Eater Nibbles: DownHouse enters ice house business, what’s new from Ken Bridge

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D&T Drive Inn gets a new engine
Nice synergy between one of the Heights’ most popular newer spots, DownHouse, and one of the area’s most enduring hangouts, the D&T Drive Inn on Enid Street just off West Cavalcade.

DownHouse will be creating a modern interpretation of the classic Texas ice house but is keeping the classic sign. (Submitted photo)

DownHouse will be creating a modern interpretation of the classic Texas ice house but is keeping the classic sign. (Submitted photo)

DownHouse has taken over D&T, which has been operating for a half-century, to create a modern interpretation of the Texas ice house. They’s aiming for a spring opening and will have more than 40 craft beers on tap – as well as ice house staples such as Lone Star longnecks and PBR tallboys.
Despite the changes, one thing will stay the same: the new owners said they couldn’t resist keeping the original sign.

Why be different when people love it?
Local restaurateur Ken Bridge, owner of Lola, Pinks, Shepherd Park Draught House and Witchcraft Tavern & Provisions, used to sneak into a small bar on Studewood called the Redi Room when he was well under the age of being allowed a beer. He didn’t go for the beer, though. He went because blues musicians used to travel through Houston and stop in the small joint.
“B.B. King came in there one night,” Bridge recalls.
Nothing like buying your old neighborhood hangout, which Bridge has done at the spot, which, more recently, was the the Heights Sports and Social Lounge.
He’ll add to his stable of restaurants with a new twist for him, though hardly new for Houston.
“Somebody asked me why I’d open a Tex-Mex restaurant. There are so many of them already,” Bridge said. “Well, exactly. We love our Tex-Mex, so why not?”
It’s really about location, Bridge said. The White Oak area has, in some ways, overtaken the Washington Avenue corridor. “That’s really our local hangout,” he said. “That’s where people around here go.”
As for menu, don’t expect anything fancy. Just expect good food.
“We’re going to have cold margaritas and sizzling fajitas,” Bridge said. “It’s going to be in the Ninfa’s sort of style, and nobody can touch Lupe’s flour tortillas.”
In other words, expect Bridge to take the best of everything he can find in the area and put his touch on it.

Woodrow’s keeps seafood at newest location
The name is new yet familiar, and the cuisine is a tried-and-true theme at the new Woodrow’s Heights, 1200 Durham, in business for more than 20 years – first as Floyd’s Cajun Kitchen, then more recently, Mardi Gras Grill. The restaurant describes itself as a Gulf Coast Seafood House with Chef Alexandra Andriotis forging relationships with Texas and Louisiana fishermen, farmers and ranchers to provide regionally sourced ingredients for her revamped menu. Never fear: there are still po’boys, gumbo and burgers and a steak night each Wednesday.
Woodrows Heights is also boasting a rotating daily selection of 16 local craft beers and weekly interactive events with the craft community, a growing wine list, as well as a menu of signature cocktails.
The restaurant will keep its reputation as a sports-watching venue with TVs throughout, while adding a covered patio with heaters and fans to permit outdoor dining year-round.
For more, visit www.woodrowsheights.com

More drinks on White Oak
D’Amico’s Italian Market Café, 2802 White Oak, has added a full bar to its repertoire. Proprietors are touting their signature cocktail, the D’Alimon, combining Texas vodka with Italian lemoncello, amaretto and the eatery’s housemade sangria. There’s a method to that seeming madness: the drink embodies all the cultural influences of D’Amico’s food.

Hats off to another year in business
Congratulations are in order to Little Bitty Burger Barn, 5503 Pinemont Dr., celebrating its five-year anniversary. The barn’s inventive and ever-changing burger menu has not only landed it on a number of the area’s “best” lists but earned it national attention from the Food Network and Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” show –– a reputation that many, more senior eateries would envy.

––Charlotte Aguilar & Jonathan McElvy

2 Responses to Eater Nibbles: DownHouse enters ice house business, what’s new from Ken Bridge

  1. So excited about the revival of D & T Drive Inn by DownHouse! As a Brook Smith resident, I will be a frequent visitor!

    Lindsey
    April 26, 2013 at 8:49 am
    Reply

  2. Hope the staff at D&T are a LOT better than some of the staff at DownHouse. I’ll be giving it a wide berth if not.

    Scott
    March 22, 2013 at 9:37 am
    Reply

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