Newk's Eatery (Cypress)

Newk’s Eatery is a fast-casual chain concept from Mississippi with four locations in the Houston area, focusing on sandwiches, salads and pizzas in an environment that feels like that of every other fast-casual chain restaurant on the planet. Where Newk’s occasionally differentiates itself is in the freshness and vibrancy of its food. While the pizzas and sandwiches feel either overwrought or under-filled, the salads often surprise. Peppery arugula, plump shrimp, creamy avocado and a zippy lemon basil vinaigrette combine in the delightful shrimp and avocado salad, which is so good you’ll be stuffing forkfuls into your sandwich and dredging leftover pizza bones through the bottom of the bowl. With most menu items, simpler is better. Avoid pizzas with too many toppings, which weigh down the ultra-thin crust and get lost in the mix, besides. If you’re looking for a sandwich, choose one with a melting cheese that will blanket the meat, protecting it from the drying heat of the impinger oven. Speaking of cheese, the Six Cheese Pimento Mac & Cheese with Bacon is worth a go, creamier and more robust than its thin-sauced five-cheese counterpoint. Don’t expect to be blown away by Newk’s, but do expect a few pleasant surprises.