blood bros new restaurant
The Blood Bros. are becoming the Blood Family. The trio behind Blood Bros. BBQ — brothers Terry and Robin Wong and James Beard Award finalist Quy Hoang — are preparing to open LuLoo’s Day & Night, a new all-day concept, in partnership with veteran pastry chef Alyssa Dole (Pinkerton’s Barbecue, The Kirby Group) at Revive Development’s Stomping Grounds project in Garden Oaks.
In addition, chef Arash Kharat has left his position at Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company to become the company’s culinary director. He’ll bring his logistical expertise to all aspects of the operations of both restaurants.
“Honestly, I’ve become obsolete,” Kharat says about his decision to move on from the Sawyer Yards brewery. “I’ve got a talented staff that takes care of the day-to-day stuff. I was just there for menu creation, running numbers, all that stuff.
“I think these guys can benefit from that. I’m a numbers guy when it comes to food cost and making the most money possible without taking advantage of people.”
Named for a combination of Dole’s childhood nickname (Lulu) and the name of Wong’s grandfather (Loo), Luloo’s will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A second floor bakery will become the permanent home for Dole’s LuLu Belle’s Bakeshop, a wholesale business that supplies breads and pastries to Blood Bros. and other Houston restaurants. Dole will both contribute a few items to the LuLoo’s menu and continue to grow LuLu Belle’s, which has developed a reputation for making one-off items that aren’t a fit for larger bakeries.
“We’ve talked about staying small enough where I can do what gives me a leg up,” she says. “Working with chefs to develop things specifically for them.”
"We’re super happy to be able to work with great friends,” Terry Wong adds. “I have been a fan of Alyssa's for many years.”
As for the menu at LuLoo’s, breakfast will feature egg dishes and a range of Dole’s pastries, including Australian-style sausage rolls that use puff pastry wrapped around various meaty fillings. She already offers a pork ginger roll through Monica Pope’s Sparrow Cookshop at the Urban Harvest farmers market, but the restaurant could serve a wider range that includes spanikopita-chicken, cumin beef, and a vegetarian roll made with Impossible vegan meat.
Of course, the kolaches that earned raves during her stint at Pinkerton’s will make their triumphant return — this time stuffed with Blood Bros. smoked meats.
Lunch will feature a range of sandwiches such as a smoked turkey club or ham that’s cured by Hoang on bread that’s baked by Dole. Hoang, who started his interest in charcuterie by making sausages for Blood Bros., sees cured meats as a new avenue for culinary creativity. He recognizes that not all of his ideas are a fit at a barbecue restaurant.
“It’s more like sandwiches that we’ve tried over there that are awesome but don’t fit because there’s not enough smoked meat,” Hoang says. “When we did the muffaletta, it was awesome, but the only thing I smoked was the capicola. That’s something I think would fit better over here.”
Dinner could feature the same sort of specials Blood Bros. serves on Thursday nights; think anything from chicken fried steak to smoked prime rib. Or it could go another direction that does what the group does best: blending Texas’ immigrant culinary traditions, especially those from countries like Vietnam, China, Thailand, and Korea, with classic Lone Star State comfort food.
“We’ve been thinking about all these things we’ve done and putting another spin on it,” Robin Wong says. “You’ve got a bunch of creative minds that work well together. It’s hard to say what we’re going to nail down.”
Riel bar manager Derek Brown will consult on the restaurant’s cocktail offerings. Wong expects to offer four frozen cocktails, six craft beer taps, and a few other sips that can be enjoyed in the restaurant or outdoors in the Stomping Grounds green space.
Overall, the Blood Bros. have come a long from their days of holding barbecue pop-ups at Washington Avenue bars. Since opening their restaurant in 2018, they’ve been featured in the New York Times and Bon Appetit, ranked by Texas Monthly as one of the state’s 50 best barbecue joints, and opened a second location in a Las Vegas food hall. This year’s James Beard Award finalist nomination has motivated them to even greater heights.
“We’re good, but we weren’t good enough. How can we get better? We’ve got to add some components,” Robin Wong says. “That’s where Arash comes in, to help us get focused. Add some more leadership, be more efficient. Hopefully, it will keep us in the conversation for next year.
“Hopefully, we’ll get the same kind of attention for this place. It’s a totally different thing. We want to do something special here as well.”