Around the intersection of Hillcroft and Bissonnet, which I once bragged about as one of the most diverse in Houston the kosher pizza place Aroma Pizza Cafe has closed. It looked for a while like a pizza chain was moving in but the space is now vacant. Tortilleria La Reyna and Birirria La Reyna, next door to each other, have merged into just the tortilleria. Their Miercoles con Pollo Wednesday special is a cheap eats bargain - a whole rotisserie chicken, a cup of rice and half cup of a decent ranchero type salsa for just $6. Fresh, warm, corn tortillas are extra but just $1 per pound.
Sheba Cafe has apparently become Habesha although the Sheba name remains on the building. Sometimes it's closed when the sign says it's supposed to be open and other times a I see the Open sign lit in the window. Next door, which long ago was Hoagies and More offering banh mi and pupusas, is now Ostioneria La Reyna.
South on Hillcroft, Istanbul Market has closed and Pollo Loco Charcoal Roasted Chicken has moved into the strip center with Pupusa Buffet.
On Fondren at South Braeswood a shop offering cake pops, donuts, cupcakes and coffee according to signs in the windows has taken over the space formerly occupied by the Chili Bowl and before that Luke's. There's still no sign on the building or streetside but a banner on the building now announces the Grand Opening of The Cake Fairy. Maybe the third time will be the charm for that space. ETA: There is now a street-side sign, although it's mostly obscured by trees.
Shortly after I reviewed it, East Africa and Middle East Restaurant changed names to Mandi Halal and was identified online as serving Somali and Yemeni food. Now Mandi Halal has closed but a new place has opened at 8403 Almeda at Holly Hall named House of Mandi. Mandi is a Yemeni dish.
Our second Afghan restaurant, Afghan Village, 6413 Hillcroft, has been open for about a year and I still haven't gotten around to going; now another Afghan place, Afghan Dastarkhwan, a word which I understand means something like smorgasbord, has opened at 6800 Southwest Freeway, back behind Lucy, which I've never been to either. Edit to add: a second location of Afghan Dastarkhwan has replaced Durrani's Tandoori Grill at 10581 S. Hwy 6 at West Bellfort, Sugar Land.
On Gessner between 59 and Beechnut, Taqueria Cancun has closed. A block south of 59 Taqueria Arandas has become Don Rey Mexican Restaurant. The huge streetside sign is new, as is the hand-painted plywood sign saying they're open.
I watched for months for the opening of Lahori Maza on Bissonnet next door to Afrikiko Ghanaian Restaurant, then I found out it was only open in the evenings or maybe only after dusk. I still haven't checked it out. Signs in the windows have advertised supari, bun kabob, keema paratha, samosas, tea, chess, and pool. The other Desi game rooms I've been to, Salaam Namaste, Alpha Capri and Mehfil Grill, have more than just snacks on the menu. The strip center parking lot up front is notorious for prostitution activities and raids
And probably the two best for last - AA Supermarket, 9896 Bellaire, is in the process of becoming an H Mart. I read about it on Yelp and went to check it out. There's no indication outside or in except that your receipt will show H Mart and you groceries will be in H Mart bags. It's not a bad supermarket but it has a long way to go to match the H Mart on Blalock. Still, I'm excited to have an H Mart much closer to home.
And Pho Binh, the acclaimed pho restaurant, has opened it's fifth location, Pho Binh Grill, in the shopping center at the corner of Gessner and the SW Fwy, between Maharaja Bhog and Peking Cuisine, making that strip center a great destination for dining.
Edit to add: India Grocers, 6606 SW Freeway @ Hillcroft, has become Subhlaxmi Grocers.
Went to Afghan Village in April, it was good. Buffet style at lunch.
Thanks for your blog, it helps us keep up after B4UEat shut down.
I may have misunderstood you but I
can think of three Afghan restaurants: the two you mention plus Saffron Kebob house at Hilcroft/Harwin. I haven't been to the other two yet but I can vouch for Saffron - it's delicious.
I've been to Lucy's - the food wasn't great but like Blue Nile it's probably toned down and less intimidating for Wot-virgins. I prefer Nazareth but I haven't been there in years.
Afghan Cuisine on Highway 6 in Sugar Land was the other one, the only one in existence when I first went there. The review is still up on this blog, though five years old, and I think they're still in business. I was blown away by the food, as was Alison Cooke of the Chronicle.
I went to Saffron when it was Saffron Persian Cafe and I thought it was very good, overlooked possibly because of the location. I went once after the ownership/menu change and wasn't impressed and have never been back. I'm getting way behind on my Afghan places.
Haven't been to Nazareth in years either but have had an awesome meal there. I think there was a change of ownership there, too.
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