Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Burro & Bull Coming to Cypress, Arabella Expands to Houston

The parillada platters allow diners to go hog wild with choices.
The parillada platters allow diners to go hog wild with choices. Photo by Veronica Avila/Burro & Bull


Burro & Bull, 25618 Northwest Freeway, will softly open sometime in November, according to a press release. The new Cypress restaurant is a partnership between the husband and wife team of John and Veronica Avila and Bruce Gingrich and Andria Cain. For the past year, John Avila has been consulting with Gingrich and Cain at their Cajun-inspired restaurant Acadian Coast. That collaboration has led the Avilas to revive their concept Burro & Bull with Gingrich and Cain, who offered to be partners.

The Avilas have long-nurtured the dream of reopening a larger Burro & Bull as they've operated another concept, Henderson & Kane General Store, in Houston's Old Sixth Ward since 2018. Prior to that, the couple operated the small kiosk El Burro & Bull at Conservatory food hall for nearly four years before closing its run at Conservatory in October 2019.  They secured a larger space on Harrisburg in which to expand the smoked meat concept but that location was put on hold due to the COVID pandemic. However, the chance to partner with Gingrich and Cain for a Cypress location was a timely opportunity for both couples. They have created a team that brings together the Avilas' barbecue mastery with Cain's restaurant operations experience and Gingrich's entrepreneurial foresight.
click to enlarge The Best of Bird is a pretty chick. - PHOTO BY VERONICA AVILA/BURRO & BULL
The Best of Bird is a pretty chick.
Photo by Veronica Avila/Burro & Bull
The new concept showcases the various regions of the Lone Star State, celebrating its diversity from German smokehouses to Mexican ranches. Its signature Tangy Tamarind barbecue sauce is a family recipe and the smoky pozole and tamales incorporate smoked beef tallow for a traditional, yet unique flavor.

The menu expands on the barbecue offerings from the Avilas' Conservatory days with exciting new dishes like Smoked Brisket Flautas and Chile Colorado Pork Steak. Parillada plates from chef Jesse Gallegos allow guests to build their meal with options like Smoked Prime Black Angus Brisket and fajitas that can be customized with additions like avocado or torreados (marinated and charred jalapenos). The entire sausage lineup from Henderson & Kane will be available with an occasional appearance from its special bratwurst.
click to enlarge Sausages and boudin make the transition from Henderson & Kane. - PHOTO BY VERONICA AVILA/BURRO & BULL
Sausages and boudin make the transition from Henderson & Kane.
Photo by Veronica Avila/Burro & Bull
Taking a cue from its "source local" philosophy, the drinks menu will feature Texas spirits and craft beers plus signature cocktails like the Bluebonnet made with fresh blueberries and Texas vodka. The indoor/outdoor bar with roll-up doors will allow guests to enjoy a refreshing beverage like the Southern Sipper, made with grapefruit juice and muddled mint, on the patio or inside.
click to enlarge Mediterranean delicacies can be found at Arabella. - PHOTO BY IBRAHIM HALAWA
Mediterranean delicacies can be found at Arabella.
Photo by Ibrahim Halawa

Arabella Mediterranean Kitchen & Grill, 6377 Westheimer, softly opened October 12 and is planning a grand opening October 31. It comes from owner/head chef Mohammad Altawaha, who opened a location in Pearland last year. Despite the pandemic, Altawaha is expanding the business even further to include a location at Post Houston, the upcoming multi-use hub located at 401 Franklin. That location will softly open November 5 and be fully open November 16.
click to enlarge The bread is baked fresh daily at Arabella. - PHOTO BY IBRAHIM HALAWA
The bread is baked fresh daily at Arabella.
Photo by Ibrahim Halawa
The new locations offer Altawaha the opportunity to offer his fare in a more centralized area and also introduce new items that are inspired by Turkish and Jordanian cuisines. The menu has the usual favorites like shawarma, kabobs and gyros plus starters like Greek salad, hummus, tabbouleh, stuffed grape leaves and falafel. Vegetarians will appreciate snacks like Pomegranate Eggplant and fried cauliflower. There are also Create Your Own Platters plus a kids menu.

Arabella is the ancient name of Altawaha's hometown of Irbid, Jordan.
click to enlarge Seafood boils make us do a happy dance. - PHOTO BY BENNY WONG
Seafood boils make us do a happy dance.
Photo by Benny Wong
Angry Crab, 2575 S. Dairy Ashford, softly opened October 10. The Cajun seafood restaurant comes from Benny Wong, owner of W Kitchen Chinese Restaurant in Westchase. The new restaurant is independently owned and is not associated with the Angry Crab Shack franchise.
click to enlarge Protect your seafood behind the fence. - PHOTO BY BENNY WONG
Protect your seafood behind the fence.
Photo by Benny Wong
The counter service restaurant is a casual hang-out with a nautical theme and oddly, a hurricane fence- enclosed dining area. It serves a variety of boils with seafood like shrimp, crawfish, Texas blue crab, snow crab legs, green mussels and lobster. Like any seafood joint worth its salt, it offers a selection of fried favorites such as fish, shrimp and oysters. Being in Houston, Cajun dishes like seafood gumbo and etouffee are offered alongside Asian fare such as salt and pepper shrimp and sauteed black pepper crab. There's a ginger-scallion lobster tail as well.
click to enlarge Satisfy your seafood cravings and boba fetish at the same time. - PHOTO BY BENNY WONG
Satisfy your seafood cravings and boba fetish at the same time.
Photo by Benny Wong
Sides are plentiful here with fried okra, hush puppies, French fries, boudin egg rolls and more. There's even baked mussels for a unique starter.


The Angry Crab has partnered with local business, Bobo Tea, to provide a selection of tapioca drinks, smoothies and milk teas within the restaurant. Bobo Tea is also located down the street on Dairy Ashford. It opened in February 2020 a month before the pandemic shutdown but has made it through with the support of the community.
click to enlarge Caldo de res is nourishing and comforting. - PHOTO BY VIRGINIA MONTANO
Caldo de res is nourishing and comforting.
Photo by Virginia Montano

La Fondita Michoacan, 1520 N. Loop East Freeway, opened at its new location October 4. It closed its original location at 1010 N. Shepherd August 7 to prepare for its move. The family-owned neighborhood restaurant first opened in 1999 and is owned by Virginia Montano. It offers breakfast as well as lunch and dinner.
click to enlarge The Gordita plate offers homemade goodness. - PHOTO BY VIRGINIA MONTANO
The Gordita plate offers homemade goodness.
Photo by Virginia Montano
The Mexican fare is reasonably-priced home cooking and the flour tortillas are made from scratch and usually get a good grilling. Tortas, tostadas, fajitas, flautas, enchiladas and quesadillas provide plenty of options to please everyone with a kids menu for the little ones. There are also traditional dishes like beef Milanesa and chile rellenos and the caldos on offer will warm up the body and soul.  The soup menu is quite extensive and customers can choose from caldo de res (beef), caldo de pollo (chicken), caldo de pescado (fish) and more interesting options like menudo and caldo de tlalpeno, a chicken and vegetable soup that usually includes chickpeas. The soups are available in small and large with the large being only a dollar more. The extra buck is worth it. And for another dollar, patrons can add pata de res, cow's feet meat.
Caniacs can work at their favorite chicken finger restaurant. - PHOTO BY JOEL BORDELON
Caniacs can work at their favorite chicken finger restaurant.
Photo by Joel Bordelon
Raising Cane's, 8956 Barker Cypress and 7351 FM 1960, will open November 16.  The rapidly growing chicken fingers concept is known for its One Love chicken finger meals and Houston is showing it all the love as it welcomes not only the two stores in November but another at 13480 Northwest Freeway December 14.

All three new Houston locations will have the brand's high-capacity design, double drive-thrus and expansive patios. The addition of these three restaurants will bring the total for Houston to 45 locations.

With all the new stores, the company is hiring more than 350 crewmembers for the locations. Forbes named it as one of three restaurant brands for its "Best Employers for New Grads" Top 100 list and Glass Door also listed it on its "100 Best Places to Work in the U.S." list for 2021.

Those interested in employment with raising Cane's new stores have several opportunities to apply. The Cypress location is hiring in the trailer located in the parking lot through November 8. The Humble restaurant will offer hiring at Holiday Inn Express & Suites at 5619 FM 1960 through November 8 as well. The Northwest Freeway location will conduct its hiring process at Fairfield Inn & Suites Brookhollow at 4850 Federal Plaza Drive.


Applicants can go to WorkAtCanes.com for more information.

click to enlarge Pretty smiles and lots of tvs await patrons at Knockouts. - PHOTO BY CHRIS AMEZ/STAFF
Pretty smiles and lots of tvs await patrons at Knockouts.
Photo by Chris Amez/staff
Knockouts Sports Bar & Lounge, 6225 Washington, softly opened September 16 and celebrated its grand opening October 15 with live music from local band Falskye. It takes the place of the shuttered Bubba's Sports Bar but is still under the same ownership along with a fresh new face, Chris Amez to bring the party back to the Washington spot.

There are multiple televisions for sports viewing, a pool table and even a blue-lit "man cave". Some retro video games provide more entertainment and Fight Nights offer free fights with the sound on and $5 Knockout Shots.
click to enlarge The man cave offers a comfortable lounging space. - PHOTO BY CHRIS AMEZ/STAFF
The man cave offers a comfortable lounging space.
Photo by Chris Amez/Staff
The food menu begins with sports bar faves such as fried cheese sticks, fried pickles, chicken tenders and chips and queso or guacamole. There are entrees like steaks, including a Baseball-Cut Sirloin, Fried or Grilled Shrimp and Chicken Fried Chicken plus burgers and sandwiches.

While beer is often a preferred beverage at sports bars, Knockouts is keeping up with the times and offering a cocktail menu of classics like Whiskey Sour and Mai Tai plus signature drinks inspired by The Big Day events like the Belmont Jewel. Inspired by The Belmont Stakes, the drink is made with Garrison Bros. bourbon, lemon and pomegranate. The sport of kings is not the only Big Day represented. The Azalea take its cue from The Masters, made with Zephyr gin, lime, pineapple and grenadine.
click to enlarge Over-the-top Bloody Marys are Insta-worthy. - PHOTO BY CHRIS AMEZ/STAFF
Over-the-top Bloody Marys are Insta-worthy.
Photo by Chris Amez/Staff
The bar and lounge offers a number of drink specials daily and also dinner deals. Texas Tuesday feautres $10 Chicken fried Steak, drink specials after 7 p.m. and live country music. Thursday is steak night and Friday offers $8 taco plates. Check its website and Facebook page for more daily specials.

The Houston bar and lounge is not affiliated with Knockout Sports Bar in Dallas.

Teapresso, 2929 Navigation, opened softly in September. It comes from franchisees Pak Tsui and Brett Callas. This is the third Houston area location for the tea shop that was founded in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2014. It now has thirty locations across the island state. The W. 18th location in the Heights was its first foray out of Hawaii and it soon expanded its continental reach with a second location in Sugar Land.

It offers a variety of teas that can be customized to a customer's preference. Signature teas include Hapa Haole, made with matcha, white chocolate and half and half or the Thai coconut. There's also Wintermelon made with both black and green teas and Almond with roasted oolong.

There are organic lemonades, a variety of organic coffee drinks and smoothies in flavors such as avocado, chocolate-banana, pina colada and taro. There are also iced brews like Vietnamese coffee. Customers can choose ice levels and sweetness levels for their drinks and there are a number of dairy alternatives.

Teaspresso uses non-GMO and gluten-free ingredients.

El Mariachi Mexican Bar & Grill, 610 Rayford, opened September 17. This is the second location for the brand which also operates El Mariachi #1 at 25201 Kuykendahl. Patrons can begin with soups like caldo de res or caldo de mariscos (seafood) or share the El Jefe Botano, a platter of six quail halves and a half-pound of steak bites with onions, tomato, avocado, limes and Valentina sauce. To please a larger group, the El Mariachi Sampler gets the party started.

The menu offers tamales, chimichangas, street tacos, fajitas, enchiladas and carnitas. There's a Little Amigos menu for the kids and flan, churros and sopapillas available for dessert, if there's still room.

Besides soft drinks, there are aguas frescas and flavored teas. The adults can indulge in a frozen or rocks margarita, with a selection of top shelf options and flavors like mango, guava, melon and peach. There's a flight of rainbow ritas for $11.25. For beer drinkers, there are domestics and imports plus micheladas.

Sushi Rebel, 1700 City Plaza, opened September 30 at CityPlace Springwoods Village. It's been a long time coming but the sushi restaurant is ready for folks on the north side with its menu of specialty, traditional and hand rolls plus lunch and dinner menus.

The lunch menu has both a hot and cold column to choose from with shrimp tempura, lobster and shrimp rolls, Kobe cubes and chicken wings as just a few of the items on the hot side while the cold side offers Truffle Tuna, Japanese crudo, beef tataki and avocado bites. There are also lunch sets which include a choice of miso or salad.

The dinner menu offers a selection as well with hot items like teriyaki ribe eye maki, vegetable tempura and Kobe hot rock and cold dishes such as ceviche and hamachi-tai.

There is an interesting cocktail program with a menu of drinks like Lavender Bliss Death by Coconut and Fiery Mango. We're eyeing the Gunsmoke Margarita with mezcal.
click to enlarge Javi's Club returns for the Friday lunch menu. - PHOTO BY JULIE SOEFER
Javi's Club returns for the Friday lunch menu.
Photo by Julie Soefer
Georgia James Tavern, 737 Preston, will launch a new Friday lunch and a Sunday brunch this weekend. Beginning October 22, the tavern from Chris Shepherd will serve lunch beginning at 11 a.m. Friday only. The menu offers starters like Refried Dal Dip and Smoked Turkey Boudin Balls and sandwiches such as Tally's Cuban and Javi's Club. There's also the Tavern Burger made with 44 Farms ground chuck and American cheese on a Kraftsmen potato bun. It comes in at a fancy $25 but it does have smoked onion fancy sauce on it and it also comes with fries. For dessert, there's Hearth Baked Apple Crumble or the Elvis Cookie, made with peanut butter, banana and bacon. It's fit for a King. Not the fit King; more like the sequined jumpsuit years.
click to enlarge The Tavern Burger is fancy. - PHOTO BY JULIE SOEFER
The Tavern Burger is fancy.
Photo by Julie Soefer
Sunday brunch launches October 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the menu starts with Cordon Bleu Chicken Nuggets and French Toast Waffles. The Grit Bowl is a hearty dish of cheese grits, ham and cheese mornay, bacon sausage, hash browns and fried egg. It's inspired by The Waffle House but with no 3 a.m. fistfights. There's also Eggs Sardou with fried oysters, creamed spinach, poached eggs and Tabasco hollandaise on sourdough. Other brunch items include Hearth Roasted Quail with cornbread and spaghetti squash stuffing as well as steak and eggs.
click to enlarge It's Friday, I'm in lush. - PHOTO BY JENN DUNCAN
It's Friday, I'm in lush.
Photo by Jenn Duncan

Traveler's Table
, 520 Westheimer, is starting the weekend early with its TGIF brunch. The new Friday brunch runs 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and is the perfect way to start a three-day weekend. Dishes like Breakfast Bread Pudding offer a sweet beginning while savory plates such as Chilaquiles Suizos and Norwegian Smoked Salmon Latkes put the lunch in brunch. There are heartier meals such as Lamb Shakshuka or Louisiana Fried Chicken with mascarpone grits and global flavors like Indian Eggs Masala. There's also a wide range of appetizers for lingering over with friends such as Shiitake Edamame Dumplings, Crab Samosas and the House Smoked Boudin Board. Guests can stretch out brunch with desserts like Mango Lassi Panna Cotta and Hawaiian Haupia Coconut Pudding.

For those who don't have to go back to the office, there are brunch cocktails. The brunch shot flight has three tasty shots. The Churro del Diablo is made with Rumchata, ice cream and rum and the Good Morning Vietnam is a drink with Hennessey V.S. and espresso for wake-me-up. If that doesn't get the juices flowing, the Wake the dead with tequila, coffee liqueur and espresso should do it. Another flight option is the Bloody "3 Ways" with a sample of three very different drinks. The Mary is made with pineapple-lime juice and seasoned with crab boil while the Maria is a spicy concoction made with tequila, jalapeno, poblano and avocado. The Miriam is made with Irish Whiskey, Guinness, tomato, A1 sauce and Worcestershire. After a few flights, you and your friends can argue about which of you is the crabby Mary, the spicy Maria or the lushy Miriam.
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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.