Dishing it: How do rumors get started? Speculation is again simmering about a possible move by island eatery The Sunflower Bakery & Cafe, 512 14th St. on the island’s East End. But Lisa Blair, who, with her husband, Harry, owns the popular eatery, said there’s no truth in the rumors.
“We still have two years on our lease,” Blair said. “We’re staying put.”
The same rumor heated up in August 2013 after the Blairs acquired a building at 1227 23rd St. They purchased the 23rd Street building as an investment and have been considering eatery-related possibilities for the space. But they haven’t done anything yet.
Lisa Blair last week said she suspected the rumors began circulating again because they had been spotted recently at the 23rd Street building, which they’re using for storage.
The Sunflower Bakery & Cafe has a large and loyal following. The bakery is known for breads, pastries and pies; the cafe is known for fresh Gulf seafood, homemade sandwiches and serving up a sizable selection of entrees.
Sunflower has been on 14th Street for nearly eight years. Before that, the Blairs operated the bakery at 16th and Church streets and a cafe at 45th Street and Avenue O1⁄2.
Alfresco: Elsewhere on the island’s dining scene, Number 13 Prime Steak and Seafood, 7809 Broadway, has debuted a new menu of more casual offerings at The Terrace, a two-story outdoor dining venue with prime views of Offatts Bayou.
The Terrace is adjacent to Number 13 and offers outdoor seating and a covered lounge area. Menu items include such fare as peel-and-eat shrimp, buttermilk fried quail, fish and chips and the popular Number 13 burger, to name a few.
The upscale Number 13, a partnership of Pelican Rest Marina and The RK Group, opened late last year to strong reviews.
On the menu: In other appetizing news, Chris and Shirley Crowder are planning an early June soft opening of Mama Frances Soul Kitchen, 199-D Vauthier, in La Marque. The eatery will serve up down-home soul food such as oxtails, fresh collard greens, yams and macaroni and cheese — all homemade. Also look for from-scratch-made desserts such as chocolate fudge cake and banana pudding “like grandma made it,” Shirley Crowder said.
The eatery is named for Shirley Crowder’s mother, who owned her own catering company for nearly 30 years. Shirley Crowder learned from her mother the art of cooking soul food. When she and her husband were downsized from their jobs, they took a year to decide what to do. Shirley Crowder often cooked for events and gatherings and fans of her food encouraged her to open a restaurant. The Crowders promise to soon update Biz Buzz on an exact opening date.
The couple moved to La Marque nine years ago.
“We just love the city and community,” she said. Stay tuned.
Reading Fortunes: If Texas City restaurant Fortune Chinese is making a comeback, it’s certainly a slow one. In December, all signs pointed to an imminent reopening of the popular eatery. At the time, the Galveston County Health District had listed Fortune Chinese, 3118 Palmer Highway, as a “new opening inspection” in The Daily News. The eatery passed its certificate of occupancy inspections months ago, said Nick Finan, Texas City’s city secretary. City officials have seen work there but not a lot of recent activity. No one answers the phone.
Fortune Chinese closed in August because of an apparent lease dispute. The landlord, via a notice on the door, asserted the eatery’s owners were in default under certain lease agreements and “payment in full of the delinquent amount of $127,496.32 was a prerequisite to any possibility of reletting these premises.”
Fortune Chinese, which had been around for at least two decades, was known for affordable fare.
Readers in various online reviews raved about the General Tso Chicken and other dishes. Stay tuned.
Hammer time: Webster continues to attract development of medical facilities. Officials with Dallas-based Cobalt Medical Development and Houston-based Medistar earlier this month gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the Webster Rehabilitation Hospital, planned for 110 East Medical Center Blvd.
The 60,000-square-foot rehabilitation hospital has been in the planning stage for nearly three years and will offer health care to people who suffer from head trauma and other severe disabilities, including those in the Wounded Warrior program, which offers support services for injured veterans.
Patients will receive therapy that focuses on physical activity or active, rather than passive, care, officials said. The hospital will feature two gyms and will work with the Bay Area Regional Medical Center and other hospitals to provide a continuum of care, officials said.
Cobalt and Medistar purchased nearly 10 acres for the project along with a 65,000-square -foot medical office building with an outpatient surgery center.
Biz Buzz taking vacation
Laura Elder’s Biz Buzz column will return to the pages of The Daily News on May 29.