Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Dog Haus Opens Soon, Firehouse Saloon Closes

Hot diggety dog, that's a lot of pups.
Hot diggety dog, that's a lot of pups. Photo by Paul Castro

Dog Haus Biergarten, 8422 Highway 6 North, opens November 21 in Copperfield. This makes the first location in Houston and the fifth in Texas. The gourmet hot dog restaurant was founded by longtime friends, Hagop Giragossian, Quasim Riaz and Andre Vener in Pasadena, California in 2010. The Houston store comes from franchisee Jason Rappaport.

The proteins for the dogs, burgers and chicken sandwiches are hormone-free and the beef for its burgers comes from humanely raised Black Angus cattle. The dogs, burgers and sausages are all served on toasted King's Hawaiian Rolls, as is the Bad Mutha Clucka, a fried or grilled chicken breast served with lettuce, pickles and miso ranch.

The casual restaurant serves a little whimsy with its various hot dogs and sausage offerings. There are two chili dog choices such as the Chili Idol and Chili the Kid. For those who like pineapple on pizza, the Pineapple Express, made with a bacon-wrapped dog, bouillonaise, sweet ginger glaze, pineapple, pickled jalapenos and crunchy onions might not seem over the top.

Toppings and King's Hawaiian Rolls kick these dogs up a notch. - PHOTO BY PAUL CASTRO
Toppings and King's Hawaiian Rolls kick these dogs up a notch.
Photo by Paul Castro
The sausage dogs are fun, too. The Fonz is a spicy Italian sausage with mozzarella and pastrami while the Cocky Balboa offers an Italian chicken and mozzarella sausage topped with wild arugula, pickled peppers and spicy basil aioli. For something completely different, there's the Thai Fighter, a creation of spicy Thai currywurst, arugula, pickled jalapenos and spicy basil aioli.

Side choices include fries and tots which can be ordered plain or topped with chili and cheese, or in the case of The Love Boat, covered with chili and Haus slaw. There are sweet potato fries and onion rings as well. For non-meat eaters, there are plant-based proteins like the Impossible Burger and Beyond Brat.

Dog Haus serves craft beers, wine and has a full bar. Happy hour deals run Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday can be an extra fun day with happy hour specials on food and drinks from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.

For the grand opening weekend, there will be a sweepstakes so check its website for more information. Dog Haus will also contribute 15 percent of the grand opening weekend sales to Cowboys 4 Heroes, an organization that helps combat veterans transition from active duty to civilian life by providing meals, housing assistance, handicap accessibility and other aid.

click to enlarge A man and his mixer. - PHOTO BY SARAH AINSWORTH PHOTOGRAPHY
A man and his mixer.
Photo by Sarah Ainsworth Photography
The Bearded Baker, 518 W. 11th, is slated to open mid-November. The Houston Heights location will be the first brick and mortar storefront for owner and founder Allan Hursig, who left a career as a landman at Conoco Phillips in 2016 to operate his business from his home kitchen making iced sugar cookies. He also has created elaborate cakes and cookies for country music groups visiting Houston such as Randy Rogers, Dalton Domino, Jon Wolf and more.

click to enlarge The Bearded Baker creates unique treats. - PHOTO BY ALLAN HURSIG
The Bearded Baker creates unique treats.
Photo by Allan Hursig
In 2019, Hursig was first runner-up on Food Network's Christmas Cookie Challenge. Though iced cookies have been his primary focus, the new store will expand to offer drop cookies, seasonal cookies, scones and four inch personal-sized party cakes.

This past August, Hursig made custom-designed cookies for the annual Menu of Menus hosted by the Houston Press. This year meant picking up a box of pre-packed goodies rather than strolling from table to table, due to the pandemic. This writer can vouch that the cookies from The Bearded Baker were more than just a pretty face. They were delicious.

click to enlarge Bagel Shop Bakery is expanding. - RENDERING BY SAMMY REESE/REESE DESIGN SERVICES
Bagel Shop Bakery is expanding.
Rendering by Sammy Reese/Reese Design Services

Bagel Shop Bakery
, 5422 Bellaire Boulevard, is expected to open in December 2020. This will be the second location for the kosher bagel shop and bakery which was founded in 1975 by Ed Gavrila and Jay Kornhaber at 9720 Hillcroft ,serving New York-style bagels and traditional Jewish deli items. In 1981, the duo opened New York Deli and Coffee next door. In 2019, Kornhaber retired and Michael Saghian, founder of Houston Catering Concepts, joined the corporate ownership team.

Saghian's team moved into the space in October, continuing its catering operations for its six unique concepts. There are plans for a second location of New York Deli and Coffee Shop next door in 2021. It is currently under construction.

The Bagel Shop Bakery will have patio seating and a counter-style coffee bar with an espresso machine. Besides its famous bagels, there will be pastries, breakfast sandwiches and whitefish and tuna salads. It will offer dine-in seating when it is safe to do so.

The bakery is certified kosher by Houston Kasruth (HKA) and Mehadrin Kashrus of Texas. Tzivia Weiss, executive director of HKA, said in a press release, " While we've partnered with Bagel Shop Bakery's original Hillcroft location for years, we are thrilled this Jewish community staple can now provide delicious and kosher foods to our Orthodox and kosher observant community."

King Ranch Texas Kitchen brings two big names together. - PHOTO BY FERTITTA ENTERTAINMENT
King Ranch Texas Kitchen brings two big names together.
Photo by Fertitta Entertainment
King Ranch Texas Kitchen, 1605 Post Oak Boulevard, will open at 3 p.m. November 17 for happy hour and dinner service. Happy hour specials are available in the 1853 Bar and patio area from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Beginning December 1, the restaurant will add lunch service beginning at 11 a.m. and a weekend brunch, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Brunch dishes include choices such as Texas Benedict, Chicken Chilaquiles and French Toast.

The Texas-inspired restaurant is a collaboration between The Tillman Fertitta Family and King Ranch Inc., as we reported here in the Press. It was shooting to open before the holidays and has met that challenge.

The name may have changed but the Crazy Burger is still the same at JLB Eatery. - PHOTO BY THOMAS NGUYEN
The name may have changed but the Crazy Burger is still the same at JLB Eatery.
Photo by Thomas Nguyen
JLB Eatery, 8806 Stella Link, opened October 23. This is the ninth location for the locally and family-owned burger chain which was formerly known as Joy Love Burgers. According to its Facebook page, it changed its name to JLB Eatery due to trademark issues. It is planning to open a tenth location at 145 N. Friendswood sometime in December.

Though its big, juicy burgers are its main draw, customers also love its fried catfish and chips, which can be ordered Cajun or London-style. The Cajun is more of a spicy corn meal coating while the London version is more of the classic fish and chips batter. Shrimp are also available Cajun or London-style.

The casual restaurant also offers a Buffalo chicken sandwich, wings, tenders, quesadillas and wraps. It may be hard to make a decision but one thing is for certain, the portion sizes will not disappoint. It's definitely not health food, especially when eyeing the dessert menu which includes deep-fried Oreos and Funnel Cake Fries. This is a restaurant in which to throw caution to the wind and revel in fried food hedonism. Some places only offer a couple of French fry options but JLB has covered all the bases with regular fries, curly fries, waffle fries and sweet potato fries plus tater tots and onion rings. And there's chili-cheese to top them off, if one is already over the edge calorie-wise.

Ginger Kale, 6104 Hermann Park Drive, opened October 30. It offers pastries, sandwiches, coffee drinks, chia pudding cups and cold-pressed juices. Customers can choose to dine-in and take in the view of McGovern Lake or take away some packaged items for a picnic in Hermann Park.

The new cafe comes from Cassie Ghaffar, owner of Saigon Hustle, a cloud kitchen at Blodgett Food Hall, according to Eater Houston. It takes the place of Pinewood Cafe which closed in August.

Menu choices include Beet and Goat Cheese Toast, breakfast tacos, salads, hot and cold sandwiches, the GK Burger, acai bowls and loaves of fresh breads like banana pecan and zucchini. There is a kids menu with chicken strips, a PBJ sandwich and mini-cheeseburger sliders.

There are also cookies, macarons, popsicles from Pop Fancy and a dairy-free coconut-based soft serve ice cream. There is also beer, wine and frozen mimosas.

click to enlarge Bone-in wings are covered with a sweet chili glaze at Jolene's. - PHOTO BY REBECCA SIMMS
Bone-in wings are covered with a sweet chili glaze at Jolene's.
Photo by Rebecca Simms
Jolene's Wings and Beer,  20030 Northwest Freeway, began operating out of Lazy Dog Restaurant November 11. The ghost kitchen concept will operate from other Lazy Dog locations as well. Customers can order online for pick up or through third party apps. The take-away and delivery concept offers bone-in and boneless wings available in eight or ten piece orders from $7.95 to $10.25.

There are eight flavors to choose from: Nashville Hot, Buffalo, Kung Pao, Sweet Chili, Cajun Lime, Smokey BBQ, Garlic Parm and Naked. Each order comes with one dipping sauce in flavors like Honey Mustard, Umami, Blue Cheese, Spicy Maple, Ranch and Nashville Hot Ranch. Additional dipping sauces are 50 cents.

The virtual concept also offers four-packs of Lazy Dog's house beers in sixteen-ounce cans for $15. The beers are brewed by Melvin Brewing and offer choices such as Bonita Bonita Pale Ale, Huckleberry Haze IPA, Ankle Buster Blonde and Old Pal White Ale.

There are several entree salads plus sides such as fries, sweet potato tots and cole slaw. There are brownie and cake bites available, too.

Wing Snob, 3902 N. Fry, opened October 10 in Katy. This is the first Houston-area location for the chicken wing franchise.  Customers can choose from a variety of wing choices such as boneless, tenders and traditional, or mix it up with the 50/50 box. There are also Cauli Wings made with cauliflower florets. Sauce options include Chicken and Waffles (a maple syrup sauce), Garlic Parmesan, Teriyaki, Lemon Pepper, Mango Habanero, Buffalo and Hot AF. There are several dry rubs and dipping sauces. French fries can be ordered seasoned, Cajun, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Parmesan or with Chili Cheese. For other sides, there is coleslaw, vegetables and sweet cornbread. There are different flavors of cheesecake for dessert.

click to enlarge Cinnaholic has customizable, all vegan cinnamon rolls. - PHOTO BY CINDY HIGA
Cinnaholic has customizable, all vegan cinnamon rolls.
Photo by Cindy Higa
Cinnaholic, 28920 Highway 290, will celebrate its grand opening in Cypress November 20. We first reported about the vegan bakery coming to Fairfield Town Center last month, here in the Houston Press. For its grand opening, the shop will offer $1 cinnamon rolls to the first 50 customers in line. Limit one special per person.

CHEERZ Daiquiris-to-Go and Cajun Kitchen, 12925 FM 1960, officially opened November 7. The Cajun restaurant offers standards such as Boudin Balls, fried shrimp and fish, Cajun chicken strips and two styles of gumbo. For sides, there's red beans and rice, Cajun fries, green beans and garlic corn. Cheerz also offers a Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with items like Chicken and Waffles and Shrimp and Gritz.

Of course, its main treats are the frozen daiquiris. There are plenty of flavors, forty-four to be exact, to tempt lovers of boozy slushes.

Senate Avenue Brewing Company, 16000 Dillard, began its soft opening September 25 in Jersey Village. The nanobrewery and taphouse was founded by Jersey Village mayor Andrew Mitcham. The brewery is busy making a variety of beers including a Kolsch, Pale Ale, IPA and its Secretary of Stout. Its name has also made it a stop-off for political candidates recently such as Lizzie Fletcher and Wesley Hunt. It hosted a watch party for Justin Ray, the Republican candidate who narrowly lost to Democratic incumbent Rep. Jon Rosenthal for House District 135. Ray, a former Jersey Village mayor himself, had his headquarters next door to the brewery.

Besides its own brews, it features other local craft quaffs on tap from breweries such as True Anomaly, Klaus and Galveston Island Brewing Company. It also has a good-sized food menu with choices ranging from wings, burgers and flatbread pizzas to a couple of steak and seafood options.

The large brick patio offers plenty of space for kids and fur babies, though canine companions are asked to stick to the patio area. Besides beer, there is wine, hard seltzers, sodas and juice boxes for the the tots. There is a kids menu as well.

Ambriza, 23501 Cinco Ranch, will take over the space that formerly housed Las Alamedas at La Centerra, according to its Facebook page. We have reached out for more information and will update as soon as we get more details. This will make the third location for the locally-owned Mexican restaurant.

click to enlarge Chef Mallory Buford and Erin Smith join forces for a Crispy Whole Hog Taco at Tacos A Go Go. - PHOTO BY ESMERALDA ESTRADA
Chef Mallory Buford and Erin Smith join forces for a Crispy Whole Hog Taco at Tacos A Go Go.
Photo by Esmeralda Estrada
Tacos A Go Go, 910 Louisiana, has reopened at the downtown tunnels at One Shell Plaza.  It has also introduced a new taco collaboration for its Taco Tuesday Team-up series. Every Tuesday during the month of November, guests can order the Crispy Whole Hog Taco made with crispy whole hog and topped with Alabama white slaw and spiced cracklings. The taco is a team-up with Feges BBQ and a portion of the proceeds from the taco sales will go to I'll Have What She's Having, a non-profit focused on women's health care, primarily women in the hospitality industry in Houston. Erin Smith, co-owner of Feges BBQ with husband Patrick Feges, is a founding board member of IHWSH.

The taco is available at all Houston locations including, Downtown, Midtown, the Heights, Oak Forest and Cinco Ranch.

Firehouse Saloon, 5930 Southwest Freeway, announced in a Facebook post November 2 that it is shutting its doors for good, at least at its current location. The honky-tonk, filled with firefighter memorabilia, has been a fixture for twenty-eight years with country music artists such as Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Billy Bob Thornton and Randy Rogers taking the stage over its lifetime. It has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic restrictions in March.

The saloon, with its decommissioned fire truck outside,  has always been owned by firemen with brothers Marshall and Duane Hefley, the original owners, having sold it to its current owner Tom Imber in 2009. Imber may reopen Firehouse Saloon in the future in another location, according to the Houston Chronicle. Houston management company, Kensinger Donnelly has redevelopment plans for the property.

click to enlarge Which po'boy would you choose? - PHOTO BY BECCA WRIGHT
Which po'boy would you choose?
Photo by Becca Wright
Antone's Famous Po'Boy, 6618 Fannin, reopened officially November 9 in the Medical Center after having softly opened November 2. Its other two sandwich shops at 4520 San Felipe and 2724 W. TC Jester have been reopened for a while. Besides its three dine-in and take-away spots, Antone's has its grab and go po'boys in nearly 300 grocery stores across Houston and Central Texas. Customers can also pick up one of its jarred pickles or famous Chow-Chow.

click to enlarge The Union Kitchen Washington is back on for brunch. - PHOTO BY KIRSTEN GILLIAM
The Union Kitchen Washington is back on for brunch.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
The Union Kitchen, 6011 Washington, reopens November 18 with limited hours. It will open at 11 a.m. Wednesday through Friday and at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. It is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

The Washington location has been shuttered since May due to the pandemic. The Bellaire location, the original, closed permanently this past October. There are five other operating TUK locations in Garden Oaks/Oak Forest, Kingwood, Memorial, Towne Lake (Cypress) and Katy.

The restaurant's parent company, Gr8 Plate Hospitality, is introducing some new menu items from its executive chef James Lundy. Guests can expect dessert pizzas such as one made with Nutella, berries and mint or a cheesecake inspired creation made with strawberries, balsamic reduction and basil. There will also be a breakfast pizza and pancake brunch boards.

“We are excited to reopen our Washington Avenue location,” Gr8 Plate Hospitality owner Paul Miller said. “It’s one of our most popular brunch and happy hour spots. The patio is huge and gives us a lot of room for outdoor dining and we took a lot of tables out of the dining room to allow for more social distancing. It’s a great feeling to open back up.”

The kitchen will be led by chef Victor Ortega with David Ray as general manager and Sam Bass as assistant manager.

La Table, 1800 Post Oak, will reopen November 18 with a new menu and a newly designed patio that will seat 62 guests in addition to the 46 seats in the restaurant. The outdoor patio has been designed to recreate a summer garden perfect for sipping a glass of prosecco and indulging in some French-inspired dishes. There are also two private dining areas upstairs, the Champagne and Chateau rooms.

The upscale restaurant closed in March after the pandemic restrictions limited restaurant seating capacity. For fine dining restaurants such as La Table, the restrictions hit particularly hard. Now, the restaurant is opening as a refreshed concept from New York-based management group, Bastion, which operates restaurants in New York, Miami and Houston. Some of the restaurants under its umbrella include L'Atelier by Joel Robuchon, Benno and Le Jardiniere.

The new menu is a collaboration between La Table's executive chef Steve Conklin, Bastion chef and partner Jonathan Benno and Bastion executive chef Salvatore Martone. It features starters such as French Onion Soup with braised beef shank and Pate de Campagne with pickled vegetables and grilled bread. Entrees include Red Snapper with shrimp, fennel, peppers, picholine olives in a saffron broth with rouille and Fried Chicken a l' Anglaise. The dessert menu offers treats like the Tarte Tatin and Flan Parisienne.

Croissant French toast makes a tasty brunch at Upstairs or Hungry's . - PHOTO BY JULIE SOEFER
Croissant French toast makes a tasty brunch at Upstairs or Hungry's .
Photo by Julie Soefer
Upstairs Bar and Lounge, 2356 Rice Boulevard, reopened November 2. Located atop its Rice Village sister concept, Hungry's, it has a new bar bites menu and is continuing with its popular weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Both Hungry's restaurants reopened May 1. Upstairs Bar and Lounge and Hungry's also offer a Seasonal Sips menu everyday from 3 p.m. to 6 pm. and spacious patios for social distancing.

Justin Turner is rolling along to Lake Houston. - PHOTO BY KIMBERLY PARK
Justin Turner is rolling along to Lake Houston.
Photo by Kimberly Park
Gastropub Productions has pegged Justin Turner, for its Director of Culinary Hospitality. Turner is best known for his popular burger restaurant, Bernie's Burger Bus, which closed the last of its four locations May 31, 2020. He is also a former champion on the Food Network's cooking competition show Chopped in 2016 as well as having done a stint as executive chef for the Chicago Bears.

The newly formed restaurant and hospitality group comes from McCord, a Houston-based strategic development company behind one of the world's largest privately held community developments, Generation Park and its flagship lifestyle and entertainment development, Redemption Square, at Lake Houston.

In a press release, Turner said, "McCord's vision for the future of Generation Park is unlike anything Houston has seen. The past few months have been challenging for the industry but I'm confident about the future of hospitality and what we are creating at Generation Park. I'm excited to craft new and intriguing culinary experiences for the city of Houston to enjoy our first new brick and mortar concept opening in Redemption Square next year."
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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.