Houston's restaurant community needs a new worst-kept secret. Ronnie Killen has made it official — he's opening a Tex-Mex restaurant.
Killen's TMX will be located in Pearland's Silverlake Plaza at 9330 W. Broadway St. With only minimal changes to the space required — including the installation of a wood-burning grill, natch — Killen expects minimal permitting hassles. If all goes according to plan, diners will be feating on brisket enchiladas in November.
"The main thing as far as opening a Tex-Mex restaurant, it's just something my son always wanted me to do," Killen tells CultureMap. "We've been playing with the idea and different menu items at the barbecue place. I think putting smoked meats with Tex-Mex and Mexican food gives it another layer of flavor. It's just something different that people aren't doing."
The chef, dubbed Houston's King of Meat, has been teasing diners for months with images of Tex-Mex classics like enchiladas, fajitas, and queso. Those who've sampled the expanded dinner service at Killen's barbecue have had the opportunity to sample some of the dishes that will be on the TMX menu (still made with meat smoked at the barbecue joint), but the menu won't just be focused on cheese-covered classics.
Killen just returned from a week of cooking classes in Cabo San Lucas where he learned to make sauces, salsas, tamales, and other dishes. "As a chef, you want to learn as much as you can. If I wasn't excited about it, I wouldn't have taken the class. I just wanted to know [more]," Killen says.
The resort town also inspired some dishes that utilize Gulf seafood. Killen's STQ executive chef Teddy Lopez will work with the chef to finalize recipes and train the staff.
The new restaurant will be Killen's fifth in the Houston-area, joining his Pearland steakhouse, his nationally acclaimed barbecue joint, a casual hamburger restaurant, and the elevated steakhouse-barbecue restaurant hybrid Killen's STQ. Killen says that if this restaurant takes off, he could look to open more locations in the future.
"Having people's Tex-Mex favorites with authentic Mexican style cooking will capture everybody," Killen says. "I don't see why we wouldn't have a lot of people there."
If the success of his other concepts is any indication, drawing a crowd won't be a problem.