Openings and Closings: Bernie's Burger Bus, Common Bond Expand

The Principal will see you now.
The Principal will see you now. Photo by Dragana Harris

Bernie's Burger Bus, 6324 Highway 6, opened March 15 in Missouri City. This is the first location with drive thru service. It's also the first free-standing Bernie's with a patio and dedicated parking lot. There are three other locations in the Greater Houston area, including the Heights, Katy and Bellaire.

Justin Turner has turned his former school bus food truck into a successful brick and mortar operation serving juicy, creative burgers in a casual school-themed decor. The beef for the patties is ground in-house and the french fries are hand-cut, perfect for dipping in the house made ketchup.

click to enlarge Bernie's Missouri City has a drive-thru. - PHOTO BY ISABEL PROTOMARTIR
Bernie's Missouri City has a drive-thru.
Photo by Isabel Protomartir
There are plenty of over-the-top choices like the Detention Burger, a concoction of two bacon and cheese covered beef patties sandwiched between two bacon grilled cheese sandwiches. That one's probably best left to the teen with the amazing metabolism, unless you want to turn your dad bod into a sad bod. Or you could always split it with a pal or two just to say you ate it. There are more reasonable choices like the Pre-Schoolers or The First-Grader for those who want a more classic and less gluttonous burger. There are also options like the ground chicken patty or falafel.

click to enlarge Bernie's has a patio and boozy milkshakes. - PHOTO BY DRAGANA HARRIS
Bernie's has a patio and boozy milkshakes.
Photo by Dragana Harris
The new location has a full bar and a daily happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. with $3 craft beers and $5 glasses of wine. Milkshakes and soft serve ice cream will keep the kids happy while the boozy milkshakes will satisfy adults wanting a little kick with their grade school nostalgia.

click to enlarge Pluckers and its wings - PHOTO BY MELISSA SKORPIL
Pluckers and its wings
Photo by Melissa Skorpil
Pluckers Wing Bar, 501 Crawford, will open this upcoming season at Minute Maid Stadium. Founded in Austin in 1995, the restaurant and bar is known for its trademark wings, buffalo bites, waffle fries and its signature sauces. It repeatedly wins accolades in the sports bar arena and has expanded to 23 locations across Texas with one in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Adriatic Cafe has a calzone with your name on it. - PHOTO BY LORRETTA RUGGIERO
Adriatic Cafe has a calzone with your name on it.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
Adriatic Cafe, 19380 Interstate 45, opened its third location March 9 in Spring in a strip center adjacent to Spring High School. It expanded to Tomball Parkway in April 2017 with a second restaurant. You can read a review of that location here in the Houston Press.

It's a family friendly, but still stylish Italian restaurant serving old school pastas, cheesy pizzas and plenty of seafood, chicken and steak dishes as well. The happy hour specials and lunch deals cannot be beat. It has a full bar and plenty of vino.

Order a croissant with your best French guttural accent at Common Bond. - PHOTO BY TROY FIELDS
Order a croissant with your best French guttural accent at Common Bond.
Photo by Troy Fields
Common Bond Cafe and Bakery, 2276 W. Holcombe, opened its second location March 13, in the Med Center. This makes the second out of five cafes planned by George Joseph, who originally partnered with restaurateur Johnny Carrabba to buy the bakery in 2016. The partnership dissolved amicably after three years so that Carrabba could focus on his fast casual concept Mia's Table, according to CultureMap Houston.

Common Bond gets stellar reviews for its croissants and freshly baked breads and carbohydrate connoisseurs  go for the bread board. It could be the best six bucks you spend this year. The bakery/cafe serves breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday and until closing on the weekend. It also serves a weekend brunch. Its lunch and dinner offerings include European classics like Steak Frites, quiche, charcuterie plus a really good burger.

Various delights from kouign amann to kugelhopf  line the pastry case. The variety of scones include unique flavors such as spiced pear and Earl Grey plus macarons with interesting combinations like fig and goat cheese.

There are the usual cafe cafes, so patrons with an hour to lounge can enjoy a morning cappuccino or a late afternoon pick-me-up espresso. As with the Montrose location, there will be wine and beer available, but the Medical Center store is currently awaiting its liquor license.

Eight Turn Crepe, 23119 Colonial Parkway, will celebrate its grand opening March 23 with free gelato for the first 100 purchases. From March 23 to 30, customers can receive 20 percent off their orders.

This is the first Houston franchise for the New York based crepe restaurant. It softly opened March 10 in Katy Asian Town and is owned by husband and wife Huylong Nguyen and Jennifer Bui.

The Japanese-style crepes are made with rice flour. There's a bounty of fillings to choose from, sweet or savory. For breakfast, there are omelets or lox. Other fillings include chicken, tofu and a variety of vegetables and salads. On the dessert side are tempting treats from healthy fresh fruit to gelato and chocolate.

Breakers Korean BBQ, 16535 Southwest Freeway, is coming this month to First Colony Mall. Though it has a Yelp page and was expected to open earlier this March, we are still awaiting the news. We are keeping an eagle eye on it.

Tiger Noodle House, 2424 Rice Boulevard, opened its third location March 10. That's good news for Houston residents who have previously had to make the drive out to the two Katy locations for its Chinese dishes, including some Szechuan favorites.

At Tiger Noodle House, diners can choose their spice level, though we recommend that lightweights stay away from the Spicy and Numbing Pot. What's in a name? A lot when it comes to choosing at Tiger Noodle House. Sweet garlic eggplant and Dan Dan noodles are also popular items.

click to enlarge The Muffuletta at Antone's brings a taste of New Orleans by way of Italy to Houston. - PHOTO BY COOPER + RICCA
The Muffuletta at Antone's brings a taste of New Orleans by way of Italy to Houston.
Photo by Cooper + Ricca
Antone's Famous Po'Boys, 6618 Fannin, will open this summer at the base of the Medical Towers building. The Medical Center spot will make the third location for the sandwich and more shop which was founded in 1962. The other two locations on San Felipe and W. T.C. Jester will also feature updated interiors, in keeping with the new restaurant.

Besides its sandwiches such as The Original and The Super Original, Antone's offers housemade gumbos, fried seafood plates, salads and a New Orleans staple, muffulettas. Antone's also does a brisk business with its pre-wrapped sandwiches and prepackaged salads, popular with office workers grabbing and going. The sandwiches are also sold at 275 grocery stores across Texas and Louisiana. Houstonians are accustomed to seeing them at the deli counters of H-E-B, Kroger and Randall's.

click to enlarge Antone's catering will make a workday lunch much happier. - PHOTO BY COOPER + RICCA
Antone's catering will make a workday lunch much happier.
Photo by Cooper + Ricca
Legacy Restaurants CEO Jonathan Horowitz said in a press release, " We are excited to launch our updated version of Antone's restaurant concept and bring more than 55 years of delicious history to this bustling area of the city".

Pho Ha, 1302 Blalock, opened in the H Mart food court the first week of March, serving pho, banh mi and other Vietnamese cuisine favorites.

click to enlarge Texadelphia boasts an outdoor terrace under blue skies at Vintage Park. - PHOTO BY LORRETTA RUGGIERO
Texadelphia boasts an outdoor terrace under blue skies at Vintage Park.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
Texadelphia, 126 Vintage Park Boulevard, opened March 11 in the Vintage Park retail and dining center, taking over the space which formerly housed the casual French concept, Allo.

Most Texans are familiar with its Texas-style cheesesteaks since its 1981 founding in Austin. Many of those were college kids who dug up as much dough as they could to treat themselves to something besides the cafeteria meal plan and cheap ramen noodles.

The restaurant has seen some openings and closings at various locations across Houston over the decades. The other current Houston area locations include 3407 Montrose and 8383 Westheimer.

Besides its signature cheeseteaks such as the Founder's Favorite with beef, grilled onions, mozzarella, mushrooms and jalapenos, there are sandwiches like the Cubana with chicken and ham. There are plenty of tempting starters like wings, fried pickles and chips and queso. There are also burgers and wraps for non-cheesteak enthusiasts. Heathens.

Tropical's Columbian Restaurant, 212 Westheimer, opened March 1. This is its second location serving Latin dishes like empanadas and the bandeja paisa, a platter of grilled steak, Colombian sausage, pork belly, avocado, white corn bread, fried sweet plantains, rice beans and an egg which should satisfy the largest appetite. There's also the arepa con todo (with everything).

While dine-in is available, much of the business comes from take out and various food delivery apps, if you don't feel like getting off the couch.

Komeya Ramen & Sushi, 1849 El Dorado, opened March 15 in Clear Lake. The cute, cozy sushi bar offers ramen, sushi and sashimi, dumplings, spring rolls and more. The space is decorated with lucky cat murals sure to be the background to many an Instagram selfie. 
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.