Fertitta feat: Island-born billionaire Tilman Fertitta has prevailed in his bid for the bankrupt Ignite Restaurant Group, the parent company of Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap, according to reports.

Fertitta, president CEO of Houston-based Landry’s Inc., last week told Nation’s Restaurant News his company had won a bankruptcy court auction Aug. 7 that will give him control of Ignite Restaurant Group assets. A judge must approve the sale in a court hearing in Houston scheduled for Thursday, the trade magazine reports.

Houston-based Ignite filed for bankruptcy protection June 6 with a $50 million “stalking-horse” bid by Kelly Investment Group. A stalking-horse bid is an initial bid on a bankrupt company’s assets from an interested buyer chosen by the bankrupt company. The point is to allow the struggling company to avoid unreasonably low bids. But Ignite Restaurant Group’s rejected Landry’s higher $55 million bid, which didn’t sit well with Fertitta.

Landry’s attorney Patrick Hughes borrowed a line from “Jurassic Park,” where raptors terrorized their creator and his guests, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“Debtors have ‘spared no expense’ to defeat and reject a better deal from Landry’s that has been theirs for the taking,” Hughes wrote. He added a footnote: “Quoting John Hammond from Jurassic Park 1, and we saw how that turned out.”

Fertitta is quite familiar with the Joe’s Crab Shack chain.

In 2006, Landry’s sold the bulk of Joe’s Crab Shack restaurants for about $192 million to private equity group JCS Holdings, which in 2008 changed its name to Ignite Restaurant Group. The island’s seawall is home to a Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap. Stay tuned.

Catch of the day: Look for an early September opening of Flippers Coastal Seafood, 628 FM 517 in Dickinson. Owners couldn’t be reached for comment, but Biz Buzz heard this buzz from a reader: “A friend of mine attended a pre-opening dinner at Flippers where the chef cooked up some of the items that will be on the menu. She said it was really good.” Flippers is in the same retail center — developed by Jon Arledge — that houses the popular T.J. Reed’s Better Burgers & Shakes. Stay tuned.

Fried and true: Meanwhile, fast-food fried chicken purveyor Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is planning to roost at 900 W. FM 517 in Dickinson. The site is vacant and zoned for commercial. Dickinson Planning & Zoning Commission must approve the Popeyes development. Read next week about more retail and development plans for Dickinson.

Hut-hush: Inquiring readers from all around are seeking news about the status of The Beach Hut, 731 Seawall Blvd., in Galveston. Initially, Nelson Alvarado and Sidhartha Sen, who bought the building in 2015, had hoped to open in early January. They then pushed plans to this spring. But it has been quiet at the site. The owners this week did not respond to Biz Buzz inquiries and city officials did not immediately answer questions about the status of construction and occupancy permits.

In March last year, Alvarado said: “We acquired the property with great ambitions to open up a lot sooner.” But Alvarado and Sen have other ventures, which have preoccupied much of their time, Alvarado said.

Alvarado and Sen are executive partners of Integris Projects LLC, which has more than once landed on Houston Business Journal’s Fast 100 List. Integris, according to its website, specializes in emergency response and disaster recovery, marine operations, roofing services, general construction and more.

When it reopens, The Beach Hut will offer live music, food and adult beverages. Crews were building a large, customized stage for the venue. And initially, food trucks will supply fare, including barbecue, Alvarado has said. A new bar at The Beach Hut will seat about 60 people, as opposed to 16 that the previous venue accommodated. Crews also were renovating the restrooms, Alvarado said last year. Stay tuned.

Really BIG buzz: Investment in the island’s downtown shows no signs of slowing. Milton Ausherman and Andrea Hunting have renovated and opened up the downstairs of the historic M.W. Shaw Building, 2427 Market St. The results of that renovation have generated buzz. The airy 3,000-square-foot space serves as the showroom for their newest retail venture — GIANT.

GIANT features modern art, painting and sculpture and a store featuring modern-design furniture

Ausherman, a well-known artist, custom builds the furniture, including hairpin leg and maple coffee tables, a mahogany bed frame, baking tables that slide into space as work islands, modern room dividers and more. The store also carries decorative items.

Hunting also is known for creating popular restaurant EATcetera, also at the M.W. Shaw Building. Last year, Ann O’Brien began leasing the restaurant so Hunting could pursue other ventures.

The scoop: Owners of ice cream enterprise Hey Mikey’s are planning to celebrate the opening of their shop on Texas City’s booming Sixth Street.

Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream already has opened at 613 Sixth St., but will commemorate its debut in Texas City with grand opening celebrations from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Festivities will include a ribbon cutting, live band, bounce houses and face painting.

Mike and Kathy Bouvier own Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream, 2120 Postoffice St., in the island’s downtown. The island shop will remain open.

On the burner: Careful, this dish is hot. When the lease expires for the Chevron gas station at 1043 Bay Area Blvd. at Baybrook Gateway in Webster, crews will demolish the building and remove tanks. Escalante’s Fine Tex-Mex restaurant will rise in the gas station’s place, Webster city officials report. Escalante’s, which opened in Houston in 1993 and has six locations, is aiming to open the Webster eatery in December 2018, or the first quarter of 2019.

Laura Elder: 409-683-5248; laura.elder@galvnews.com

(16) comments

Gary Scoggin

Just wondering, is there any business news not related to restaurants?

George Croix

Looks like Ignite burned themselves.......[whistling]

Steve Fouga

We can only hope that Landry's will completely re-invent the Joe's franchise. In the 80s it was GREAT. It's been boring for at least 20 years.

I've long felt that Landry's purchases bad restaurants and makes them average. And it purchases good restaurants, and makes them average as well. I guess there's no harm in having a few more average restaurants on the Island. We have plenty of great ones.

Michael Ruda

Curious to get your opinion on what some of those "great" restaurants are. And if they affordable?

Steve Fouga

I'm your huckleberry:

Sunflower Bakery & Cafe - yes
Number 13 - no
Benno's on the Beach - yes
Shrimp 'N' Stuff - yes
Mosquito Cafe - yes
Mama Teresa's - yes
Riondo's - yes
Saltwater Grill - yes
Los Compas - yes
Nopalera - yes
Gorditas Mexico - yes
Olympia Grill (Seawall) - yes
Olympia Grill (Harbour) - yes
Farley Girls - yes
ShyKatZ - yes
Black Pearl - yes
Shearn's - no
Leo's Cajun Corner - yes
Pho Tai - yes

Not great in the sense of Killen's great, but better than the Landry's franchise, and great for what they try to be. Some aren't affordable enough for me to eat at, say, once a month, but they're affordable enough for occasions. And Number 13, Shearn's, Rudy & Paco and the like are easily affordable for some folks. But not me.

JD Arnold

How could you not add The Original Mexican Restaurant to your list. - Yes

Steve Fouga

Good question. Original was my favorite until I tried Gorditas and Los Compas, and Nopalera came to the Island. I like Original's atmosphere the best, but IMO the staff is surly and the food generic. Just a matter of opinion. I know Original is very well-regarded, but it was my list. [smile]

Steve Fouga

I should add that The Original has the best chips and salsa I've ever eaten.

George Croix

You left out what the check range for 'affordable' is that you're using the term to cover.

My own eating out affordability has run the gamut over many years from just able to pony up the cost of a glass of iced tea at a Monterey House to get the free chips and salsa, to a bill that made my eyes blur when passing over the credit card.
One man's yes is another man's no.....

Steve Fouga

George, do you like Mexican food? If so, could you recommend a Texas City establishment? My wife and I tried Silvia's on Texas, and liked it. We're looking for some variety away from Galveston.

I was planning to save this question for the next time you change a Trump topic to an Obama or Clinton topic, and then say, "Since the thread is already hijacked, what's your favorite Mexican restaurant?" But this looked like a better opportunity. [beam]

George Croix

Mr. Fouga, I like most food a lot, but have given up most of it, now eat relatively sparingly, and rarely eat out anymore, because I'm trying to be around for my grandkids' graduations from Texas A&M Univ., and the last one won't be until about 2036...
My wife goes to someplace in Galveston to buy Mexican bread now when we get an urge for it (she's out of town right now or I'd ask her where for sure - I believe it's Texas Star Bakery...), but she and her Mother used to make it themselves many years ago with MIL's old family recipe from her growing up in Falfurrias. Sorry, don't have that, either.....
That is all I can offer, depending on the meaning of "is".
"Let me be clear" about that.

Jim Forsythe

Texas star Bakery, is where I go for Tamales.

Steve Fouga

I guess I should try Texas Star. It's about 3 minutes from my house, and this probably the 10th time I've seen it recommended online.

George Croix

Aaaahhhh....sorry about that Mr. Fouga.
I had my glasses off when I read your querry the first time and thought it read if I knew where to get Mexican BREAD....then neglected to check the text again after eyeglassing up and sending a note a few minutes later on my iphone.
Mea culpa.....
My wife and her Mom eat at Nopolita on Texas every Sunday nearly, but I haven't been to a Mexican restuarant myself for a long time, since I decided I liked the food way to much but the calories not near enough.....
You'll might have better luck anyway asking someone who doesn't think a DQ Steak or Chicken Finger Basket is 4 Star......

Gary Scoggin

We go a lot to Gringo's by Mall of the Mainland. If you like Silvia's, you might try Terrazas, located at the site of the old Terrace Drive-in, near Palmer and 9th St.

Steve Fouga

Thanks, guys. We will give 'em a shot! [beam]

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