Rice Village updates: Business openings, closings, and relocations to know for November and beyond

Rice Village has seen business activity throughout November and beyond. (Courtesy Rice Village Management)
Rice Village has seen business activity throughout November and beyond. (Courtesy Rice Village Management)

Rice Village has seen business activity throughout November and beyond. (Courtesy Rice Village Management)

Retail in Rice Village has been active despite COVID-19’s presence in Greater Houston. Here is a rundown of business activity you may have missed.


Beginning Nov. 18 with its grand opening and lasting through Dec. 31, Rice Village is hosting the first all-female art gallery pop-up in Houston. Inside HER Studio, located at 2542 Amherst St., Houston, is dedicated exclusively to showcasing the artistic works of female-identifying individuals. The concept came about to address inequalities faced by female and femme artists in the art world, especially in Houston’s artist community, officials said. The gallery features the works of eight female artists ages 16-65: Anat Ronen, Laura Goodson, Lesli Gawrecki, Meredith O’Neal, Olga Saldivar, Sevy Marie Eicher, Shelbi Nicole and Vivian Pastor. www.insideherstudio.com

Upstairs Bar and Lounge has reopened to customers on the second floor at 2356 Rice Blvd., Houston. The 21-plus lounge, which reopened Nov. 2 atop the expanded Hungry’s location in Rice Village, is offering weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays and a new Seasonal Sips menu every day from 3-6 p.m., along with a new Bar Bites menu. Upstairs Bar and Lounge is an extension of Hungry’s Concepts, which also encompasses Hungry’s, Baby Yega and NextDoor. Upstairs also features lounge seating, flat-screen TVs throughout the bar area and an expansive outdoor terrace. 713-523-8652. www.upstairsbarandlounge.com


For the first time, Rice Village will be bringing an open-air farmers market to Houstonians. The Village has teamed up with Casey Barbles of The Informal Grub and Heights Mercantile Farmers Market to bring the farmers market to the shopping district, which will start Dec. 6, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and will be held the first and third Sunday of every month. Located in the parking lot near Beautique Day Spa & Salon and Mecox Gardens, the open-air market will include more than 40 hand-selected vendors, from family-owned farms to artisan chocolate to zero-waste home essentials, all with a focus on diverse, certified organic, locally owned grocer items. Vendors and guests are asked to wear a mask and follow social distancing practices. www.rice-village.com


Once a staple of Rice Village, J. Landa Jewelry is now open in the Lamar River Oaks shopping center, where it has been operating since June. The jewelry boutique, which offers dainty, chunky, turquoise and a host of other kinds of jewelry from across the world, is now located in a 1,300-square-foot space at 3264 Westheimer Road, Houston. The new location features artisan plastered walls, diagonally laid light French oak floors, museum-quality lighting, and custom armoires repurposed as jewelry showcases. In the new space, the jewelry boutique has expanded its assortment of fine jewelry, accessories and vintage turquoise. 713-807-1644. www.j-landa.com


Benjy Levit's Local Foods in Rice Village is adapting to COVID-19 once again—this time, by plotting a permanent expansion that will give it additional patio space and room to build on the market concept, which debuted in March when restaurants were initially closed. The expansion will incorporate Levit's benjy's restaurant space next door to Local Foods at 2424 Dunstan Road, Houston, which has closed after 25 years in business. Another Levit concept, The Classic, located at 5922 Washington Ave., Houston, has also permanently closed. The new Local Foods Market concept will continue to offer produce boxes, meats, cheese, wine, beer, coffee, olive oil, toilet paper and flour as well as exclusive items, a la carte counter service and a selection of wine. Along with the expansion, the existing Local Foods restaurant space will be updated. Michael Hsu, who helped with a 2019 renovation of benjy's, is designing the new configuration, which features ample patio space. The project is slated for completion in December. 713-521-7800. www.localfoodstexas.com


Politan Row Houston, located at 2445 Times Blvd., Houston, permanently closed Nov. 13. COVID-19-related mandatory shutdowns were cited as one of the main factors in the decision to close. Politan Row Houston, which offered a mid-century-inspired, chef-driven food hall, first opened in Rice Village on Nov. 9, 2019. After the coronavirus pandemic came to Houston, the food hall offered its space to displaced members of the hospitality community for several weeks. It also participated in Rice Village’s meal donation campaign, through which it delivered more than 15,000 meals to Texas Medical Center workers. www.houston.politanrow.com
By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2020. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.


"Breaking Strongholds" is a faith-based, eight-episode series that explores topics such as suicide and depression. (Courtesy Terry Weaver)
Series shot in Montgomery County aiming for Hulu, Netflix deal and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

The Montrose-area Woodrow Wilson Montessori, which opened in the 1920s, will now be a namesake of civil rights advocate Ella J. Baker.  (Courtesy Houston ISD)
Houston ISD renames Montrose-area school to honor civil rights leader Ella J. Baker

A century after Woodrow Wilson's presidency ended, his name will be removed from this Houston ISD school.

The temporary waiver covering initial vehicle registration, vehicle registration renewal, vehicle titling, renewal of permanent disabled parking placards and 30-day temporary permits will end April 14. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
DMV officials say no grace period following waiver of car title, registration; new housing set for Magnolia, Cypress

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Houston area.

Plant It Forward’s urban farms offer jobs, training and housing to refugees. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Nonprofit Plant it Forward recovering from freeze as it marks 10 years

The nonprofit's urban farms lost about 75% of their crops in the freeze.

Houston ISD has approved its 2021-2022 school year calendar. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
Houston ISD trustees approve 2021-2022 calendar

The extra days are in place to help some students catch up because of the COVID-19 learning slide.

Miller Outdoor Theatre is kicking off its 98th season May 1. (Courtesy Miller Outdoor Theatre)
In-person performances will return to Miller Outdoor Theatre on May 1

To provide an extra measure of safety and to improve the ticketing process, theatergoers will be able to secure tickets in advance online.

After serving up chicken in College Station for nearly three decades, Layne’s Chicken Fingers is opening its first location in the Houston area in Katy. (Courtesy Layne's Chicken Fingers)
Layne's Chicken Fingers coming to Katy; Gyro King opens in Sugar Land and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Less than 25% of American office workers have returned to in-person office settings since the start of the pandemic. (Courtesy Pixabay)
DATA: Texas metros lead the nation in return to in-person work since start of pandemic

About 37% of Houston office employees had returned to in-person work as of the end of March, as compared to an average of less than 25% in other major U.S. metros.

6528 Buffalo Speedway, West University Place: Cape Cod meets West University Place in this home, which was built in 1930 and saw renovations in 2020. This home has a living room and a dining room as well as a wet bar, a home office and a bright kitchen with ample storage and counter space. The home’s banquette seating breakfast area and kitchen have views of the property’s heated pool, spa and backyard. In addition, upstairs the home has a primary suite with a walk-in closet, two sinks, a water closet, and a tub-shower combo. 4 bed, 2 full and 1 half-bath/2,375 sq. ft. Sold for $947,001-$1,082,000 on March 17. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Bellaire-Meyerland-West University Place real estate: See some of the properties that sold in March 2021

Homes that sold in March in the Bellaire-Meyerland-West University Place area included a Cape Cod-style home.

In order to move to Level 2 on the threat level system, Hidalgo said the county would need to get down to an average of 400 new COVID-19 cases reported daily, a positivity rate of 5% and an ICU population of 15%. (Screenshot via Facebook Live)
'We're close' Hidalgo says of possibility for Harris County to lower COVID-19 threat level

In order to move to Level 2 on the threat level system, Hidalgo said the county would need to get down to an average of 400 new COVID-19 cases reported daily, a positivity rate of 5% and an ICU population of 15%.

Bellaire City Council approved a host of funding and event items during its April 5 meeting. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Bellaire roundup: Council OK's grant for backup generator

The generator will allow the city to maintain water pressure during prolonged power outages.