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Johnny Carrabba

Here’s Johnny!

by Robin Barr Sussman | Houston magazine | May 15, 2012

Iconic local restaurateuer Johnny Carrabba is building a trio of eateries near his original Carrabba’s in Upper Kirby. The first of the newly constructed restaurants to debut is Mia’s (3131 Argonne St., 713.522.6427), scheduled to open in May. Named after his daughter, it’s an all-American, fast-casual concept—not Italian—and touts a menu of assorted burgers; smoked St. Louis-style ribs or smoked chicken with coleslaw, potato salad or baked beans; “fried country baskets” of shrimp or chicken with Texas toast and jalapeño cream gravy, along with a few surprises like Chilean sea bass tacos. For dessert: malts and shakes and Grandma’s cupcakes! Expect a spacious, wood-wrapped Texas Hill Country look and a welcoming oak-shaded patio nicely tucked away from bustling Kirby Drive.

A new, larger Carrabba’s location opens this fall and the adjacent Grace’s on Kirby, another Italian spot with a full-service menu, by the end of the year.

Foodie fave chefs Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan of the haute pop-up Just August Project are developing The Pass and Provisions in the former Gravitas space (807 Taft St.). The side-by-side concept will be split between Provisions, a bar/eatery/patio, and The Pass, a dining room where food is presented in chef’s-table style with an ever-changing menu of elegant regional fare. Watch this space!

LA Bar by the Ragin’ Cajun clan has bowed next door to the venerable flagship (4302 Richmond Ave., 713.623.6321). Despite the “bar” name, anticipate a full-service (no more waiting at the counter!) lunch and dinner menu of Louisiana classics such as shrimp étouffée, red beans and rice with sausage, po’boys and fish specials. 

Philippe Schmit of Philippe Restaurant + Lounge (1800 Post Oak Blvd., 713.439.1000) recently returned from his mother country to receive the Master Chef of France title. He is one of 45 chefs in the U.S. While overseas, Schmit estimates he dropped $12K on meals, inspiration from which will be popping up on his Houston menu soon!