Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Daily Gather This Fall, Turkey Leg Hut UH

Photo by Kimberly Park
Trent Patterson, Aaron Lyons and Brandi Key team together for a new, fresh concept.

Daily Gather, 800 Sorella Court, is shooting to open this fall at CityCentre. The upscale casual restaurant has some culinary notables bringing it to fruition. Owner and CEO Aaron Lyons, who has opened six Dish Society locations in the Houston area since 2014, has been eyeing the space at CityCentre for a while. Now, he gets the chance to make the new restaurant a reality in his own Memorial neighborhood. Along with owner and director of operations, Trent Patterson, and director of culinary operations, Brandi Key, Lyons is planning a concept that still emphasizes local sourcing and ingredients as Dish Society does but in a more refined and elevated way.

To achieve that end, Lyons has recruited Key to be part of the development process. She joined Dish Society's parent company, Five 12 Restaurant Concepts this past spring. Key brings experience from helping to open new restaurants with Clark Cooper Concepts to working alongside Claire Smith at Alice Blue in The Heights. Lyons wanted Daily Gather to have its own identity and the menu needed to be cohesive and reflect its uniqueness. The menu reimagines American classics like deviled eggs, burgers, steaks and seafood with a more polished approach. Vegetable offerings will be seasonal while small, independent producers will be represented as much as possible in the sourcing. Gulf seafood and Texas beef will be an important part of that local focus.

In addition to craft beer, house cocktails and approachable wines, the beverage program will also offer fresh-pressed juices and Greenway coffee. Guests can also expect a social hour with enticing food and drink specials.

There will be seating for 150 inside the 6,000 square-foot restaurant including 8 and 12-top tables for larger parties. The 2,500 square-foot patio has room for another 100 guests with a variety of seating and lounge-worthy vignettes. The complete remodel of the interior is underway with Course Construction at the helm overseen by Gin Designs, which also designed Dish Society's latest locations.

Lyons admits that the biggest obstacle will be staff recruitment at a time when many restaurants and businesses are trying to get back up to speed after the pandemic's crushing blow. Five 12 Restaurant Concepts will continue the same focus on employee wellness and success at Daily Gather that it currently practices at Dish Society's six locations. Interested parties may even be more interested in its paid time-off for employees (where was that when I was waiting tables?), health insurance, 401k and room for upward mobility within the company which plans to continue its expansion to other cities. The company also offers generous signing and referral bonuses.
We're guessing the lines at the stadium are going to be pretty long, too. - PHOTO BY TURKEY LEG HUT
We're guessing the lines at the stadium are going to be pretty long, too.
Photo by Turkey Leg Hut
Turkey Leg Hut will bring its famous stuffed turkey legs to TDECU Stadium, 3875 Holman, beginning September 18. The new food stand will be located in the East End Zone of the stadium and fans will be able to indulge in the wildly popular (and massive) stuffed turkey legs and its Cajun Bowls at all UH home basketball games.

The new expansion is an exciting one for owner and co-founder Nakia Price. The Chicago native attended University of Houston on a basketball scholarship, earning her Bachelor of Science degree from UH's business school. Price first gave Houstonians a sample of her mouthwatering turkey legs in 2015 in a family-owned parking lot outside the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show. She opened the Turkey Leg Hut in 2017. Though she had no formal culinary training, the delicious hunks of stuffed turkey limbs became a huge hit, drawing in Houstonians for hours-long lines and even catching the attention and taste buds of celebrities like Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle, Snoop Dogg, Megan Thee Stallion, Drake, 50 Cent and one time Houston Rockets star player, James Harden.

The slow-smoked turkey legs offer stuffing options like Spicy Dirty Rice, Cajun Crawfish Mac & Cheese, and Shrimp Alfredo. Or guests can choose to go a little simpler with a glaze of Hennessy Cognac or Ciroc Mango Habanero. Besides the stuffed turkey legs, the new food stand will offer Cajun Bowls that can be topped with Blackened Salmon, Grilled Shrimp and Alfredo Sauce.
click to enlarge Avocado Bhel is Indian with a twist. - PHOTO BY KIRSTEN GILLIAM
Avocado Bhel is Indian with a twist.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
Mahesh's Kitchen, 10619 City Walk, opens September 10. Neelesh and Shubhangi Musale are first generation Houstonians and their new restaurant is an ode to the cuisine of their native India. It is also a tribute to Shubhangi's brother, Mahesh, who passed away unexpectedly, as we reported here in the Press. Her brother 's passing occurred shortly after his admittance to Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Shubhangi said in a press release, " Growing up, my younger brother Mahesh and I always dreamt of opening a restaurant together. Through this project, we're keeping that wish and his spirit alive."
click to enlarge Laal Chili Goat goes big on the chili. - PHOTO BY KIRSTEN GILLIAM
Laal Chili Goat goes big on the chili.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
The restaurant is a passion project for the Musales and also their first venture into the culinary business. Both grew up with food playing an integral part of their lives and both of their families shared a love of cooking. The couple, who have bonded in the kitchen since childhood, view the passing down of recipes an important part of their heritage.
Photo by Kirsten Giiliam

Mahesh's Kitchen will be the first Indian restaurant in Sugar Land Town Square in a community that has seen growth and development rapidly changing the face of this once sleepy area south of Houston. One of the major changes is the diversity of the community which has led to numerous small businesses and dining establishments to open in the past few years.

The culinary team at Mahesh's, including executive chef Thomas Nguyen (Nguyen is no longer with the restaurant. The kitchen will now be overseen by Shubhangi) will introduce a robust masala (spice) program that will complement the seasonal rotating menu and cocktail program. The restaurant will import 300 pounds of spices from India every three months to be pre-sorted, roasted and ground under the watchful eye of Neelesh's aunt, making this a true family business.

Along with the team, Shubhangi has created homey, traditional dishes like Palak Paneer, Goan Prawn Shrimp and Murgh Makhani (butter chicken). However, the Indian cuisine will also be creative with fusion touches including Avocado Bhel, a dish of Bombay-style bhel, avocado mix and tamarind. Other fusion fare includes Chinese Noodle Chat and Mango Habanero Salmon. Fresh breads, dal and rice platters round out the food menu.
click to enlarge The croissant outside is just as important as the chicken salad inside. - PHOTO BY ANDREW HEMMINWAY
The croissant outside is just as important as the chicken salad inside.
Photo by Andrew Hemminway
Common Bond On-The-Go, 7680 Katy Freeway, quietly opened at the MarqE Shopping Center September 4. This is the third and largest On-The-Go Coffee & Bakery location for the Common Bond group which also operates four locations of its Common Bond Bistro & Bakery. CEO George Joseph said,  "We are thrilled to begin our expansion west in the MarqE Shopping Center and we look forward to continuing our expansion on Eldridge and in the Memorial City area in the coming year."  Common Bond will also debut its Downtown Brasserie & Bakery later this fall.
click to enlarge Guests can grab treats for later at Common Bond. - PHOTO BY ANDREW HEMMINGWAY
Guests can grab treats for later at Common Bond.
Photo by Andrew Hemmingway
The bakery offers grab 'n go menu items like breakfast bites, sandwiches and salad bowls plus sweet pastries such as scones, muffins and croissants, including its popular pistachio version. There are also prepackaged desserts including brownies, blondies and coffee cake. Customers may also pick up a loaf of one of its freshly made breads like country sourdough, baguette and multi-grain loaf. Challah is available on the weekends.

There is a variety of coffee drinks and juices to choose from like macchiatos, lattes and chai tea. The new location is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and offers a drive-thru window as well as dine-in service.
click to enlarge Heights' folks are sad to see Golden Bagels shutter. - PHOTO BY BROOKE VIGGIANO
Heights' folks are sad to see Golden Bagels shutter.
Photo by Brooke Viggiano
Golden Bagels and Coffee, 3119 White Oak, will serve its last bagel and cup of joe September 26. The Heights coffee and breakfast spot first opened in January 2018 and became a neighborhood staple due to its New York-style bagels and handcrafted bagel bread sandwiches. It was declared Best of Houston, Best Breakfast in The Heights in 2020, here in the Houston Press.

It was founded by Katz Coffee owner, Avi Katz, and local attorney, Gregg Goldstein.  Katz would later walk away from the company to attend to his coffee enterprise, as reported by CultureMap Houston. We reached out for a press statement about the closure. In an email, Goldstein said that there was no statement at this time.
click to enlarge Simply Greek expands to Cypress. - PHOTO BY LORRETTA RUGGIERO
Simply Greek expands to Cypress.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
Simply Greek, 11702 Grant, opened September 9 with a family and friends night. Originally slated to open September 26, the restaurant's inspections happened quicker than expected (that's a first) and now it is ready to serve Cypress its Mediterranean and Greek specialties.

The company currently operates three locations in Spring Branch, Katy and Midtown Houston. The Cypress store makes the fourth with two more planned for Copperfield and Westheimer in the next couple of weeks, according to owners and brothers Abi and Demo Banjo.

Gyros are a popular item of course and come in pita or platter form. Guests can choose beef/lamb meat, grilled chicken, Greek sausage of falafel. There are other pitas as well including a BBQ gyro, Buffalo Chicken and Eggplant Parm. Starters include dolmades, spanakopita, tiropita and hummus. For a sampler, the Poikilia 1 or 2 gives a taste of the Mediterranean. There are salad options and Simply Pizzas. A kids menu has chicken fingers, grilled cheese pita, cheese pizza or gyro platter for $7.
click to enlarge Customers can opt for the Greek fries with the gyro pita. - PHOTO BY LORRETTA RUGGIERO
Customers can opt for the Greek fries with the gyro pita.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
The restaurant offers some over the top burgers as well as hot dogs. The Blalock Burger is pretty traditional with American cheese, bacon and lettuce, tomato, onion while the Clay Road is served on an everything bagel and the Murray Bay Street has a glazed donut instead of a bun.

The Hot Dog menu offers 100 percent beef franks with a selection of creative concoctions. Iron Man has mac and cheese, crumbled bacon and crushed Cheetos. The Thanos is a Greek sausage dog topped with French fries, feta and mustard. And the adventurous sorts with iron stomachs can try the Hawk Eye, made with Flaming Hot Cheetos, peanut butter and Sriracha mayo.

The restaurant is currently awaiting its beer and wine license but there is a selection of soft drinks.

These juices might help your jeans not be a tight squeeze. - PHOTO BY TIGHT SQUEEZE JUICE BAR
These juices might help your jeans not be a tight squeeze.
Photo by Tight Squeeze Juice Bar
Tight Squeeze Juice Bar, 600 N. Shepherd, opens September 18 at M-K-T- Heights. The fresh cold-pressed juices are made from 100 percent organic fruits, vegetables and spices as the core ingredients. Founder Jimmy Davis, he of the stunning white beard, says he is super excited to open his juicery at M-K-T. He says, "M-K-T is not the average shopping center, it's a beautiful and loving community...It's an honor to not only be a tenant but to be part of the M-K-T family."

Tight Squeeze will be located in Building 4 of the complex, conveniently fronting the Heights Hike and Bike trail. It offers a wide selection of handcrafted cold-pressed juices plus smoothies, acai bowls, wellness shots and juice cleanses.

El Zocalo Mexican Restaurant, 8921 Louetta, celebrated its grand opening August 30. The family-owned restaurant serves a variety of fajitas, over a dozen in fact, along with nachos, burritos, chimichangas and enchiladas. There are a number of chicken dishes including Pollo en Mole plus seafood dishes like the spicy bestseller Camarones a la Diabla or the Pescado Cancun, a fish filet with cream sauce, garlic, scallop and crawfish. There is a kids menu for children 10 and under. A good-sized dessert menu offers tempting treats such as tres leches, flan, cheesecake, fried ice cream, sopapillas and churros.

The cantina side of the menu offers a selection of margaritas in traditional flavors or guests can opt for Amaretto, prickly pear, Blue Curacao, mango, sangria, peach and strawberry.

For salsa lovers, the restaurant serves a red and a green version with its chips.
click to enlarge Texas Tailgate is conveniently located for Houston's major stadiums. - PHOTO BY JUAN HERNANDEZ
Texas Tailgate is conveniently located for Houston's major stadiums.
Photo by Juan Hernandez
Texas Tailgate, 2401 Texas, opened August 5. The sports bar and restaurant took over the spot which housed Texas BBQ House for years. The new business offers patrons a full bar as well as a food menu that will keep hungry sports nuts happy. There are wings, fried pickles, ribeye steaks, burgers and a few entree salads.

Patrons can enjoy the Sunday brunch menu from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with items like Chicken and Waffles, Barbacoa Tacos and Biscuit and Sausage Gravy. Happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and includes $5 margaritas, $3 domestic beers and $8 classic burgers.

Texas Tailgate lives up to its Lone Star name with cocktails like the Blue Bonnet and its own version of Ranch Water. It prioritizes hometown Houston teams but also shows events like UFC title matches.

It is family-friendly until 9 p.m. and then it's time for the tooters to go home to bed.

Dim Sum Box
, 1223 Grand West Boulevard, opened August 19 in Katy Asian Town.  The company has been doing pop-ups and catering over the past few months in preparation for the brick and mortar opening giving folks around town a sample of what to expect through its special egg yolk lava buns. Now, customers can taste quite a bit more from its menu which includes shao mai (shrimp and pork dumplings), ha gow (shrimp dumplings), chicken feet (the feet of chicken), and pork ribs with black bean sauce. Other treats include fried shrimp balls, red bean sesame balls, bbq pork buns, fried pork taro eggrolls and more. For vegetarians there are a couple of options like Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce and steamed snow pea dumplings.

Currently, the restaurant is offering curbside pick-up only due to the pandemic. There is convenient online ordering, too.
click to enlarge The eggplant parm of dreams. Mine. - PHOTO BY MICHAEL ANTHONY
The eggplant parm of dreams. Mine.
Photo by Michael Anthony
BOH Pasta and Pizza, 409 Travis, has  launched new lunch specials at Bravery Chef Hall. The Riposo Rustico menu, from operating partner and chef Chris Zettlemoyer, offers a different special each weekday for $12. Riposo is an Italian term for a long lunch, sometimes lasting hours. Since BOH's lunch special runs 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., you would have to get out early to make it last hours but it's also a sweet deal for office workers and downtown employees who have returned to the skyscrapers and glassed-in offices once again.

Monday's special is Eggplant Parmesan, a dish that is on the dinner menu as well. Tuesday is the Steak Caesar Salad which includes seared steak and anchovy vinaigrette. Wednesday is Chicken Lasagna with a tomato rosa sauce and BOH's homemade pasta and Thursday takes it old school Italian-American with Egg Yolk Spaghetti and Meatballs. Friday is Chicken Parmesan.
click to enlarge Chris Zettlemoyer and Ben McPherson are kicking up lunch at BOH. - PHOTO BY MICHAEL ANTHONY
Chris Zettlemoyer and Ben McPherson are kicking up lunch at BOH.
Photo by Michael Anthony
BOH's founder and chef Ben McPherson is thrilled to see people venturing forth again for dine-in. "BOH's new menu is a perfect lunch option for those eager to enjoy a rustic, homestyle lunch while catching up with friends and co-workers they may not have seen in person for a while. Although meant to be savored, the specials on the new menu are also perfect for those on the go."
Let Jersey Mike's supply the subs for the Big Game. - PHOTO BY JERSEY MIKE'S SUBS
Let Jersey Mike's supply the subs for the Big Game.
Photo by Jersey Mike's Subs
Jersey Mike's Subs, 1907 W. Gray, opened September 8. Originally scheduled to open August 18, as reported here in the Houston Press, the fresh-sliced, fresh-grilled subs shop will host a grand opening and fund-raiser from September 8 through September 12 at the West Gray location. Franchise owner Allan Simonds' store will offer a regular sub in exchange for a minimum $2 donation that must be proffered with the accompanying coupon that is handed out at local businesses in the area. The monies raised will benefit Addi's Faith Foundation, a non-profit that provides funds for childhood cancer research and assistance for families dealing with the illness.

Jersey Mike's first opened in 1956 and has expanded to over 2,000 restaurants nationwide over the decades. Since 2010, the company and its franchisees have raised more than 65 million dollars for local charities including 15 million in March 2021, raised during its 11th Annual Jersey Mike's Month of Giving.

The new location will offer in-store orders for take-out, ordering through Jersey Mike's app and the Jersey Mike's website. For delivery, customers can use the brand's own app or third party delivery services.

Pho Oh Yeah, 1230 N. Mason, opened August 9 in Katy. The Vietnamese restaurant serves dishes one would expect like a variety of noodle soups including beef, short rib, chicken and vegetable. There are appetizers such as spring and egg rolls plus Vietnamese bologna and rice dumpling cake. There is a selection of soft drinks and specialty beverages like cafe sua da and chrysanthemum tea.

Big City Wings, 22762 Westheimer, opens September 15 in Cinco Ranch. This is the 10th location for the Houston-based wing brand which seems to keep opening new stores despite the alleged chicken wing shortage. Besides its variety of wings, bone-in and boneless, and sauces, it has a menu of other faves like burgers, onion rings, fried pickle spears and several salads for good measure. The Chicken and Waffle Sandwich is a must-try.
click to enlarge Eat a burger, support women's reproductive rights. - PHOTO BY KIRSTEN GILLIAM
Eat a burger, support women's reproductive rights.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
Brasil, 2604 Dunlavy, will support abortion rights in Texas with a special cheeseburger and draft beer fundraiser September 10. The proceeds from its Cheeseburger in Paradise and its special drafts will go to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. The CB in Paradise ($14) has a double 44 Farms beef patty, bacon, cheddar, house pickles and jalapeno sauce on a potato roll. It comes with a choice of French fries, sweet potato fries or a side salad.