12/18/18 3:11pm

The new restaurant moving into the northeast corner building on 11th St. is pitching itself as a spiritual successor to the long-running business that closed there 3 months ago, Dacapo’s Pastry Cafe, with some new signage that touts the planned menu’s closeness to the old one. Chocolate fudge cake, for one, will be made available when the new restaurant called Carmalita’s Cuisine opens next year, along with other leftovers from the shuttered pastry shop’s recipe book such as banana split cake and Italian cream cake. In terms of new offerings: The butter pecan cake slice pictured on the sign now up along Shepherd is Carmalita’s own concoction, as will be the handful of gluten-free offerings hitting the spot next year.

The building at 1141 E. 11th St., part of the Norhill Historic District, is currently split between the not-yet-reopened storefront and and some upstairs office space home to — among others — Elijah Rising, the Christian nonprofit that lobbied both Houston and Harris County officials to block that planned sex-doll brothel from opening on Richmond near Chimney Rock a few months ago.

Photos: Dacapo’s Pastry Cafe (building); Swamplox inbox (sign)


North Norhill Staple Foods
08/27/18 9:45am

DACAPO’S DECAMPS FROM ITS 11TH ST. CORNER NEXT MONTH A Friday afternoon Facebook post from the owners of Dacapo’s Pastry Cafe broke the news that they’re closing on September 29 and skipping town for Tahlequah, Oklahoma where they’ll be “retiring a little early” after 14 years in the storefront pictured above. Of all 4 structures at the intersection of E. 11th St. and Studewood — including the catty-corner Ruggles-Green-turned-Bellagreen, along with Liberty Kitchen and Someburger’s longstanding fast-food shack — the bakery is the oldest; it went up shortly after the surrounding North Norhill subdivision filled up with homeowners in the ’20s. Six years after Dacapo’s moved in, its building became part of the pistol-shaped Norhill Historic District. Situated in the district’s southwest corner — at the end of its original commercial center along 11th — it’s one of the few retail structures left over from the neighborhood’s early days. [Dacapo’s Pastry Cafe; neighborhood history] Photo: Dacapo’s Pastry Cafe

01/11/17 5:15pm

Leasing Materials for former Foreign Correspondents site, Norhill, Houston

The split space occupied until late December by Northern Thai restaurant Foreign Correspondents and its also-freshly-shut-down cocktail bar companion Canard may be up for lease now, a reader notes. Treadsack suffix provider and co-owner Chris Cusack told CultureMap after the restaurant’s closure (spurred in the moment by the resignation of the head chefs, and trailing a few months after the previous departure of the company’s head beverage person) that the company would likely be trying out another concept in the space; that claim, however, was made before the details of years of behind-the-scenes financial turmoil hit the Internet.

A listing flier from Braun Enterprise, showing the center’s updates since the original marketing materials for 4721 N. Main were released, now advertises the restaurant’s space as up for grabs; the recent photo above is included, alongside the accompanying site plans of the 4,742-sq.-ft. space. A plan view of the rest of the shopping center is included as well, showing the currently solidifying new location of Austin-based gelato chain Dolce Neve:


Iced in Norhill
08/05/16 4:30pm

3715 N. Main St., Norhill, Houston

3715 N. Main St., Norhill, Houston

Workers have begun attaching wire netting to the façade of the 4,344-sq.-ft. retail-turned-office building at 3715 N. Main, which county records indicate was built in 1940 and a nearby resident believes once served as a post office for the adjacent neighborhoods of Norhill and Brooke Smith. The netting is in advance, it appears, of a new stucco or stucco-like overcoat for the brick-front structure.

The Iglesia de Restauracion, an affiliate of El Salvador-based pentecostal ministry Mision Cristiana Elim Internacional, bought the building last fall; previously it served as the law offices of voting-rights attorney Frumencio Reyes. In stuccoing the structure, the neighborhood church will be following the pattern established earlier with the successive stuccovers of its own main sanctuary building, the former North Main Theater across the street at 3730 N. Main.

Here’s how that movie theater, which was built in 1936, once looked:


Famous Beige Overcoat
05/05/15 1:30pm

HOW YOU CAN HELP HOUSTON’S FIRST FULL-TIME HUMAN TRAFFICKING COFFEE SHOP COME TO LIFE Mockup of Proposed A 2nd Cup Coffee Shop, 1111 E. 11th St., Norhill, HoustonBeen looking for a good coffee shop somewhere around the Heights where folks can get together and discuss Houston’s role as a major hub for human trafficking? Where caffeine-hunters can experience moments of genuine outrage — then find themselves drawn toward information sessions, group discussions, planning meetings, and double espressos — knowing that all profits from their chatting and coffee-drinking habits will go toward charitable stuff like providing classes and counseling for survivors of human trafficking? If so, then you’ll be happy to learn about A 2nd Cup, which opened as a part-time “incubator” project a couple of years ago. Now the nonprofit, led by former junior-high science teacher Erica Raggett, has begun work on a buildout for a permanent, full-time home — in the Vineyard Church of Houston’s Storehouse storefront at 1111 E. 11th St., just east of Studewood St. (pictured above, right next door to longtime late-night cop favorite Andy’s Café). A 2nd Cup’s backers are trying to raise an additional $100,000 toward the effort on Indiegogo now. [Indiegogo] Photo mockup: A 2nd Cup

01/22/15 2:15pm


Visiting the former Mark’s Plaza shopping center at 4721 N. Main St. near the end of Airline Dr., reader Christopher Andrews notes that the new facade going up (top) appears to be headed in a slightly different direction than what was portrayed in the rendering (below) floated by Braun Enterprises after the serial shopping-center fixer-upper company bought the Norhill property and renamed it The Heights Place.


The Heights Place
12/11/14 11:45am



Previously remodeled and recently tidied, a Norhill cottage is attempting a flip with a twist — and a big finish. Having last sold in mid-October, for $416,000 after a $369,900 listing, the 1928 property popped up again over the weekend with an asking price more than $200K higher: $640,000. Could the price escalation be an example of how frighteningly frothy the local housing market has become, a reader asks? See if you can spot the updates . . .


Pricing Structure
01/27/14 10:45am

935 Algregg St., Norhill, Houston

5018 Darling St., Cottage Grove, Houston

“Interesting to see,” writes a regular Swamplot reader, “what appears to be two identical models of house built a couple years apart and a couple miles apart for sale at the same time.” Though the the 3-story, 5-sided brick design they share is distinctive, there are a few differences between the models — most obviously the fact that one is listed for almost twice the price of the other. Over in Norhill, 935 Algregg St. (pictured at top) was built in 2001 on a 5,000-sq.-ft. lot. It’s listed for sale for $585,000. Two years later in Cottage Grove, 5018 Darling St. was built a 2,796-sq.-ft. lot. It’s now asking $300,000. But there appear to be some differences in the interiors as well.

Here are views of the living room and kitchen of the Norhill model:


Which One of These Is Not Like the Other?
02/27/13 11:00am

What’s a brick bungalow like this doing in a neighborhood of homes dressed mostly in T117 siding? Renovating, apparently. This 1920 property in North Norhill recently buffed itself up for a brand-new listing, with an initial asking price of $382,500. Refurbishments include new stuff in the kitchen, refinished original floors, and fresh paint inside and out. The corner-lot home, east of Studewood St. at W. Temple, backs up to one of the homes facing one of the Norhill esplanades.


11/22/11 11:10pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE ADMIRAL MOTEL HIS CASTLE “I would kill for a moat like that. Even if it couldn’t keep the riff raff out, I could mock all those that are subject to water restrictions.” [Hawthorne Mike, commenting on Houston Property Listing Photo of the Day: Flooded with Offers]

11/22/11 5:27pm

Over the weekend, Lance Fegen and Lee Ellis’s long-awaited Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar finally opened in the former Stop-N-Go on the last remaining corner of 11th St. and Studewood without some sort of restaurant on it. The new neighbor to Someburger, Ruggles 11th St. Cafe, and Dacapo’s Pastry Cafe is now open to the public for dinner.

Excepting, of course, Chronicle food critic Alison Cook: A carefully designed custom decal on the restaurant’s door appears to be the restaurant’s attempt to bar Cook from entry, perhaps to prevent her from penning a Liberty Kitchen review anything like her epic slam of Fegen’s BRC Gastropub last year. Sample sentence from that review: “What to say — besides no, thank you — of BRC’s putative pimento cheese dip that’s a runny splodge of lumpy pinkness on a white plate, with its advertised Vermont cheddar utterly defeated by great gouts of mayonnaise?” Cook’s plea that Liberty Kitchen’s sister restaurant serve the gloppy dip in a ramekin instead is apparently the inspiration for the reference to white plates in this witty comeback only 15 months in the making.

But surely the Liberty Kitchen crew will allow Cook a cup of lukewarm tea in that coffeehouse they’re planning to open next door?


06/29/11 5:15pm

Why is the original scale model of AstroWorld listed for sale on Craigslist? Curator Bill Davenport spent a lot of time dusting the giant model before exhibiting it at his Norhill gallery last fall. He says he’s going to need to move the “irreplaceable (if awkwardly large) bit of Houston history” out of Optical Project on 11th St. soon — “and I really don’t want to dis-assemble it and put it back in Mr. Henderson’s garage, where it will get dirty again.” Ed Henderson built the model in 1967; it was returned to him when the park was dismantled 6 years ago — after long stints in Judge Hofheinz’s 9th-level suite at the Astrodome, and in a Foley’s display case downtown before that. For the Craigslist appearance, Davenport jacked up the asking price to $5,500, but says Henderson would accept $3,000 “from somebody who planned to keep the model in Houston, or donate it to the Houston Public Library’s Metropolitan Research Center.” Library representatives have told Davenport they’d like to put the model on display in the newly expanded Julia Ideson building downtown, but don’t have the money to pay for it.

Photos: Bill Davenport

02/15/11 1:57pm

WE’LL STILL HAVE THE NORHILL HISTORIC DISTRICT TO KICK AROUND The planning department has tallied all the surveys from property owners in the Norhill Historic District — the last of 7 historic districts subject to the one-time “reconsideration” provisions of the revised preservation ordinance city council passed last year. Department spokesperson Suzy Hartgrove says the number of surveys returned was below the 51 percent threshold that would have dissolved the district, but she hasn’t provided the actual percentage. Planning director Marlene Gafrick “has been meeting with council members whose districts are affected” by the reconsideration process, Hartgrove tells Swamplot. “We should have maps ready when this goes to council which may be as early as next week. The Planning Director is still working on her recommendations.” [Previously on Swamplot]