Each Friday, Gastronaut rounds up the most notable opening and closing of the week.
As first reported in the Houston Chronicle, it's nearly closing time at The Stag's Head Pub, the venerable Shepherd Plaza watering hole that welcomed sunset with impromptu bagpipe solos and was one of the few Houston bars to serve both Boddington's and Heinz baked beans with your tea. Grocery chain H-E-B purchased the property several years ago when it was considering opening a store in the area (these plans eventually became the Montrose H-E-B on West Alabama), and pub owner Michael Holliday told the Houston Press that H-E-B opted not to renew his lease. The pub will close on April 25 after 15 years in business, though Holliday—who also owns fellow British bars The Richmond Arms and King's Head Pub—says he hopes to find a new home for The Stag's Head down the road.
With the impending closing of The Stag's Head, the closure of Le Peep in 2013 and the ever-shrinking tenant base in Shepherd Plaza (only Freebirds World Burrito, Amy's Ice Cream and Tuesday Morning are left in the large strip center), could this mean that H-E-B has future plans for the space after all? A new grocery store in the spot would place it almost directly in between H-E-B's existing Buffalo Speedway and Montrose locations and could potentially cannibalize business at both, but that's never stopped grocery stores (or Mattress Firms) in Houston before.
1000 West Gray St.
Meanwhile, the second location of Pizaro's Pizza is now open at the corner of Montrose and West Gray. A sign on the window outside gives the hours as 11 a.m. until they run out of dough each day. Inside, Bill Hutchison's tidy new space features two ovens, meaning the pizzas—already cooked at 900 degrees for a super-fast 90 seconds—come out even more quickly than at the first location on Memorial. Hutchison says he plans an eventual overhaul on the original space to match the white subway tiles and Edison bulbs aesthetic at his Montrose location.
Right now, the house special is a pizza topped with olives and a spicy Italian sausage dreamed up by Hutchison's son, Matthew, who added red chile flakes, Calabrian red peppers and dried ghost pepper to their standard sausage blend. When he's not dreaming up new recipes for his dad's pizza parlor, Matthew can be seen tossing dough behind the counter as dad Bill walks the floor checking on customers. Rounding out the family affair, wife Gloria was spotted this week delivering pizzas to eager tables in the bright, new space. Stay tuned next week for a more in-depth look at the new Pizaro's and what pizza fans can expect from the Hutchisons in the future.