Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Frank's Americana Has News, Andiron Announces Chef

Buttermilk Fried Chicken with delicious sides and great wines at Frank's.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken with delicious sides and great wines at Frank's. Photo by Forward Social
Frank's Americana Revival, 3015 Weslayan, is expected to open in 2023. The longtime Houston restaurant is currently located at 3736 Westheimer and will remain in operation at that spot until construction at the new location is completed.

The new space will offer 6,895 square feet of space with plenty of room to expand its bar concept, The White Star Bar, and also provide private dining accommodations. The upcoming relocation will allow for outdoor patio seating and there will also be a morning coffee cafe concept added as well. The larger kitchen will provide more opportunities for off-site catering and the expansion of Frank's to-go business.
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The salmon at Frank's gets a beautiful crust of pistachios.
Photo by Forward Social
Restaurateur Michael Shine acquired the former Frank's Chop House in 2012 with his son and business partner, Chris Shine, turning it into Frank's American Revival. It has become a River Oaks standard the past decade for dining out or enjoying a few cocktails. Michael Shine has 40 years of experience in the hospitality industry including his tenure as President of Ruggles Management LLC and as a member and leader of national, regional and local restaurant organizations.
Chris Shine makes sure Frank's customers are happy and hydrated.
Photo by Forward Social
Along the way, Michael Shine's youngest son Colin, who started out as a lead bartender and sous chef under former executive chef Albert Estrada, has taken on the role of executive chef creating a menu of favorites such as buttermilk fried chicken, chicken pot pie (the Wednesday blackboard special), maple-brined pork chop and buttermilk-fried Bandera quail. His brother Chris is the floor manager and beverage director, overseeing an extensive wine list and specialty cocktail program.

Michael Shine said of the upcoming move, "While we are looking forward to capitalizing on this move as an opportunity to refresh certain elements of our concept, we're planning to keep the heart and soul of Frank's while providing Houstonians a place where the neighborhood can come together to share their best moments with their best relationships."
Andiron will open in a 1930s historic structure.
Rendering by avroKO
Andiron, 3201 Allen Parkway, is nearing the end of construction and is expected to open toward the latter part of 2022. The new steakhouse comes from Sambrooks Management Company (SMC), the hospitality group behind Pit Room BBQ, 1751 Sea & Bar and Candente. The new restaurant will blend traditional steakhouse techniques such as live-fire cooking with modern touches including a small plate progressive dining experience.

The building where Andiron will be located originally housed the Star Engraving Company and was once the home of the Houston Children's Museum. The historic structure was recently renovated by Radom Capital and is located across from The Gordy, the new home of Stages Theatre. The two spaces will share access to a 300-car parking garage.
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Chef Louis Maldonado will helm the kitchen and the live fire at Andiron.
Photo by Louis Maldonado
SMC announced this week that Louis Maldonado will serve as as Andiron’s executive chef with Mario Da Silva as chef de cuisine. Chef Maldonado was most recently chef-partner for the Pulpo Group in Ann Arbor, Michigan and their three concept Dixboro Project. After graduating from the California Culinary Academy in 2002, he worked his way up at multiple Michelin-starred restaurants including a stint as chef de cuisine at the much-lauded French Laundry in Yountville, California and as the executive chef at Cortez in San Francisco where he led the team to a Michelin star in 2008.

Mario Da Silva is a culinary graduate of the University of Yaracuy in Venezuela and has worked under renowned Chef Carlos Garcia at the critically-acclaimed Alto Restaurant in Caracas, Venezuela.  Most recently, he was an executive chef for multiple concepts with the Boca group in Miami, Florida.

Michael Sambrooks, owner of SMC and the upcoming Andiron said in the press release, "We knew as soon as we met and ate around Houston with Chef Maldonado that Louis and Andiron were the perfect match. Louis has amazing culinary experience and standards. He is ready to create and deliver what we think will be one of the best menu offerings in town...Both of these guys are incredibly talented and passionate chefs."
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Bun B is everywhere.
Photo by 8th Wonder Cannabis
8th Wonder Cannabis, 2201 W. Dallas, will have a soft opening October 17. The new brick and mortar dispensary is a partnership between 8th Wonder Brewery & Distillery and Bayou City Hemp Company The groundbreaking brand will offer hemp, hops, beverages, and more at its first brick-and-mortar dispensary and lounge, housed inside 8th Wonder Distillery. There are plans to open additional locations throughout Texas in the coming years.  Each 8th Wonder Cannabis outpost will carry a range of products, including gummies, edibles, pre-rolls, vapes, and flower, as well as water-soluble options such as additives, nano-shots, and seltzers. 8th Wonder Cannabis is the first partnership between a cannabis manufacturer and distributor and brewery in the U.S.
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Houston is down with CBD.
Photo by 8th Wonder Cannabis
Canna-curious customers can expect top brands like Third Coast Blends, Mixer Elixir, and Leaf Life Wellness in addition to the 8th Wonder brand. There will be cannabis-infused beverages, building on a collaboration between 8th Wonder and Bayou City Hemp Company that started in 2021 when the two companies introduced the first two cannabis-infused seltzers in Texas: The Delta-8 Wonder Water and CBD Wonder Water. The non-alcoholic sparkling waters feature natural hemp-derived ingredients and are hand-crafted here in Houston. They were followed by even more additions to the line-up including Bun B's Trillionaire, Third Coast's Beach Break and Mixer Elixir's Ranch Water. The Wonder Water has been 8th Wonder Brewery's top selling to-go product since its debut.

"We firmly believe the future of the hospitality industry will feature cannabis quite extensively," adds Ryan Soroka, 8th Wonder Brewery & Distillery President and Co-Founder. "As stewards of the cannabis industry in Texas, Bayou City Hemp’s emphasis on innovation, quality and collaboration not only produces the best products, but helps normalize cannabis in a safe and trusted way."

Killer Noodle, 1835 N. Shepherd, will open October 15, according to the Houston Chronicle. It will be the first location outside of California for the spicy ramen concept which has two locations in Los Angeles. Founder Takehiro Tsujita of the Tsujita group began his ramen empire in Tokyo in 2003 with Tsujita Artisan Noodles, serving tsukemen, a form of ramen in which cooked noodles are dipped into broth rather than served in it. Tsujita brought the concept to Los Angeles in 2011, then opened more restaurants including Killer Noodle in LA's Japantown in 2017 serving tantamen, the Japanese version of Sichuan Dan Dan noodles.

The restaurant offers the ramen with or without soup and guests can choose from Tokyo, Downtown, Chicken Ramen, Veggie Ramen and more. The Gokakyu Ramen is Level 20 spice and, as the menu states, not for the faint of heart. Ramen lovers can also add a variety of toppings including poached egg, chashu pork, tofu and nikumiso (ground pork with miso paste).

Killer Noodle also offer appetizers such as chicken karaage, pork gyoza, takoyaki and pork buns plus several rice bowls. There's also sake and Japanese beer available, along with soft drinks. For dessert, guests can try kakigori, a Japanese shaved ice perfect for cooling down after a spicy bowl of tantamen.
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The Sam Houston is a hearty way to start the day.
Photo by Avery Padilla
The Pearl Restaurant and Bar, 1117 Prairie, has brought in a new chef to launch menus that showcase Third Coast flavors. Located in the Sam Houston Hotel, the restaurant now has Chef Raphael Rogers leading the kitchen. Rogers is originally from Virginia where he earned the state's Iron Chef designation in 2012.

His menus pay tribute to the hotel's history. Opened in 1924, it is Houston's oldest operating hotel and part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. Guests can expect a mix of coastal and Tex-Mex-inspired fare with dishes such as Oyster Nachos and the signature Sam Houston- a mix of huevos rancheros, burnt ends and cotija cheese topped with a drizzle of house-made Texas rye barbecue sauce.
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Chef Raphael Rogers was drawn to Houston's expansive culinary scene.
Photo by Avery Padilla
The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It also hosts a fabulous happy hour Monday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with deals on cocktails and bar bites.

Atomic Wings is coming to Houston in 2023. Husband and wife Jalal and Shermeen Kapadia have signed on as developers to bring the New York City-based chicken wing brand to the Houston area. Jalal is a native of Queens, New York and when a space revealed itself in the Houston market, he and wife  Shermeen jumped at the chance to bring the halal chicken wings to a specific demographic, primarily the Muslim community in the city.

The concept first opened in 1989 in New York and serves all-natural chicken wings, bone-in and boneless. There are 14 different sauces to choose from including mild flavors such as Chipotle BBQ and Honey Mustard to medium heat choices like Thai Chili and Garlic Parmesan. For knock-your-socks off heat, there's Nuclear, Atomic and Mango Habanero sauces.

The fast-casual menu also includes chicken sandwiches, a couple of entree salads, waffle fries, tater tots, onion rings, jalapeno poppers and mozzarella sticks.

Money Cat, 2925 Richmond, is looking to debut in October, so we'll be updating readers when we get more information about a solid opening date.
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You can't go wrong with meat and potatoes.
Photo by Landry's
Saltgrass Steak House, 8506 Syms, opened September 20 in Fulshear. The Landry's-owned steakhouse brand is known for its certified Angus beef (CAB) steaks that are char-grilled on an open flame. Its freshly-made beer bread is another reason this Texas-based chain has 90 locations throughout ten states.

The decor of each Saltgrass is meant to evoke the warm welcome of a Texas Hill Country home with rustic furnishings like leather seating and authentic architectural touches such as limestone and warm wood. There's also plenty of Texas-themed and western memorabilia to add to the Lone Star charm.
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Clutch City Cluckers is cluckin' and truckin' to Spring.
Photo by Christian Pena
Clutch City Cluckers, 6730 Louetta, will have its grand opening October 1 and October 2 in Spring, Texas.  The celebration begins at 11 a.m. each day and runs though midnight, or sellout, which ever comes first. This will be the 6th location for the Houston-based hot chicken food truck which offers Hot Chicken Sandwiches, Chicken Tenders, Cauliflower Tenders and its popular Loaded Fries.

There will be a raffle for a four-night Disney Cruise plus free meals for the first 50 people in line. For the grand opening days, there will also be 50 percent off the entire menu. The family-friendly event will feature a DJ, face painting and more.
Crust Pizza keeps expanding and will hit Pearland in 2023.
Photo by Dillan Juul
Crust Pizza, 2110 Pearland Parkway, is expected to open in the first quarter of 2023 at Pearland Parkway Marketplace. Located off Barry Rose Road, the two-year-old development also houses dining options such as Chicken Salad Chick and  Spicy Panda, along with retail and service businesses including Nails of America, Floss and Hotworx Yoga Studio.

Crust Pizza is a Houston-based brand that has expanded to 19 locations in Texas and Louisiana with at least nine more in the works. There is a location currently under construction at 1921 W. League City Parkway which is expected to open in late 2022 or early 2023.

Cougar Grounds, 4450 University,  moved into a larger, newly renovated space next to the Conrad N. Hilton College's Eric's Club Center for Student Success. The student-run coffeehouse first opened in 2008 and a second location opened in the Health 2 building in 2018.

The COVID pandemic, however, nearly did in the coffee shop with customer numbers plummeting for nearly two years. Now, Cougar Grounds has outgrown its previous Hilton College spot. With the relocation, it has twice the space for the Cougar-istas to serve students, faculty and visitors gourmet coffees, deluxe teas and smoothies. General manager Sean Lawless' vision for the university coffeehouse means that there are new menu items like delicious pastries and sandwiches plus cutting edge technology such as its brewing equipment from Italy.

In addition to the coffeehouse's expansion, there is a 30 million dollar expansion and renovation of the Hilton University of Houston with a new five-story, 70-room tower slated to open in February 2023.

Bayou Heights Bier Garten,3905 Washinton, is shooting to open in October and is currently in hiring mode. Located on over an acre off Washington and Yale, the space, which takes its inspiration from the Kirby Group's original location, Heights Bier Garten, will feature a separate building for specialty cocktails, beer and wine with an expansive patio that offers covered seating. A look at its Facebook posts shows a huge glass-fronted silo with a chandelier and tiffany lamp-lit interior featuring lots of exposed brick, warm wood, glass panes and many, many beer taps.

Teddy Lopez will be the culinary director and bier garten-goers will have an array of smoked meats and elevated bar food available to accompany their libations.

Benjy Levit is opening a new bistro.
Rendering by Reagan and Andre Architecture Studio
Eau Tour, 5117 Kelvin, is slated to open from restaurateur Benjy Levit in November. It will be located in the former Thai Spice restaurant space above Levit's Local Foods Rice Village. The bistro-style concept will offer stylistic French cuisine from executive chef Kent Domas. The dishes will be simply prepared but with a contemporary flair and a heavy seafood influence. The restaurant will also feature a wood-burning oven. There will be an extensive wine and cocktail program to accompany the menu.

The new concept will join not only Levit's Local Foods in the building but also his recently opened speakeasy-style cocktail lounge Lee's Den.

A 2nd Cup, 1111 W. 11th, announced via its social media accounts that it is is leaving its current location soon in order to relocate into its new home in the Lindale Park neighborhood. A tip from a reader says it will be at 4928 Fulton in the former Canary Cafe space. For 7 years, the non-profit coffee shop has operated in the Heights location. Unfortunately, the building has been sold and the non-profit is having to find a new home.  We reached out for a definite closing date for the current location and were told probably mid-November. We will have a definite date next week.

A 2nd Cup was founded in 2011 with a mission of fighting human trafficking. It is also planning to open a satellite location in Third Ward in 2023. The Facebook post says that the new spaces will "allow us to connect with new pockets of community and expand our economic empowerment programs to include Barista training for our youth survivors of human trafficking...Our refrain in this time is We Are Brazen - working boldly and daringly to create a world where everyone is free."

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Rhythm Room has brunch for slugabeds.
Photo by Larry Flagala
Scott Gertner's Rhythm Room, 5535 Memorial, is launching its Reverse Brunch September 25. With its motto of "Don't Rush the Brunch!", the restaurant and live music venue is letting its patrons sleep in late by hosting its reverse brunch from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. each Sunday.

The menu offers contemporary Gulf Coast cuisine with items such as Bananas Foster French Toast, Crawfish Omelet, Grits and Grillades, the ever-popular Chicken & Waffles, Fried Green Tomatoes, Chicken & Sausage Gumbo plus its signature Rhythm Room Wings.

For a boozy, late brunch there are cocktails including frozen Hurricane, mimosa, milk punch, French 75 and Champagne. There will also be live music from Pink Sand Brass Band playing a mix of New Orleans, Motown, Neo-Soul and Caribbean music.
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Norigami will be a speakeasy-style sushi concept.
Rendering by Very Handsome Studio
We are still keeping an eye on Sushi by Hidden, 5216 Morningside, from the creators at Hidden Omakase. The 30-Minute Omakase concept,  with a limited seating of 10 guests at a time for 12 courses, is expected to open in November. Also planned for November is Norigami, 2715 Bissonnet, which  began as a monthly sushi hand roll pop up at Hidden Omakase with Chef Cong Nguyen.
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Chefs For farmers is coming to Houston for the first time.
Photo by Max Flatow Photography
Chefs For Farmers is coming to Autry Park, 811 Buffalo Park Drive, October 2. It's the first time for the event in Houston which will run from 2 p.m. through 5 p.m. for General Admission. Though the event sold out a month ago, the organizers have opened up sales for a limited number of General Admission tickets at $150.

Chefs For Farmers is an all-inclusive tasting event that showcases Texan family farms and local vendors. Some of the participating farms include Blackwood Educational Land Institute, Verdegree Farms, Driftwood Meadows Farm, Animal Farm, Laughing Frog Farm, Statkar Farms Wagyu and Bee2Bee Honey Collective.

In addition to the local growers and ranchers, there will a beyond-impressive line up of Houston's top chefs and personalities from more than 30 restaurants and businesses. The list, curated in partnership with Urban Harvest, includes Aaron Bludorn from Bludorn, Kirtha and Kripa Shenoy from Auden, Ryan Pera from Coltivare, Travis McShane from Ostia, Paul Qui from Golfstrommen, Austin Waiter from The Marigold Club and many, many more.

Houston Food Bank will be on site with their Empty Bowls program with local Houston ceramists and artists creating unique bowls on site for $25, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Houston Food Bank.

More information and tickets can be found at chefsforfarmers.com.
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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.