New details on the return of the River Oaks Theater

The Houston Life team just learned it will be called RO LEO.

rendering: Culinary Khancepts. Culinary Khancepts to start construction revamping historic River Oaks theater. (Culinary Khancepts)


Coming soon: The return of the River Oaks Theater.

The Houston Life team just learned it will be called RO LEO.

The R O is for the River Oaks and Leo is for an expansion.

The expansion is a dining area.

Houston’s historic River Oaks theater closed in March 2021. It was built in 1939.

The project just passed permitting, so construction will get underway any day.

It’s a $5 million renovation.

Here are more details from a press release:

HOUSTON, TX — Culinary Khancepts, an affiliate of Star Cinema Grill, announced today that construction will soon commence on the historic River Oaks Theater. The locally-owned hospitality group took over the lease last year, and the highly anticipated refresh is expected to be complete by the end of 2023.   Culinary Khancepts is giving the space a full facelift, while still paying homage to the origins of the theater. River Oaks Theater will get a full kitchen featuring an exquisite in-theater dining experience along with a carefully curated wine and cocktail menu. “We are honored to bring back one of Houston’s most iconic entertainment venues. The River Oaks Theater will not only offer the best of art house films but will also bring live performances to the venue for theatre arts enthusiasts to enjoy. We felt as Houston’s only owned and operated cinema companies that it was our duty to save this masterpiece. We look forward to serving our community with the best-in-class cinema experiences,” said Omar Khan, President and CEO of River Oaks Theatre. “The last year was spent working through design, city approvals, historical preservation, landlord coordination of building improvements, including a brand new roof and prepping the theater for a sprinkler system,” says Khan. With the launch of construction, and to support historic buildings, River Oaks Theater Inc will donate the existing seats to Friends of River Oaks Theatre. The group will handle the sale of the cinema seats so the community can own a piece of its history. Seats are available now for presale at

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