The new name for the area restaurants formerly known as Ruggles Green is part of a strategy for the Houston-based chain to disassociate itself with local chef Bruce Molzan, its CEO admits. “Yes, we want to distance ourselves from him,” Jason Morgan tells Chronicle reporter Andrea Rumbaugh. Morgan’s investment firm, Hargett Hunter Capital Partners, purchased Ruggles Green last October. Today the firm announced it is rebranding all 5 area restaurants as Bellagreen, a move presaged by the publication in its social media feeds earlier this month of the photo above — showing its patio at CityCentre while artfully eliding the signage.
Molzan, the longtime chef at the former Ruggles Grill on Westheimer, is no longer an owner of the Ruggles Green chain he cofounded, but he and his ex-wife retain rights to the Ruggles name. But there’s more than the risk of too many confusing Ruggleses for Bellagreen to contend with; there’s also the issue of Molzan’s fish-y reputation: Molzan was accused by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department earlier this year of operating Texas’s largest-ever unlicensed seafood network, selling illegally caught finfish to restaurants, including Ruggles Black and Ruggles Green, for almost 4 years.
Scratch that whole Whole Foods Market reannouncing its BLVD Place plans bit. The new Houston store the grocery company announced yesterday will be a 40,000-sq.-ft. spot in a new strip center planned for the Champions area — on a now-forested plot of land at the southeast corner of Louetta Rd. and Cutten Rd., a few blocks east of the Vintage Park shopping center. And it won’t open until 2014.
Have a look around this little 25,637-sq.-ft. castle on a 5-acre lot at the edge of the Champions Golf Course. The master suite alone measures 3,000 sq. ft. Construction began in 2005, but last year the property was taken over by the lender, Encore Bank, before the final touches could be completed — like the elevator connecting the 3-car underground garage to the rest of the house. The MLS listing announced the bank planned to auction the home by November 5th to the highest bidder. But it was scooped up before then — for $3.5 million — by someone who could truly appreciate its fine marble and plaster finishes: the founder of a drywall contracting company and his wife. Wayne and Karen Martin tell the Chronicle‘s Nancy Sarnoff they plan to finish the home and landscape it with “European-style” gardens and reflecting ponds. “There’s a lot of history in that place. It’s phenomenal,” Martin tells Sarnoff.
But they don’t plan to move in.
Those highfalutin designers and their fancy theoretical jargon. Just skip the conceptual mumbo-jumbo and tell us where we’ll be able to make left turns!
A closer look at a few of those proposals for greenifying the new medians going in on the strip between I-45 and Mills Rd.:
Champions has a golf course, Cy-Fair schools, and FM 1960. What’s not to like . . . unless you’re a loser? Plus: tall trees, and neighborhood names like Champions Park, Champions Place, Champions Colony. This weekend’s tour of open houses includes a home in nearby Barrington Woods. It’s a winner too!
Location: 5907 Lookout Mountain Dr.
Details: 3-4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths; 2,335 sq. ft.
The Scoop: Late-seventies 2-story home on large cul-de-sac lot next to Champions Golf Course, in Champions Colony. Mostly tile floors; partial brick exterior. Beamed-ceiling Living Room has adjacent Bar. On market for 2 weeks.
Open House: Saturday, 1-4pm
More Champions . . . after the jump!