When the Spindletop Stops

A longtime fan of the rotating Spindletop Restaurant perched on top of the Hyatt Regency Hotel Downtown writes in to note the passing . . . of the restaurant’s website:

I last called them in January to see about a reservation but they were still closed from Hurricane Ike. The gentleman who answered insisted they would re-open someday soon and I was intrigued. I continued checking their website for an announcement every few weeks but it never arrived and then the site itself disappeared Sadly, when websites revert to parking pages, it’s all but assured the business behind them has folded.

If the Spindletop is indeed gone, a slowly revolving icon of Houston’s oil boom days, what would the Hyatt do with such a, umm, unique structure perched atop it’s hotel? Landry’s Heliport and Cloud Bar? Rennovate it to become *the* foremost penthouse in the city? “Hey baby, not just the bed rotates, but the whole penthouse!” Perhaps just another semi-adequate restaurant with a unique and stunning view?

What was the city perch like in its glory pre-Ike days?


Austin travel and food bloggers Rachel and Logan Cooper made a springtime pilgrimage last year:

This place was seven kinds of cheesy. The elevator to the top was outlined in light bulbs, which were just calling for a little light Kool and the Gang. There was a salad bar. The food we saw being carried by jutted out in every direction from the oversized square plates. It was fancy circa the mid-90s.

And on we traveled, light reflecting off the surrounding skyscrapers. Thinking we were smart, we’d timed our visit to this odd throwback for sunset. Any dreams we’d had of an unparalleled view of the setting sun were sort of crushed by the fact that the entire westward sky was, well, blocked by buildings. Oops. Perhaps in 1973, the view would have knocked us right out of our rainbow-striped knee socks.

Photos of Spindletop Restaurant, 1200 Louisiana St., Downtown: Flickr users Imelda Bettinger (street view; license) and TxTamz (interior)

8 Comment

  • aaah, shucks. I always wanted to have a drink or dine in that place. I just never put it on the calendar.

  • I read on HAIF that the turntable got knocked off its track by Ike and there’s basically no way to fix it.

  • Sounds like a sweet deal for the building owner. They get to send their insurance company an enormous bill to repair the structure; then pocket the cash and close the restaurant. They are probably laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Sorry to hear this. I’m so glad that I did get to eat at The Spindletop once. Not the greatest food but a lovely sparkling nighttime scene all around. I think every big city should have a rotating restaurant up in the air. By law.

  • I dunno, it seems like a tough nut to crack. It would have been built piece by piece, so the entire restaurant structure is probably way too heavy for a crane and there’s no place to put one that big anyway. It could be that its current off-track situation precludes having an occupancy permit, but there is probably no cost-effective way to either fix it or demo it. Of course, I am just speculating and would like to hear from someone with better knowledge.

  • They could always make a flying saucer out of it. Just add a flux capacitor and your good to go.

  • One great idea would be to have a celebrity chef turn it into a signature restaurant, like the Hyatt Regency Dallas did with its Reunion Tower – it’s now a Wolfgang Puck Restaurant called Five Sixty – and it’s great. Set near the convention center and in the heart of downtown, it’s the perfect draw for out-of-towners and urban dwellers alike. It’s gorgeous and reviews are high.

    See images at the Web site here:

  • It is possible that Hyatt will be turining the space into a Regency Club Lounge. That is what they did with Equinox, a similar revolving restaurant in the Hyatt Regency San Francisco.