Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Juliet's Entrance, Kenny & Ziggy's New Digs

The Double Cut Smoked Pork Chop tempts carnivores at Juliet.
The Double Cut Smoked Pork Chop tempts carnivores at Juliet. Photo by In-House Social

Juliet, 5857 Westheimer, opens to the public February 7 after the dining hotspot's soft opening this past weekend. The doors will open at 5 p.m. and guests can make their grand entrance through the movie theater-style marquee. The theme is carried through with a mock movie theater lobby with a candy and popcorn display. Behind the curtain lies the main dining room, its walls lined with black and white photos from iconic movie scenes that span the decades of cinema history along with a wall of mirrors. Maroon wallpaper in one dining area pops with gold while a floral wall in the restroom is covered with deep red roses.

The new modern, speakeasy concept comes from founder and owner, James McGhee, also known for his company Candy Shack Daiquiris. Inspired by restaurants he has visited in Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles, he says, "The movie theme is inspired by my love of films; I consider myself a movie buff."
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Guests enter the restaurant through a bright marquee.
Photo by In-House Social
Besides its stunning and glamourous interior, the restaurant has an elevated menu that is sure to please those with particular tastes. Developed by culinary director, Jeff Auld, it features prime cuts of meat  and tempting appetizers or "Previews," such as Crispy Korean Short Rib Tacos and Scallop and Black Truffle Gnocchi. The Main Event entrees include Honey Truffle Chicken and the Double Cut Smoked Pork Chop. For a real splurge, there's The Golden Star, a 34-ounce USDA Prime Gold Tomahawk Ribeye wrapped in 24 karat gold.

There are also family-style sides such as Red Chile Garlic Broccolini and Bourbon Baby Carrots.  The dessert menu was designed by pastry chef Allison Thiessen and features a Red Velvet Cake with layers of cheesecake.
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There's a decadent red velvet cake to go with the luxurious red velvet seating.
Photo by In-House Social
The beverage program at Juliet was curated by Ladies of Libation owners, Laurie Harvey and Kris Sowell. For wannabe Brandos, Pacinos and DeNiros, there's The Godfather made with Hennessey XO, Grand Marnier Centenaire, Glenmorangie X, candied orange and vanilla.
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You won't mind being alone with this Blue Moon.
Photo by In-House Social
The restaurant has an outdoor space, shaded by a huge Live Oak tree. It also has a VIP room that seats 40 guests and boasts a private entrance. The design was led by restaurant architect Jim Herd and Maria Oran of Collaborative Projects.

For now, it is only open for dinner and cocktails.
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Comfortable seats await diners and imbibers at the new location.
Photo by Paula Murphy

Kenny & Ziggy's New York Delicatessen and Restaurant, 1743 Post Oak, opened February 2. The new location of the famed deli and restaurant is bigger than its previous Post Oak spot where it served Houstonians for 21 years. The expanded space means owner Ziggy Gruber will be bringing the whole family of operations under one roof including the catering, bakery and nationwide shipping plus, of course, its restaurant with double the seating. For those who have ever encountered the packed lunch at K&Z's, that's a welcome change.
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All the goodies are still available at the new K&Z's.
Photo by Paula Murphy
Another change will be The Spritzer Bar, a full-service bar with a menu of classic cocktails plus signature ones as well. Ziggy's own The Maven Old Fashioned will be on the bar menu along with the Hammeredtashen Spritz, a Rushashanah and the Lansky's New York Sour. A large ice tower of different vodkas lets guests know that this isn't your parents' deli. And certainly not your grandparents'.
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The Deli Man himself, Ziggy Gruber, awaits customers, old and new.
Photo by Paula Murphy
An inviting soda fountain and coffee bar will have counter seating and Kenny & Ziggy's Schmooze Room will return with a number of upgrades in the new location including seating for 100 guests. Two covered patios will offer al fresco dining.

With 300 seats, the dining room will be abuzz with diners ordering towering Reubens and mile-high desserts but the new space has a partitioned design that, along with the high beamed ceiling, gives an airier feeling than the previous location and also allows for a better display of the hundreds of Broadway playbills, signed posters and celebrity caricatures that have been a hallmark of the restaurant's history.
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Pick a taco or two, or three, at Velvet Taco.
Photo by Velvet Taco
Velvet Taco, 9120 Gosling, opens February 7 in The Woodlands. It will be the 6th location for the globally-inspired taco restaurant in the Houston area. With over 20 different tacos, diners are sure to find a flavor that becomes a favorite. The international influences show up in items like the Spicy Tikka Chicken, Cuban Pig, Korean Fried Rice or vegetarian Falafel. Besides its usual menu of tacos, the restaurant also rotates a new flavor each week with its Weekly Taco Feature, cheekily called the WTF.

For February, there's the Chicken Cordon Bleu from February 7 through February 15, followed by the Pork Belly al Pastor, with the final week being the Italian Sub.

The restaurant also features sides such as elote and chips, queso blanco and crispy loaded tots. There's a kids menu plus a variety of soft drinks, fruit-infused iced teas as well as hard beverages like the Kiss Ass Margarita and local and Mexican beers.
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The Sammich may be coming to your neighborhood soon.
Photo by Rebecca Wright
Mico's Hot Chicken, 1603 N. Durham, is rolling out a fleet of five Mico's Hot Chicken food trucks this March. Parking locations will be announced soon.

The Nashville-style hot chicken brand began as a food truck in June 2019. Founded by Kimico (Mico) and Chris Frydenlund, the truck drew in long lines of customers everyday and within six months, the couple had signed a lease for a brick and mortar spot in the Heights. With its large outdoor space, games and frequent live music, it became a neighborhood hangout.
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Kimico Frydenlund wants to make Mico's America's Hot Chicken.
Photo by Rebecca Wright
Though its big draw is its Sammich, new additions have proved popular as well including the Hot Shake Fries (waffle fries dusted with Mico's signature dry spice) and Fried Pickles. Its secret menu includes the Sammich with Vanilla Ice Cream, Loaded Waffle Fries topped with coleslaw and pickles and for a creamy, yet spicy dessert, Vanilla Ice Cream with Hot Honey.

With demand still growing, the restaurant is offering online pre-ordering for pick up, to bypass the long lines that snake out the door. Maybe one of its bright red trucks will be headed to your neck of the woods soon.
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Go, go get yourself some tacos.
Photo by Rebecca Wright

Tacos A Go Go
, 3773 Richmond, opened softly January 17 at Greenway Plaza. This location is the brand's most experimental so far with an expanded bar program and a new coffee bar with coffee cocktails. Houstonians will be thrilled to find a huge, free parking area and a large outdoor patio which seats more than 100 taco lovers in a 2,200 square-foot area.
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Founder Sharon Haynes and chef Maribel Gomez opened the first Tacos A Go Go in Houston in 2006.
Photo by Rebecca Wright
Founder Sharon Haynes said, " We're calling this our taco lab-we'll be experimenting with new drinks, new happy hour specials and new monthly tacos, along with fresh tortillas and a big patio space." All of the tortillas, both flour and corn, will be made in-house daily at the new location.

The Greenway restaurant also marks the merging of its sister concept, Fajitas A Go Go, which will share a kitchen with Tacos A Go Go, after closing its brick and mortar location on Kirby this past December.

Curbside pick-up will be available along with online ordering and delivery through UberEats. Smartphone ordering will be offered tableside.

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Common Bond On-The-Go will give visitors and workers at The Ion a delicious option for breakfast and lunch.
Photo by Andrew Hemingway
Common Bond On-The-Go,  4201 Main, opened January 31 at The Ion. This is the 11th location for the Common Bond brand, which first opened in May 2014, and the 6th for its on-the-go concept. It will be open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, with breakfast served till 11 a.m. then sandwiches and bowls served from 11 a.m. to close.

The concept offers baked goods such as croissants, macarons, scones, kugelhopfs and kouign-amman, a Breton cake you don't often find in Houston. Its sandwich offerings include the chicken salad croissant, the Texas Club Croissant, the Ham & Cheese on French bread plus its new OTG Vegetarian Sandwich. There are coffee drinks, juices, mimosas and frose.
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A colorful mural greets guests at the Ion location.
Photo by Taylor Odom Cooper
Upcoming concepts that will soon join Common Bond On-The-Go at the Ion District include Late August, from chefs Dawn Burrell and Chris Williams, The Lymbar from Chef David Cordua, Second Draught from Baileson Brewing Company and STUFF'd Wings, the first brick and mortar for Jarrod Rector's food truck.
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Kevin Bryant brings his expertise to Roma.
Photo by Al Torres Photography

Roma, 2347 University, has brought in Kevin Bryant as executive chef, replacing Sandro Scarfile. Bryant is a longtime friend of Roma owner, Shanon Scott, and the duo have formed a partnership to expand the menu and develop fine dining events. The new menu debuts in March.

Meanwhile, Bryant is developing the menus for the virtual wine series that have become a huge hit with Roma's clientele and wine lovers across Houston. Wine director Jeremy Parzen says he is happy to have a chef who knows great wine and says "I couldn't be more geeked out about presenting our first winemaker dinner together."

Bryant has over 20 years of experience in the food world including opening various concepts in Houston as well as consulting. His background in Italian cuisine includes working with the late restaurateur and chef Tony Vallone, where he learned to make handmade pasta and classic, authentic, Italian dishes. He has also worked as a private chef for an unnamed country music star, learning much about seafood while catering on the musician's yacht.

Scott says of his longtime friend, "We couldn't be more thrilled about bringing Kevin on board. He and I are breaking down each dish on the menu. From the ingredients to preparation and plating. He is so talented."

Roma also holds a special place in Bryant's heart as it was the scene of his first dinner date with local publicist, Marie Elgamal, and the couple eventually wed, holding their nuptials and reception at Roma.
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KP's Kitchen welcomes families, friends and couples with its homey but elevated fare.
Photo by Dominique McGhee
KP's Kitchen, 700 Town and Country Boulevard, will have its last evening of service February 14 before preparing for its move to its new location at 8412 Katy Freeway. The new location will be a larger space and will be open soon.

Taking over the spot which previously housed Tortoni Ristorante, the new location will offer 2,400 square feet of space and a spacious front patio. Owner and chef Kerry Pauly opened the restaurant in March 2021, serving elevated comfort food like 12 Hour baby Back Ribs, a Hot Chicken Sandwich and the KP Burger. There are also starters such as the Artisanal Cheese Plate and Crispy Cauliflower along with date night entrees like Certified Angus Filet and Grilled Red Snapper. It also has weekly steak nights and wine dinner specials.
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The Gulf Crab Cake is a thick patty of crabmeat.
Photo by Dominique McGhee
The restaurant also serves a weekend brunch with dishes such as Crab N Eggs with its Gulf Crab Cakes plus Hot Chicken and Biscuits. The new location will serve beer and wine, but guests will still be welcome to BYOB.

Pauly said in a press release that he and his staff love the Memorial community but the restaurant has outgrown the space. "The increased visibility on I-10 will make finding us even easier for everybody...You can bet we'll make sure it feels like home fast."

The Original ChopShop, 3021 Kirby, will have a grand opening February 9 in River Oaks. In celebration of the new restaurant, each guest who attends the opening will receive a $10 Original ChopShop gift card to use on a future order. The giveaway will begin at 7 a.m. that day and continues while supplies last.

The eatery will also host a fundraiser for Brighter Bites with 10 percent of sales going to the local non-profit which aims to create healthier communities in the Houston area by making fresh food easily accessible.

That's a fitting choice for The Original ChopShop which serves "Feel Good Food" like protein bowls, salads (chops), sandwiches and fresh juices. The food is "Chopped-in-Shop" daily with fresh ingredients and the restaurant caters to folks with various dietary needs by offering customizable orders and nutritious breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack choices.
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Mahesh's Kitchen is serving fine Indian food in Sugar Land.
Photo by Michael Anthony
Mahesh's Kitchen,16019 City Walk, launched lunch service January 18. It is available Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch dishes include vegetarian options like Paneer Mirch, Indian cheese in a spicy, chile-laced sauce, and Malai Kofta. Seafood options include Shrimp Shahi Korma and there are also chicken dishes like Chicken Chooza and Amritsar Murg.

In tandem with the new lunch menu, the restaurant is running its February non-profit fundraiser, Currying Favor. From February 1 through February 28, Mahesh's Kitchen will donate $2 from every curry sold during lunch hours to Daya, a local organization that empowers South Asian survivors of domestic and sexual violence through culturally specific services while educating the community about breaking the cycle of abuse.
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Guests can build their own plant-based bowls with Abbot's Butcher chorizo at Freebirds.
Photo by Allie Martinez
Freebirds World Burrito launched two new plant-based items to join its customizable menu. The Texas-based chain is offering grain-free tortillas from Siete Family Foods and plant-based chorizo from Abbot's Butcher. Siete is a family-owned business based in Austin, Texas and Abbot's Butcher is a woman-owned company from California.

There are over a dozen Freebirds World Burrito locations in the Greater Houston area, if you count Conroe. 
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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.