Courtesy of Tim Hortons

Canada’s favorite coffee and doughnut shop will expand its Houston presence next week. The city’s second Tim Hortons will open December 16 in northwest Houston at 5312 W Richey Rd.

Founded in 1964 by NHL legend Tim Horton, the coffee shop is well known for its freshly brewed coffee and other beverages such as lattes, juices, and teas. Customers can pair their drinks with a range of sweet and savory bites such as breakfast sandwiches and muffins. Doughnuts come in a variety of flavors, including the signature Timbits doughnut holes.

The appealing menu and friendly service have allowed it to grow to 5,000 locations worldwide, with over 600 in the U.S. Tim Hortons made its Houston debut in late August with a location in Katy.

A grand opening celebration begins at 5 am on December 16. The first 50 customers will receive free coffee for a year. Expect prizes, food samples, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Once open, the store’s hours of operations will be 5 am to 8 pm daily. Customers may order via dine-in, drive-thru, or an app that features a rewards program for frequent diners.

Tim Hortons partnered with Houston's CSM Group, which operates Popeyes locations in Texas, Kansas, and Missouri. CSM Group CEO Ali Lakhany told the Houston Chronicle in March that his company plans to open 30 locations across the Houston area, including 10 in the first three years.

“We’ve received such a warm welcome from the Houston community since our grand opening in Katy earlier this year,” Ekrem Ozer, president of Tim Hortons, U.S., said in a statement. “We’re excited to continue to grow our presence in this community and get to know more Houstonians with the opening of our Richey Road restaurant.”

Voodoo Doughnut/Facebook

Edgy Portland doughnut chain opens fourth Houston-area location in Katy with drive-thru, murals, and wicked treats

i put a spell on you

A cult favorite doughnut chain continues to cast its spell on Houston. Portland-based Voodoo Doughnut opened its new Katy shop early Monday, November 28.

Located in a former dry cleaner at 1301 N Fry Road, the new Voodoo features hand-painted murals, a see-through production kitchen, and the shop’s signature spinning display cases, according to a release. Its drive-thru will be open 24 hours a day.

Voodoo Doughnut has earned wide acclaim for its creative doughnuts such as the signature Voodoo Doll with raspberry jelly filling and the Diablos Rex with a vanilla frost pentagram. Other favorites include the Bacon Maple Bar, the Marshall Mathers (topped with M&M’s, naturally), and The Homer, which is topped with pink frosting and sprinkles.

The company has been on a growth spurt. It opened a Cypress location in April and will add a second Austin location later this year. Overall, Katy is the fourth Houston-area location joining shops in Montrose and on Washington Avenue.

When Voodoo announced the new location this summer, it said it expected to hire 75 employees to maintain its 24-hour operations. Perks include healthcare and paid time off as well as not having to wear a name tag or uniform.

“What makes this store opening in Katy the most exciting is the ability to hire so many folks to join the Voodoo Team right here from the local community,” Voodoo CEO Chris Schultz said in a statement.

Courtesy of Voodoo Doughnut

Edgy Portland doughnut chain entices Houston Astros fans with sweet World Series giveaway

free doughnuts

With all of Houston still basking in the Astros World Series victory, one Houston-area doughnut shop wants to keep the celebration going a little longer. Voodoo Doughnut will give away free Astros-themed sprinkle cakes on Wednesday, November 9.

Really, the deal couldn't be simpler. The doughnuts will be available from 6 am until midnight at all three of Voodoo's Houston-area locations — Washington Avenue, Montrose, and Cypress. Limit one per customer.

"When your local team wins the World Series, you go big,” Voodoo Doughnut CEO Chris Schultz said in a statement. “The Astros have given the city of Houston something to celebrate and with the popularity of our Astros sprinkle cake promotion throughout the playoffs, we knew this was going to be a sweet way to join the festivities.”

As Schultz notes, Voodoo had been selling the sprinkle cakes for 50 cents throughout the Astros playoff run. It's a classic cake doughnut topped with white icing and blue and orange sprinkles.

Although no purchase is required to claim the offer, Voodoo is probably hoping customers pick up another treat or two from the cult-favorite, Portland-based chain. Signature items include the bacon maple bar, the dirt, and the Voodoo Doll with raspberry jelly filling.

Photo by Eric Sandler

Canadian favorite coffee & doughnut shop Tim Hortons now open in Katy

Tim's in Texas

Canadian ex-pats of Houston, rejoice, eh! Your favorite coffee and doughnut shop has made its Texas debut.

Tim Hortons has quietly opened its first Houston-area location in Katy at 21817 Clay Rd. Situated just east of the Grand Parkway, the restaurant features a limited amount of internal seating, a few outdoor tables, and a two-lane drive-thru.

Although Tim Hortons hasn't officially announced the opening, news of its debut has circulated on social media. When CultureMap stopped by Tuesday at 1 pm, cars filled the drive-thru and a line of eager diners spilled out of the door. It's not quite an In-N-Out level frenzy — which required police officers to help manage traffic — but it still demonstrates the enthusiasm for the Canadian favorite.

Once inside, diners will find a variety of doughnut options, including the signature Timbits doughnut holes, along with muffins and breakfast sandwiches on croissants or bagels. Beverage options are extensive, ranging from hot or iced coffee to juices, teas, and sodas.

Patience is advised, as the staff is still learning the ropes. An order on Tuesday afternoon for six doughnuts, an iced coffee, and a chai latte took approximately 30 minutes to be served. Online ordering is not yet available.

Local radio personality Ashlee Young delivered this decidedly mixed review from her visit to the restaurant:

The new location comes from a partnership between Tim Hortons and Houston's CSM Group, which operates Popeyes locations in Texas, Kansas, and Missouri. CSM Group CEO Ali Lakhany told the Houston Chronicle in March that his company plans to open 30 locations across the Houston area, including 10 in the first three years. The company is counting on beating coffee chains like Starbucks with a lower price point and baked goods that are prepared on-site.

“The fresh quality food will be key, and, in Texas, the price point will be another advantage that Tim Hortons will have over Starbucks,” Lakhany said in March. “I think Starbucks is way too overpriced.”

Voodoo Doughnut/Facebook

Edgy Portland doughnut chain casts a spell in Katy with creative and scandalous treats

that voodoo they do

Portland-based Voodoo Doughnut will continue its growth in the Houston area. The cult-favorite doughnut chain will open its fourth local outpost in Katy at 1301 N Fry Rd.

Voodoo Doughnut has earned wide acclaim for its creative doughnuts such as the signature Voodoo Doll with raspberry jelly filling and the Diablos Rex with a vanilla frost pentagram. Some of its more scandalous offerings include the Maple Blazer Blunt and the Cock-N-Balls doughnuts, both of which are shaped to resemble their names.

The doughnut shop made its Houston debut in 2020 with a location on Washington Avenue. A Montrose outpost opened on lower Westheimer last year, and a Cypress location debuted in April. The company posted a rendering of the new location to Instagram.

While an opening timeline has yet to be revealed, the shop plans to hire 75 employees. Perks include healthcare and paid time off as well as not having to wear a name tag or uniform.

“We are super excited to enter the Katy market,” Voodoo CEO Chris Schultz said in a statement. “Having Katy be a part of the overall growth of the Voodoo brand and bringing additional job opportunities to the community, that’s what it’s all about.”

Courtesy of Yonutz

Smash ice cream doughnut shop from Miami bringing cool spot to Houston area

So hot it’s cool

A Miami-based dessert shop is bringing its ice cream-stuffed smashed doughnuts to the Houston area. Yonutz will open its first store in Pearland Town Center later this year, the company announced.

Consider the signature Nutella Crunch Smash Donut that's cut in half, filled with cookie dough ice cream, heated in a waffle iron-style griddle, and topped with Oreos, cereal crunch, and Nutella drizzle. It's a hot and cold taste experience that's won awards at the annual Dessert Wars competition and attracted an investment from former Shank Tank cast member Kevin Harrington, according to a release.

With Harrington on board, co-founders Jennifer and Tony Bahu have plans to grow Yonutz from its current two locations in Sunrise, Florida lland Las Vegas to more than 20 nationwide, including two in the Houston area. To prepare for the expansion, Yonutz has updated its branding and will equip stores with Instagrammable elements such as neon signs and custom murals.

“Our goal with this rebrand and franchising is to expand upon the fun and innovative Yonutz brand,” Tony Bahu said in a statement. “With our elaborate desserts, immersive ambiance, colorful packaging and outstanding customer service, we will continue to provide a fantastical experience to dessert lovers everywhere and allow fans all over the United States to partake in the Yonutz experience.”

Smashed doughnuts are at the heart of the Yonutz experience, but the menu also includes conventional, non-ice cream filled doughnuts as well as milkshakes. A "secret menu" — available to anyone who joins the company's free VIP club — offers even more choices.

“By creating such an innovative and immersive experience, guests from all over the country will finally get to indulge in our one-of-a-kind products, like the Smash Donut, that truly sets us apart,” added Jennifer Bahu. “We are so thrilled to be able to share our excitement and fantastical desserts with new customers.”

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Where to eat in Houston right now: 9 best new restaurants proving our pizza town cred

where to eat right now

By any standard, pizza is having a moment in Houston. Not that pizza ever goes out of style, but when a wave of new pizzerias open — some led by the city’s top chefs — the time has come for a closer look.

Notably, we found options in a range of styles ranging from classic New York, to on-trend Detroit, a grilled pizza that may be unique to its restaurant. Anyone who thinks Houston isn’t a pizza town simply hasn’t eaten enough slices here.

While this list focuses exclusively on restaurants and bars that have opened in the last year or so, it is not meant to disrespect those tried-and-true places Houstonians have been patronizing for years. Fans of places like Star, Brothers, and Romano’s can save their emails. We like them, too, but they aren’t a fit for this roundup.

As always, Where to Eat columns are based on actual visits to the included restaurants (sometimes more than once) and are ordered by what we’d go to first. They all have something to offer, even if a visit requires a jaunt down the Westpark Tollway.

ElRo Pizza & Crudo
Chef Terrence Gallivan has made his return to the dining scene with this intimate restaurant on the border of Montrose and Midtown. With their high crown and creative toppings, ElRo’s personal-sized, Italian-style pizzas recall the pies Gallivan served at The Pass & Provisions. Highlights include the mushroom pie with smoked maitakes and mortadella with pistachio pesto. Round out the meal with a crudo or two — the spicy tuna on toast is a particular favorite. An affordable wine list and creative cocktails (all named after Bruce Springsteen songs) complete the experience.

ElRo restaurant pizza
Photo by Julie Soefer
ElRo serves a variety of pizzas.

Nonno’s Family Pizza Tavern
Nobie’s owners Sara and Martin Stayer channel Gen X nostalgia at this pizzeria that’s located next to The Toasted Coconut, their tiki-inspired restaurant and bar. Nonno’s serves the Midwest tavern-style pies that Sara grew up eating in Chicago; the thin, crispy pies are cut into squares — known as a party cut — to make them easier to share. Appetizers like chicken wings and mozzarella sticks complete the classic pizzeria experience.

Nonno’s takes the “family” part of its name seriously. A recent visit found at least half the tables occupied by families with children, many of whom entertained themselves at the restaurant’s arcade that features pinball machines and vintage video games.

Pastore Italian Kitchen
This restaurant's menu may describe its round, dough-based items as “flatbreads,” but we know a pizza when we see one. Available with traditional toppings like margherita, an East Coast-style clam pie, or seasonal ingredients like fig with lemon ricotta, Pastore's wood-fired pizzas blend Italian flavors with a slice that’s sturdy enough to be eaten by hand. The restaurant’s new brunch service offers a breakfast pizza topped with pancetta, poached eggs, hashbrowns, and more, which makes it the perfect hangover cure — especially when paired with some hair of the dog from the cocktail program overseen by former CultureMap Tastemaker Awards Bartender of the Year winner Sarah Troxell.

Gold Tooth Tony’s
Chef Anthony Calleo has been serving Detroit-style pizzas at Rudyard’s for awhile now, but his new restaurant in the Heights dives in more deeply with a greater selection of pies and a more diverse set of toppings. The square-shaped, deep dish pizzas feature a crispy edge and a pleasant chew. Calleo channels his Pi Pizza days with selections like the Only5 (venison sausage, port wine cherries) and the Grizz (chicken, bacon, ranch, charred pineapple, grizzly sauce). New to the Gold Tooth Tony’s menu are selections such as the Hunger Force (meatballs, whipped ricotta) and the Sebastian’s Big Idea — a spam musubi-inspired pie with toasted pineapple and furikake.

Betelgeuse Betelgeuse
The self-described “bar with good pizza” recently added a Montrose location to its roster. Having access to a full kitchen instead of a food truck allows Betelgeuse to serve both 10 and 14-inch versions of its signature “ironclad pizzas,” named for the round, cast iron pans that give the pies a crispy crust. Compelling vegetarian pies — think the Three Sauce (pizza sauce, pesto, and vodka sauce) or the Fresh de Frays (ricotta, strawberries, chevre, basil) — might make even the most devoted carnivore skip the pepperoni. An extensive cocktail selection and fun bar snacks round out the menu.

Cup N’ Char Buffalo Pizza Cafe
This favorite of the Katy/Fort Bend Foodies Facebook group serves a Buffalo-style deep dish that’s similar to Detroit-style. The thick, chewy crust provides a sturdy platform for robust toppings like chicken fingers, a classic Hawaiian, and the Italian Mob (pepperoni, sausage, onion, and banana peppers). Even better, the convenient “half medium” size makes for a hearty single serving. Of course, Cup N’ Char’s Buffalo roots mean their chicken wings are first-rate — crispy, meaty, and available in a range of toppings, including the must-order Italian (garlic-parmesan) that can also be tossed in spicy Buffalo sauce.

Coastline Artisan Pizzeria
Newly opened in First Ward by childhood friends Armando Dimeo and Jordan Kone, Coastline serves two styles of pizza — a grilled pizza Dimeo first developed while working for his family’s restaurant in the Hill Country and a classic Neapolitan that’s baked in a wood-burning oven. The grilled pizza has an oblong shape and a crispy crust that supports more elaborate toppings like The O.G. (mozzarella, Italian sausage, ricotta, habanero honey, basil, and tomato sauce). Since the wood-burning oven takes three hours to reach a full 900 degrees, the Neapolitan pies are only available at dinner.

Formerly known as How to Survive on Land and Sea, this casual bar has rebranded itself as a low-key gathering spot for beer, wine, cocktails, and pizza. The classic New York-style pies utilize a recipe developed by Angelo Emiliani, the chef who burst into Houston’s collective restaurant consciousness with his Angie’s Pizzas pop-up. Sold either by-the-slice or as whole pies, the pizzas have a pleasantly chewy crust that’s easy to fold. Even better, slices are free with the purchase of a cocktail on Monday nights.

Home Slice Pizza
This Austin-based pizzeria debuted in Midtown last December with its classic New York-style pizzas and Sicilian, “grandma-style” pies. Sold as whole pies or slices, Home Slice pizzas have a toothsome, foldable crust that serves as the basis for everything from a classic pepperoni and mushroom to a white clam pizza with garlic and oregano that wouldn’t be out of place in New Haven, CT. Very credible meatballs subs and Italian-style hoagie (ask for light mayo) complete the East Coast experience. Once the weather cools off, the expansive patio will be a pleasant place to linger over selections from the well-chosen beverage list.

Houston Hot Girl Megan Thee Stallion seizes the awkward with mental health campaign

hot take

We all know Megan Thee Stallion is the baddest you-know-what of them all. She can share the stage with a fellow Houston queen (and still get choked up about it), make an ex-porn star quote her lyrics on social media, and even play a cartoon version of herself on a Netflix show.

But America’s favorite Hot Girl Coach also wants you and your friends to take care of each other mentally.

She recently joined the Seize the Awkward campaign to encourage young adults to reach out to their “strong” friends in a new PSA. In the video, Megan gets real about the pressures to be strong and the importance of peer-to-peer support. “No matter who you are,” she says in the video, “being vulnerable is what makes us whole.”

Seize the Awkward is a national campaign (first launched in 2018) that encourages young adults to start the conversation with friends about mental health. The campaign was developed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and The Jed Foundation in collaboration with the Ad Council.

With 76 percent of young adults turning to a peer for support in a time of crisis, how can more young adults join Megan and Seize the Awkward to get the conversation started?.

As Megan says in the PSA, you can visit SeizeTheAwkward.org and Megan’s website BadBitchesHaveBadDaysToo.com for more resources to check in on a friend. You can also follow @SeizeTheAwkward on Instagram.

Score free Shake Shack for one day only at juicy collab with charming Rice Village jeweler


Popular ear piercing barStuds made a name for itself by offering a customized piercing experience for those who aged out of places like Claire's but wanted an alternative to a tattoo parlor for piercings. With 19 locations nationwide, Studs offers a wide assortment of earrings that range from classic shapes, to huggies, flatbacks, and dangling charms.

Studs has once again added to their earring selection with their latest collaboration with Shake Shack. They created an adorably beefy earring to add to any burger lover's Earscape.

Studs and Shake Shack created a limited-edition Burger huggie earring and Earscape set. Photo by Studs

Retailing for $32, the limited edition Shake Shack burger huggie comes as a 14K gold-plated hoop with a loaded hamburger charm. Shoppers can opt for the $64 pair, but Studs is also currently offering a discount on the Shake Shack x Studs set. For $78, earring enthusiasts can get the two Shake Shack burger huggies, the 14K-gold Smiley Stud and the 14K-gold Micro CZ Stud.

What's even better than cute earrings? Free Shake Shack! On Thursday, September 28th customers can enjoy free bites from Shake Shack while they shop the new Shake Shack Charm Huggie collection at Stud's Rice Village location.

For $78, earring enthusiasts can get the two Shake Shack burger huggies, the 14K-gold Smiley Stud and the 14K-gold Micro CZ Stud.Photo by Studs

Shake Shack is known for their always made-to-order fare including ShackBurger, crinkle-cut fries, hand-spun shakes and their new Veggie Burger and non-dairy offerings.

Interested shoppers can RSVP here.

Studs Rice Village, 2567 Amherst St.; (832) 981-2869. RSVP here.