicurean stores will close beginning in the first quarter of 2013, the company said. Fresh Market plans to open its stores later that year.

Photo of Memorial Location, 12516 Memorial Dr.: Terah K.

21 Comment

  • The Fresh Market is a much better experience than Rice Epicurean. It looks like it’ll be the first ones in Texas too.

    The Fresh Market is also the Whole Foods without the Pretension. I used to love to shop at the one in Baton Rouge.

  • Hmmm. Could be some truth to the rumor that Fresh Market was looking at leasing space in the potential replacement for San Jacinto Stone. They are certainly making a play for the Houston grocery market (everyone else is).

  • Hate to see this, but such is modern life.

  • What I did like about The Fresh Market was the layout. There are NO endless middle aisles of products. You can see clear across the store. There is a small section of rows relegated to a corner of the store.

  • There is a Rice Epi within walking distance. I like it because no one else shops there, so for quick in-and-out, it is nonpareil. But when it closes, there’ll be nowhere to get See’s Candies (I hand out boxes for Xmas), except Willowbrook.

  • You would have thought I would have visited the Tanglewood location frequently since I lived at Tanglewood Court for a while, but it was ridiculously expensive, so it made more sense to drive to Kroger on Voss.

  • Apparently that’s the Fountain View at Inwood location.

  • I love their chicken tenders. And brownies. Sadness.

  • @Chef I think there is a See’s Candies store on Beechnut across from Meyerland Plaza

  • Many of the employees appear to have been employed with Rice Epicurean for years. I used to live nearby the Tanglewood location and would drop in from time to time to shop. The same ladies would always be working the registers and seemed extremely satisfied and pleased to do so. Those kinds of employees are rare and I hope they can find employment elsewhere. As for the store, I was never a huge fan.

  • I almost never went there, but felt that in the few visits to the store, items were priced too high. I always wondered who shopped at Rice Epicurean.

  • This has been a long time coming, those stores have been dead men walking since the Clinton administration.

  • I will miss having a spot nearby to get Sees Candy and unfrosted cinnamon pop tarts. Time to stock up!

  • Sad to see another Houston-based institution die. While Rice isn’t what it used to be, it was at one time a great store. I grew up shopping at the Post Oak location where you used to be able to just “charge it to your account.” As a young teenager, a trip to Rice Epicurean was never complete without stopping by the burger counter at the old Post Oak Pharmacy. Everyone knew you by name back then…

  • I went to the Fountainview store for the first time in about ten years on Saturday after dinner next door at La Vista but left without buying anything because it was so expensive.

  • Problem buying Sees Candy?
    You can buy them in their own stores at Baybrook Mall in Friendswood and Willowbrook Mall in northwest Houston. Also available at H-E-B Markets, and Dillard’s Department Stores.

  • Fresh Market is an excellent limited-service grocery store. With a great butcher/fish counter and high quality vegetables, you can basically get everything you need.

  • Have to go to Rice to get powdered Cheer detergent, and Product 19 cereal as Kroger and Randall’s are too busy pushing their own brands.

  • HEB likewise cuts back on national brands.

    I can’t even remember how many times I’ve looked for a “known” product only to find the only thing available is their own.

  • Tanglewood location is that the San Felipe at S. Post Oak one? Just wondering, figured it would be dead soon due to Whole paycheck foods going in across the street.

  • I miss the Rice Village store. It was small and old and homey. It also had like 5 parking spots.