Each Friday, Gastronaut rounds up the most notable opening and closing of the week.
Houstonians of a certain age will remember a time when the Carrabba's on Kirby Dr. was the one and only Carrabba's in the city, to say nothing of the United States. Today, there are more Carrabba's in Florida than in Texas and one wonders which—if any—of this latest batch of homegrown restaurant chains may one day dot the nation. This has been the year, after all, for opening successful second locations for everyone from fast-casual sandwich shop Local Foods to swanky seafood palace Liberty Kitchen. There's now a Mala Sichuan in Montrose (and two El Tiempos), a Peli Peli in the Galleria and a Barnaby's, well, nearly everywhere.
This week, a pack of second locations added to the dogpile, beginning with the news that Houston will soon have a second Pappas Bros. Steakhouse. Ever since the Strip House was locked out of its downtown location in July 2012, rumors flew that the award-winning steakhouse would eventually move into the space at 1200 McKinney. This week, the Chronicle reported that Pappas Bros. is set for an October opening just weeks after the original Pappas Bros. Steakhouse on Westheimer celebrates its 20th anniversary. This will mark the first time Pappas Restaurants has opened a Pappas Bros. Steakhouse since the Dallas location debuted 15 years ago.
Meanwhile, the Houston Press reports that a second location of Biskit Junkie is heading to Montrose only a few short months after opening its very first location in Oak Forest. This may seem a little fast for a young restaurant, until you remember that Biskit Junkie is owned by the same team runs Jus' Mac, which opened its first location in the Heights five years ago. Though Jus' Mac had to close its Sugar Land location in 2014 after three years in business, its Montrose location is still going strong—which should come in handy as the new Biskit Junkie spot is only a few blocks away, in the space that used to house live music venue Mango's at 403 Westheimer.
And though it's by no means homegrown, it's worth mentioning that Mellow Mushroom is finally opening a second Houston-area location three years after breaking into the market with a highly successful spot in Spring. Though the pizza chain is based in Atlanta, it's notable for commissioning local artists to create artwork for its restaurants (Weah, Katharine Kearns and Scrap Daddy all have work featured in the Spring location) as well as pouring plenty of local brews on draft. According to the Houston Business Journal, the second Mellow Mushroom location should be open in the Heights at 1919 N. Shepherd by next summer, not too long after the long-awaited opening of another incoming pizza joint right across the street: Cane Rosso, which, like the newly opened Velvet Taco on Washington Avenue, is placing its bets on Houston after achieving great acclaim in its hometown of Dallas.
It's worth noting that all three of these second locations are also opting to open inside the Loop after finding success outside 610. Whether or not that success can be duplicated in the inner city's increasingly saturated restaurant market remains to be seen, though one thing's for sure: we're betting on Barnaby's as the place our great-grandchildren will be eating at when it opens its first location on the Moon.