Darla Guillen Gilthorpe, Houston Chronicle
Updated 2:01 pm CST, Tuesday, December 4, 2018
>>>See this year’s biggest Houston restaurant & bar closings.>>>See this year’s biggest Houston restaurant & bar closings.
Photo: Dave Rossman, Freelance
Photo: Dave Rossman, Freelance
Every year we round up the saddest Houston bar and restaurant closings of the year. For 2018, however, some of the most eventful dining scene departures came late in the year, just weeks ago.
Just Monday, longtime Houston breakfast favorite Fountain View Cafe at 1842 Fountain View announced on its Facebook page that it’s permanently closed: “We sadly regret to announce Fountainview Cafe is permanently closing its doors as of today, we are thankful and blessed for 35 years in business and all the customers and friends we made over these amazing years!”
It had a great run in a city with an ever-changing dining scene.
After a will-it or won’t-it back and forth, Tex-Mex chain El Tiempo owners announced that El Tiempo 1308 Cantina would shutter in mid-November. But even more final than its doors closing Nov. 11: The building has already been leveled, a photo from Twitter user Sara Donchey shows. Its empty lot will make way for, of course, an apartment building. Sunrise Luxury Living is expected to rise at 1308 Montrose.
MID-YEAR LOOK: Houston’s biggest restaurant closings so far in 2018
“(The developer) has been planning to build apartments at the site since at least 2015 when it submitted documents to the city’s planning department for an 8-story complex,” Houston Chronicle reporter Craig Hlavaty wrote. “The developer plans to build five levels of apartments on top of three levels of parking on the 1.84-acre site at Montrose and West Clay.”
Controversial James Beard Award-winning chef, Paul Qui, announced he will close his Montrose establishment, Aqui at 520 Westheimer, on Dec. 23.
The restaurateur in 2016 was arrested following a domestic dispute with his wife. He was suspected of unlawful restraint and assault in a graphic affidavit, which described a bloody scene with the chef’s son present at the time of the fight. Earlier this year, the charges against him were dropped.
MORE ON HoustonChronicle.com: Chef Paul Qui faces trial; Houston diners face a choice
In the months leading up to the announcement that Qui would not face prosecution, some Houstonians had already determined their verdict on the place: they would not eat at Aqui because they did not want to support the embattled chef. While others said they still wanted to support Qui’s talented staff and enjoy well-crafted cuisine.
Now they will have to decide whether they want to sample the fare at Qui’s upcoming Houston establishment: an upcoming Filipino restaurant at a new location, which Qui will launch with a series of pop-ups around town.
These two latest developments are hardly the only big closings this year. Two longtime Rice Village staples shut their doors, a Montrose stalwart made way for a new steakhouse and landlord-tenant conflicts led to a slew of other closings.
See the full roundup in the gallery above. Which are you saddest to see go?
- An Overland Park institution where you can build your own chili bowl is closing
- An Overland Park institution where you can build your own chili plate is closing
- The Chef Curtis Duffy Plans His Next Chicago Restaurant
- Chef Christopher Kearse opening Forsythia, new French restaurant
- First America Homes to build in new NE Houston community
- Wing's Chinese Restaurant, San Jose's oldest full-service restaurant closes its doors, after 94 years
- Restaurants closed by health inspectors in Riverside County, May 17-24
- Sacramento restaurant closed after cockroach found in customer’s burrito
- Restaurants closed by health inspectors in San Bernardino County, Aug. 31-Sept. 6
- Casa Ramos restaurants closed across Northern California after raid by state officials