Not My LuAnn Platter

Food News: The Uncertain Future of Luby's, a Texas Original

Plus, a native son is nearing an opening date for his neighborhood restaurant.

By Timothy Malcolm June 8, 2020

Last week, Houston-based Luby's Inc. announced it would pursue the sale of its operations and assets, stoking uncertainty about the future of its iconic Texas cafeteria-style restaurants. According to the announcement, the impact of COVID-19 on business, played a role in the decision to pursue a sale, though according to a recent Houston Chronicle story, Luby's started the process of exploring a sale last September and has been selling individual restaurants for several years now.

Luby's was born in 1947 in San Antonio, and over the decades the cafeteria-style chain grew as a favorite family dining option for people across the state. In 2001, Chris and Harris Pappas—restaurateurs who also own Pappas Bar-B-Q, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, and Pappasito's Cantina—took over majority ownership of Luby's Inc. and moved the company to Houston. In 2010 the company purchased Fuddrucker's, the fast-casual burger chain founded in San Antonio; Luby's Inc. also operates a catering division called Culinary Contract Services, and owns the restaurant brand Cheeseburger in Paradise, a Jimmy Buffett-themed concept that has shuttered all but one location, which is in New Jersey.

During this process, Luby's says it will keep its Houston locations open. The future of those locations, and the Luby's brand itself though, remains unclear for now.

Travis McShane is back in town. He's hanging out at Ostia.

Travis McShane, who left Houston more than a decade ago and worked for years with chef Jonathan Waxman, came back to the Bayou City in 2018 and will soon be opening Ostia. A 4,500-square-foot space with an open kitchen at 2050 Dunlavy, Ostia is set to open this summer. 

Coming this July is Bottled Blonde Pizzeria & Beer Garden. Evening Entertainment Group, based out of Phoenix with concepts that include adult playground Backyard (Dallas) and Sandbar Mexican Grill (Arizona locations), is bringing this concept, which itself has locations in Chicago, Dallas, and Scottsdale, Ariz., to 4901 Washington Ave. Bottled Blonde is boasting pizza, Italian plates like homemade spaghetti and meatballs, and plenty of beer, ciders, and spirits, plus a 100-ounce mimosa tower for brunching. The concept, with a pin-up girl mascot, has had its share of controversy, including poor Yelp! reviews that allege poor treatment from staff, and over the years, reports of an allegedly racist dress code.

A new Jax Grill is now open at 9910 Gaston Rd, #200, in Katy, specifically at Stableside at Falcon Landing in Cinco Ranch. This is the third Jax Grill in Houston, the others being located on Shepherd Drive in Rice Military and on South Rice Avenue in Bellaire. At 4,600 square feet, this new Jax Grill—known for internationally influenced casual cuisine has 250 seats indoors and 80 at a covered patio. An updated menu is rolling out with the new digs, and it'll be implemented at the other Jax locations going forward.

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