Pearland's favorite destination for bratwurst and half liters of German beer will soon give way to a burger joint with a tiki twist. King's Biergarten will close after service on Sunday, November 29, owner Hans Sitter announced.
In its place, Good Vibes Burger & Brews will open either by the end of 2020 or in early 2021. Led by chef-owner Eric Nelson, formerly of Galveston's Number 13 Prime Steak and Seafood, the new restaurant will combine burgers with a beachy vibe and tiki-inspired cocktails.
“We love the community element that King’s has built – and with our tiki-forward burger concept and being so close to the water, we wanted to create that same element of escape that the biergarten is known for by taking what they’ve done with their restaurant the last decade, and really moving it forward with a fresh, sustainable concept,” Nelson said in a statement.
Sitter and his son Philipp reopened King's Biergarten this summer after an extensive series of renovations. Still, when Nelson approached them about the property, they opted to close the restaurant they've operated for nine years. The Sitter family still owns King's BierHaus in Lazybrook/Timbergrove as well as its companion breakfast restaurant, EggHaus Gourmet. A franchised location of King's BierHaus opened in League City in 2019.
“I knew I had to hand over our biergarten to someone who shared the same values and beliefs as a business owner,” Hans Sitter stated. “The Pearland community is something truly special, so we wanted to hand select the perfect concept that will be welcomed with open arms.”
That "perfect concept" starts with burgers made from beef supplied by Texas wagyu purveyor R-C Ranch. The restaurant will also served raw oysters, fried seafood, and more. Signature items will include a crab cake, tuna poke bowl, and Cajun hot chicken sandwich, according to a release.
This summer, Nelson was a fervent supporter of restaurants reopening in light of massive closures locally and around the state. On his Instagram page on July 29, he posted an image with a quote from pundit Candace Owen that claims the virus has a 99.96-percent "survival rate." In the caption, he called for an end to restrictions, writing "it's time to open back up." As of Monday, November 23, the Centers for Disease Control reports that over 255,000 Americans have died due to the coronavirus.
In light of new developments with the pandemic, CultureMap asked Nelson to clarify whether he still holds those opinions and whether Good Vibes would follow Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's protocols for restaurants. He issued the following statement through a representative.
I think we all can agree this has been extremely challenging on the restaurant industry and many know another shutdown would ultimately wipe so many folks out of business. I do not think we can afford that. Meanwhile, when Good Vibes can safely open to the public, we will absolutely be following every Covid protocol recommended by the CDC and lean on the Texas Restaurant Association for guidance on how to navigate this ongoing pandemic.
Renovations to the space will begin after King's closes. Expect to dine on the socially distanced patio in either December or early next year.