A beloved Houston burger institution has been reborn. Bellaire Broiler Burger is once again serving its signature cheeseburgers and crinkle-cut fries in the heart of the Bellaire triangle (5216 Bellaire Blvd.), and the property will soon be home to another once-popular restaurant that operated in the area, too.
Restaurateur Jason Scheinthal purchased Bellaire Broiler Burger’s building and intellectual property, including recipes and branding, from its previous owner Tom Daneman. The old owner closed the restaurant in 2020 when he decided to retire, Scheinthal explains.
Formerly the owner of Upper Kirby bar Eighteen36, the Landry’s vet will also use the building to revive The Roadster Grill, the Greek diner concept he purchased from owner Nick Semoudiaris and operated at Eighteen36. Diners will be able to order both menus with recipes prepared “just the way it was” before either restaurant closed. Scheinthal says the acquisition of Bellaire Broiler Burger is a bit of a childhood dream fulfilled, as he grew up eating at the restaurant.
“This was one of my dad’s favorite burgers places. I remember in college he said, if it were ever for sale, he would want to buy it,” Scheinthal says. “[When] I called him and said it’s for sale, he got really excited. We met with Tom. We worked out a deal.”
For now, Scheinthal is operating the business out of a food truck while the building undergoes renovations that including making the restrooms handicap-accessible and upgrading the kitchen. He expects the process to take four or five months. When the restaurant opens, it will serve beer, wine, and cocktails, but the truck only offers canned sodas and bottled water.
Currently, the food truck’s menu consists six burgers plus fries and chocolate chip cookies. Choices include the Bellaire Special (a two patty bacon cheeseburger), as well as the signature “#1,” “#2,” and “#3” that are topped with barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, or mustard, respectively. Once his team can execute the menu consistently, Scheinthal plans to add chili, chicken tenders, a grilled chicken sandwich, and other popular menu items.
“We want to move slowly. We don’t want to offer the full menu and have the team catch up on making everything right,” he says. “By the time we open the store, everyone is trained.”
Thankfully, all of Scheinthal’s kitchen staff from Eighteen36 is working on the truck, so they’ll be ready to serve the same Roadster Grill items they’ve been making for two years when the permanent restaurant opens.
One thing people will notice is that the new Bellaire Broiler Burger’s prices are higher than before. That’s the reality of the higher cost of raw materials and labor.
“If our costs go down, I truly would pass that along to the customers,” Scheinthal says. “We don’t want to be an expensive burger. We’re just more than what it was.”
Even with the higher prices, the response has been favorable. Customers are happy to have the restaurant back in their lives, and the truck is operating until later in the evening than the old Bellaire Broiler Burger used to.
“The community has been incredibly supportive,” he says. “The City of Bellaire [officials] have been so great and supportive. They’re all fans of the restaurants, so they want it to come back.”