Openings and Closings: Agnes Cafe Debuts, Soto Opens Quietly

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Agnes Cafe & Provisions, 2132 Bissonet, will open June 8 for breakfast and lunch with dinner service to come later in the month. The Mediterranean-inspired concept comes from Molly Voorhees, President of Beck’s Prime and The Chocolate Bar, and longtime friend, Carolyn Dorros, Executive Vice-President of Wolff Companies. The two friends are both graduates of St. John’s School in Houston followed by Stanford Business School for Voorhees and Harvard Business School for Dorros. Now they are opening a casual, elegant cafe together.

Dorros, a passionate home cook says that she loves cooking and traveling and was missing some of the foods she enjoyed in her travels. Her culinary skills have resulted in a menu influenced heavily by the Mediterranean cuisine of countries like Spain, France and Turkey. She and Voorhees felt that the Boulevard Oaks area could use a neighborhood restaurant. Dorros said in a press release.” With only a few restaurant options in the area, we wanted a relaxed yet elegant gathering place, walkable for neighbors to catch up with friends over a fantastic meal, coffee or a glass of wine.”

Agnes Cafe and Provisions offers goodies to take home.EXPAND

Agnes Cafe and Provisions offers goodies to take home.

Photo by Daniel Ortiz Photography

The 2,225-square-foot restaurant will have indoor tables plus a 500-square-foot patio for al fresco dining. There will also be a grocery retail space with hostess gifts, grab and go items, baked goods, cookies and provisions.

The restaurant was designed by Sean Garrison and Levi Lemaster of Garrison Design Office. Guests can relax in the tan leather banquettes amid an interior of natural tones, oak table tops and brass light fixtures plus an expansive marble bar. There will be counter service for pastries, breakfast and lunch with table service at dinner.

Travel the Mediterranean by table.EXPAND

Travel the Mediterranean by table.

Photo by Kirsten Gilliam Photography

Chef Romulo Hinojosa, formerly of Omni Hotels in Austin, will be in charge of the kitchen. Breakfast and lunch dishes include Baklava Granola with Bulgarian yogurt and honey, Freekeh Salad, Black Bean and Beet Burger, and a Breakfast Mezze with nine-minute egg, labneh, hummus, pickled tomatoes, cucumber and flatbread. Taking its influence from the Mediterranean, there will also be Stuffed Turkish Flatbread with a choice of lamb kofta or spinach and feta. All-day dishes include items like Conservas, tinned anchovies, mussels, clams or tuna served with sourdough bread and butter. Once dinner service commences, guests will find elegant offerings such as slow roasted carrots and avocado, duck fat potatoes with salsa brava, half roasted chicken with turmeric and green olive vinaigrette, and filet mignon with herb butter.

Brandon Fetzer will serve as general manager while John Mason, currently the wine and beverage manager at River Oaks Country Club, consulted on the wine list. There will also be cocktails like the rosemary paloma, blood orange mezcal margarita and the tomato martini made with fresh tomatoes.

Is it the Best burger in the USA? Try for yourself.EXPAND

Is it the Best burger in the USA? Try for yourself.

Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

And, if opening a new restaurant wasn’t enough excitement for Voorhees, Beck’s Prime was just declared to have the best burger in the USA 2021 by Gayot.

Salmon over Fire is an Insta-worthy shot at Soto.

Salmon over Fire is an Insta-worthy shot at Soto.

Photo by Ben Cheng

Soto, 224 Westheimer, opened May 29. This is the third location of the upscale sushi concept for chef and owner Andy Chen. The first opened in Cedar Park, followed by the second in Austin.

Chen has been doing sushi for the past twenty-two years. At Soto, guests have an option of doing the omakase ($150 per person), the premium omakase ($250 per person), or ordering off the daily specials list, Japan Express, with fish like sakura masu (cherry trout), kinmedai (golden eye snapper) and buri toro (fatty king yellowtail) that is brought in from the Tsukiji market in Japan. There’s also a full menu of items such as nigiri, sashimi, makimono rolls, chili hamachi, uni pasta and much more.  A creative list of cocktails, wine and Japanese whiskies plus a wide variety of sake mean there’s something for every taste and every dish.

Soto springs up quietly in Houston.

Soto springs up quietly in Houston.

Photo by Ben Cheng

The restaurant’s temporary hours for June are Sunday, Wednesday and Friday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Once the restaurant gets its staff to full force, it will open daily and add lunch service like the Austin locations. It is already bringing in two new sushi chefs this week.

Blue-lit steps are a new touch at Angel Share HTX.EXPAND

Blue-lit steps are a new touch at Angel Share HTX.

Photo by Design Riot

Angel Share HTX, 924 Congress, will open June 11 in the same spot that previously housed OKRA Charity Saloon. OKRA, an acronym for Organized Kollaboration on Restaurant Affairs, was founded by industry professionals Bobby Huegel, Miriam Carrillo and Paulie Petronella in 2012. The proceeds from the bar went to various local non-profits which were voted upon each month by patrons. In 2020 OKRA went through the roller coaster of mandated bar closings, reopening briefly and doing to-go orders to keep afloat.

Now, OKRA’s longtime general manager, Mary Ellen Angel, will take charge having bought the bar for $10, according to CultureMap Houston. It will continue the charitable efforts with a portion of the bar’s proceeds going to local charities. It will begin with two winners from OKRA that were already in the pipeline. As with OKRA, Angel Share HTX will also allow patrons to vote for a new non-profit to benefit each month.

Mary Ellen Angel continues the mission.EXPAND

Mary Ellen Angel continues the mission.

Photo by Design Riot

Much of the OKRA interior will stay the same with some light remodeling. Husband and wife team Yolle Lemberger and Kati Ozanic have contributed to its new look with their murals and woodwork. The duo are also known as Yakwerks and have helped to build floats for H-E-B’s Annual Thanksgiving Parade and create scenery for local theaters and festivals.

Besides cocktails, wine and craft beers, Angel Share HTX will have a late night snacks menu created with help from Dax McAnear of Shoot the Moon.

Alex Smith, Steve Radom and Eric Smith plan an Italian concept for Montrose Collective.EXPAND

Alex Smith, Steve Radom and Eric Smith plan an Italian concept for Montrose Collective.

Photo by Atlas Restaurant Group

Atlas Restaurant Group will be opening a yet-to-be-named concept at the Montrose Collective in the 800 block of Westheimer. The Maryland-based restaurant group brought Ouzo Bay and Loch Bar to Houston over two years ago. The new concept was created specifically for the Montrose Collective, the mixed-use project from developer Radom Capital, which is also responsible for the Heights Mercantile development.

Though thus far nameless, the concept will take up 5,500 square feet of space in Montrose with a 225-seat Italian restaurant, expected to open in Spring 2022.

Atlas is owned by brothers Alex and Eric Smith. The restaurateurs first made their Houston debut with side-by-side concepts Ouzo Bay and Loch Bar in 2019. The success of those two ventures has increased their commitment to growing their Houston portfolio. Alex Smith says, “Frankly, we love Houston and plan to continue creating new brands here under the Atlas umbrella wherever it makes sense. And Montrose Collective made absolute perfect sense.”

Local architect Tim Cisneros has been brought in for the design build-out of the new concept. Cisneros will work in tandem with Maryland-based designer Patrick Sutton to create a restaurant that brings handmade pastas, charcuterie and prime steaks to the Montrose neighborhood.

Cafe patios are trending.EXPAND

Cafe patios are trending.

Photo by Itai Ben Ali

Badolina, 5555 Morningside, opened June 3 in Rice Village. It comes from the newly formed restaurant group Sof Hospitality, which also operates Doris Metropolitan, an Israeli steakhouse, and the upcoming Hamsa, a…

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