New Orleans restaurant group to buy former Houston’s location _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The Houston's Restaurant in Metairie is closing.

Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts has signed an agreement to purchase the former Houston’s Restaurant site on Veterans Memorial Boulevard and plans to open a restaurant there.

Zeid Ammari, chief operating officer of the fast-growing restaurant operator and investment group, said Monday that a deal should be finalized in the next several days, though he said it is too early to say what kind of restaurant will take Houston’s place.

“We’re now internally having conversations about the next steps,” he said.

Hillstone Restaurant Group closed the Metairie location in May after 34 years in business, a decision that saddened regular customers who said it had transcended its chain-restaurant status and become a local institution.

A second Houston’s Restaurant remains open on St. Charles Avenue.

Ammari said the building proved itself a great location during its time as Houston’s and that the company views Jefferson Parish as a good place to do business.

In May, Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts announced an agreement with the French Market Corp. to lease the 7,000-square-foot riverfront property in the French Quarter that is now home to the Spanish restaurant Galvez. The company plans to create a venue for weddings and banquets there.

Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts started as a string of daiquiri shops around the French Quarter under the Big Easy Daiquiris brand, but it later expanded to full-service restaurants and has been growing rapidly.

In 2013, it opened the Kingfish restaurant and acquired the historic Broussard’s Restaurant. In 2014, it added Café Maspero and the Bombay Club to its portfolio.

The company employs more than 800 people.

Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.