Vida’s Second Act

VIDA’S SECOND ACT The owners of the renamed and renovated Melcher Crossing shopping center by the tracks at 4218 San Felipe brought in their own adults-only restaurant last September, reporter Rusty Graham explains: “‘We thought “how hard can it be?”’ Evie Melcher said. ‘We thought we’d just open it up and it would run itself. But there’s so much to bring together.’ Between a manager that didn’t work out and a ‘diva’ chef who quit, the Melchers have experienced and overcome the challenges. The restaurant is ‘chefless’ for the foreseeable future, the kitchen overseen by a manager. Menu items are recipes supplied by the kitchen staff; after the chef quit workers brought in family recipes that were cooked up and tried out. The best are on the menu today, what Evie Melcher calls ‘sexy Tex-Mex.’ ‘Tex-Mex doesn’t need to be weird’ she said. “Our food is less greasy, better tasting and of a higher quality, but it isn’t weird. It’s going home and not feeling so full.'” [River Oaks Examiner] Photo: Vida Tex-Mex

18 Comment

  • There are alot of problems with this restaurant than just the “diva” chef quiting and a bad manager! If the Melchers are smart, they will lease to a successful restauranteur and give up their ownership and management of the restaurant. Vida is a tarnished concept that will not survive round 2.

  • I think “Make Houston Scenic” probably hasn’t tried this great tex-mex eatery. They serve some of the best Houston’s scene has to offer…..

  • the fact that they don’t allow children to step foot in the door is a little off-putting and ridiculous. it’s tex mex, it should be kid friendly. why eliminate such a large portion of your potential customer base out of the gate?

  • @ Gary. In fact, I have tried it 3 times over a 3 month period. I would give it a C- grade for the food & service. Houston has alot of excellent Tex-Mex restaurants, so the competition is fierce. I think they made a major mistake with the “sexy” Tex-Mex tag line and the adults only policy. Many people wrongly assume there is something sexual going on inside.

  • I’ll say it once, I’ll say it again. Why did the owners of this property bother to renovate and keep this dog a shopping strip center? I would have bought one of the residences @ St. Regis…

  • They ruined the roll-n too. Poor taste all around.

  • Residence at the St Regis? Who comes up with this stuff. Last time the Ritz Carlton wanted that property they wanted to build more parking for the hotel and that was in the 70s. Is that really better than a newly renovated shopping center? I drive by there all the time. It’s too small for a huge tower and lets count how many times mid to high rise developments go bust in this city. I would think not. And personally I love the Railyard. It’s clean thank god. Last time I went in the Roll N the ceiling was caving in and the bathroom should have been condemned. I appreciate the fact that the Melchers are trying something different and I would love to eat in an environment free from kids and obnoxious little league teams like at the Lupes and escalantes of the world. Thank you Vida. I’ll have to try you sometime!

  • As long as they keep Harry’s Shoes in the fold, I’m game and in support. My most vivid memories of that center were from the late 70’s- carpool to St John’s from Memorial. Mary Lee Donuts (with gas pumps) where the “sexy” Tex Mex joint is now. Harry’s Shoes, U-Totem, Roll N Saloon, and a couple of other plain jane joints. right next to the RR tracks and River Oaks- what could be more vintage H-Town?!

  • I loved the comment from the owner on their thought of running a restaurant: “how hard could it be?” I see this all the time with businesses that people think are “sexy”, or “cool”, or “fun”. They have no idea. All successful businesses are the result of brains and LOTS of hard work. nothing just “runs itself” folks! How some of these people raise capital is just beyond me.

  • “HTX REZ” – Did you not read the article? The reason the Melchers renovated the center is because it was the first location and it obviously has sentimental value to their family. People in this city are 50/50. If they had sold out the center to a developer ½ the people in the area would be outraged that they were “sellouts”. The other ½ are upset that the center was not redeveloped to their liking. You’re dammed if you do damned if you don’t. Plus the Roll-in had the option to renew their lease and they choose not to do so. If you like the food go to Vida if you don’t then go somewhere else….simple as that.

  • Melchers got rich (richer?) on U-Tote-Ems, the now-defunct convenience stores.

    You know, LeRoy Melcher?

    Let them play with their strip center.

    They KNOW strip centers, believe me!

  • 1. The “Sexy Tex Mex” appears to have been covered over, but poorly. Still visible but faint.

    2. The food and decor in this reseaurant are not good enough to compete in Houston. No question about it.

    3. The strip mall renovation is very poorly done. The signs above the stores could not have been more badly designed. No lighting, and not legible either from a distance or from an angle. They would work if you were, for example, looking at an elevation print, already pulling in, or driving by with your gaze fixed 90 degrees from your direction of travel. None of these are very useful.

    4. Wow – bad landscaping. What’s with the white rocks and irregular black rocks (leftover pieces of asphault?) and scraggly cacti?

    5. Finally, the Railyard is just not great either. You can’t create a faux hole in the wall and expect it to have the same appeal as the Roll In.

    Overall, this entire project is clearly a miss. I don’t think it needs to be torn down, but it could have been handled so much better. Good thing the whole place is a sentimental, vanity project and not a real investment.

  • Centro??? Are you kidding? The center is vastly improved……

  • I agree that it is vastly improved. But it is still poorly done.

  • Centro,

    I find it interesting that you have enough time on your hands to tear apart the Melcher family’s recent works. Personal grudge must?

  • We drove to Houston to dine there from the Woodlands and our over all impression was great. Service was good, staff very friendly and helpful. The owner made a point to stop and make sure everything was to our satisfaction. I think it is a great concept to be able to go out to dinner and not have to deal with everyones kids running around or screaming. We will definitely be back.

  • Not tearing apart the family – I don’t even know them, but I’m sure they are lovely people on a personal level. I am, however, commenting on their project, bar, and restaurant, all of which I think are misses. That said, the readership of this blog (especially an older thread like this) is quite low and I can’t imagine that this line of commentary influences many people. The market will vote though and we will see whether I am off base or on track.

  • I too find it refreshing to finally be able to enjoy a lunch or dinner without having to deal with people’s badly behaved children. I get tired of going to restaurants, paying a lot of money (I’m talking about really nice restaurants too) and having to listen to someone’s screaming, tantrum-throwing children while I’m trying to enjoy my meal. Just because parent’s can tune it out, doesn’t mean everyone else should be subjected to it.

    Thank you Vida!!