It’s official. Ronnie Killen is coming to The Woodlands.
The chef will bring a second location of his acclaimed Killen’s Steakhouse to the former Bob’s Steak & Chop House space at 1700 Research Forest Dr. If all goes according to plan with final inspections and approvals, Killen plans to open the new restaurant in February. Killen posted about the deal on Facebook this weekend, but he couldn't comment on the transaction until the bank finalized the paperwork on the evening of November 20.
“The kitchen is phenomenal, all the best equipment. It’s basically a turn key deal. Put a new sign up, hang some pictures. It’s amazing,” Killen tells CultureMap. Later, he adds, “we’re not going to do a huge renovation. The building is only three and a half years old.”
Killen says he’s secured a $4.4 million dollar loan to purchase the property outright. The ability to own a working restaurant on 2.5 acres of land in a fast-growing, high-traffic area helped motivate him to complete the purchase. In some ways, he can barely believe how far his career has come.
“I never would have dreamed being a young kid or graduating from culinary school that I would be doing what I’m doing now. I remember times I could not get a Snickers bar on credit,” he says. “Now a bank wants to let me borrow $4.4 million. What did I ever do to deserve this? Doing things that I just love doing and surrounding myself with good people and trying to do the best job we can do. It makes you think.”
As the chef notes, the majority of the current steakhouse’s customers come from outside Pearland. He’s hoping the new location will prove to be a similar draw that attracts customers from both The Woodlands and its neighboring communities such as Conroe, Spring, and Montgomery.
“[Tris executive chef] Austin Simmons messaged me. He said he can’t wait for us to be there. I hope our brand brings people from all over,” Killen says.
Diners can expect all of the same signature dishes that have made the Pearland steakhouse a destination: from the long-bone ribeye to the creamed corn to the carrot cake. Even with a crew of experienced cooks who are ready to step into new roles, the chef knows he’ll need to spend a lot of time at the new location to get it running smoothly.
“I may get a big apartment or something. People in The Woodlands are going to want to see me there,” he says. I posted [on Facebook] about getting a helicopter. I wasn’t totally kidding.”
That loan approval may be harder to secure. But bringing one of the city’s top steakhouses to an affluent, fast-growing area? That’s a no-brainer.