Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Flappy Opens in Katy, Bistro 555 Departs This Month

Burger meets Philly cheesesteak in the Turbo Burger.
Burger meets Philly cheesesteak in the Turbo Burger. Photo by Huma and Riaz Ahmad

Flappy Wings and Burgers, 1315 W. Grand Parkway, began its soft opening December 29. A grand opening is planned within the next couple of weeks. The business began originally in Katy Mills Mall by Huma and Riaz Ahmad who were school clothes shopping when they came across a kiosk for lease. Riaz had dreamed of opening a restaurant so the couple decided to purchase the former deli space and begin their own venture. After two years, they decided they needed a proper kitchen and closed up shop at Katy Mills in late November 2020 in order to relocate to the new space.

The menu is extensive and eclectic at Flappy with a mix of Pakistani, Mediterranean, Greek, Mexican and Italian food along with some great burgers. The Turbo Burger is one of its best sellers and offers a beef patty topped with Philly cheesesteak meat, provolone and American cheese. The Flap on Flap is a gargantuan double-patty, double-cheese burger. There's also the Krunchie Chicken Burger for non-beefeaters, topped with coleslaw.

click to enlarge The Krunchie Chicken gets a creamy accent of coleslaw. - PHOTO BY HUMA AND RIAZ AHMAD
The Krunchie Chicken gets a creamy accent of coleslaw.
Photo by Huma and Riaz Ahmad
Besides its popular burgers, the restaurant offers dishes like gyro wraps, falafel salads and chicken tenders. Its wings come in a variety of flavors including Buffalo, lemon pepper, spicy garlic, honey sriracha and more. For decidedly caloric desserts, there are deep-fried Oreos and funnel cakes. For something cooler and creamier, try the Crown Kulfi in flavors such as mango, malai and chocolate.

click to enlarge Prepare for the big game with Bludorn's to-go packages. - PHOTO BY MICHAEL ANTHONY
Prepare for the big game with Bludorn's to-go packages.
Photo by Michael Anthony

Bludorn, 807 Taft, is kicking off a year-long fundraising initiative February 7 for the Southern Smoke Foundation, beginning with its Super Bowl to-go packages. Owner and acclaimed chef, Aaron Bludorn has long admired chef Chris Shepherd's mission to help hospitality workers in crisis and his support began even before his eponymous restaurant Bludorn opened in August 2020. In a press release Bludorn said, " Opening a restaurant during the pandemic has really brought a lot of things into focus for me and one of them is clearly those hospitality workers that continue to suffer during this ongoing crisis."

The Southern Smoke Foundation, founded by Shepherd in 2015, has been able to provide more than $ 4.5 million to hospitality workers in financial crisis since the start of the pandemic alone. Shepherd is grateful for the fundraisers which will "help us take care of our own."

click to enlarge Aaron Bludorn and Chris Shepherd unite for a good cause. - PHOTO BY MICHAEL ANTHONY
Aaron Bludorn and Chris Shepherd unite for a good cause.
Photo by Michael Anthony
The Super Bowl packages will feature items like Spinach and Artichoke Dip, the Dozen Wings with choice of sauce and a Fried Chicken Sandwich on a brioche bun from Magnol French Bakery. The Dry-Aged Burger is served on a benne seed bun from Magnol as well. Decadent Chocolate Brownies are also available. Packages are $55 for two and $100 for four. Customers may also add items such as a 6-pack of Horseshoe Pilsner. All orders for the Super Bowl deal must be made by February 5 through Bludorn's website and require reserved pick-up times.

In the future, other fundraising efforts will include collaboration dinners with chefs from around the country including a dinner with chefs Matthew Peters and Travis Swikard, friends of Bludorn's who have had to put the debuts of their own restaurants on hold due to the pandemic.

It's time to get messy at The Juicy Crab. - PHOTO BY THE JUICY CRAB, INC.
It's time to get messy at The Juicy Crab.
Photo by The Juicy Crab, Inc.
The Juicy Crab, 6501 Highway 6, opened December 28. This is the second location in Houston for the New Orleans-inspired seafood restaurant which opened its first corporate restaurant in Duluth, Georgia in 2015. The first Houston store opened in the Willowbrook area in June 2019.

It offers a variety of seafood from fried to boiled. There are starters like hush puppies, fried calamari, raw oysters and wings. Fried platters include choices such as fried shrimp, catfish, oysters and tilapia. For seafood boils and steams, guests can opt for crawfish, clams, mussels, lobster tails and several crab options.

The restaurant serves beer, wine and cocktails.

click to enlarge Design your own bento box from Hako Bento. - PHOTO BY RENEE YOSHIDA
Design your own bento box from Hako Bento.
Photo by Renee Yoshida
Hako Bento Box Company, 2802 S. Shepherd, opened as a cloud kitchen at Shun Japanese Kitchen in late November. It operates out of Shun's kitchen from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

The new concept comes from Naoki Yoshida, owner of Shun, and Yusuke Motozawa, of Powered by Rice. The duo worked together years before at Yoshida's parents' restaurant, Nippon, one of the oldest Japanese-owned restaurants in Houston. While Yoshida was mentored by his father at the sushi bar, Motozawa worked on the floor with Yoshida's mother as his mentor. Most recently, the two had collaborated on dishes served at Shun. The project was so much fun that the two men decided to partner in the ghost kitchen concept. After touring different facilities and finding none that worked for their purpose, Yoshida suggested that Hako Bento operate out of Shun's kitchen during lunch time, when Shun is closed.

click to enlarge Bento boxes are meant to-go. - PHOTO BY RENEE YOSHIDA
Bento boxes are meant to-go.
Photo by Renee Yoshida
The team for Hako Bento Box Company includes Justin Quach and Sean Kachornvanich as chefs and Yoshida's wife Renee working front of house operations. The boxes on offer are fully customizable with a variety of options. With the various choices, customers can create over 100 combinations. Choices include proteins like chicken or beef teriyaki, grilled salmon, stir-fry tofu and Japanese hamburger. Customers can continue building their personal box with options like popcorn chicken, vegetable tempura, kimchi, seaweed salad, edamame and more.  There's also Takoyaki Tuesday for a good deal on octopus balls. The team is working to add new appetizer items and "baby bento" boxes as a more economical alternative for lunch.

Customers can order online for pick-up or use delivery services such as GrubHub, DoorDash and ChowBus.

Kerry Pauly will open his first restaurant. - PHOTO BY KP'S KITCHEN
Kerry Pauly will open his first restaurant.
Photo by KP's Kitchen
KP's Kitchen, 700 Town and Country Boulevard, is shooting for an April opening, according to CultureMap Houston.  The new upscale, fast-casual restaurant will take over the space formerly occupied by Smashburger in the Town and Country shopping center.

Owner and chef Kerry Pauly has been a fixture on the Houston restaurant scene for over a decade, working with restaurateur Benjy Levit at his restaurants Local Foods and the former benjy's. Currently, he is helping Levit open Local Foods Market,  which is taking the place of benjy's at 2424 Dunstan. However, Pauly will break out on his own once KP's Kitchen opens.

His new venture will offer American fare with chef-driven specialties. It will be a family-friendly restaurant with counter service and a $5 fee for BYOB.  As with Local Foods, Pauly plans on offering items from local farmer markets in addition to sourcing many of the restaurant's ingredients from local markets.

click to enlarge Hummus Bistro is bursting with Mediterranean flavors. - PHOTO BY ZIAD DIMASSI
Hummus Bistro is bursting with Mediterranean flavors.
Photo by Ziad Dimassi
Hummus Bistro, 7910 W. Grand Parkway, opened January 4 in Richmond. The Mediterranean restaurant offers kabobs, chicken shawarma, kafta, chicken couscous and an array of different hummus dips. There are hummus flavors such as traditional, jalapeno, fried onion, spinach and even hummus with beef. There are protein combos which can be customized with sides and veggie combos, including the Veggie Sampler which offers mini portions of ten sides for those who like to try everything.

The to-go menu offers salad and vegetable choices that vary on a daily basis and can be ordered in three different sizes. Some days there may be fattoush, tabouli, beets or Greek salad. The hot vegetable choices rotate also, including baby okra, cauliflower, cilantro potatoes, cabbage and brussels sprouts. There are sweets for dessert like baklava, pistachio cake and rice pudding.

Genevieve Guy is closing Bistro 555. - PHOTO BY PAULA MURPHY
Genevieve Guy is closing Bistro 555.
Photo by Paula Murphy
Bistro 555, 13616 Memorial, will close permanently January 30, according to a Facebook post by owner Genevieve Guy. Guy announced that her family will be moving to Austin, where husband Jean Philippe will be expanding his wine operations. Jean Philippe is also the proprietor of French Country Wines, 2433 Bartlett, which will continue its operations in Houston, according to a spokesperson.

The French bistro had recently rebranded after more than two decades as Bistro Provence, reopening in September 2020. Loyal patrons have another week or so to say au revoir to the restaurant and bonne chance to the Guys.

Bagel Shop Bakery, 5422 Bellaire, is celebrating its recent opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony January 22. The event, which is closed to the public, will begin at 5:45 a.m. with Bellaire mayor Andrew Freidburg declaring January 22 as "Challah Day". While the ribbon cutting is for staff and family only, it can be viewed on social media. However, customers can take advantage of a special deal from noon until 4 p.m. that day. Each customer that purchases a challah will receive a free pastry of their choice.

This is the second location for the kosher-certified bakery, as we reported here in the Houston Press. It opened December 30.

click to enlarge Specialty coffee and British treats hit Spring Branch. - PHOTO BY BRIAN HINKLE
Specialty coffee and British treats hit Spring Branch.
Photo by Brian Hinkle
Cambrian Coffee, 9461 Hammerly, opened softly January 11 in Spring Branch. The new coffee shop is owned by Gemma and Brian Hinkle. Gemma is a geologist and the couple are both fascinated by fossils and in love with specialty coffee. Gemma also creates the British-inspired baked goods on offer such as sausage rolls, sweet and savory scones, seasonal mini loaves and a variety of cookies.

click to enlarge Gemma and Brian Hinkle are part of the Spring Branch evolution. - PHOTO BY ERIK RIBEIRO
Gemma and Brian Hinkle are part of the Spring Branch evolution.
Photo by Erik Ribeiro
The name comes from the Cambrian Period, a geologic time period during the Paleozoic Era when evolution had its heyday and there was an massive explosion and diversification of life. Brian sees that as a parallel to what's happening in Spring Branch.

The Espresso Bar includes the usual options such as cortado, cappuccino and latte, all made with its Unic Epic espresso machine. The Seraphim Slow Pour System allows coffee aficionados filter choices like Hario V60, Kalito Wave, Chemex or the French Press method. For its beans, Cambrian Coffee works with partners the couple have met in their travels. Geva Premium Coffee in Houston is one of its sources as well as Aveley Farms in Baltimore and Square One Coffee Roasters in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Customers can also buy a bag of coffee to-go, either whole bean or ground in-house.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for Van Leeuwen. - PHOTO BY ANDREA MASSAAD
I scream, you scream, we all scream for Van Leeuwen.
Photo by Andrea Massaad
Van Leeuwen Ice Cream has signed on as a tenant at Radom Capital's Montrose Collective. The retail, office and restaurant development is currently under construction in the 800 block of Westheimer. The New York City- based ice cream purveyor is planning to open three new locations in Houston in 2021. One is planned to open this spring at 2565 Amherst, as we reported here in the Press. Van Leeuwen offers traditional dairy ice cream flavors plus vegan options made with cashew nut or oat milk. There are 32 flavors plus four rotating monthly specials.

Houstonians anticipating its arrival can currently purchase its ice creams by the pint at H-E-B, Sprouts and Central Market.

click to enlarge The Simply Greek Wrap is colorful and healthy. - PHOTO BY TINA GROSS
The Simply Greek Wrap is colorful and healthy.
Photo by Tina Gross
The Union Kitchen has introduced its new L.I.F.E. Menu. An acronym for Lite Ingredients For Energy, it features fresh and healthy creations from executive chef James Lundy. The menu will run throughout the summer for those working on bikini bodies.

“Our freshest menu yet was inspired by the fresh start of a new year,” Lundy said. “Slam the door on 2020! Bring the L.I.F.E. back into you."

Items on the L.I.T.E menu include Lobster Spring Rolls, Garden Fresh Lentil Soup, Poached Salmon and the Simply Greek Wrap made with grilled cauliflower. There's also Asian Lettuce Wraps with rice quinoa, the Flame-Grilled Portobello Sandwich and a Portobello Mushroom Pizza  made with a gluten-free cauliflower crust. The calorie counts are listed for each dish as well. There are also entrees like the Miso-Basted Salmon and Southwest Chicken. The new items are available at all six Houston locations.
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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.