Now, it is not my intention to attempt to cover or follow every restaurant opening and closing in town, but this one interests me because it is a test of my instincts.
You see, I believe this a great location and argued exactly that in the past when my former company was considering expansion.
When I was with my most recent employer he had an opportunity to have this location. About a year ago. He passed. My employer also passed on the old Honey Baked Ham location about a half mile west on Bellaire at Buffalo Speedway. It is in the Randall's parking lot. Vincent Mandola's Pronto Cucinino sits there now.
My wife and I lived in Woodside off Braeswood at the time and I lobbied hard for expansion there. I felt so strongly that had I the means at the time to open my own place, I would have left the company and done so.
There simply aren't enough restaurants in the area. Especially good ones. West U, Bellaire, Rice Village, The Medical Center. They are all right there. Literally. Right there. Homes, hospitals, shopping all potentially feeding the restaurant. The business and residential demographics are amazing. Rice Village is two lights up on Kirby and the restaurant scene there is alive and well.
I do not know what my employer saw at the time that made him hesitate when considering the location or the area. I don’t know what he saw or didn’t see. I do not know the details of the deal that Candelari’s owners Michael May and Greg Wheeler eventually struck to get the property. I do know what was on the table before, but that was then. Most importantly, though, I know what I would have done. And now, Candelari's is doing it.
Today I still see huge upside with this location. More than that, I see a potential gold mine. I believe that Candelari’s owners May and Wheeler see the same thing - and must be bursting with anticipation.
Honestly, so am I.