Ronnie Killen closes his Tex-Mex restaurant in Pearland
One of Houston’s most well-regarded chefs has been farewell to his Tex-Mex restaurant — at least for now. Ronnie Killen has closed Killen’s TMX.
Opened in late 2018, Killen’s TMX had an ambitious agenda to serve both Tex-Mex classics like fajitas and enchiladas as well as more traditional Mexican fare. Chef Killen took inspiration from trips to Mexico City and Cabo San Lucas to create dishes such as, a tuna tostada, smoked scallops in green mole, and a barbacoa-style smoked short rib.
Killen also made a substantial investment in the restaurant’s design, importing tiles, tables, chairs, and other elements from Mexico. “I put a lot of work into that place, more than most of my places. I hand carried so much of the decor from Mexico,” Killen writes in a text.
Killen's TMX used imported design elements. Photo by Kimberly Park
Over time, the menu shifted to a more Tex-Mex focus by dropping the Mexican dishes. Although the revised TMX earned support from Pearland locals, Killen opted not to renew his lease, telling CultureMap the location had challenges that made moving on the right decision.
Thankfully for fans of the restaurant’s food, some of TMX’s most popular dishes will soon be available at the Pearland location of Killen’s Barbecue, which is only a 10-minute drive down Broadway Street. Tacos, quesadillas, and brisket nachos are already available, and more dishes could be added soon.
Killen hasn’t given up his goal of serving more traditional Mexican food. He thinks it could be a fit for Killen’s of the Heights, his comfort food restaurant near the intersection of Heights Boulevard and Washington Avenue. Expect TMX pop-ups at that location to gauge people’s interest.
“The comfort food is good but it’s inexpensive,” Killen writes in a text. “We need to put something there that is a little higher PPA [per person average].”
Whatever the future of Killen’s TMX, the chef still operates a number of restaurants across the Houston area, including two locations of Killen’s Steakhouse, Killen’s Burger, live fire steakhouse Killen’s STQ, and three locations of Killen’s Barbecue.