Once again, a Dallas-based restaurant group has made plans to come to Houston. Free Range Concepts has announced its plans to bring both its Bowl & Barrel luxury bowling concept and neighborhood bar/restaurant The General Public to CityCentre in 2016.
Co-owner Kyle Noonan may have found success in Dallas, but he's a Houston native who's impressed by all the changes going on along the Energy Corridor, particularly at CityCentre.
"When I lived in Houston, it was the old Town & Country Mall. It was a desolate place," Noonan tells CultureMap. "Coming back and seeing the growth and the energy, it was hard not to notice the transformation. I started looking around and realized all the tenants are A-plus, and the consumer base was clearly there to support those kind of tenants."
Bowl & Barrel will be the first to open. Similar to in design to the concept's second location in San Antonio, the Houston version will feature a first class, high tech bowling experience that eliminates some of the hassles of traditional bowling alleys.
"It’s all automated. You don’t have to enter names," Noonan says. "We don’t even make you carry your shoes. You walk in, and we take care of it from that moment."
The food menu features pizzas that utilize a three-day, housemade dough. Shareable, oversized meatballs and creative twists on traditional bar food like serving fried quail instead of standard chicken wings rounds out the offerings.
Barrel refers to both cocktails and beer, but B&B won't try to match the dozens of taps at other places. Instead, the concept follows the model of a German beer garden and only offers four brews on draft: light, medium, dark and seasonal.
"Frankly, there’s not 100 good beers that you can get on tap," Noonan says. "They’re served German-style in a huge stein. I think it’s almost impossible to have a bad time when you have a giant beer in your hand."
Noonan describes The General Public as "an upscale restaurant and bar that really focuses on traditional barroom type entrees and cocktails but with a modern twist." As at Bowl & Barrel, Noonan says that General Public employees are expected to deliver first-class service.
"It’s a sexy place, really dramatic deceor, a very tailored experience," Noonan explains. "Our staff is very in tune to finding out to what the consumer is looking for, and then we tailor it to them."
The menu features burgers, sandwiches and more hearty entrees, but the restaurant has become best known for the only dessert it serves.
"It’s a white on white birthday cake with some housemade sprinkles . . . It has a candle whether it’s your birthday or not. It’s hard not to get excited when this thing hits the table, because it’s a big multi-level monstrosity," Noonan says.
As 2016 approaches, it looks like Dallas-based restaurants are poised to make a splash. Raised Plate Restaurants will bring both pizza restaurant Thirteen Pies and American food restaurant The Porch to River Oaks District. Highly regarded Neapolitan pizza restaurant Cane Rosso is opening in both The Heights and Montrose. Souffle restaurant Rise nº2 will open in BLVD Place above Peska Seafood Culture, and breakfast favorite The Original Pancake House is heading to Spring.