Each Friday, Gastronaut rounds up the most notable opening and closing of the week.
I may have been sad to find this week that my beloved Que Mas salad from Mission Burrito Überrito was nowhere near as good as Que Mas salads past, but that sadness paled in comparison to hearing news that the burrito chain's location on West Alabama had closed.
This was the original Mission Burrito, which opened in 1995 at the height of the nation's obsession with Mission-style burritos, which first came to Texas from California. This was the Mission Burrito where so many love affairs with over-stuffed tortillas were first fomented; the Mission Burrito of the beautiful old oak trees that draped themselves above the shady playground where parents could have a frozen margarita and a delicious bowl of queso and just relax for a little bit in the midst of it all. It was also where I tried my first Que Mas salad, a giant bowl of chopped vegetables that I—until recently—still held up as one of the best in the city.
A decade after opening, the city's homegrown burrito had grown into a cult-favorite and was acquired by Houston-based Mexican Restaurants, Inc. in 2006. Soon, it had four locations citywide. But by 2009, trouble was brewing: Mexico-based Gruma Corp. filed a lawsuit against Mission Burrito for trademark infringement, alleging that customers of the restaurant would erroneously think that Mission-brand chips and tortillas (which registered its trademark in 1982) were being served at Mission Burrito. Five years later, the lawsuit was settled, and Mission Burrito found itself on the losing side. The chain was forced to change its name, debuting a new moniker—Überrito—in December 2014.
Houston Streetwise suggests that rising rents in the tony Upper Kirby neighborhood were at least partially to blame for Überrito's departure from its original home, the playground equipment even packed up and hauled off by the end of August, but reports "a new one is said to be coming in the Westheimer-Voss area."
Elsewhere, two long-awaited projects have finally come to fruition, as both Pour Society and Black & White have finally opened their doors. Pour Society underwent a renaming of its own, originally announced as Hops & Harvest, chef Bradley Ogden's gastropub concept at Gateway Memorial City off I-10 and Gessner. The menu has remained intact, however, offering a line-up of hearty American dishes with an emphasis on Southern flavors that our own Megha Tejpal recently previewed at a sneak peak dinner. (Spoiler alert: she loved the boneless rib sandwich.) Pour Society celebrated its grand opening September 2 and is now open for dinner and happy hour, with lunch service on its way soon.
Black & White, meanwhile, takes over the Heights space on Studewood vacated by Stella Sola over three years ago. In a preview for Zagat, Marcy Deluna spotlighted its "two-for-one" concept of dual restaurants under one roof. In the white-toned dining room, the menu offers Mexican-inspired seafood dishes such as talla-grilled red snapper and seafood fideuà. In the other half of the elongated space, the black-toned dining room, the menu changes to feature Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Look for both meat and fish on this side of the menu, and mark Black & White down as a pescatarian-friendly spot with carnivorous options that can appease parties in either camp.