Chef Travis Lenig, along with partner Christopher “Chico” Ramirez, opened his first restaurant, Field & Tides at 705 East 11th on February 13. According to a press release, “Field” is represented by locally sourced vegetables, pork, poultry, beef and game, while “Tides” is seafood that is locally sourced as well, with an emphasis on the Gulf. The upscale casual restaurant is only a few blocks from Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar, where Lenig had spent the last six years as it became one of the most popular restaurants in the Heights.
The design for the 54-seat dining room is a collaboration between Ramirez’s wife, Wyndy Ramirez of Wynne Design Works and interior designer and craftsman Gino Vian of Merchant & Market. The patio is spacious and seats up to 24 guests. Come spring, there are plans to open the gas station next door as a separate lounge and bar serving wine, beer, cocktails and light bites.
The menu looks promising with interesting items like pimento cheese fritters, Gulf coast smoked fish dip and entrees like the venison roasted rack with braised red cabbage and a bourbon peppercorn demi.
Austin import Ramen Tatsu-Ya announced that it will open at 1722 California in Montrose on Monday, February 22. This is the Japanese soul food restaurant's third location, and the first location outside of Austin. Owners and executive chefs Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya “Tako” Matsumoto bring a menu of signature items including tonkotsu and vegetarian ramen, appetizers including gyozo (pork dumplings), sweet and sour-style brussels sprouts, and more to the fun space, which captures the vibe of "Japanese ramen meets DJ culture." Ramen Tatsu-Ya will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Paul Qui, Top Chef and James Beard award winner behind East Side King in Austin shared a hint of his plans to come to Houston with Instagram followers. Qui had been in the news back in March for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend. CultureMap Houston reported that the structure in the Instagram photo matched a building going up at 520 Westheimer.
On February 15, Qui confirmed with the Houston Chronicle that Aqui, which will feature “wood and wok cooking,” will open in spring or early summer of this year in the “Mid-trose” area between Montrose and Midtown.
On Sunday, February 12, My Fit Foods announced the closure of all stores. The healthy pre-packaged meals chain operated more than 40 retail stores in more than five states, according to its LinkedIn page. The Austin-based company was founded in 2006 and had been a leader in the healthy foods market.
My Fit Foods officials released the following statement:
Swamplot reported a new pizza franchise opened in Richmond at 5650 West Grand Parkway South, suite 100. A manager at Urban Bricks Pizza Co. told the Press that it celebrated its grand opening on January 28. She also mentioned that this was the first store to open in the Houston area, but future plans include at least a dozen new locations.
A reader’s tip noted construction and signage for a new Shipley’s behind the McDonald’s and Exxon on the corner of Wirt Road and Interstate 10.
Galiana’s Bakery & Cafe is set to open by mid-February at 24110 Highway 290, suite 500, in Cypress. Community Impact reported that Houston restaurateur David Herrera, who also owns Dario’s Steakhouse & Seafood and four Alicia’s Mexican Grille locations, plans to offer artisanal breads, international pastries and desserts as well as a breakfast and lunch menu at the new bakery and café. Herrera named the restaurant after his granddaughters.
A photo posted on Houston Streetwise shows signage for a new taco joint called Sonora Tacos & Hot Dogs at 1801 Richmond. Additional information is not available at this time.
Since 2006, My Fit Foods has been on a mission to make healthy eating easy and accessible for everyone. We've enjoyed getting to know you, and we are proud that we have made a difference in many of your lives.
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the closure of all our stores. We know that you have depended upon us to support your healthy habits, and we are deeply sorry for any inconvenience our closure may have caused you.
In the days following the announcement, customers who still had active accounts with the company were upset and disappointed. Snap Kitchen, a similar company offering healthy meal options has stepped up to help those customers, as reported by FOX 7 Austin.
“My Fit Foods customers that come in with their My Fit Food loyalty card, we're giving $10 off their next order and it's an opportunity for us to introduce really great food, we're constantly innovating our menu,” said Snap Kitchen CEO David Kirchhoff.
News about the Texans Grille’s possible shuttering came as early as last Tuesday, February 7 in chatter in Facebook groups. On February 9, the Chronicle confirmed the closure of the upscale sports bar at 12848 Queensbury Lane in City Centre. A message on the restaurant’s site stated:
"We are closed permanently. We thank you for your 5+ years of patronage. If you have gift card questions, please email a copy of the front and the back of the card and a copy of the original purchase receipt, along with an address for refund to email@example.com."
The Express Rolls at 11805 Westheimer has closed. The storefront in the Starbucks shopping strip shared with the H-E-B at Kirkwood and Westheimer has been dark for months. The place opened in October 2016, but has sported temporary closure signs “due to renovations,” on its doors throughout December, according to posts from customers and now appears to have closed for good. Possibly more Express Roll locations have closed for the same reason. A Facebook post mentioned that a diner “went to the one in the tunnel, Memorial, and Westheimer. All three were closed for the same reason.” No one could be reached to confirm.