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The Next 15 Openings to Get Excited About

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Fish & Knife is finally in range
Fish & Knife is finally in range
Gary R Wise

It's time once again to take a look at the upcoming bars and restaurants that will have the city talking in the next few months. As always, opening dates are approximate guesses based on conversations with people connected to either the restaurant itself or the industry as a whole. There are lots of reasons they can be pushed up or back. And, no, they aren't ranked in any particular order.

ST-Batanga.jpg1. Batanga
Location: 908 Congress
Description: This Latin American tapas concept from Atlanta restaurant owner Brian Fasthoff and his brother Hank adds another destination to the city's hottest block. Expect small plates, a vegetarian friendly menu, live music and a patio that's going to be an instant destination.
Opening Date: April 1

2. Captain Foxheart's Bad News Bar and Spirit Lodge
Location: 308 Main
Description: This cocktail bar is a collaboration between former Anvil/Haven/Fitzgerald's bartender Justin Burrow and Grand Prize owners Brad Moore and Ryan Rouse. Burrow plans to bring the blender back to Houston's cocktail scene and serve the sort of boat drinks that were too Daquiri Factory for Anvil's launch four years ago.
Opening Date: April 1, hopefully
ST-ElevenXI.jpg3. Eleven XI
Location: 607 W. Gray St.
Description: Former Capitol at St. Germain and L'Olivier chef Kevin Bryant steps out on his own in this ambitious new concept in the former One's a Meal space. Inside, the space has been completely gutted and transformed. Bryant's menu focuses on seafood, especially at the large oyster bar.
Opening Date: Mid April
4. Liberty Kitchen and Oysterette
Location: 4224 San Felipe
Description: This second location of seafood-oriented Heights restaurant Liberty Kitchen looks to replicate the formula that keeps the original full at lunch and dinner. That means well executed food, good drinks and mostly reasonable prices.
Opening Date: Mid May
5. Cloud 10 Creamery
Location: 5216 Morningside
Description: Former Kata Robata and Bootsie's pastry chef Chris Leung has committed to his ice cream business full-time with a retail outlet for Cloud 10 Creamery. The space will sport an open kitchen; expect Leung to show off techniques such as making ice cream with liquid nitrogen while diners wait to set himself apart from the Amy's and Chocolate Bars of the world.
Opening Date: May
ST-FatCatCart.jpg6. Fat Cat Creamery
Location: 1901 N. Shepherd
Description: This ice cream shop takes Fat Cat beyond its wholesale/food cart roots to a larger space. That means more flavors, old-fashioned desserts like sundaes and lots more.
Opening Date: June-ish
7. Katch 22
Location: 700 Durham
Description: This sports and spirits concept unites one of Houston's most well-known restaurant families, the Mandolas, with Kory Clemens, son of one of Houston's most famous athletes. Clemens's menu goes beyond the usual sports bar fare, with lots of dishes designed to appeal to both men and women.
Opening Date: May/June
ST-Pistoleros.jpg8. Pistolero's
Location: 1517 Westheimer
Description: This tequila and tacos concept from Boondocks/Royal Oak owner Shawn Bermudez and chef Brandon Schillings slots somewhere between El Gran Malo and Cyclone Anaya's on the Mexican-restaurants-that-also-have-great-drinks scale. Two big upgrades from EGM: lunch during the week and decent parking.
Opening Date: April/May
9. Pizzeria Solario
Location: 3333 Weslayan
Description: Already open serving coffee, the restaurant will soon begin serving wood-fired, Neapolian-style pizza with a killer wine list. A city can never have too many places that do those things.
Opening Date: April
ST-OsteriaMazzantini.jpg10. Osteria Mazzantini
Location: 2200 Post Oak
Description: This Italian restaurant from Mockingbird Bistro's John Sheely is named after his mother's family. A preliminary menu featured pasta, pizza and seafood options. If the chef can blend his family's traditions with the skill that's made Mockingbird so successful, it'll be a serious player.
Opening Date: July/August
11. Hugo Ortega's Unnamed Project
Location: 2200 Post Oak
Description: Owners Hugo Ortega and Tracey Vaught refuse to confirm any details of their new project, but it's leaked through real estate types. Given the success of their restaurants Hugo's, Backstreet Cafe and Prego, this one will get a lot of buzz once it gets closer.
Opening Date: July/August (maybe?)
12. Fish & Knife
Location: 7801 Westheimer Rd.
Description: This oft-delayed project from New Orleans finally looks set to make its debut this summer. The menu brings together both sushi and a Japanese-style steakhouse. On the weekends, the venue turns into a 4,000 sq ft nightclub with Vegas-style lights and sound.
Opening Date:June/July
13. Coppa Osteria
Location: Hanover Rice Village
Description: In an interview, chef Brandi Key says that this second location of Italian-inspired Coppa will be slightly different than its older sibling. The menu will be built around two, wood-fired pizza ovens that will also be used to cook meat and fish.
Opening Date: June/July
ST-DandTBDO1hlQCYAAgr42.jpg14. D&T Drive Inn
Location: 1307 Enid
Description: The team behind Down House is updating this classic Heights-area ice house for the modern age. That means 50+ craft taps, a sprawling patio and a relaxed vibe.
Opening Date: April
15. Brewery Incubator
Location: 907 Franklin
Description: This kickstarter-funded brewpub will offer homebrewers the chance to market their beer to a mass audience prior to deciding whether to open breweries of their own. Recently upgraded to a three-barrel brewing system to take advantage of proposed changes in Texas law that will allow brewpubs to sell beer at bars and retail outlets.
Opening Date: June/July