Despite COVID-19’s continued presence in Greater Houston, there is still some business activity in the Bellaire-Meyerland-West University Place area. Here is a rundown.

Now Open/Reopenings

Located at 1212 Old Spanish Trail, Houston, a new Sprouts Farmers Market officially opened its doors Oct. 14. The new 26,000-square-foot grocery store, located within two miles of Texas Medical Center at a former Toys 'R' Us location, brings 110 jobs to the area. The Phoenix-based national grocery store chain focuses on providing healthy products, and over 90% of its more than 19,000 items are natural or organic. 346-326-7639.

Located at 2502 W. Holcombe Blvd., Houston, Hu's Cooking reopened its dining room to customers Oct. 12. The Chinese fusion restaurant, which originally opened in March 2019, offers a contemporary dining atmosphere with Szechuan cuisine that draws on other Chinese cultures as well. The restaurant continues to offer delivery and carryout services. 713-660-0020.

The Texas Hearing Institute, formerly known as The Center for Hearing and Speech, a full-service resource that teaches children with hearing loss to listen, speak and read, moved to 3100 Shenandoah St., Houston, the week of Sept. 14, according to a center spokesperson. Previously, the hearing center was located at W. Dallas St., Houston, before moving to a temporary location at 1417 Houston Ave during construction of the new building. The hearing institute provides early intervention help, along with an audiology clinic, a speech clinic and the Melinda Webb School, which recently expanded enrollment to include preschool-aged students without hearing loss. Because the hearing institute is a United Way agency, it provides all services on a sliding fee scale. 713-523-3633.

Coming soon

The Palace Social, a bowling alley, arcade, event space, bar and restaurant that will anchor the Southside Commons development at 4191 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, announced new details ahead of its spring 2021 opening. The 30,000-square-foot space, built on the former location of the longtime Palace Bowling Lanes, will also feature other entertainment options, such as sport simulators, karaoke and an esports lounge. “We are excited with the team assembled to bring this project to life, one that will make a positive impact on the community as a gathering space for all ages,” said Billy Forney, Palace Social’s managing partner, in a news release. “Palace Social will draw on elements from the past while firmly establishing itself as a new concept sure to create memories for new generations to come.” Ryan Hildebrand, formerly of FM Kitchen, is consulting on the development of the restaurant, which will feature brunch, lunch and dinner with Southern and American flavors, complemented with a full bar.

Toasted Yolk Cafe will be bringing its 16th location to Bellaire Town Center in March, according to a news release from commercial real estate firm Henry S. Miller, which represented the company when it signed the new lease. The Houston-area restaurant chain, known for offering breakfast, lunch, and brunch items as well as beer and wine, has leased approximately 4,100 square feet at Bellaire Town Center.


HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center, located at 1313 Hermann Drive, Houston, has announced it will begin a comprehensive renovation project by the end of 2020. Improvements at the 400,000 square-foot specialty care hospital include an additional cardiovascular operating room, robotic operating rooms, operating suites, and pre- and post-surgery areas; an upgrade and expansion of digestive disease care areas; and the renovation and expansion of nursing units, surgery waiting rooms and the hospital’s front entrance. 713-527-5000.

The Raven Grill, located at 1916 Bissonnet St., Houston, has expanded its outside patio seating by 60% by adding another 36 patio seats to complement the restaurant’s inside seating, with tables inside and out spaced at least 6 feet apart to follow social distancing guidelines. The restaurant serves regional food cooked over a wood fire grill and served in a casual atmosphere as well as a wine list and a full bar, according to the restaurant’s webpage. 713-521-2027.


The Bagel Shop Bakery, located at 9720 Hillcroft Ave., Houston, marked its 45th year Oct. 14. The bakery opened in 1975 and shares space with New York Deli and Coffee Shop, which opened later in 1981. The restaurant continues to offer an array of bagel choices, as well as omelets, home fries and other deli food along with traditional breakfast offerings. Delivery and curbside pickup are available for customers as well as dine-in. 713-723-8650.

Picnic, the bakery and box-lunch restaurant at 1928 Bissonnet St., Houston, celebrated its 20th anniversary Oct. 3. It serves sandwiches, salads, soups, baked goods and bread, with volume orders that go to organizations such as the Texas Medical Center, downtown and the Galleria. The dining room at Picnic currently remains closed but is offering catering service as well as drive-thru service Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Picnic was opened Oct. 3, 2000, by Sara and Rob Cromie, who are also the creators and owners of The Raven Grill, La Grange and Cottonwood. 713-524-0201.