10 things to know

10 things to know in Houston food right now: Openings, reopenings, and a surprising chef change

10 things to know in Houston food: Openings, reopenings, and chef move

King Ranch Texas Kitchen exterior
King Ranch Texas Kitchen opens this week. Courtesy of Fertitta Entertainment
Drew Gimma Bread Man Baking
Drew Gimma is Houston's newest bread man. Photo by Will Blunt/StarChefs
Gringo's Katy exterior
Gringo's has opened in Katy. Courtesy of Gringo's Mexican Kitchen
King Ranch Texas Kitchen exterior
Drew Gimma Bread Man Baking
Gringo's Katy exterior

Editor’s note:  Houston’s restaurant scene moves pretty fast. In order to prevent CultureMap readers from missing anything, let’s stop to look around at all the latest news to know.

Openings

King Ranch Texas Kitchen will open Tuesday, November 17; lunch service will begin December 1. Located in the former Willie G's at 1605 Post Oak Blvd., the restaurant, a project that unites Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta with the King Ranch, will blend South Texas, barbecue, and Gulf Coast flavors. Former Vic & Anthony’s chef Carlos Rodriguez will lead the kitchen. 

Look for a mix of steaks — including both USDA Prime cuts as well as Texas wagyu offerings — alongside smoked meats such as baby back ribs and Akaushi brisket, sandwiches (including both chopped brisket and an on-trend Nashville-style hot chicken), seafood (including an updated version of Vic & Anthony’s legendary crab cake), and more. Mexican flavors include street-style tacos and "The Beast," a 5-pound wagyu beef shank that's braised and served with taco fixings such as tortillas, salsas, and guacamole. As of press time, King Ranch casserole is not on the menu, but hope springs eternal.

The Houston area’s newest Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen has opened in Katy. Located in the Grand Crossing Shopping Center at 230 W Grand Parkway S., the approximately 10,000-square foot restaurant will seat almost 300 people at full capacity. For now, the restaurant is running a slightly limited menu that still includes customer favorites such as Pollo Marisco, Burrito con Queso, fajitas, and the signature Cadillac margarita. 

“To be able to open a new restaurant during a pandemic has been quite an adventure,” Gringo’s CMO Heather McKeon said in a statement. “Through it all, we’ve stayed focused on making progress and moving the project along . . . We have hired a talented team from the community and are ready to serve up some fajitas and margaritas.”

Phat Kitchen has opened in Third Ward’s Blodgett Food Hall. A sibling to Katy’s acclaimed Malaysian restaurant Phat Eatery, the cloud kitchen offers delivery and to-go versions of popular dishes such as roti canai and beef rendang. In addition, it serves Vietnamese sandwiches from Yelo, the concept that Phat Eatery owner Alex Au-Yeung is developing with chef Cuc Lam. In the coming weeks, Phat Kitchen will add Chinese barbecue under the name Pig + Duck, a new concept Au-Yeung developed based on his time spent living in Hong Kong. 

To learn more, check out this recent episode of CultureMap’s “What’s Eric Eating” podcast that features both Au-Yeung and Lam.  

Speaking of cloud kitchens, chefs Naoki Yoshida (Shun Japanese Kitchen) and Yosuke Motozawa have teamed up to create Hako Bento. Open for lunch Monday - Thursday, the delivery and to-go concept allows diners to create custom, four-item bento boxes from a range of choices. Customers select a fried item, a rice, a salad, and a protein. Appetizers and drinks are also available. 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by HAKO Bento Box Company (@hakobento)

 

Houston’s newest Texadelphia is now open in the Memorial area. Located next to Treebeards in Moody National’s mixed-use development at 9655 Katy Freeway, the new location features all the familiar cheesesteaks, burgers, and wings alongside a full bar — now with full service. 

In addition, Texadelphia worked with chef Shannen Tune (CraftBurger) on new menu items such as a patty melt and vegetarian dishes. Bartender Matt Tanner (Anvil, Pappas Restaurants) consulted on a new cocktail menu.

Houston’s sixth Pluckers Wing Bar has opened in Pasadena at 2958 E. Sam Houston Pkwy. Known for creative sauces like Maple Chipotle Peach Tree Sriracha, the restaurant also serves fried pickles, stuffed jalapeños, and decadent burgers. The sports bar atmosphere offers plenty of TVs for watching games. 

Reopenings

Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys has reopened its location in the Texas Medical Center (6618 Fannin St.). Originally opened in January, the restaurant serves Antone's familiar menu of hot and cold sandwiches, fried seafood, salads, and more. The restaurant opens at 10 am Monday - Saturday and 11 am on Sunday. 

The Union Kitchen will reopen its Washington Avenue location on Wednesday, November 18. Open Wednesday through Sunday for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, the location features a 7,000-square-foot patio that’s ideally suited for a time when many customers prefer to dine outdoors. The menu features an eclectic array of globally inspired comfort food that ranges from pizza and burgers to pasta, seafood, and shareable appetizers. 

Chefs on the move

Acadian Coast has parted ways with executive chef Jean Philippe Gaston. In his place, the seafood restaurant in the Second Ward has turned to Nicholas Drisaldi, formerly a chef at McCormick & Schmick's in Austin, and sous chef Gina Alanis, who worked with consultant John Avila at Henderson & Kane. 

“We have immense respect for Philippe and everything he brought to the collaborative development of our menu. As it sometimes happens, our working relationship reached a natural conclusion, and we know he will be a tremendous creative asset wherever he goes,” the restaurant said in a statement.

As a result of the change, Acadian Coast has delayed the introduction of its full dinner menu. Beginning Tuesday, November 17, the restaurant will be open for bar service with a limited menu from 3-10 pm. 

Bread Man Baking Company has hired baker Drew Gimma as its new director of operations. Gimma brings extensive experience to the role, including time at Bouchon Bakery; locally, he’s worked as the head baker for Common Bond and opened Squable, the European-inspired restaurant owned by Better Luck Tomorrow partners Justin Yu (Theodore Rex, etc.) and Bobby Heugel (Anvil, etc.). 

“Drew is an incredible asset and addition to the Bread Man family,” Bread Man founder Tasos Katsaounis said in a statement. “He has the same high-standards and mentality, and he’s really going to help maximize the bakery’s productivity and efficiency so we can continue making the best artisanal breads possible . . . He’s going to be a great wingman, and the timing couldn’t have been better.”

Bread Man recently expanded its relationship with Whole Foods Market. Four of the company’s loaves are now available at 48 stores in Houston, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and beyond.