take a stand
Community-minded California restaurant stands up in The Woodlands with burgers, craft beer, and more
A Los Angeles-based restaurant devoted to classic American food will make its Texas debut in The Woodlands next week. The Stand will begin its soft opening Wednesday, August 10 in the Hughes Landing development (2000 Hughes Landing Blvd, Suite F-700).
Described as “American classics redefined,” The Stand serves a range of burgers, sandwiches, and salads in a fast casual environment. The restaurant prides itself on using high quality ingredients and offering a more upscale environment and higher level of service than similar concepts.
Founded in 2003 by Murray Wishengrad, the restaurant has grown to 12 locations across the Los Angeles area. Wishengrad’s son Jason joined the company in 2006 and currently serves as executive vice president. In 2015, venture capitalist Andrew Jhawar made a personal investment into the restaurant to help fuel its growth. The Stand granted Triple Tap Ventures, the company behind Alamo Drafthouse, the right to operate in Texas. After being approached for years about partnerships or franchising, the company didn’t undertake the decision to grow lightly.
“We guard this brand with our lives,” Murray Wishengrad tells CultureMap. “I’m 68 this year. It’s my legacy. Other than my sons and grandkids, it’s the thing I’m most proud of, that we created this iconic brand in Los Angeles that has amazing followers.”
Wishengrad explains that he felt a connection due to the shared values he has with Triple Tap president and CEO Neil Billingsley-Michaelsen.
“We met these guys. We liked them. They represent our family values,” Murray Wishengrad says. “We like that Neil and his family are a young family with children. We just clicked.”
Similarly, they identified The Woodlands as an appropriate area for their Texas debut. At a time when many restaurant have shrunk their dining rooms and focused on to-go, The Stand sees itself as a gathering for multi-generational family meals or youth sports teams to go after a game.
“It took a long time to figure out where we wanted to be in Texas,” Jason Wishengrad says. “We felt like The Woodlands was a great place to do it. After spending quite a bit of time there, it’s a great community.”
Turning to the food, meals at The Stand suit a lot of moods. Those looking for something hearty might consider a burger. Made with a one-third beef patty, the restaurant offers five different buns — including a keto-friendly lettuce wrap — and over three dozen toppings that range from the typical ketchup, mustard, lettuce, pickle, cheddar, etc. to more unusual options like bacon-tomato jam, crispy onion strings, and roasted tomatoes.
Other burger protein options include turkey, chicken, Impossible plant-based protein, or falafel. The Woodlands will open with a handful of specials, including a French onion soup burger that’s served with French onion jus on the side for dipping. In keeping with the theme, the restaurant serves an all-beef hot dog that’s also available topped with chili and cheese.
Lighter options include different grilled chicken sandwiches along with a seared tuna sandwich and a take on a turkey club. Five salads and two wraps are also available.
Those with particularly hearty appetites may want to consider the signature short rib grilled cheese. Served on a parmesan-crusted bun, the braised beef short rib gets topped with cheddar, crispy onion strings, bacon-tomato jam, and hickory sauce.
“I lost a bet. I said it wouldn’t sell,” Murray Wishengrad says. “We put it on the specials menu. It’s been a top three seller since it launched.”
The Stand takes similar pride in its beverage offerings. In California, it partners with local breweries to produce one-off beers that are unique to the restaurant. Expect similar creations to be announced with Houston breweries in the future. For the first time, it will also offer a full bar.
As part of its community-minded attitude, The Stand will introduce itself to The Woodlands with two charity dining events on Tuesday, August 9 where 100-percent of sales will be donated to the Montgomery County Food Bank and The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. In addition, the restaurant will also match up to $2,500 in additional donations made by diners to each nonprofit organization.
The Food Bank benefit will take places from 11 am to 2:30 pm. Diners may register here. The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion benefit will be held from 5-8:30 pm. Diners may register here. Participation will be limited to 150 people per time period.
“At the core of our brand is this commitment to the local communities we serve and making sure we become a part of them,” Jason Wishengrad says. “We do a lot of fundraising. We do a lot of charity giveback.”