One of the most frequently asked questions of Whine & Dine readers is a single word: “why.”
“Fill-in-the-blank, my favorite restaurant, has closed. Why?”
Bad food, bad location or just bad luck?
Sometimes the answers are plastered on the front door. As was the case in June when a lock-out notice adorned the entrance of the Strip House. Even the restaurant’s publicist didn’t see it coming. Because of an early printing schedule, the Chronicle’s Greg Morago’s glossy feature on the downtown steakhouse appeared in the paper days after it was shuttered.
“Yep, that sexy, low-lit lair for meat-’n’-potatoes boys and ’tini-anything girls turns out to be the place to find all the crave-inducing delights of the long, hot American summer. This is a perfect time to visit Strip House,” Morago wrote of Strip House.
Que sera, sera
Other answers can be gleaned from social media.
“I believe that when God closes one door, he is opening another door that is better. That is the case with Big D’s, everything is still Mo Gooder. You just can’t have a testimony without a test, and you can’t have new things without the passing away of the old,” wrote the owner of Big D’s Burgers and Wings on Aug. 31 on Facebook.
We grieved. The Champions Forest-area joint cooked up exceptional wings and the staff was charming.
Other announcements are more succinct.
“It was fun while it lasted,” wrote the management of Cahill’s on Durham on the longtime pub’s Facebook timeline on Jan. 4.
Some establishments heralded their closings, providing loyal customers a chance to say goodbye and have a last meal.
JB’s Smokehouse posted this on Facebook Aug. 5: “Big announcement: Today is JB’s last day of operation!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have sold out to the Backyard Grill and it will be Backyard Smokehouse. … If you liked our food and would like to have a last bite come and see us tonite.”
And, of course, Feast recently announced fans of its British fare have until the end of August to patronize the Montrose restaurant.
So what were the “buzziest” closings of 2012?
The year got off to a quick start when chef/owner Scott Tycer shuttered Gravitas on Jan. 8. It was not, however, a huge surprise. Tycer had sold and then bought back the restaurant’s lease in 2011. The historical building on Taft has found new life and buzz as The Pass & Provisions.
Other closings with big names behind them included:
Here are some “blink and you missed them” restaurants, establishments that closed within the first 12 months of business:
Coal Burger, Convey Sushi, El Xuco Xicana, Gugliani’s-Kingsride Road, Hail of a Burger, Maggie Rita’s Mexican-Kirby, NABI, Ruggles 11th Street Cafe, Stir Crazy-The Woodlands, Vida Mexican Restaurant, Ziggy’s Bar & Grill on Main.
Here are some of the other closings of 2012:
901 Postoffice-Galveston, Barcadia Bar & Grill, Beef ‘O’Brady’s, Benny’s Mexican Cafe & Bar, Block 7 Wine Company, Boston’s Gourmet Pizza, Burger Fresh-Tomball, Cabos Grill-Texas City, Cafe Del Rio, Cafe Under the Oaks, Cantina de Tejas, Casa Ole-Texas City, Casbah Mediterranean Buffet, Chicago Hot Dog Shack, Coffee Bistro-League City,
Coffee Oasis-Seabrook, Convivio, Coronita Grill Buffet & Bar, Cova Hand-Selected Wines, Crossroads Cafe-Galveston, Delesandri’s Gourmet Cupcakes, Dharma Cafe, Dona Lydia Mexican Restaurant, Dragon Bowl Asian Bistro, Durango’s Restaurante & Cantina, Dutch Kettle-Galveston, Fat Mike’s at the Market, Feng’s Chinese Buffet, Frenchy’s Chicken-Kirby, Fuzzy’s Taco-Jones Road, Guadalajara Bakery, Goldfish Garden Chinese, Gugliani’s Italian Grill-Spring, Guido’s Pizza Pies, Health Fountain Restaurant, H Town Bar & Grill, Icing Cupcakes, Iguanas Tex-Mex Grill, Jake’s Grill-Pearland, Just-Eat Seafood, Steaks & BBQ, Korma Sutra, Late Nite Pie, Lone Star Pizza, Los Compadres, Maggie Rita’s Mexican-Galveston, Malt-N-Burger, Mama’s Cafe, Mely’s Mexican Food, Mico’s Grill, Mikell’s Soul Food, the Moghul’s Restaurant, Nardino’s, Nga’s Restaurant, the Perfect Cup, Pierson’s Cajun & Country Cafe-Missouri City, Que Cafe-Galveston, Ruggles American Bistro, Saka Sushi Bar & Hibachi, Sam Star Chinese & Japanese Buffet, Seoul House Restaurant, Sugar Blossom Treats, Taco Cabana on Richmond, Taco House-Galveston, Tapas Capriccio, Texas Traditions-Fulshear, TGI Friday’s-Northwest Freeway, That Pizza Place on Ella, Toku Sushi, Trio Steakhouse and Bar, Trios Downunder, Tu Casita Boricua, Vineyard on the Square, Wild West Smokehouse, Wok Bo-Westheimer, Yao Restaurant, Zimm’s Little Deck and Zorro’s Buffet.
Did we miss one of your lost favorites? Let us know in the comments section.