Though the state is slowly re-opening, nearly three months without dine-in service and, thus, consistent profits have made it challenging for restaurants to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. That means we're bound to see restaurant closings.
We're keeping track of them and will keep a list here, updating it with new information as it comes.
- Dak & Bop, Museum District: Closed as of May 25.
- Dolce Vita Pizzeria & Enoteca: Closed as of May 24.
- Indika: Closed.
- Barry's Pizza: Closed as of May 28.
- The Tasting Room, Uptown Park: Closed as of May 30.
- Poitin: Closed.
- Bernie's Burger Bus (all locations): Closed as of May 31.
- Penny Quarter: Closed indefinitely.
- Patranella's: Closed as of May 30.
- Komchop, West Bellfort: Closed. Original at 14144 Westheimer Rd still open.
- Lucky's Pub, East Downtown: Closed. Katy Freeway location still open.
- Tropicales: Closed.
- Yia Yia Mary's: Closed, along with four other Pappas restaurants.
- Pappas Seafood House, I-45 North at Aldine Bend; Shepherd; and I-45 S. at Woodridge: Closed. Other locations open.
- Pappas Seafood Kitchen, Upper Kirby: Closed.
- Treebeard's: Original at Market Square closed. Memorial location to open soon.
- Chicken and Rice Guys: Closed.
- Chicken Station: Closed.
- Ragin Cajun', Westchase: Closed. Upper Kirby location open.
- Crisp, Underground Hall: Closed.
Houstonia has confirmed that Lucky's Pub at 801 St. Emanuel St in East Downtown closed permanently. The second location of Lucky's, at 17754 Katy Fwy, will remain open.
The all-day cafe from David Buehrer of Greenway Coffee, which opened with Jill Bartolome (who since left Houston for the West Coast) and Kenny Freeman heading the bar, has permanently closed, reported first by CultureMap. It had been open less than a year when it closed in March because of COVID-19.
Tropicales was an instant hit for its chic mid-century modern look and vibrant color palate, along with all-day coffee service, fun cocktails, and a food menu that included interpretations of Latin and Cuban-American fare like Cuban sandwiches, ceviche, and pan con aguacate.
The Justin Yu, Bobby Heugel, and Steve Flippo collaboration Penny Quarter has closed "indefinitely," according to an Instagram post published Sunday evening.
"Why close?" the post began. "Because a new business with lower prices and a casual cafe setting can't survive COVID-19. We pay our staff higher wages for our industry in addition to providing health benefits for all employees, and we refused to do any less."
We reviewed Penny Quarter in our April issue (it seems like a year ago), enamored by its creative menu of fun appetizers, meaty entrees, and newly touted vegan offerings. Not to mention, with guidance by wine director, sommelier Justin Vann, a terrific wine list. Just before COVID-19, Penny Quarter announced the addition of a cocktail program led by Sarah Crowl. A surprise bar was also planned to open next to Penny Quarter, though its status is unknown.
The Instagram post leaves the opportunity for a return in the future, though judging by the tone of the writing, that feels remote at best.
Bernie's Burger Bus
On Thursday, Justin Turner, chef and owner of Bernie's Burger Bus, announced the indefinite closure of all locations.
"It is with a heavy heart that I have to communicate this, but with accumulating debt, decreased sales, and the rising cost of doing business, we were starting to move into the danger zone," said Turner in a release. "I was not going to be able to afford the remaining 10 of 114 staff I had left, and paying my team was more important to me than anything else."
Turner admitted that funding construction for his most recent location in Missouri City did more harm than good, and the lack of profits coming in during the COVID-19 pandemic exposed his thin margins to the point where trying to come back was impossible.
The only Bernie's location open currently is in Bellaire, which will end service on Sunday.
Bernie's Burger Bus started in 2010, with Turner serving his grub out of a yellow school bus-turned-food truck. In 2014 he opened his first location in Bellaire. Then came dining rooms in Katy, the Heights, and in 2019, Missouri City.
Turner said he'll take time to be with his family before returning to the Houston food scene; it's possible Bernie's returns down the line, but for now, it's goodbye for one of Bayou City's favorite burger joints.
A representative close to executive chef Dominick Lee confirmed the report by CultureMap that the Sawyer Yards restaurant has shuttered.
Named for a distilled Irish spirit, Poitin, owned by Ireland-native Ian Tucker with a kitchen run by New Orleans-native Dominick Lee, opened with acclaim in 2018. While the Sawyer Yards neighborhood continues to blossom with new breweries, eateries, and retail, Poitin seemed to just hum along with its stellar skyline view.
According to the representative, Lee is planning to move back to New Orleans. On Saturday, however, he's taking part in a pop-up at Broham Fine Soul Food & Groceries, operated by Indigo chef/owner Johnny Rhodes.
The Tasting Room, Uptown Park
The original location of the wine bar and restaurant is closing as of Saturday. Though the Uptown Park spot provided more than 2,000 relief meal kits to impacted hospitality workers during the pandemic, founder Jerry Lasco said COVID-19 was a chief reason for this shut down.
"In the wake of the pandemic, although we have tried many scenarios, it has not been possible to keep the space running at limited capacity," said Lasco.
The Tasting Room's CityCentre location remains open.
The popular deep dish hangout in the Larchmont area closed on March 28 to weather out the pandemic, hoping to re-open once it was possible. But Tuesday, Barry Childers revealed that the closing was now permanent, ending his 37-year business. "I'll carry these memories always," read a Facebook post on Tuesday.