The first half of Independence Day was a rainy mess that brought floods and kept most of us in our homes. Hopefully you stayed safe during the deluge.

The second half of the day, however, brought sunshine and warm (but not sticky) temperatures. By evening, as folks began gathering at overpasses and on rooftops to watch Freedom Over Texas, local haunts brimmed with life as they served fried chicken and star-spangled cocktails (the crowd at Eight Row Flint was certainly buzzing). It turned out to be a halfway decent Fourth of July, even though we sustained some water damage.

Some news to report:

  • Blacksmith closed earlier than anticipated Wednesday, partly because of the storm and partly because it was the Fourth, said one barista at the coffee shop. They did fulfill one goal on Independence Day, quickly selling out of their one-day-only apple pie donuts (adorned with precious American flags).
  • H-Mart update: Misoya is on the way out at the Super H-Mart on Blalock Road. Known for serving authentic Korean staples like bulgogi and bibim noodle, along with street food like the Japanese omurice, Misoya was cleaning up shop this week. The Houston H-Mart can't confirm what will be coming in its place, but we will update when we know more.
  • Today is opening day for International Smoke, the San Francisco-born concept from chef Michael Mina and lifestyle expert Ayesha Curry. Opening at CityCentre with happy hour and dinner at first (lunch and brunch to be introduced later this summer), the restaurant will focus on highlighting “global approaches to fire.” So while there will be steak, the menu will boast items like smoked “St. Louis Cut” pork ribs and Vietnamese barbecue pork chop, along with some of Curry’s favorite dishes (a red Thai curry cornbread and salmon escovitch [fried, then pickled] with coconut creamed corn). EJ Miller, a native formerly of Coppa Ristorante Italiano and Riel, will helm the kitchen. 
  • Now, International Smoke has already garnered a reputation in H-Town because of the Curry name. To recap: Ayesha Curry is wife of Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, and the Warriors beat the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals back in May. That led to a few folks adding some pre-opening bad Yelp reviews to International Smoke, which is unfair and has led to press coverage. 
  • Speaking of, we’ll get you a deeper look into International Smoke next week.
  • A few months after passing their one-year anniversary, The Ivy and James closed its doors on June 30. While Evelyn’s Park Conservancy looks for a more permanent replacement for the space, the Yellow House will be home to a series of pop-ups over the summer. In August, you’ll find Oh My Gogi! There.
  • ICYMI: Anvil isn’t expanding, but Bobby Heugel is taking over the former Etro Lounge space.
  • Need another reason to love H-E-B? Well, they’re now using Favor—which they purchased earlier this year—to deliver beer and wine. With this new service, all those options you see on their shelves will be available at your door in under an hour. Check your Favor app for more info.
  • Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar announced some new happy hour options for those of you not in the mood for a full meal. Options include a filet mignon and cheesy potato waffle, colossal shrimp tempura, a selection of burgers, and vegetable tempura. They’re running an all night happy hour promotion through the 8th for those of you looking to see what they’re cooking up.
  • ICYMI: Fox Restaurant Concepts isn’t stopping with North Italia.
  • The next installment of the Brennan’s of Houston Date Night Cooking Class series takes place on July 13, and the theme is a big one: Texas. On the menu for this one is sweet tea brined chicken tortilla soup, cast iron seared 44 Farm strip, and Texas pecan pie with bourbon ice cream. Tickets are $150 per couple, plus tax and tip.
  • Carrabba’s Italian Grill has jumped into the delivery game. They’re offering dinner delivery after 4 p.m. with a $4 fee every day of the week. All of their menu items will be available, and you’ll also have the option of choosing from their family bundles—choices include spaghetti and meatballs, homemade lasagna, chicken Parmesan, or chicken marsala—which feed up to 5 for $7 per person.
  • The team at Breakfast Brunch Café is celebrating their two-year anniversary by raising funds for Cy-Hope, a charity that focuses on “at-risk” children, those who are in a family of four making less than $40,000/year. For every order of chicken and waffles in July they’ll be donating $1. 
  • King’s Bierhaus is saluting its first year of business by–what else—hosting a party where people can drink beer. The fun starts at 10 a.m. Sunday with live music, select $5 appetizers, drink specials, and the launch of its Stein Club. To top it off, King’s is giving away a prize to seven lucky drinkers: free bier for a year. (Das boot not included.)
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King's Bierhaus

$$ German 2044 E. T. C. Jester Blvd.

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$$$ Steak Multiple Locations

Sometimes forgotten in the sea of top-notch steakhouses in Houston, Fleming's still deservedly stands with the big boys. USDA prime beef stars (as it should)...

The Ivy & James

$$ American/New American 4400 Bellaire Blvd.

Jamie and Dalia Zelko, formerly of Zelko Bistro, bring their sustainable ethic to Evelyn's Park with a restaurant that serves everything from three meals a d...

Riel

$$$ American/New American 1927 Fairview St.

Ukrainian-Manitoban chef Ryan LaChaine named his restaurant after Louis Riel—the first and last president of the provisional government of Saskatchewan and f...

Coppa Ristorante Italiano Closed

$$$ Italian, Pizza 5555 Washington

While the cognoscenti may turn up their noses at the spaghetti carbonara here because it includes cream sauce, Coppa’s rich bacon-and-egg pasta wantonly sedu...

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$ Café 1018 Westheimer Rd.

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Anvil Bar & Refuge

Cocktails 1424 Westheimer Rd

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Eight Row Flint

Ice House, Outdoor Patio 1039 Yale St.

The concept may be that of an ice house, but coming from Agricole Hospitality, the team behind Revival Market and Coltivare, you can certainly expect somethi...