Restaurant Buzz

Houston Dining News for August 2013

Laurann Claridge
August 01, 2013

At West Ave, it’s out with Katsuya (the highly designed Philippe Starck sushi haven from L.A.) and in with Donald Chang’s Nara. Chang — the South Korean-born owner of Uptown Sushi, Bluefin and the former Nara — will reincarnate the latter this fall as the first eatery inside the loop devoted entirely to modern Korean cuisine. The space is being reimagined by Houston architect Issac Preminger … Summertime Mainers, rejoice: Maine-ly Sandwiches will open an outpost in the former Sugarbabies Cupcake space on Shepherd near West Alabama. Look for Melvin Charity to open his sandwich shop with its best-selling lobster rolls this month … This month is Houston Restaurant Weeks, a month-long celebration of local chefs’ fare that spans August 1 to September 2. Cleverly Stone’s charitable program, sustained this year by more than 169 eateries, has raised more than $1.22 million to date for the Houston Food Bank. Book a table (early) at any of the participating restaurants, requesting the multi-course prix fixe menu at lunch ($20) or dinner ($35 to $50), and a portion of the proceeds are donated to fighting hunger in Houston. Information … Congrats to Underbelly and Oxheart, which were singled out by Conde Nast Traveler as two of 70 Best New Restaurants in the World in a recent issue … We’re looking forward to the opening of Brick & Spoon on West Alabama. The Southern-style concept, created by owners Bryan Jewell and Ryan Trahan, offers a sophisticated take on breakfast and lunch. Look for this small chain (with four locales and counting) to open this fall … The Fat Cats — aka owners Sarah and Jarvis Johnston and production manager Courtney Blackmore of Fat Cat Creamery — have opened their first scoop shop at 1901 N. Shepherd. In addition to churning out signature ice cream flavors such as Cat’s Meow Mexican Vanilla and Waterloo Strawberry Buttermilk, their crew will dish up old-fashioned sodas, push-up pops, ice cream sandwiches, sundaes, malts and even a coffee program … Lee Ellis and partners are readying for the opening of Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette at 4224 San Felipe (near the St. Regis Hotel) this month … While details are limited, Paula Murphy reveals that her clients chef Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught (owners of Hugo’s and Backstreet Café) are opening Caracol in the new BBVA Center on Post Oak (which will make them neighbors of chef John Sheely’s soon-to-open Osteria Mazzantini) … Heights dining dish overheard (literally) on West 19th Street: Torchy Tacos’ newest eatery has taken the corner spot of the former Harold’s menswear emporium; expect a fall reveal. The other half of the iconic haberdashery will be The Heights General Store, topped by a second-floor restaurant, bar and alfresco patio named — what else? — Harold’s, with its named spelled out in the red plastic cursive signage from the original menswear store.