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Houston's top 10 pizzas.

"It's a group of people that do not want you to do business [as a food truck]," Anon says of the uphill battles with the City. "Those people are still afraid of 'roach coaches,'" even though big brands like Berryhill are now stepping into the game. And Anon hopes that when consumers and politicians alike see brick-and-mortar places purchasing food trucks, that will eventually change.

"They see a brand name, they're not as afraid," he comments. "Food trucks bring color to a city, vibrancy." More to the point, he says, in areas such as downtown, "There are a lot of workers who can't eat in a nice restaurant — guys who are working construction, for example, and can't change into different clothes. Why not give them the option of food trucks?"

Berryhill isn't the first restaurant to start its own food truck, however — a point which City Council has so far been ignoring during its ongoing discussion on proposed loosening of certain mobile food unit regulations.

The Winner Winner at Austin import J. Black's.
Katharine Shilcutt
The Winner Winner at Austin import J. Black's.
Kevin Charif, left, and Jeff Anon are eager to get Berryhill Baja Grill's new food truck on the streets.
Katharine Shilcutt
Kevin Charif, left, and Jeff Anon are eager to get Berryhill Baja Grill's new food truck on the streets.

Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen has successfully run the mesquite smoker-equipped No Borders truck for nearly two years, and, more recently, the owners of Bistro Provence started the city's first all-French truck, L'es-Car-Go. Shawn Bermudez owns Royal Oak, a bar and grill, as well as the upcoming Pistolero's — but he's also a part owner in popular food trucks Golden Grill and Koagie Hots.

The relationship between restaurants and food trucks cuts both ways, too: Green Seed Vegan was finally able to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant after generating enough revenue from its Third Ward food truck, while culinary trio Ryan Soroka, Matt Marcus and Alex Vassilakidis are hard at work on opening a cafe built on the success of their food truck, Eatsie Boys.

When Anon's new food truck does finally get rolling, it'll be one of the biggest and baddest ones out there. Kevin Charif, the food truck manager, showed off the truck's toys along with Anon: a hot box to keep prepped food fresh, a flat grill, a fryer, a cool box, a sandwich station — even a full POS to take credit cards and a surround sound system for playing music and calling out orders.

And on board, the truck will serve an assortment of Berryhill's best items: its famous tamales (the same tamales that got Mick Jagger hooked, thanks to Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top) and equally famous fish tacos with spicy banana-habanero sauce; juicy hamburgers on torta buns with creamy asadero cheese and sauteed onions; Sonoran hot dogs on a light, crispy lobster roll-style bun; burritos ahogados; delicate slices of tres leches and refreshing glasses of fresh-squeezed mint-lemonade.

Almost all the food at each Berryhill location (the five Anon-owned locations and the ten franchise operations) is made in-house, including its flour tortillas. "We source out our corn tortillas," admits Anon. "But that's about it." This policy will remain in place aboard the food truck, where only the bare minimum will be prepped at the Berryhill location on Post Oak — everything else on the truck will be made to order.

"If I'm going to do something," says Anon, who's been in the restaurant industry since he started washing dishes at 11 years old, "it's going to be exceptional." And his food truck — which he hopes will concentrate on office-heavy areas like the Energy Corridor and Greenway Plaza — looks to be no exception to his policy.

Outside, the rain had eased up a bit, and Anon exited the food truck to greet a delivery driver. The new sink for the truck had finally arrived. This last puzzle piece meant that Anon could get the truck on the streets in October. From afar, Anon's face fell. He grabbed his cell phone from his pocket and began making calls.

The sink was the wrong size. Berryhill Baja Grill is still idle right now, but hopefully not for long. Katharine Shilcutt
_____________________

RESTAURANT NEWS

Openings & Closings
Expansions and transformations.

Ever since the planned second location in the Heights for Killen's Steakhouse fell through, Ronnie Killen has been keeping busy back home in Pearland. There he's currently in the process of transforming his popular steakhouse into Killen's BBB.

Writing for CultureMap, Ruthie Johnson Miller says the new Killen's BBB (which stands for barbecue, burgers and beer) will "offer things like brisket, ribs, sausage, barbecued chicken, potato salad, and beans."

The switch isn't yet complete, though — the barbecue side of the menu isn't available to the public at this time — and the full changeover could take a while. Says J.C. Reid at 29-95: "The plan is to move Killen's Steakhouse to a larger location nearby in Pearland, and the current location will become Killen's BBB. However, no leases have been signed and for now Chef Killen is happy to tow his new Klose pit around the state to barbecue competitions where he can perfect his technique."

In the old Zimm's Little Deck space, another transformation is taking place: Shepard Ross of BRC Gastropub and Glass Wall has been hard at work since July changing it into Brooklyn Athletic Club. Yesterday Ross posted a photo of the new Brooklyn Athletic Club sign to his Facebook wall — a sign that that watering hole could be opening soon. In response to friends asking him to open up already, Ross simply said: "Workin' hard towards it, trust me!"

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1 comments
tom.chretien
tom.chretien

I have enjoyed the pizza at Napoli Italian at 14743 Memorial Drive and all six locations for over a decade.  Papa Zack has kept the highest quality ingredients and prices are very reasonable...  Napoli has great pasta, shrimp, calamari, and chicken parmesan, veal parmesan, and great sausage and meatballs.  The Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo is amazing!  It gets my vote for #1 Casual Italian.

I love Dolce Vita in Montrose also.  I love the marinara, meatballs, and salads are outstanding!  Totally different pizza places where Napoli is traditional what I grew up with where Dolce Vita is wood fired pizza with high quality ingredients.  I love the ambiance in Dolce Vita...  both get my vote for #1 Pizza in Houston Texas!

 
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