Each Friday, Gastronaut rounds up the most notable opening and closing of the week.
Leading this week's big news is the much-anticipated opening of Museum Park Cafe, which will have its first dinner service today, with lunch beginning in two weeks. Helmed by chef Justin Basye, the restaurant has a simple, straightforward menu in keeping with Bayse's straightforward, modern American style of cooking: steak tartare, a tomato tart, roasted chicken with summer pole bean ragout, flatiron beef, and an assortment of pasta dishes.
Museum Park Cafe
1801 Binz St., Ste. 110
Basye calls the restaurant "a classic American cafe," with "highly thoughtful, seasonal, and approachable dishes," adding: "We're not trying to reinvent the wheel." There's been plenty of excited press around the opening of Museum Park Cafe, which is in a restaurant-starved area of town, and which is finally bringing Bayse—who earned his stripes and a James Beard nod as chef de cuisine at the now-closed Stella Sola—back to the public after a stint spent behind the scenes doing R&D for the Pappas restaurant group. Despite this frenzy, Bayse notes: "I don't want it to be a special occasion restaurant; I want it to be a place people come every day."
In addition to Bayse's guiding force, Museum Park Cafe also recently hired general manager Todd Leveritt—until recently an in-demand restaurant and wine consultant, best known for his work at Voice and L'Olivier—to oversee its operations as well as its wine list. Leveritt rounds out an all-star team that also includes owner Christopher Balat (who also owns the adjoining Bosta, a wine and coffee bar) and pastry chef Chris Leung, well-known for his Cloud 10 Creamery in Rice Village.
In closing news, Taqueria La Macro announced via Twitter that this Saturday will be its last day in its current location on N. Main at Hogan. In spite of positive press since opening in 2012—including a mention in our recent Mexican food issue as one of Houston's top 10 regional Mexican restaurants—owner Saul Obregon told CultureMap's Eric Sandler that the new light rail line down Main has put a serious dent in his business.
On the bright side, however, Obregon has promised to re-open soon—and we believe him. This isn't the first time La Macro has closed, after all. Last summer, the taco and trompo joint took a few months off to expand operations in their current location. This time around, La Macro plans to move from its spot just north of downtown to one just east of it in EaDo. Perhaps the East End light rail line will prove luckier for La Macro than its North Line counterpart...