Ronnie Killen is expanding his presence in The Woodlands. The chef, who already operates a location of Killen's Steakhouse in the northern suburb, announced on social media that a second location of Killen's Barbecue will also be opening there.
Killen tells CultureMap that he's currently in final negotiations to purchase a former Culver's at 8800 Six Pines Dr. for a new barbecue joint that would be less than a mile from his steakhouse. If everything goes well during a 30-day due diligence period, Killen says he could close on the property around April 1. That would put the restaurant on track to open in late May or early June.
While towns near The Woodlands like Tomball and Spring have signature barbecue joints of their own, the growing city lacks the modern, Central Texas-style 'cue that Killen helped bring to Houston when he opened his first barbecue restaurant in 2014. Video footage from a recent barbecue pop-up that Killen hosted at his Woodlands steakhouse shows a massive line of diners waiting for smoked meat.
"The pop-up was busier than any pop-up I’d ever had with the first restaurant," Killen says. "Doing demographics on the area as far as what’s out there. There’s Goode Co. across the street, but what we do is different."
In terms of assessing the likelihood of the project coming to fruition, Killen notes that he's already purchased the smokers that will power the restaurant. In another sign of optimism, he's leased the space during the negotiating period to begin holding weekly pop-ups at the site. Expect them to start next week (Saturday, February 15).
When it opens, expect a slightly stripped down menu compared to the Pearland original, at least in the beginning. Killen says he want to make sure staples like beef brisket, sausage, and pork ribs are being cooked properly before allowing things to grow.
Simultaneously, he's feeling optimistic that Killen's, his new comfort food restaurant in the former Hickory Hollow space near Washington Avenue, will open soon. A recent permit approval means construction can begin to finalize the space's transformation. He hopes to be serving chicken fried steak, fried chicken, and other classic fare in six to eight weeks.