Pot Luck

Killen's Steakhouse in the Heights Begins Build-Out

Ronnie Killen has already started making his mark in The Heights. Killen's Steakhouse has taken over the Stella Sola space on Studewood and is making it their own.

Still deciding between "Killen's Steakhouse in The Heights" and "KS2," Chef Killen has the interior envisioned and in final blueprints. For now, Killen and his team refer to it as KS2 because it's easier. Construction, or should I say demolition, starts immediately. Killen wants to open by mid-July.

We walked around the restaurant, and Killen talked about his vision. There'll be lots more tables -- he's in fact going from 133 to 200 seats. That's double the size of the Pearland restaurant, but Killen is ready for the challenge. He's moving the front door, changing the lighting, moving the charcuterie locker and making it bigger, adding chefs' tables, and more.

Killen will be getting new serving-ware and flatware for his new space. He's modeling it after the Pearland restaurant but adding a few touches. His new color palette is a rich taupe, black and sparkling copper. The space is built to have a rooftop garden, and Killen plans on making full use of that feature. An elevator will take patrons up there, and there will be plenty of room for tables, so garden dining will be an option. Of course, there'll be a big, beautiful patio out front. Outdoor dining is not an option in Pearland, so that will be unique to KS2.

Chef Killen's original restaurant didn't have the space or equipment for making bread. Now he'll have both. Now he will bake his own bread in-house and supply both restaurants. As for the rest of the menu, Killen says that it will be 80 precent the same as Pearland's, but 20 percent will be more creative and allow him to play a bit with new ideas and flavors.

As for staffing, Johnny "Sweetcakes" Wesley will be at KS2, some other staff will do double duty at both restaurants and others will stay in Pearland or move to KS2 exclusively. Killen will start hiring in two weeks and says new people will train for two weeks in Pearland. After that, he will decide where he wants each person.

When asked why he decided to expand now, Chef Killen said, "People always think it's about timing, but it's not. It's about competition. There is no other steakhouse in The Heights so this was the time to expand." Killen is excited about being in The Heights, and by all indications, the neighborhood is welcoming the new restaurant with gusto.

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Patrise Shuttlesworth