Restaurant News

Ken Bridge Opening New Cantina Concept at White Oak and Studewood

I am convinced that Ken Bridge has figured out a way to subsist on thousands of micro-naps during the day, like Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock. It's the only way I can think of how Bridge must manage the handful of restaurant concepts he's successfully grown throughout Houston. His company, Delicious Concepts, owns all four locations of Pink's Pizza, Shepherd Park Draught House, modern diner Lola and the new Witchcraft Tavern & Provisions, the craft beer-and-burgers spot which replaced his pan-Asian restaurant, Dragon Bowl. He's even responsible for consulting on and creating other menus at restaurant not his own, like the new Outlaw Dave's Worldwide Headquarters at I-10 and Washington, owned by radio personality Outlaw Dave and Duane Bradley.

Almost all of Bridge's restaurants are in the Heights, a neighborhood he's been committed to for years. So it's only fitting that Bridge is taking over a piece of local history: the old blues club once called Redi Room (and more recently, the Heights Sports and Social Lounge) which has been vacant for several years.

It sits next to the Conoco station at 602 Studewood, directly across the street from Fitzgerald's and the Heights' own Little Woodrow's. Catty-corner is the third location of BB's Cajun Cafe. And soon, a cantina from Bridge will open in the spot where the Conoco and the Redi Room currently stand.

When reached for comment on the new restaurant, Bridge simply said: "It's true that I'm in fact hard at work on the next phase of my community service."

While Bridge says that there's no concrete name for the restaurant yet, he's been addressing it as El Camino -- in homage to his own 1965 Chevy El Camino.

And unlike the shotgun-style Shepherd Park Draught House or cozy confines of Witchcraft, expect big things out of "El Camino" once it opens, says Bridge.

"I will actually be adding on to the existing Conoco building and adding about 5,000 more square feet of restaurant and outdoor patio space." He admits to being chagrined about having to demolish the old Redi Room, but when has time not marched on in Houston?

In an August 2012 article in The Leader, Charlotte Aguilar wrote of Bridge: "In just six short years, Bridge's restaurants have become emblematic of the rebirth of the Heights." Bridge demurred, giving credit to restaurateurs such as Gary Mosley, who owns and runs "The Creeks": Onion Creek, Dry Creek and Cedar Creek.

Mosley proved that the Heights "is a place where fast casual restaurant choices can thrive," Bridge told Aguilar. With the intersection of Studewood and White Oak once again invigorated -- increasingly known now as the White Oak corridor, a small but busy concentration of bars, restaurants and an important music venue -- I have no doubt Bridge's latest concept will thrive too.

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Katharine Shilcutt