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Nov 21, 2009 11:47 AM

Houstons in Rockville Closing!!!

Turns out that the landlord cannot come to terms with the restaurant on a new lease. Last day open is sometime in mid-December. A big loss for traditional American foodies in MoCo. Great place overall.

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  1. OMG!!!--Despite the fact that I haven't eaten at Houston's in over 10 years!!! (I wasn't living in this area), but I really enjoyed THAT RESTAURANT, back in the 1990's. I would drive from Parkville, Md to the restaurant several times a month.

    Naturally, it didn't qualify as a truly standard "Chowhound" type of cuisine restaurant, but for a chain, it was really a fun place to visit. Inexpensive, basic food--just like Cheesecake Factory, Houlihan's , Ruby Tuesdays', etc. A fun place to grab a bite to eat during the week.

    I had always hoped that Houston's would open a venue in
    Baltimore. Well, it doesn't seem to be an eventuality. If they are closing in Rockville, well, it doesn't seem as though there would be any promise of a relocation to Baltimore or the immediate suburbs. TooBad. FoiGras

    2 Replies
    1. re: FoiGras

      Didn't Houstons get bought out as a chain? Heard Woodmont Grill the old Houstons in Bethesda just changed names. Maybe thats whats going on Houstons out and Woodmont will re-open. I always liked the opineapple marinated rib eye steak at Houstons when I'm in the area I've been going to Golden Bull off Delemar St. in Gathersburg their an old school steakhouse and family owned.

      1. re: FoiGras

        Houston's was nothing like RT's, CCF, TGIF, or any other crappy chain restaurants. Everything I ever had on their menu was wonderful - salads, burgers, ribs, whatever. Seems silly to talk about such a basic menu item, but their chicken tenders were the juiciest, most tender I ever had, with the most fantastic (light) breading ever - I'd have died for that breading recipe. It's a real shame it closed. BTW, as a matter of disclosure, I bartended there back in the 80's. Great memories and great food, at very reasonable prices.

      2. I see this more as an inconvenience...there's another one a few miles away in Bethesda.

        1. I'm sorry to read this news. I really like Houstons, & have for many many years. The option of Bethesda is not a good one for me, just that much farther on the dreaded 355.

          I don't suppose there's a chance they may re-open at another site in Rockville?

          I don't agree with Foigras's lumping of Houstons together with CC Factory, Ruby's, etc. I've always had consistent good quality food, and very good service, at the Rockville Houstons. I've seldom had that at CCF, and never at RT's.

          I'll be sad to see them go.
          Where else in Rockville or G'burg is a comparable spot?

          8 Replies
          1. re: mdfoodlover

            Clydes Tower Oaks is probably most comparable. Possibly even Red Rock at Rio.

            1. re: wysguymd

              The Chowhounders are good. This news just broke. You guys are as quick as Matt Drudge. The fact is, Houston's is one of the best continental American restaurant chains in the country. With this economy, it's hard to believe that a landlord wouldn't come to terms with an organization like this that has 40 or so stores in multiple states and has deep pockets. You don't kick out a long-standing tenant who can pay their bills in favor of an empty spot. No real estate firm that knows what they're doing would let this deal go south. The downturn has hurt them a little, but mostly, they're still pretty busy. The Bethesda location (now Woodmont Grill for some reason) was packed the other day at lunch and I had to wait 20 minutes to be seated. Something else is going on here. Investigative Chowhounders, get out there and beat the pavement and bring us the real reason for this great restaurant closing at this location.

              1. re: jac0077

                Actually I'm suprised it lasted as long as it did considering how difficult it is to get in and out of the parking lot there. I always thought that was a lousy location for a restaurant.

                1. re: dinwiddie

                  I always thought the parking lot was packed because the restaurant was packed.

                  1. re: Pappy

                    Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded.

                    1. re: Steve

                      Good One!
                      It really is a shame they are closing. Rockville just doesn't have anywhere comparable, for my taste anyway. My wife recalls rumors of them closing several years ago. It sadly seems those rumors are now coming true.

                      1. re: mdfoodlover

                        I've never been a fan of theirs, they are OK, but nothing special. I can think of plenty of places in Rockville I'd eat before going to Houston's. However, most of them are ethnic places. If you want chain American food, admittedly pretty good for a chain, then Houston's might be just what you want.

            2. re: mdfoodlover

              I think Houstons is a step above in quality and service than those other chains just mentioned also not that cheap though. But I would always take Houston's over Cheesecake Factory any day.

            3. houston's rockville had some lease issues with their landlord a few years ago as well, and gave me and the hubs quite a scare, as we ate there once a week at that time. just before the plug was to be pulled, they reached an agreement. i hope they can do so this time, b/c waiting times for tables at the (twin) sister restaurant, the "woodmont grill", have practically tripled already. used to go there and be seated immediately or w/in 5 minutes or so. this will make the wait there even worse. great food but no delusions of grandeur. the landlord won't be able to duplicate houston's success in that location.

              1. Just went there last night. Our server told us that no last minute negotiation is expected, the decision to close was due to conflict on both sides and their last day of service is Dec. 21st. No indication at this point whether a different location will be chosen in the area. Woodmont Grill, owned by Houston's and formerly named Houston's, will remain open and unchanged. Many favorite Houston's items are avail. on their menu.

                12 Replies
                1. re: jac0077

                  Tragedy! I worked in restaurants for more than 10 years and I pay attention to details. I have long been in awe of Houston's: it is amazing in its high-quality consistency from unit to unit. No other chain comes close to that level of food and service quality. The burgers have gotten expensive over the years but they are often even better than Rays Hell Burger. I live 45 minutes away but still I will really miss them.

                  1. re: bobovespa

                    Bob gets it.

                    Attention to detail is vital but most restaurants, especially at Houston's price point, don't understand this. One other issue on their closing is that Mont. Co., which is Big Brother and anti-everything, is such a headache to deal with that Houston's is almost glad in a way.

                    1. re: jac0077

                      I think it would be great if they opened a branch in Howard Co. I know Maple Lawn has had several unsuccessful American Food ventures, none of which could hold a candle to Houston's.
                      Is Howard Co more or less business friendly?

                      1. re: mdfoodlover

                        victoria gastropub in HC is a great restaurant and is what I would call in the Houstons type just with much better and current food

                        1. re: dining with doc

                          I've never been there. Is it somewhere near the Harris Teeter off Guilford?
                          I should give it a try, as I've seen it mentioned a number of times. Thanks.

                          1. re: mdfoodlover

                            It's at the end of Snowden River Parkway that runs into Route 100. Former Bennigan's location right there on the corner.

                          2. re: dining with doc

                            Since I haven't dined at Houstons in nearly 8 years, I can't really compare to Victoria Gastro Pub. BUT--I do agree with "dining with doc," in that the Pub has much more "current" cuisine and many interesting offerings which are quite nicely executed. I have no issue with "older" - type food though.

                            It's unfortunate that Houston's is now closing along with so many other favorites-i.e., Brass Elephant, Ixia, etc. Maybe with the so-called upturn in the economy we will see many more individual establishments holding their own and staying in business. I realize that Houston's is part of a chain, so it is quite surprising that they are closing down. FoiGras

                          3. re: mdfoodlover

                            What were the several American Food ventures in Maple Lawn that were unsuccessful?

                            1. re: sydshad

                              Oz Steakhouse and Ranazul.
                              My personal experience in both places.
                              Fairly decent food, served by inept staff with an attitude. Overpriced. Pretentious.
                              Oz was the worst.

                              1. re: mdfoodlover

                                I've had good experiences at Ranazul and since it's open and a Tapas restaurant I would have a hard time classifying it as an unsuccessful American Food venture in Maple Lawn. I agree with your opinion on OZ Steakhouse and that could also apply to the failed seafood restaurant, Trapeze but I wouldn't classify them as American Food ventures like Houston's.

                                1. re: sydshad

                                  My mistake. I should have typed Trapeze, not Ranazul. I've never been to Ranazul, only the other two failed places.
                                  Sorry for the mind slip

                                  1. re: mdfoodlover

                                    What a shame! What a loss!
                                    And I would never compare Victoria's Gastro Pub to Houston's.