Each Friday, Gastronaut rounds up the most notable opening and closing of the week.
In July 2012, chef Randy Rucker announced he would be opening a new restaurant, Briar and Bramble. It was planned as a follow-up to his award-winning Tomball venture, Bootsie's Heritage Cafe, which had recently closed, and followed news that another planned venture, Restaurant Conāt, wasn't opening after all. Briar and Bramble, however, appeared to follow the same path as Conāt; news of the upcoming venture began to fall off, and had soon gone quiet altogether.
But Rucker hadn't stopped his planning. Almost three years to the day after his announcement, Bramble (the "Briar" dropped in the interim) opened in its newly renovated space at 2231 S. Voss Rd. The former location of Mancuso's Italian Table had needed a lot of work on top of the modern rustic design Rucker wanted to implement for his new venture, and almost a year of work went into bringing the Tanglewood restaurant up to par.
Though no menu has been posted yet, Bramble's website indicates that dishes will be "executed with a deep love of Third Coast produce and cuisine, balancing Southern classics with modern techniques" and, as befitting Rucker's reputation, will feature plenty of foraged ingredients. "Whole roasted lamb necks available starting tomorrow," wrote Rucker on Bramble's Facebook page earlier this week. "Feeds four with ease and served family-style with all the fixins. Contact us to reserve." Bramble also anticipates doing much of its own pickling and curing in-house, and pulling as much of its produce as possible from a garden on the patio that faces S. Voss. For now, Bramble is open for dinner, 4 to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday. And if we know Rucker, expect some Widespread Panic on the restaurant's playlist.
In closings, the much-touted Spring Water Cafe has closed less than six months after opening at 14520 Memorial Dr. In that short time, however, the little spot achieved great acclaim for its made-from-scratch bagels, with some fans opining that they were as good as—if not better than—the legendary bagels at New York Bagels and Coffee Shop in Meyerland. On Spring Water Cafe's Facebook page, owner Bob Orzo, who moved from Queens to Houston to open the shop, explained:
There were a number of contributing factors. But the simplest explanation is that recurring unfortunate circumstances left us unable to serve our customers at the level that you have come to expect. We do plan to re-open in another location at some point in the near future. When and specifically where are yet to be determined.
The good news is that a reopening of sorts is already in the works: Ben Berg of B&B Butchers & Steakhouse, the recently opened meat mecca on Washington Avenue, reported this week that he'd be offering a temporary home to Orzo and his refugee bagels, which will be sold at the same butcher counter as Berg's cuts of beef. The bagels will be available in the downstairs butcher shop starting tomorrow, July 11. The shop opens at 10 a.m., which means it's the perfect time to institute "bagel brunch."