Was It All Just a Dream? Montrose’s MuffinMan Packs It In

“Sometimes I look back and wonder WHAT WAS I THINKING,” writes Jason Perry in a press release he sent to local media outlets announcing the closure of his late-night and after-hours establishment near Montrose and Fairview — and its coming reincarnation as a perhaps quainter little bistro. “Did I really open a penis shaped muffin restaurant, did I really spend more than half of a million dollars on a restaurant that promised to toss peoples salad[?]”

Housed in a 1940 foursquare at 2310 Converse St., the MuffinMan, which opened only a few months ago, actually promised customers a bit more than that. Perry’s possibly NSFW farewell-to-muffins press release explains it best:


The restaurant promised to “toss” customers salads and give an experience similar to going to grandma’s (Gay slang for visiting the bath-House). The restaurant served penis shaped muffins at special events and was the target of complaints by local neighbors.

Complaints? About what?

Muffinman was a controversial restaurant that drew criticism from its inception when it posted a large billboard in front of the restaurant announcing its opinion that a “four inch muffin is better than an eight inch cock.”

Well now — is it really necessary to exaggerate the sizes of these things? That “large billboard” — later taken down and stored on the side of the property — actually measured only about 6 ft. by 6 ft., Perry admits to Swamplot. He says he still meets people who never ate at his restaurant but “just know it by that slogan.” According to Perry one of those people was the MuffinMan’s across-the-street neighbor, who the restaurant owner claims “was so mad he piled a couple hundred dead fish in his parking lot to smoke out” the restaurant with the “horrible smell and flies.” But the MuffinMan persevered. “The city removed the fish 3 months later,” he tells Swamplot.

The city shut down the MuffinMan in late September. Among its problems: the restaurant hadn’t obtained a certificate of occupancy, a valid food permit, or received any inspections by the health department. Plus there were a few beer-license issues with TABC. “It was as if Perry had opened the restaurant on a whim without going through any proper channels whatsoever,” comments Houston Press food critic Katharine Shillcut.

Perhaps Perry’s most vexing problem was meeting city parking requirements. He claims the planning department was enforcing its off-street minimums selectively, requiring him to buy 5 mechanical lifts to create more spaces on his property without making similar demands on other restaurants operating in the same neighborhood. The Neartown Association was working hard to keep MuffinMan closed, he complained to city council on September 28th. (Among the association’s complaints: the restaurant stayed open until 5 a.m. in what members considered a residential neighborhood — even though it’s 2 blocks north of Montrose nightclubs South Beach and JR’s.) “I sober up drunk people. I take drunk drivers off the road,” Perry explained in a long monologue before council that he later posted to YouTube.

But Perry has now decided to let it all go. “I want to thank everyone who made it the greatest penis shaped muffin restaurant houston Had,” he announced on the MuffinMan Facebook page yesterday. He says he’s giving up on his fight to reopen MuffinMan and will instead open a new restaurant in the space, which he’s calling Bistro Valmont. “We are planning on having the building cleansed by Wiccan Witch to get rid of the negative energy,” he declares in his press release. Perry promises more details when the new restaurant is closer to opening.

Photos: Candace Garcia

16 Comment

  • He must have sat down on too many of his own muffins!

  • I had to change my name for this reply to protect my progeny, but if I had know how awesome this guy was I would have been awkwardly stuffing penis muffins in my face since he opened. Sorry to see a great Houstonian like him kept down by those homophobes in Montrose and city government….oh wait, sorry.

  • homophobes in montrose = oxymoron in the highest degree.

    But anyway. Freak out, this house looks EXACTLY like mine. Same color, shape, gate in front, etc.

  • He would have been better served by a mental health professional. You’d have to be delusional (or overly optimistic) if you could ever think you can just open up a restaurant without any of the necessary licensing/health code requirements. While I’m in full support of everyone, this obviously catered to a niche market, and frankly no desire to have my salad tossed.

  • “penis shaped muffin restaurant”

    I am just so glad there is a photo of his place of business.

    In reading the article, I first pictured the restaurant as being a penis shaped muffin.

    Yes, I know but it IS Montrose……..

  • Years ago my wife and I opened a legitimate cafe just down the street from Muffin Man by remodeling a residence. It was no small feat dealing with the city, so I could understand why someone would not want to…even if it is pure lunacy to attempt to circumvent it.

    What was amazing to me was how prejudiced all the local business owners were and how warm and welcoming all our customers were. It was the opposite of what I expected.

    On the surface you would think the 3-5am Montrose crowd would be a lucrative opportunity, but when you learn what comprises the 3-5am Montrose crowd you quickly realize that there are some dollars you can live without.

    Thank you Swamplot for the article, and thank you Muffin Man for reminding me of the things I don’t miss about that cafe.

    *name changed here too, sorry Gus

  • I know who you are in spite of the pseudonym. ;-)

  • I can see how the neighbors might react badly for the situation. the owner of the restaurant should have went through the proper guidelines before opening the restaurant if he really wanted it to succeed. I’ve sold and leased many houses in the neighborhood and the neighborhood is very diverse. But unfortunately it only takes 1 person to complain to make a serious problem. if you or anyone you know may need a place in the neighborhood please give a call or go to our website for a list of homes for sale.

  • All the licensing issues aside, aren’t the parking requirements for a place two blocks from a cluster of nightclubs, designed to feed people coming out of those clubs, kind of stupid?

  • Have to say that his You Tube video of speaking in front of council was certainly more entertaining than the usual nimrods who cannot get five coherent
    Sentences together before time is up.

  • Ew “texasrealtypros.com”… awful grammar AND a plug for your business? Really?

  • Yeah, that site is pretty cheese ball.

  • Good riddance – regardless of the many non-food related issues surrounding the property, the bottom line is that the food was average at best (and I am being generous here). I guess if you are grabbing some sober up food at 3-5 AM, you really don’t care.

  • I am glad he is gone. He threatened to sue anyone who made any noise about his plain lack of common sense. He actually bragged on his Facebook page that he liked to sue people for fun. That is a good way to make friends with the neighbors. I am tired of kids from the burbs coming down here to live a cliche version of the gay life. Cock shaped muffins and bathhouses, come on! Trite! I am surprised he didn’t call his next venture The Glory Hole. Vistro Valmont, I guess he is taking a page from Sugarland developers’ building naming convention. Maybe he’ll go beige next. I give him six months to pack up and move back with his parents in Sugarland.

  • Excuse my grammar 1986 … so sorry.. I am using voice to text on my android phone… it works but it doesn’t … :) hahahha … lol

  • hahaha lol? … are you 12? JK LOL OMG.