The Inner Loop's wait for a Ronnie Killen restaurant has come to an end. The acclaimed chef will open Killen's on Wednesday, August 19.
Located in the former Hickory Hollow building at 101 Heights Blvd., Killen's features an all-new interior that pays homage to the chef's grandmother, Millie Simecek, who Killen cites as a major source of his love for food and cooking. For example, the restaurant's shiplap walls and white counter tops take their inspiration from the kitchen of her home in Moulton, Texas, while flowers and family photos add a homey touch. Diners will be able to see Killen and his crew cooking in the open kitchen that features a custom-built smoker from J&R Manufacturing — the same company's whose massive rotisserie smokers power the production at Killen's Barbecue in Pearland.
Jul 30, 2020 at 8:39am PDT
“I was inspired by my grandmother’s drive to make people happy with food,” Killen said in a statement. “I spent a lot of time with my grandmother Millie and her daughter and son-in-law, my Aunt Margie and Uncle Wilfred, who were also my Godparents . . . Growing up, I tried to absorb all of the knowledge they had in order to be a good cook. It was a simpler time, and everything was farm-to-table."
When he first announced the restaurant last year, Killen described his inspiration for the menu as "the best of what we do." As the concept has evolved, that includes fried chicken, fried seafood, barbecue plates, and in a nod to the space's history, a massive 16-ounce chicken fried steak. New items unique to the concept include fried green tomatoes, smothered pork chops, and chicken and dumplings. Dessert options include a German chocolate cake the chef developed based on his aunt Margie's recipe.
"My grandmother always made chicken on Sunday — so on Saturday, she would get the chicken, butcher it, soak it in buttermilk, and that was the chicken," Killen said. "The food was pure; it tasted so good and it made me happy.”
Although it will only be open for dinner initially, lunch and brunch will follow. In an interview with CultureMap's "What's Eric Eating" podcast, Killen stated that his first-ever brunch would include scratch-made biscuits, housemade sausages, and all the usual egg dishes.
Beverage options will include a tidy wine list that, like the one served at Killen's STQ, pulls primarily from domestic and European producers. Cocktails will focus on classics served in vintage-style glassware to enhance the retro-inspired experience.
Killen's is taking steps to limit the spread of COVID-19, including spacing out tables and sanitizing surfaces throughout the restaurant. However, those who do not feel comfortable dining out will have to wait a bit to try Killen's cuisine; the restaurant will not be accepting to-go orders at this time, a representative tells CultureMap.