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Chef Paul Qui Is Opening a Restaurant in Houston

Right on the heels of his Austin reopening

Qui-turned-Kuneho’s facade
Qui-turned-Kuneho’s facade
Stanton S./Yelp
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Paul Qui’s revamp of his former flagship restaurant Qui into Kuneho is just over a month old and already the chef is planning his new project. Now, he’s looking outside of Austin and turning his attention to Houston.

Qui posted a rendering of a building on Instagram with the caption: "It's almost time,” on Sunday morning. CultureMap Houston linked the project to a restaurant in Montrose at 520 Westheimer Road. It will become an upscale Asian restaurant, according to the Houston Business Journal, though it didn’t offer a link to Qui at that time.

The new spot is being developed by the Lusk Group and designed by A Parallel Architecture. It looks similar to Qui/Kuneho facade on East 6th Street in Austin, featuring a center patio and vaulted ceiling, but much larger.

it's almost time...

A photo posted by paul qui (@pqui) on

While Houston Business Journal reported that the name will be 520 Westheimer, CultureMap’s unnamed source said it would be called A Qui or Aqui, which would be interesting after the rebranding of Qui into Kuneho.

Update, February 15: Eater Houston reports that the new restaurant’s name will indeed be Aqui (his name, Spanish for “here). The menu will span wood and wok-cooked dishes and a raw bar. It'll feature a Josper oven as well. The opening will happen sometime in spring or summer.

Qui was arrested for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, which he followed with a short stint at a rehab facility, last spring. He then announced that he would reinvent his flagship restaurant Qui into a Japanese eatery focused on small bites called Kuneho, with minor renovations. The revamped spot opened earlier this year. He admitted to the Statesman that his restaurants had taken a financial hit after the arrest.

Under Qui’s umbrella are Kuneho, East Side King (the trailer at Liberty and brick and mortar on South Lamar), East Side King Thai Kun (the trailer at Whisler’s and brick and mortar in Rock Rose run by chef Thai Changthong), and his only out-of-Texas restaurant Pao in Miami.

The new unnamed Qui venture is the latest in a series of Austin-to-Houston imports. This includes the nearby Ramen Tatsu-ya (which should be opening very soon), gelato from Dolce Neve, Korean-Mexican Chi’lantro, and others.