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Openings and Closings: Street to Kitchen Has Big Plans, The Spot Expands Inland

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Food On Table

Street to Kitchen, 3401 Harrisburg, is expected to open November 2023 at The Plant in Second Ward. This will be a relocation for the Thai restaurant from James Beard Award-winning chef Benchawan Jabthong Painter and co-owner and husband, Graham Painter. The duo's East End restaurant has been nationally recognized and lauded for its cuisine which they describe as "unapologetically" Thai. It will continue to serve its customers at the current location at 6501 Harrisburg while the new space is being prepared for the move.

This is a big announcement as the former Cafe Louie space was originally slated for chef Angelo Emiliani's New York Pizza joint, Angie's Pizza. More on that in a moment.

The Painters will soon begin interior renovations of the 2,800 square-foot-space which will accommodate 100 guests, nearly triple the amount of seats at the current location which is in a gas station strip center, a fact which blew the minds of bigwigs in the culinary world.

The bigger space will have an outdoor patio, expected to be completed by the end of the year. There will also be a walk-up window where Street to Kitchen will offer the Thai omelets it currently only sells at Urban Harvest Farmers Market. The expansion also means that cocktails will be added to the beverage program.

Chef Benchawan won the James Beard Award Best Chef: Texas last month, as we reported here in the Houston Press. She also opened a collaborative tasting restaurant, Th Prsrv, with chef David Skinner this past May next to Skinner's good-luck-getting-a-reservation restaurant Eculent.

Neighbor's Pizza Bar, 3401 Harrisburg, is the new name for Angelo Emiliani's former planned concept, Angie's Pizza. Instead of opening in the space that housed Angelo Emiliani's previous ventures which he opened with his sister Lucianna Emiliani, the new pizza place will take over the former How to Survive on Land and Sea spot next door, which happens to have the same address.

While the name of the concept has changed, the focus on artisan pies has not. Fans of his pizza pop-ups will find 18-inch New York-style pizzas made with locally-sourced ingredients and cooked in a wood-fired oven. There will also be a beverage program with beer, wine and cocktails.

The Spot, 2502 Gulf Freeway S., will open later this summer in League City. First opened in 1998, the Galveston restaurant expanded over the years adding four beachfront bars that each feature a unique drink menu and theme. There are also family-friendly dining options as well.

In 2002, busboy-turned-business-owner Dennis Byrd purchased the restaurant at the tender age of 22, taking on various positions at the restaurant and learning the secret to a successful restaurant. For Byrd that means creating a space where people make good memories over good food. That success has led to Byrd expanding the concept with a second location inland. The new restaurant will feature the bright colors, coastal atmosphere and laid-back vibe of the original Galveston location thanks to Mark Cantu, Vice President of Operations and Lauren Desormeaux, who has the super-cool title of VP of People and Culture.

Chef Carlo Martinez has created the menu which will offer some of the flagship restaurant's greatest hits like fresh seafood and juicy burgers. Its hand-spun milkshakes will be on the menu as well as its most popular cocktails from the four bars at The Spot: Tiki Bar, SideYard, Squeeze Ritas and Tequilas and RumShack.

There will be an outdoor patio and play lawn for kids. Televisions, 50 of them, will be located throughout the restaurant.

Coco Crepes & Coffee, 3303 Richmond, will have a grand opening July 24 for its 9th Houston-area location. Located in the space that previously housed the Velvet Melvin Pub, the cafe and coffee shop is part of Bella Restaurants Group, a locally-owned hospitality company from CEO Youssef Nafaa.

The Upper Kirby location seats 99 guests and has a 400 square-foot patio facing Richmond Avenue. Nafaa and Amy Vonderau of Amy Vonderau Interiors collaborated on the design with Nafaa personally installing the state-of-the-art crepe station and the new electrical system in addition to taking the photos that adorn the interior. With floor-to-ceiling windows and bright greenery, the creperie invites guests in with its yellow neon sign reading "oh crepe that's good."

Coco's offers a variety of both sweet and savory crepes and galettes along with soups, salads and sandwiches. There are breakfast dishes like the Breakfast Crepe with scrambled eggs and a choice of meat, the Breakfast Croissant plus a selection of waffles. Lunch and dinner items like the Croque Monsieur, Mediterranean Panini and the Panini Combo make for a pleasant, casual meal.

Savory crepes include the Chicken + Spinach, Beef Bourguignon and La Jardiniere, a vegetarian crepe filled with avocado, veggies, caramelized onions, goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. For dessert, or just a snack, there are sweet crepes such as the classic Nutella, White Chocolate Raspberry, Creme Brulee and Bananas Foster.

For drinks, there are coffee specialties like espresso, cortado and macchiato plus its signature Cococcinos, an ice coffee blend made with gelato. Smoothies and tea round out the drink menu.

Love Croissants, 2808 Caroline, opened July 19. It's the first retail storefront for the baked goods business from chef Omar Pereney. Known for his now-shuttered restaurant Peska, which he began as executive chef at the very young age of 20. Pereney is a principal at Culinary Matters, a food consulting agency here in Houston. He most recently created the menu for CAPS Supper Club and Bar.

Pereney has been involved in the culinary world since he was a tween. The Venezuelan-born chef even had his own cooking show as a 14-year-old in Venezuela. After leaving Peska in 2018, he began doing consulting work for restaurants and catering.

Making croissants was a hobby and mental escape for Pereney but in March 2022, he debuted his baked goods at the local Urban Harvest Farmers Market. Now the venture has resulted in the young chef taking residence at the former Weight + Measures space in Midtown which was purchased last year by Xavier and Mari Godoy, as reported by CultureMap Houston. The couple also own and operate Mastrantos off Studewood in the Heights.

The croissants take three days to prepare, a process that uses a lot of butter and a lot of love, which means a lot of dough. Butter croissants start at $6 with sweet options such as the decadent Pain au Chocolate ($8) made with Valrhona dark chocolate. The Twice-baked Almond Cardamom offers a unique flavor profile not often seen here in the states.

There are savory croissants such as the Ham & Asiago or Turkey & Goat Cheese plus mini croissants which can be purchased singly for $3 or by the dozen for $30. The dozen includes flavors such as butter, goat cheese, almond and chocolate. Love Croissants also offers cruffins, crolaches and tarts.

The baked goods are meant to be eaten within hours of baking and when they're gone, customers will have to wait until the next day's batch. The croissanterie is open Wednesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

West on West, 12220 Westheimer, is shooting to open some of its businesses by early Fall 2023. In the meantime, the company has announced six newly signed concepts that will open at the retail development, which will be anchored by a 33,029 square-foot 99 Ranch Market grocery store.

The international and globally-inspired businesses will join two previously announced tenants, Gen Korean BBQ House and Teso Life., both expected to open in late 2023 or early 2024.

The six new concepts added to the lineup:

Tsujita Artisan Noodle will open this fall as the first southern U.S. location at the development, occupying a 2,814 square-foot space. The Houston restaurant will be join the system that includes 18 in Japan and six across Los Angeles and New Jersey.

The Tokyo-based brand serves its signature tsukemen noodles with a variety of options. The noodles are boiled, chilled, then served in a separate dish for dipping into the soup. There are traditional and vegan ramen choices plus rice bowls with salmon, pork belly and spicy tuna options.

Paris Baguette is also expected to open in Fall 2023. It will join a location that opened in Katy earlier this year and another bakery planned for 9110 Bellaire Boulevard later this summer, part of the South Korean- founded company's plans for expansion in Houston. The WOW store will have 3,150 square feet of space and offer expertly crafted breads, cakes, pastries and doughnuts, along with gourmet sandwiches, salads and packaged roll cakes. It also sells Japanese castellas, a light cake similar to a sponge cake that originated in Portugal, hence the name. It was introduced to Japan in the sixteenth century.

Somi Somi will open later in the year, following the previous locations in Katy and Sugar Land. The Los Angeles-based concept offers Ah-Boong, a Korean dessert that is served in a taiyaki, a goldfish-shaped waffle cone. Customers choose a filling such as custard, Nutella, red bean, cream cheese or taro, then top it with a soft serve of their choice. Flavors include matcha, ube, black sesame, chocolate and horchata.

Or, one can just have the soft serve in a cup. There are toppings as well like Oreo crumbs, macarons, Fruity Pebbles and rainbow sprinkles. Needless to say, these are Instagram darlings.

The Alley is expected to open in Fall 2023. The boba, or bubble, tea concept opened its first Houston area store in Katy in November 2021. Founded in Taiwan, the company uses house-made tapioca pearls and its syrups are sugar cane- based.

Lady M will debut a bit later in Spring 2024. The first Houston location of the boutique bakery opened at The Galleria this past May. Fans adore its 20-layer mille crepe cakes, a stunning confection that blends French and Japanese techniques and flavors.

Kaiten-sushi Ginza Onodera will join the retail development much later in Spring 2025. It comes from the Tokyo-based Onodera Group, known for its Michelin-starred Sushi Ginza Onodera restaurants. The Houston restaurant will be a conveyor-style sushi concept with the same quality ingredients and signature Edomae sushi process but at a more affordable price point.

Shake Shack, 19300 Katy Freeway, opens July 26 in Katy. It will have a drive-thru just like the Sugar Land location that opened last month, making it the second Shack drive-thru in the Greater Houston area and just the third in Texas. The drive-thru features a digital menu board along with a two-lane ordering system and a separate pick-up window. Digital pre-ordering for pick-up or delivery through the Shack app and online will be available in the coming weeks.

For the Katy location's opening day, there will be custom tumblers given to the first guests to arrive, while supplies last. Guests on the opening day will also be able to be part of its Something Good campaign because one dollar will be donated for every sandwich sold at Katy Freeway Shake Shack to the Southern Smoke Foundation.

Since opening its first location in 2004, the brand has expanded to more than 470 locations in the U.S. and internationally. Its made-to-order Angus beef burgers, with a variety of options, and hand-spun milkshakes are some of the best sellers but it also offers crispy chicken bites, chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers and crinkle-cut fries along with house-made lemonades, beer and wine.

7 Brew Drive Thru Coffee, 21420 Kuykendahl, is expected to open in Fall 2023 in Spring Town Center. It will be the first location in Houston from 7 Brew Texas which is the franchisee for Central Texas and Southeast Texas. There are plans to open an estimated 80 locations in the Greater Houston area.

The future coffee stand boasts that it can create over 20,000 drink options, perfect for that person that likes it their way. It offers its 7 Originals and classic coffee drinks in a variety of flavor profiles and styles. Some like it hot, some not, so there's an option for everyone. In addition to espresso and coffee-based beverages, there are chillers, infused energy drinks, sodas and a variety of teas.

Construction on the new drive-thru coffee stand began July 19. Prior to its Swag Day grand opening, there will be soft opening events including service and community days.

Golfstrommen, 401 Franklin, just launched its limited time summer menu by James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Qui. It's a play on Asian street food faves and incorporates a little more spice than some of the usual fare at Golfstrommen. We are in Texas, after all, and we Houstonians like the heat. In our food, that is.

The new summer menu at the restaurant, located in the POST food hall, includes Szechuan Fried Clams, Katsu Fried Shrimp, Blue Crab Rangoon, Singapore Style Chili Crab, New England Style Clam Chowder, Tuna Tartare Toast and Aged Bluefin Tostada.

The regular menu from chef Christopher Haatuft is available as well with weekday and Sunday lunch and dinner available with walk-in counter service. For Friday and Saturday dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., reservations should be made via Resy.

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