Hope you weren't having a good Friday, because we're about to ruin it: the original location of Christian's Tailgate announced today that it will close May 24. After nearly 80 years of serving some of the best burgers in Houston, it's the latest casualty of the fast-changing neighborhood just north of I-10 that's become popular in recent years thanks to its convenient location near Memorial Park, the Heights and Uptown.
Owner Steve Christian told the Houston Chronicle the purchaser, a development company, has plans to remodel the space (which itself was just remodeled a few years ago) and lease it out once the facelift is finished. All remaining Christian's Tailgate locations across the city are owned by a group of investors who purchased them in 2013 from Christian, whose family opened the popular burger joint as Christian's Totem in the 1940s. At the time, it was the location of the camp store which had once served Camp Logan, the World War I-era army training camp from which nearby Rice Military gets its name.
As the number of old-school Houston burger institutions dwindles every year, natives and Newstonians alike should prepare to ask themselves the tough questions, such as: Am I eating at Stanton's frequently enough? and How many friends will I need to recruit to form a human chain around Bellaire Broiler Burger? and What do we have to do in order to convince developers and investors that at least a few pieces of Houston's history should remain intact before we as a city have nothing left?
Elsewhere, The Raven Tower has had to close temporarily in response to complaints about access and noise. Developer Will Garwood tells the Chronicle that they're adding new rails and other improvements to the tower, though no word on what exactly will be done about the increasingly vocal complaints from neighbors, many of whom are irate that the adjoining White Oak Music Hall is filling the area with foot traffic, car traffic, and the smooth electronic sounds of big touring acts like M83 and Explosions in the Sky.
Though the spindly tower itself is closed for now, the ground-level bar and sprawling patio remain open at The Raven Tower. Tower or no, The Raven Towerless (as we'll call it for now) still boasts an excellent beer menu of $5 local draft brews, all of which are an additional $2 off during weekday happy hour. Did we recently avail ourselves of this deal and buy 10 beers for our friends at the low, low cost of $30? Yes we did, and you can be that hero too.
Update: A thread on the Houston Reddit forum alleged that a patron fell over the railing at The Raven Tower on March 11 during an Electric Six concert, though the owners of The Raven Tower have been quick to clarify that this never, in fact happened.
"This is a hoax posting that apparently someone bored on Reddit decided to post," wrote partner Johnny So, adding, "Since when is Reddit considered a legitimate news source?" So further elaborated on what actually happened that evening, which was simply a mosh pit accident.
"What you are probably seeing (assuming this is not a photoshopped image) is an incident that occurred on March 11, 2016, during the Electric Six show," So wrote. "The gentleman in question was moshing on the dance floor and tripped over his companion, at which point he fell to the floor. As part of the fall, he broke his face, lost five to six teeth, and got a laceration over his eye socket. He was escorted out of the show area by his companion and our floorman. At that point, our floormen called 911 to request an ambulance, and one of our floormen, who is First Aid/CPR certified, held the gentleman's neck in place and applied pressure to the eye laceration. The entire time waiting for the ambulance, the gentleman repeatedly said he did not want an ambulance or EMT assistance. Once the EMTs arrived, they pursuaded him to get in to the ambulance and insisted he go to the hospital, but he refused. He allowed the EMTs to bandage him up, but denied any hospital treatment and walked off the premises under his own power."
Owner/manager Will Thomas has the final word on the incident, stating definitively: "There is absolutely no truth to this story concerning a patron falling over The Raven Tower."