Ouisie’s Table owner Elouise Adams Jones, known as Ouisie, and Wafi Dinari, her long-time general manager at Ouisie’s Table opened The Bird and The Bear, Ouisie’s American Bistro at the former temporary home of Tony Mandola’s Miracle Gulf Coast Kitchen in River Oaks on Oct. 20. The redesigned interior sports twelve crystal chandeliers, mirrored walls and colorful banquettes with a menu offering Southern comfort food and Gulf Coast seafood creations. The evening menu also includes tapas selections, including tacos and quesadillas, pizza, macaroni and cheese and cheese platters. Lunch & Dinner daily, Brunch Sun. The Bird & The Bear, Ouisie's American Bistro, 2810 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77098, 713-528-2473.
Good news for hungry park-goers: After Little Bigs shuttered its slider joint in the city’s popular Hermann Park, now comes word that Pinewood Cafe will open there this month. Owners Olivia and Sean Blair are working on a casual lakeside restaurant that will feature a build-your-own-grilled-cheese bar, wraps, salads and a special kid’s menu as well as custom picnic baskets for those who want to pick up some food for a hillside get together. Pinewood Cafe also serves wine and canned craft beers. The eatery offers floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking McGovern Lake in the park and will be open from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Sundays; Fridays and Saturdays will stay open until 10 p.m. The patio is dog friendly and will offer a rotating schedule of live music. Lunch & Dinner daily. Pinewood Cafe, 6104 Hermann Dr., Houston, TX 77030, 281-352-6237.
Houston Now Allows Paws on Patios
Houston has long been one of those cities with a health code that forbids live animals where food is served. For years, most restaurants paid little attention to the ordinance, allowing diners to bring their dogs on the patios. But about four years ago, someone complained to the health department and a restaurant was fined. "No Dogs Allowed" signs started going up around the city, which didn't sit well with Pat Walsh, who enjoyed taking his French spaniel, Lucy, out to eat. So Walsh started a Facebook campaign called Paws on Patios that has now succeeded in getting a variance to the ordinance. Ziggy's Bar & Grill has become the first restaurant to legally allow dogs on its patio. Some ten more restaurants have applied for the permit already. Dog friendly eateries must apply for a variance, pay a one-time $110 fee and pass an inspection. Then they receive a city decal and a dog friendly sign that must be displayed on the patio.
New Brunch Menu at the Original Ninfa’s
Ninfa's on Navigation, the original creation by the beloved Mama Ninfa, is updating its Saturday and Sunday brunch menu with some new and classic Tex-Mex dishes. Chef Alex Padilla hasn't messed with the popular Desayuno Mexicano---over easy eggs with skirt steak drenched in guajillo sauce and roasted potatoes---but there are some new items. Guests can try the chorizo burger topped with a fried egg and bacon or a carnitas hash with chile sauce and poached eggs. New brunch cocktails include a horchata made with toasted rice milk, tequila and kahlua and a bloody Maria made with Espolon blanco tequila. The weekend brunch at Ninfa's starts at 10 a.m. and runs till 2 p.m. Ninfa's on Navigation, 2704 Navigation Blvd., Houston, TX 77003, 713-228-1175.
Chef Dylan Murray and the restaurant group behind benjy's are opening Local Foods, a custom sandwich shop featuring ingredients made in-house. benjy's, 2424 Dunstan St., Houston, TX 77005, 713-522-7602.
ERA, a pizza and sandwich spot in downtown Houston, has closed. ERA, 809 Congress, St., Houston, TX 77002, no phone.
View our calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in Houston