May 26, 2022


Beloved, now-closed Montrose Car Care in Houston to become oyster bar by Austin-based restaurant group

2 min read

There’s a familiar sight on the southeast corner of West Alabama Street and Montrose Boulevard in Houston.

The pink sign of Montrose Car Care, locals’ go-to auto shop for decades, still presides over the closed business, while a blue wraparound banner recently appeared surrounding the lot: “Clark’s Oyster Bar Docking 2022,” it reads.

Clark’s is an oyster bar in Austin owned by MML Hospitality (formerly McGuire Moorman Hospitality), one of the top restaurant groups in Texas’ capital. The company is opening a Clark’s in Houston this fall; it will be the third location, as there is also a Clark’s Oyster Bay in Aspen, Colorado.

MML is behind wildly popular Austin restaurants such as Sammie’s, June’s All Day and Jeffrey’s, as well as hotels like the Austin Proper and Hotel Saint Vincent in New Orleans.

Clark’s has a raw bar serving oysters from Canada, Maine, Massachusetts and Washington. Other seafood items include ceviche, tartare, Crab Louie, New England clam chowder, lobster rolls, crab cakes and oven-roasted Gulf oysters. There’s also a “catch of the day” section of the menu and caviar service.

Montrose Car Care was a beloved auto shop that had served the neighborhood since 1986. Locals would come here for their oil changes, inspections and repairs.

When it was announced in July 2021 the shop would close because the landlord was not renewing the lease, the news hit hard for many long-time Montrose residents.

Loyal customers recounted their Montrose Car Care stories to the Houston Chronicle last summer. One woman remembers how helpful the staff were when she moved to Houston at 18 years old, while another said a team member saved her life after insisting he checked her vehicle for a safety issue.

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Owned by Laz Enterprises Inc., the property still has Montrose Car Care’s sign and gas station-style awning. Construction, which will be completed by Highlands Construction, does not appear to have started. (MML Hospitality could not be reached for comment for this story.)

The lot is 22,500 square feet, according to the Harris County Appraisals District—an ideal spot for a restaurant with ample outdoor space. Clark’s Oyster Bar will share the busy corner with a Chevron, a Shell and the University of Saint Thomas.

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