Rice Village businesses were bustling over the weekend with crowds enjoying the first day of sunshine after a six-day stretch of cold and rainy weather, all except one that was was noticeably empty. Lights were off and chairs were stacked on tables inside Ruggles Café Bakery the entire weekend. A sign posted to the front door read "closed for renovations" at the 2365 Rice Boulevard property.
An eagle eye reader emailed a tip over the weekend, alerting to Ruggles Café Bakery's possible closure. "I've not seen it covered by anyone in Houston, but Monday, March 9 the restaurant closed," wrote the tipster in an email. The source went on to write that "if you call one of the phone lines not advertised it has a voicemail message that they are remodeling, but not on the main number."
Indeed calling the phone number listed online yields a message that the number is no longer in service. When calling the unlisted number, a recorded message indicated that the restaurant was closed for renovations. A timeline for the closure wasn't provided in the message.
After dropping by the cafe Saturday and Sunday, there didn't appear to be the slightest hint of renovations. Workers from neighboring businesses shared Ruggles is closed for at least a month, this according to friends of theirs who work there. But an observant tipster says otherwise.
"The website is gone, the Facebook page is gone and the person they had for 'general manager' was calling the former director for job references," wrote the tipster in the revealing email. For a restaurant that's supposedly closed renovations, it's quite odd for its website and social media accounts to vanish. The last update on Ruggles Café Bakery's Facebook page was Saturday, March 7. Past updates provided no clue that the cafe would close for the alleged renovations either.
CultureMap notes the ex-husband of Ruggles Café Bakery's owner Susan Molzan, controversial chef Bruce Molzan — who's the co-owner and chef at Ruggles Black — mentioned the bakery online. Molzan, who once owned the bakery with his wife prior to divorcing in 2005, tweeted the following message on Twitter:
I am sorry to see Susan has closed closed Ruggles cafe bakery ..was a great concept— Bruce Molzan (@ChefBruceMolzan) March 13, 2015
Susan Molzan was the pastry chef at Ruggles Grill, the restaurant she and her husband ran during its glory days in the 80's. According to CultureMap, "Ruggles Café Bakery has served as a reliable source of the desserts that Susan Molzan made famous as the pastry chef at Ruggles Grill during its '80's heyday. Once the grill closed in 2012, the cafe became the only place in Houston to sample Molzan's peerless white chocolate bread pudding and other sweets."
Perhaps Molzan lost the motivation to go on, that is if the restaurant has indeed closed. The tipster alludes to this writing, "the owner was never interested in the restaurant because she associated it with her ex-husband and the place had gone steadily downhill over the last 3 or so years and would even refer to the restaurant as her 'red-headed step child' compared to Petite Sweets." Petite Sweets is Molzan's Upper Kirby bakery that specializes in macarons. The dessert shop opened in 2011 with restaurant group F.E.E.D. TX (BRC Gastropub, Liberty Kitchen, Liberty Kitchen and Oysterette).
Molzan has yet to respond to requests for a comment regarding the status of Ruggles Café Bakery. This story will be updated once a response has been received.