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Via 313/Facebook

The Memorial City area will soon be home to two rapidly expanding restaurant brands. Austin-based pizzeria Via 313 and and Miami-based burger and kebab concept Pincho will join Velvet Taco and Goode Co. Seafood in the shopping center at 10201 Katy Fwy.

Houstonians who travel to Austin will recognize Via 313, which has earned wide acclaim for its Detroit-style pizzas. The rectangular-shaped, deep dish pies feature a rim of a crispy cheese along the crust. Originally founded as a food trailer by brothers Zane and Brandon Hunt, Via 313 has grown to seven Texas locations as well as outposts in Colorado and Utah. In August, it opened its first San Antonio location.

Pincho has achieved similar success in south Florida with its Latin American-inspired kebabs, which are called pinchos. Five different proteins, including chicken, shrimp, and steak, are paired with sides such as rice and beans or tostones and served as platters. The restaurant also serves well-regarded burgers along with bowls and salads. Founded in 2010, it has eight locations in the greater Miami area.



Slated to open in spring 2023, both restaurant come to Houston via their partnerships with Savory, the food and beverage arm of Utah-based investment firm Mercato Partners. Savory partnered with Via 313 in 2020 and with Pincho in 2021. Earlier this year, the private equity firm selected Houston Vietnamese restaurant Saigon Hustle as the winner of its Million Dollar Restaurant Launch competition.

“Memorial City is a great spot for the hottest developments, and we can’t wait to add Via 313 and PINCHO to the mix,” Savory vice president of brand development and strategy Alonso Castañeda said in a statement. “The standout community is a dining destination and a clear choice for our expansion. We know locals and visitors alike will fall in love with our vibrant spaces, bold flavors, and addictive menus. From Via 313’s Detroit-style pizza to Pincho's Miami-born burgers, we’re bringing the heat to Houston.”

The Memorial City area has been on an upswing as a dining destination. In addition to the recent opening of Velvet Taco, the area will soon see additions such as Common Bond and Montrose-based barbecue joint The Pit Room.

“We are excited that Memorial City will be first to bring both of these award-winning restaurants to our city,” Danna Diamond, vice president of retail leasing for Memorial City owner MetroNational added. “The fact that Food & Wine Magazine has touted Via 313 as ‘one of the best pizzas’ and Pincho is considered by Miami News Times as ‘one of the top 10 best burgers’ is a testament of how much Houstonians are going to love experiencing these new flavors.”

Photo courtesy of In-N-Out Burger

California cult fave In-N-Out Burger finally reveals opening date for wildly anticipated Woodlands location

are you in or out?

Cult favorite fast food restaurant In-N-Out Burger will open its fourth Houston-area location in The Woodlands this Thursday, November 30, the Houston Chronicle reports. Located in a former Sweet Tomatoes at 1717 Lake Woodlands Dr., it will offer indoor seating for 84 and a 24-seat covered patio.

After years of rumors and speculation, the California-based chain opened two locations in Katy and Stafford simultaneously in 2019. Diners immediately flocked to both with hour or more waits for drive-thru orders.

Debates immediately followed about the newcomer’s quality relative to local favorite Whataburger.

Founder Harry Snyder opened the first In-N-Out in 1948 in Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Valley. The company had become known for a number of firsts and traditions, including being the first drive-thru restaurant to use a two-way speaker system, hand-leafing its lettuce on site, and a not-very-secret menu that's developed a loyal cult following.

Woodlands residents making their first visit to In-N-Out may want to stick to staples like the classic double-double cheeseburger and a milkshake. From there, consider trying the signature “Animal Style” burgers that come topped with pickles, grilled onions, extra spread (a sauce that’s similar to Thousand Island dressing), and mustard fried onto each meat patty.

The Woodlands has seen a number of new bar and restaurants openings recently. The Stand, a more elevated burger-oriented concept from California, opened in Hughes Landing in August. Popular bar Kirby Ice House debuted near the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion in September. A second location of whiskey-obsessed comfort food restaurant Bosscat Kitchen & Libations will soon debut in Market Street.

All In-N-Out Burgers locations are open daily beginning at 10:30 am.

Photo by Michael Ma

Buzzy burger pop-up's smash new Washington Avenue restaurant reveals opening date

Welcome Burger Bodega

A wildly popular smash burger pop-up will finally unveil its permanent home. Burger Bodega will officially open its new location at 4520 Washington Ave. next Thursday, November 3.

Founded by Houston food influencer Abbas Dhanani, whose @houstoneatz account has more than 30,000 followers on Instagram and more than 110,000 on TikTok, Burger Bodega serves a double-patty cheeseburger that’s smashed on a griddle, topped with grilled onions, pickles, and “bodega sauce,” and served on a Martin’s potato bun. Dhanani has developed a following with a series of sold out pop-ups, and Burger Bodega served sliders to attendees at last weekend’s Southern Smoke Festival.

Diners will be able to get a first taste of the restaurant this week. It will operate from its to-go window only from Tuesday, October 25 through Friday, October 28 from 11 am until sold out. After the grand opening, it will open daily for lunch and dinner service with late night weekend hours to follow in the coming weeks.

Opening a permanent location will allow Dhanani to expand his menu. Diners will be able to get their smash burgers with one, two, or three patties. In addition, the chopped cheese, a staple of the New York bodegas that helped inspire the concept, will have a permanent place on the menu. It consists of two chopped patties with American cheese, onions, bell peppers, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and bodega sauce on a hero roll As an alternative to the smash burger, the restaurant will serve a classic cheeseburger topped with American cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and bodega sauce on a sesame bun.

The restaurant will offer fries available plain, “Screwed” (topped with cheese sauce, onions, and bodega sauce, or “Chopped” (topped with chopped beef, cheese sauce, onions, bell peppers, and bodega sauce).

Dhanani partnered with Craft Creamery owner Steve Marques to develop his milkshakes. Veteran Houston burger lovers will recall that Marques created the milkshakes for The Burger Guys, a short-lived, critically acclaimed burger joint in the early 2010s. Burger Bodega will serve vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mango lassi, and the Burger Guys’ signature Vietnamese coffee milkshake.

Prior to launching Burger Bodega last year, Dhanani worked for the family business, the Sugar Land-based Dhanani Group, which operates hundreds of franchised restaurants such as Burger King and Popeyes, as well as Cyclone Anaya’s and La Madeline. That experience combined with his pop-ups has prepared him to open this restaurant.

“With years of working in the fast food industry for my family's business, I’ve always had the dream of opening up my own restaurant,” Dhanani said in a statement. “All the overwhelming support from the city over the last year at each pop-up truly has been amazing, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring my passion project to Washington Avenue.”

As its name implies, Burger Bodega will carry a limited selection of grab-and-go products. Look for products from restaurants and bakeries such as Bludorn, Craft Pita, Pudgy’s Cookies, Blood Bros BBQ, Seaside Poke, Kin, Feges BBQ, Greenway Coffee, and others. Adding to the New York atmosphere will be a mural created by local artist Donkeeboy, students from Young Art Pros, and graffiti artist Noke 713. Vy Truong and Han Dang of local design firm Very Handsome Studio created the restaurant's overall look.

Burger Bodega graffiti wall A graffiti wall contributes to the New York atmosphere.Photo by Michael Ma

“I started my food Instagram @houstoneatz with the goal to promote other local restaurants and chefs in Houston, and Burger Bodega will be able to bring that goal full circle by showcasing products from local restaurants in the city,” Dhanani said. “I can’t wait to serve the city, and bring a little bit of New York with a Houston flair to Washington Avenue.”

Photo by Michael Ma

Burger Bodega serves a classic smash burger and a chopped cheese.

Photo by Becca Wright

Houston's hip-hop icon Bun B hosts a smash Trill Burgers takeover in the Heights

Keeping it trill in the Heights

For the entirety of its existence, eating a Trill Burger meant standing in line. On Saturday, October 22, Houstonians will finally get to experience them while sitting down.

That’s because Trill Burgers is taking over Harold’s in the Heights beginning at 11 am on Saturday. The popular restaurant on 19th street will serve the full Trill Burgers menu — the OG Trill Burger, the Grilled Onion Burger, and a vegan burger made with Impossible patties — along with some Trill-inspired cocktails in both Harold’s downstairs tap room and upstairs in its dining room and patio. Harold’s will begin serving its regular dinner menu at 6 pm, but Trill Burgers will be able for both dine-in and to-go until 9 pm.

Don’t worry, Astros fans. The restaurant will show game three of the American League Championship Series on its flatscreen TVs.

The one-day only event is the closest Trill Burgers has come to operating a brick and mortar restaurant. Founded in 2021 by Houston hip-hop legend Bun B, California-based restaurateur Andy Nguyen, and local publicist Nick Scurfield, Trill Burgers serves a smash burger made with two beef patties, cheese, Trill sauce, and onions on a Martin’s potato roll.

Already a success locally after a series of pop-ups and successful run at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Trill Burgers earned national acclaim when it won the title of Good Morning America's Ultimate Burger Spot during a broadcast in July. A panel of celebrity judges selected Trill Burgers over competitors from three other cities due to its thin patty construction and harmonious components.

The takeover likely grew out of last weekend’s Golden Fork Awards. Presented by the Houston Restaurant Association, the awards recognized Trill Burgers founder Bun B with its GHTRA 2022 Chairman’s Award while Harold’s owner Alli Jarrett received the coveted Restaurateur of the Year.

Photo by Eric Sandler

Beloved Bellaire burger restaurant suddenly shutters despite celebrated comeback

broiler shuts down

UPDATE: The Bellaire Broiler Burger property at 5216 Bellaire Blvd. has been sold and will become a law office, Bellaire-West U Essentials magazine reports.

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A beloved Bellaire burger joint's reopening plans have been scuttled, at least for now. Bellaire Broiler Burger closed over the weekend.

In a message posted to social media, the restaurant said the closure stemmed from "circumstances beyond our control." Reached by CultureMap for comment, restaurateur Jason Scheinthal declined to specify the specifics of those unnamed circumstances.

"Needless to say, I am incredibly disappointed as this was something I was so incredibly excited about," Scheinthal writes in a text.

Formerly the owner of Upper Kirby bar Eighteen36, Scheinthal revived Bellaire Broiler Burger purchasing the restaurant's building and intellectual property from its previous owner Tom Daneman. In May, he reopened the restaurant as a food truck in the original location's parking lot while renovating its building.

By purchasing Bellaire Broiler's Burgers recipes, the new restaurant aimed to served an identical product to the original that closed in 2020. The menu included the Bellaire Special (a two patty bacon cheeseburger), as well as the signature “#1,” “#2,” and “#3” burgers, which are topped with barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, or mustard, respectively.

The decision not to reopen the original location leaves the future of Bellaire Broiler Burger in doubt, but Scheinthal isn't giving up on his plans to resurrect the restaurant.

"We are very actively pursuing a potential new location and will let you know if we find one," he adds.

Photo by Paula Lobo/Good Morning America

Houston hip-hop legend Bun B and Houston restaurateur dish on Trill Burgers' sizzling success

What's Eric Eating Episode 253

On this week's episode of What's Eric Eating, Bun B and his business partner Andy Nguyen join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss Trill Burgers. The Houston hip-hop legend and veteran restaurateur recently earned national recognition for their smash burger concept by winning the title of "Ultimate Burger Spot" on Good Morning America.

The conversation begins with Bun sharing how a chance encounter with a food truck led to his becoming a fan of Houston's best restaurants. Nguyen, who met Bun years ago when he operated a clothing brand, explains why he saw the musician as an ideal partner for bringing his smash burger concept to Houston.

Sandler asks the duo about the experience of serving at festivals like Coachella. Bun explains why it's a special opportunity for a brand led by such an accomplished performer.

"If you're at this festival and you're a fan of mine, not only do you get to eat my burger, there's a very good chance that you will actually see me at the booth and potentially get your burger from me and take a picture," Bun says. "Now it's more than just a meal. Now it's an experience. For some people, it becomes very surreal. 'I went to the festival to get Bun B's burger, and Bun B was there at Trill Burgers and gave me my burger.' It makes for a more immersive, deeper connection with people I already have a connection with."

Listen to the full interview to hear both Bun and Nguyen discuss being on Good Morning America, their plans to open a brick and mortar restaurant, and the reason customers should behave appropriately when they get a Trill Burger.

Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Mary Clarkson discuss the news of the week. Their topics include: Cuchara owners Ana Beaven and Charlie McDaniel's plans to open a new coffee shop and cafe called Cucharita; Agricole Hospitality opening a second location of Eight Row Flint in the East End; and Blood Bros. BBQ working with pastry chef Alyssa Dole and chef Arash Kharat on their new restaurant LuLoo's Day & Night.

In the restaurants of the week segment, they share thoughts about two restaurants. First, they discuss where il Bracco fits in with all of the other new Italian restaurants that have recently opened. Then, they rave about Cafe Louie, the recently opened all-day concept in the East End.

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Subscribe to "What's Eric Eating" on Apple podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify. Listen to it Saturday at 1 pm on ESPN 97.5.

Andy Nguyen, left, and Bun B are this week's guests.

Photo by Paula Lobo/Good Morning America
Andy Nguyen, left, and Bun B are this week's guests.
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Iconic Austin blues club brings the show to fans with new indie livestreaming platform

Live on Live

If legendary Austin blues club Antone’s is your vibe, but the drive to Capital City isn't, you’re in luck. Antone’s Nightclub launched a new service for livestreaming its shows in November.

Kicking off with New Orleans-based funk and jam band Dumpstaphunk, for their special “Phunksgiving” show last month with Michael Hale Trio, the full lineup is delineated on the Antone’s website. Specifics were still loose before the launch, allowing the famous blues club to call the shots. The partner agency that created the streaming service, 3rd + Lamar, created the system to give Antone’s as much freedom as possible.

"Partnering with Antone's to build their livestreaming platform and produce each of their shows is an incredible opportunity for 3rd + Lamar," said the agency’s co-founder Nick Schenck in a press release. "The amazing talent that performs at Antone's – and their fans worldwide – deserve best-in-class live production quality, and we're thrilled to play a part in this operation."

Not that Antone’s needed to stand out more in the music industry (the nearly 50-year-old venue has always been one of the best places to see both local and national talent), but this achievement places it among relatively few venues across the country, especially those that operate their system independently.

The intimate Antone's shows are filmed by four Blackmagic 4K cinema cameras on tracks overhead, which ensure that the whole space is easily visible without having camera operators amid the audience.

“We did over 430 individually ticketed shows in 2019 and we felt like we were bursting at the seams,” said Antone’s owner Will Bridges. “Then when livestreams became more prominent during the pandemic we realized, this is our opportunity to take Antone’s outside of our four walls. … [W]e see people in the comment threads all the time saying ‘If I could only be teleported to Antone’s!’ Well now they can.”

The release emphasizes that the system means Antone’s “fully retain[s] ownership of their content, which can then be utilized at their discretion.” It also calls the service “an add-on option for all artists performing at Antone’s,” positioning the service as not just an audience luxury but a performer’s low-cost marketing tool. Suddenly, artists playing at Antone’s are afforded a choice without needing to be invited to record or pay an independent video team, while reaching even more viewers with no extra time spent advertising.

“Our ultimate goal is to make these amazing musical experiences accessible to everyone. Life is busy, but we want to give everyone the opportunity to participate no matter where they are or what they have going on,” said Bridges. “We want to make livestreams from Antone’s totally commonplace. When we announce our upcoming shows, fans have two options: watch it at the club our watch it at home.”

Livestreams are at antonesnightclub.com, and links also appear with each applicable event across the site. Prices are listed on the website, and livestreams start 10-20 minutes before each show.

Alt-rock legends Red Hot Chili Peppers heading to Houston for 2023 North American tour

one hot minute

One of alternative rock's most pioneering and enduring acts is headed to Houston to close out a highly anticipated North American tour next year. Red Hot Chili Peppers will play Minute Maid Park on Thursday, May 25, 2023 as part of a North American trek that kicks off in Vancouver, British Columbia on March 29.

Houston lands the honor of the closeout city for the North American tour (the band will also play a slew of dates in Europe). Effortlessly hip, celeb-fave modern rock band The Strokes will support the Chili Peppers, along with the talented bassist-vocalist Thundercat.

Tickets go on sale this week at 10 am Friday, December 9 online.

Houston fans who can't get enough can also catch the Chili Peppers when they hit The Alamodome in San Antonio on Wednesday, May 17 — the only other Texas date.

Aside from The Strokes and Thundercat, supporting acts along the way include Iggy Pop, The Roots, The Mars Volta, St. Vincent, City and Colour, and King Princess.

Touring in support of their two No. 1 studio albums released in 2022, Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen, the Chili Peppers have been played sold-out shows in London, Paris, Los Angeles, and more with major names such as Notable artists such as A$AP Rocky, Anderson.Paak, Beck, and HAIM.

The first rock band in 17 years to score two No. 1 albums in one year, the band has been red hot on the Billboard charts and at the MTV Video Music Awards, where they received the Global Icon Award and brought the house down with a performance of the No. 1 single “Black Summer,'' which also won the award for Best Rock Video.

Fronted by the impossibly chiseled and ageless (he's 60!) Anthony Kiedis, the Chili Peppers formed in 1983. Unabashedly proud of their LA roots, the band burst onto the scene with early singles such as "Higher Ground" and "Give It Away," both showcases of bassist Flea's slappin', funk-fueled basslines.

Throughout the peak of alternative music in the '90s, the band saw tragedy, personnel changes at guitar, and reinventions — Kiedes' rap-singing, Flea's bass grooves, and singalong choruses all constants over the decades.

While many '90s alt-rock acts fizzled, the Chili Peppers stayed relevant; the band boasts two anthemic singles with more than 1 billion streams — "Californication" and "Under the Bridge" — and more than 25 million followers on Spotify.

Expect this show to be packed with Gen Xers and new fans for what promises to be one hot minute.

Red Hot Chili Peppers 2023 tour dates:

  • Wednesday, March 29 – Vancouver – BC Place
  • Saturday, April 1 – Las Vegas – Allegiant Stadium
  • Thursday, April 6 – Fargo, North Dakota – FargoDome
  • Saturday, April 8 – Minneapolis – US Bank Stadium
  • Friday, April 14 – Syracuse, New York – JMA Wireless Dome
  • Friday, May 12 – San Diego – Snap Dragon Stadium
  • Sunday, May 14 – Phoenix – State Farm Stadium
  • Wednesday, May 17 – San Antonio – Alamodome
  • Friday, May 19 – Gulf Shores, Alabama – Hangout Music Festival
  • Thursday, May 25 – Houston – Minute Maid Park

Fan-favorite, wood-fired Houston pizzeria quietly opens in the Heights

enough (pizza) to love

A popular Houston pizzeria has opened its second location in the Heights. The Gypsy Poet has begun a quiet soft opening in the former Fegen’s space at 1050 Studewood St.

Since its 2019 debut in Midtown, the Gypsy Poet has earned a devoted following for its wood-fired pizzas. The restaurant’s personal-sized, 13-inch pizzas exist somewhere on the spectrum between traditional Neapolitan and classic New York — too crispy for the Italians but not quite foldable like an East Coast slice. Options include a classic Margherita and the signature Fancy Backpacker, which is topped with prosciutto, truffle oil, and arugula.

Part of the restaurant’s appeal stems from its friendly service and easy going atmosphere. It regularly hosts informal musical performances and other artistic happenings.

Taken together, Gypsy Poet has earned legions on fans. Yelp users ranked it as Texas’s second best restaurant in 2021. More recently, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy awarded it a high 7.8 rating during a pizza review.

The restaurant opens at a time of transition for pizzerias in the Heights. Dallas-based Neapolitan restaurant Cane Rosso closed last year, and suburban favorite Crust Pizza Co. opened this summer in the former Mellow Mushroom space at N. Shepherd and 20th.

The Heights location of Gypsy Poet will be open Tuesday-Thursday from 5-9 pm; Friday from 12-2 pm and 5-10 pm; Saturday 2-10 pm; and Sunday 2-9 pm.