Courtesy of Bollo

One of Houston’s favorite pizzerias has quietly opened a second location. Bollo Woodfired Pizza is now open in Garden Oaks at the Stomping Grounds, Revive Development’s food-focused property at 1223 W 34th St.

Whereas Bollo’s original location in Upper Kirby is a full service restaurant, the new Garden Oaks restaurant doesn’t have any indoor seating. Instead, customers may either get their orders to-go or eat them outdoors in the Stomping Grounds greenspace. Orders are placed via a kiosk or online.

With less space comes a more limited menu of pizzas, salads, and desserts. Those who want appetizers or pasta will have to go to the original location.

Thankfully, the ingredients and cooking procedures are the same at both locations. That means wood-fired pizzas made with Italian 00 flour and locally-sourced ingredients such as 44 Farms beef. Bollo has brought some of its most popular pizzas to Garden Oaks, including the Margherita, Shrimp Scampi Pizza, and Carne Trio (fresh mozzarella, prosciutto di Parma, Sicilian sausage, and EZZO pepperoni).

“We are thrilled to open our second location in Oak Forest and bring our great woodfired pizza to a new audience,” owner Ray Salti said in a statement. “We look forward to serving the community and becoming a part of the Oak Forest family.”

Bollo joins a growing group of restaurants at the Stomping Grounds. They include LuLoo’s Day & Night, a fast casual concept from the owners of Blood Bros. BBQ and pastry chef Alyssa Dole; Rooster & Rice, a California-based restaurant devoted to Khao Mun Gai, Thai-style poached chicken and rice; ice cream shop Fat Cat Creamery; and Little Dreamer Coffee. Coming soon are food hall favorite The Pho Fix, a new location of Sonoma wine bar, and a new sushi restaurant.

"Having a first-class pizza operator was always part of our leasing strategy at the Stomping Grounds," Revive leasing director Monica Danna tells CultureMap. "We are fortunate to team up with such an experienced operator like Ray and his team, who have already been warmly welcomed by the neighborhood."

Bollo pizza garden oaks stomping grounds

Courtesy of Bollo

Bollo Woodfired Pizza has opened at the Stomping Grounds.

Photo by Becca Wright

Aggie favorite chicken fingers spot trumpets 2nd Houston-area outpost with a reveille-filled party

former students celebrate

One of Aggieland’s favorite restaurants is opening inside the Houston city limits. Layne’s Chicken Fingers will open this Saturday, February 25 in Garden Oaks.

Located next to the Halal Guys at 3008 Ella Blvd., the 1,200-square-foot restaurant will only be open for to-go service. Diners have the choice of walking in and ordering at a counter or utilizing a drive-thru lane.

Layne's chicken fingers Garden Oaks muralThe interior features a mural.Photo by Sergio Trevino

The restaurant will serve Layne's tightly focused menu of chicken tenders, chicken tender sandwiches, Texas toast, crinkle-cut fries, potato salad, and milkshakes. All of its self-described "Soon to be Famous" chicken fingers are cut by hand, marinated, and breaded on-site. They can be paired with one of four dipping sauces: Layne’s Secret Sauce, described as "the perfect blend of tangy, spicy, zesty, and peppery flavors;" buttermilk ranch; barbecue; and honey mustard.

The Garden Oaks location follows up on a Katy location that opened in 2021. It will enter a competitive marketplace that’s near a number of fast food chicken restaurants include Raising Cane’s, Popeyes, KFC, and El Pollo Loco. Despite the number of nearby choices, franchisee Masroor Fatany, a graduate of Texas A&M who also owns seven Halal Guys restaurants across the Houston area, expresses confidence that his restaurant will find an audience.

“This location is the perfect next step for the Layne’s legacy,” Fatany said in a statement. “We’ve seen such incredible growth and demand for Layne’s across the state and our expansion into H-Town just made sense. We can’t wait to open up for drive thru and walk up service on Ella Blvd.”

Layne’s will celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon cutting at 10:30 am. Festivities include a DJ, giveaways, and sampling from 11 am-2 pm.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to open another location in the Houston area,” Layne’s partner Matt O’Reilly added. “With the massive success we’ve seen at our Katy location, we are excited to bring our chicken fingers inside city limits.”

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Legendary Houston writer's passing, Katy restaurant boom, and spacey new Montrose bar lead week's top stories

this week's hot headlines

Editor's note: It's time to recap the top stories on CultureMap from this past week.

1. Booming Katy development adds 5 grand new restaurants serving boba, Korean BBQ, giant pizzas, and more. They’ll join a number of destination-worthy tenants including hot pot restaurant HaiDiLao and dim sum favorite Tim Ho Wan.

2. 3 Houston-area counties among the top 10 most expensive to live in Texas, report says. Since these are also some of the state's wealthiest counties, it's also easier to pay those bills.

3. Farewell to John Nova Lomax: Remembering a wise and witty wordsmith and consummate Houstonian. Born to spin a yarn, Lomax deftly and superbly chronicled the weird gumbo that is life in Houston.

4. Dynamic duo behind Nobie's and Toasted Coconut bake up new tavern-style pizza restaurant in Montrose. The pizzeria will serve the Midwestern-style tavern pizza that’s popular in Chicago, the city where the couple met.

Roswell's Saloon HoustonSpace cowgirls and cowboys are welcome at Roswell's Saloon. Photo by Becca Wright

5. Spacey new bar and cosmic cocktail spot from Burger Joint owner blasts off in Montrose. Since all of the lighting is either blacklight or neon, Bermudez made sure all of the floors, walls, and bartops are UV-reactive.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo makes history with election of first female chairman of the board

pat saddles up

In 2022, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo made history by making local rap icon Bun B the first Black headliner from Houston. Now, the venerable institution has made history again with the appointment of its first female chairman of the board.

Pat Mann Phillips, a rodeo life member since 2001, will begin her three-year tenure as chairman of the board starting with the 2024 Rodeo, according to an announcement. She takes over for departing chairman Brady Carruth.

“As the newly elected Chairman of the Board, I am humbled and honored to lead the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and our amazing team of dedicated volunteers,” Phillips tells CultureMap. "Together, we embark on a transformative endeavor to propel our organization to its fullest potential. By breaking new ground and pushing boundaries, we will elevate the rodeo experience to unprecedented heights, capturing the essence of our vibrant community and its unwavering spirit.”

Her first objective, according to the rodeo, will be to collaborate with the executive committee to lead the Rodeo, focusing on its core mission of promoting agriculture and supporting Texas youth and education.

Heralded by peers and staff for her high-energy, positive, genuine, compassionate, and humble nature, Phillips has served on myriad rodeo committees, various committees, including the Corral Club – Suites, Directions & Assistance, Jr. Rodeo, and Special Children's committees.

She was elected to the board of directors in 2012 and rodeo vice president from 2016 to 2018. During her tenure, she oversaw the Transportation, Magazine, Special Children's, Agricultural Education (formerly Ladies' Go Texan), Souvenir Program, and Communications & Special Services committees. She joined the rodeos executive committee in 2018.

Consummately Houston and rodeo, Phillips holds a BBA in Petroleum Land Management and a BBA in Finance from Texas Tech University and boasts more than 30 years of experience in the energy industry. She is currently the executive director of Energy Services for Revenade, a global management consulting firm.

Rodeo is a family affair: She and her husband, Tim Phillips have contributed financially through auction buying groups, season tickets, and donations to the Rodeo's Educational Fund. Tim Phillips, a former chair of the Jr. Rodeo Committee, continues to serve on the Special Children's Committee, per the rodeo.

Pat and Tim Phillips also walk the walk: they own Trinity Spirit Ranch in Field Store, Texas and manage their family ranch in Johnson County, Texas. Pat is also a charter member of Texas Women Venture Fund and a member and former director of Ladies of Texas Tradition, per her bio. She is a mentor and board member in organizations including Amigas Para Niños and the American Association of Professional Landmen.

“Our rich traditions serve as the cornerstone of our mission, and it is my hope that through our collective efforts, we not only preserve these traditions but also ignite a flame of inspiration within others,” Par Phillips says. “I am thrilled to saddle up for this exhilarating journey ahead. Together, we will leave a lasting legacy, inspiring generations to come and making a profound difference in the lives of those we touch.”

Gigantic 50-foot shark dives into Houston museum for jaw-dropping new showcase of Earth's greatest predator

jaw-dropping jaws

By the numbers, the great white shark is one of the most fearsome predators to ever exist on planet Earth. Consider:

Sharks! The Meg, The Monsters & The Myths HMNS

Photo courtesy of Houston Museum of Natural Science

Yes, this is actually scale.

  • The largest great white ever recorded spanned 20 feet – half the size of a school bus — and weighed at least 5,000 pounds.
  • At any given moment, great whites possess 300 teeth — measuring up to 6.6 inches — and can regenerate and replace up to 20,000 in a lifetime.
  • Swimming up to 35 miles per hour, a great white can launch itself out of the water like a missile.

But those stats are child's play to the great white's prehistoric predecessor, the megalodon (which literally means "big tooth"), which grew to 65 feet long. Known by scientists and fans as the "Meg," the massive monster will star in Houston Museum of Natural Science's new exhibit Sharks! The Meg, The Monsters & The Myths.

The immersive shark fest opens Friday, May 26 to members and Saturday, May 27 to the general public. Tickets are available online.

Dive into the shark tank

Meant to educate and inspire awe and curiosity rather than hysteria, the new exhibition features six galleries that include live shark tank, 14 life-sized models, interactive and touchable items, dazzling digital displays, fun photo ops, and meg-sized chunks of information about the ocean's apex predators.

Visitors can meet these fin-tastic friends via a 360-square-foot virtual “shark tank,” where sharks of all shapes and sizes (there are eight different orders and more than 500 species) swim by, showing off their sleek shapes, bioluminescence, and grace.

Meet the monster Meg

A giant, life-sized, 50-foot model of a female megalodon — in full swim pose and jaws that easily down an entire refrigerator or a few humans — wide open in a toothy grin. The megalodon's sheer mass compared to humans, its color (gray to reflect the sea wall with a "great white" belly) will be on display for photos and wow moments.

Another gallery takes viewers back more than 400 million years to the earliest sharks and fossilized shark teeth. Each visitor can select a fossilized tooth dating back to the Miocene era to keep as part of the journey.

Some gentle bamboo and epaulette sharks will join stingrays (cousins of sharks), sea urchins, and a host of other sea dwellers in an easily viewable tank, which will offer an up-close-and-personal perspective as to why these creatures are so essential to the ecosystem.

No excursion would be complete without swag, and this one offers up toys, puzzles, t-shirts, magnets, and more at the Island Store, which also houses megalodon teeth, fossilized coral, and a 100,000-year-old giant fossil clamshell.

Fans of these finned friends

While they have survived every mass extinction event in the past 450 million years and have ruled their water kingdom for some 300,000 years, sharks are now in peril by the worst predator of all: humans. Spurred by bloodlust after the release of the 1975 epic film and novel Jaws and other sensational pop culture vehicles, an average of 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year.

Whether for sport, shark fin soup (where fins are cut off while the shark is cast back still alive and left to drown), scientists worry that this decimation could mean the end for many of these astounding creatures. '

“Sharks are remarkably diverse and efficient predators but are more threatened than threatening. In fact, over one-third of shark species are now facing the threat of extinction,” said Nicole Temple, the exhibit curator. “With this exhibition, we hope that our guests are able to explore the misconceptions, mysteries, and mystique of sharks to help pave the way for conservation efforts, as well as explore their unique adaptations and behaviors that continue to inspire scientific innovation around the world.”

“Sharks are critical to maintaining the health of our oceans, which are a huge carbon sink for the planet,” Temple adds. “Really, sharks help keep us alive.”

Consider this a chance to visit to a monstrous meg, snap a selfie, and say thanks.


Sharks! The Meg, The Monsters & The Myths opens Friday, May 26 (members) and Saturday, May 27 (general public) at Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Dr. For tickets and more information, visit HMNS online.