King's Biergarten, 1329 E. Broadway, reopened July 14. The Bavarian restaurant and beer garden has been undergoing remodeling since closing this past March, just before its ninth anniversary. It first opened in April 2011 after owner and founder Hans Sitter renovated an old computer shop and turned it into a 45 seat restaurant next to a car wash. It early days were as a "beer and brats" spot for those waiting for car washes but it expanded a half dozen times to meet the demand of its growing fan base.
This latest refresh offers a revamped menu and a modernized interior with industrial light fixtures and a beer garden with natural lighting. Reclaimed wood, leather seating and limestone walls retain the coziness. There's a brand new bar with 36 biers on tap and murals adorning the walls that reflect Sitter's homeland in the Austrian Alps including the restaurant he grew up in as a young boy.
Weiner Schnitzel is, of course, on the menu, but the new offerings jazz it up a bit with options such as the Tex-Mex, Cajun, BBQ and Pizza. There's a bit of Southern fare meets Austrian cuisine with dishes like Crawfish Etoufee Balls, Pulled Pork Stuffed Jalapenos and King's Famous Mesquite Smoked Wings. Gourmet hot dogs and Oktoberfest Fries add to the bier-friendly das Fressen. The Taste of Germany ($49) features a number of biergarten favorites to share with a close friend or two and there are specialty dishes served weekly like the $15 Pork Shank on Monday.
There will be live music every Saturday outside on the newly turfed biergarten plus plenty of German and Texas beers or signature house cocktails.
Goode Bird, 5015 Kirby, debuted July 12 as a to-go only concept from the Goode Company family of restaurants. Operating out of the Goode Co. Armadillo Palace, it offers Southern fried chicken, fresh buttered biscuits, fried okra, deviled eggs and slow-cooked greens that'll make you kiss, not slap, your mama.
The fried chicken starts with all natural chicken from the Texas Hill Country which is then bathed in a seasoned buttermilk, thyme brine and Texas honey mixture before being dusted with flour and deep-fried. Diners can order a whole or half bird. There are hand-breaded chicken tenders, too.
The chicken is also available spit-roasted over mesquite with fresh rosemary, lemon and garlic. Sides include Cajun Dirty Rice, Jalapeno Creamed Corn, Pimento Mac and Cheese and Hand-Cut Fries among the offerings. For starters, there's Skillet Cornbread, Butter Biscuits and Blue Ribbon Deviled Eggs. There are salads, sandwiches and desserts such as the Goode Company's Brazos Bottom Pecan Pie. There are also Family Packs for Four and food can be ordered in bulk.
Customers can also order, beer, wine, champagne and cocktails to go. Try one of its Damn Goode Margaritas or a Double Birdie made with bourbon, lemonade and sweet tea. Orders can be made by phone at 713-999-4180 for pick up at the Armadillo Palace or through delivery services GrubHub and Doordash.
The new concept will donate 1 percent of every Goode Bird purchase to local charities.
Saint Arnold Beer Garden and Restaurant, 2000 Lyons, is reverting to curbside and drive-thru take-out due to a confusing mandate from the Texas State Governor's Office with regards to how certain establishments which serve alcohol can open their dining rooms, as we reported here in the Houston Press this week. Many businesses were already feeling the pinch when the resurgence in COVID-19 cases caused the state to go back to 50 percent capacity for restaurants and to close bars entirely.
However, breweries with restaurants are being unfairly affected in a strange interpretation of the order. A press release from Saint Arnold this past week stated that the new order is including the brewery's beer and cider sales to distributors as part of the 51 percent cap on alcoholic sales which was originally targeting bars and nightclubs that get most of their income from selling booze on site to customers. Saint Arnold Brewing Company first opened its Saint Arnold Beer Garden and Restaurant in July 2018 next to its brewery, the oldest craft brewery in Houston. It reopened its outdoor beer garden for dine-in service weeks after the original restrictions had been lifted May 1, taking numerous safety precautions beforehand.
Saint Arnold is not the only craft brewery that has been affected by TABC's interpretation of the order. Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company is also facing the same issue with its restaurant. Founder and CEO Rassul Zarinfar told CultureMap Houston that he is meeting with the company's attorneys to determine how best to respond to TABC's orders.
Saint Arnold founder and owner Brock Wagner said in an email to the Houston Press that he is also considering pursuing relief through the courts. Wagner said, "It's also important for people to know that we are perfectly fine with closing if it is determined that restaurants should close again for a period. There is certainly cause for that. It is being defined incorrectly through an absurd interpretation of the rule that we object to." Wagner went on to say that its isn't about making money since the restaurant is not currently profitable with all of the safety precautions being taken. For Wagner, it's about keeping people employed and his team together.
Houston Restaurant Weeks will go live with its list of participating restaurants and their prix-fixe menus July 17. The month-long fundraiser runs from August 1 through September 7, Labor Day. It is the largest yearly fundraiser for Houston Food Bank, bringing in 16.6 millions dollars to date for Houston Food Bank and its partners, the Montgomery County and Galveston County food banks. The culinary fund raiser was founded by well-known local journalist and media personality, Cleverley Stone, in 2003. Stone sadly passed away this past May. Her daughter Katie Stone has taken over the leadership role to carry on her mother's legacy.
Tacos Dona Lena, 8788 Hammerly, opened April 11, less than a month after the pandemic dine-in restrictions were put in place March 17. The family-owned taco shop operated with take-out until May 1 when restrictions were eased and the governor's office allowed for 25 percent capacity. Now, the little restaurant has opened its dining area for 50 percent capacity.
It offers a variety of homemade Mexican fare like gorditas, tacos al pastor, mole and tortas. Its Facebook page lists the daily specials like Torta Thursdays with $5 tortas and Taco Tuesday with five street tacos for the amazing price of $5. Weekends might offer homemade posole and menudo. Owner Angel Cabrera said that there are 15 protein choices to choose from including vegetarian options like the soy al pastor and napolitos. There's also beef fajita, chicken tinga, lengua, tripa, chicharron and more. The sopes are made with homemade masa chalupa, beans, choice of meat, lettuce, tomato, queso fresco and sour cream. The gorditas are handmade also as is the special fideo, a Mexican chicken noodle soup.
All this homemade goodness is inspired by Cabrera's mother, Dona Lena. For 20 years, she sold tacos to provide for her family. Cabrera says that it has always been his mother's dream to own a restaurant and that it has always been a dream of his to give it to her. Now, the mother and son are creating authentic Guanajuato-inspired dishes near her home, where the residents are already familiar with the "Taco Lady of Spring Branch".
Cabrera told the Press, "I can't thank her enough for everything she did and continues to do for my siblings and myself to give us the best possible life. I am who I am today because of that woman...She's more than just my mother, she's my role model."
If you still have your mama, give her a hug.
Roost, 1972 Fairview, reopened its dining room for 50 percent capacity July 10. The restaurant chose to shut down its dining room for two weeks just as a precautionary measure though no employees tested positive for COVID-19. Now that it has reopened, it is currently offering 15 percent off all food and 30 percent off all wine and beer for dine-in and take-out. For those wishing to dine-in, reservations through Open Table are strongly recommended. The restaurant has hand sanitizer on every table and masks are required for entering the restaurant. Several tables have been removed from the interior dining area and placed in the outdoor covered patio for more al fresco seating.
Chef Kevin Naderi will also debut his new menu at Roost, July 23, to coincide with the upcoming Houston Restaurant Weeks. The menu will be available through August. We will give readers a glimpse as soon as we get the information.
The Toasted Yolk, 27008 Highway 290, will celebrate its grand opening July 20 with free churro donuts and $3 mimosas. This will be the thirteenth location for the breakfast, brunch and lunch restaurant in the Greater Houston area. It was originally slated to open June 15, as we reported here in the Press. With the pandemic, many businesses are having to adapt to new schedules.
Bottled Blonde Pizzeria and Beer Garden, 4901 Washington, seems to be on its way to opening soon as it began hiring last month. If its Instagram photos are any indication of its requirements, being blond is not necessarily one of them but other attributes might be beneficial in the hiring process. While its website says it is planning to open in July 2020, the pandemic may delay that for a bit. We have reached out for a projected opening date and have not heard back.
Molina's Cantina, 6300 FM 1463, began hiring for the new Fulshear location the last week of June, according to a Facebook post. We are keeping our eyes open for its debut.
Underbelly Hospitality will be at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market, 2752 Buffalo Speedway, this Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon selling items from One Fifth Mediterranean. Market-goers can try the Halva Custard Bun or Kale Spanikopita for $4 or take home some hummus for $10 a pint. There's also pita ($4 for four pieces) and yogurt marinade, schug (a spicy, herby garlic sauce perfect for dipping pita) and torshi ( pickled vegetables). Fans of Chris Shepherd's Korean Braised Beef and Dumplings can take them home to bake ($12) or grab a signed copy of his award-winning cookbook, Cook Like a Local ($35).
Caracol, 2200 Post Oak, has added a couple of new Botana packs to its to-go menu. Botana means appetizer or snack in Spanish and these packages will sate your need for some fresh Gulf seafood with Chef Hugo Ortega's Mexican touches. The Botana Caracol ($60) offers one dozen camarones a la talla which is wood-grilled, head-on shrimp with a la talla sauce. It also includes ostiones ascados, wood-roasted Gulf oysters with chipotle butter, cheese and toasted breadcrumbs plus pulpo al carbon, grilled octopus, onions and peppers with chipotle tomatillo sauce. It's served with a dozen small blue corn tortillas.
The Botana Costena ($55) has one pint of ceviche tradicional, one pound of camaron botanero and a half dozen raw Gulf oysters with salsa bruja and lime. Be sure to also check out Caracol's very reasonably priced to-go menu of items like enchiladas, taquitos and carnitas. Caracol is offering some of the best deals in town for folks who are dining at home plus they have margaritas, wine and other cocktails to go.
However, for those who want to venture out, Caracol and all of H Town Restaurant Group's concepts are taking strong safety measures to protect guests and employees. Reservations are strongly recommended. Please check its website for its dine-in protocols.
Le Colonial, 4444 Westheimer, is offering cocktails-to-go with food purchase. Customers can choose drinks such as the spicy Thai Chili Margarita with Avion Silver, Torress Magdala, Thai chili and fresh lime or the Lychee Martini with Grey Goose vodka, lychee liqueur, fresh lime and lychee. There's also The Saigon Punch with Santa Theresa rum and tropical fruit juice, topped with dark rum. Each cocktail to-go makes two drinks for $28.
To go along with the refreshing beverages, Le Colonial offers a modern Vietnamese menu with items such as Spicy Coconut Chicken Soup, Hanoi Steamed Rice Crepes, Shaking Beef and Green Shrimp Curry. Le Colonial also has locations in Atlanta and Chicago.
Fuzzy's Taco Shop, with locations in Meyerland, Missouri City, League City and Baytown, is luring guests to its patios for Summer Fridays with a queso flight for $7.29. It features three quesos with choices such as Fuzzy's Famous Queso, the Guac Queso, the Ground Beef Queso and the Pork Green Chili Queso. Quesos may vary by location.
Fuzzy's also offers Family Meals to-go with enchiladas, tacos and fajitas. The family meals come in regular and large.
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Logan's Roadhouse, 12950 Northwest Freeway and 3160 Gulf Freeway, is offering family packs and Ready to Grill Kits. The family packs include the 20-piece Chicken Tenders ($25) with honey mustard or barbecue sauce, and the Grilled Chicken package with four 8-ounce chicken breasts over rice pilaf. customers can choose between Teriyaki and Parmesan Peppercorn. The Steak Dinner ($40) offers four 6-ounce Choice mesquite-grilled sirloins and the Ribs Pack ($40) features two full racks of baby back ribs with barbecue sauce.
The Nashville-based chain is also offering Ready to Grill Kits with steaks and pork chops.
Jonathan's The Rub BYOB, 9061 Gaylord, is now offering its popular lunchtime burgers for dinner as well with an expanded menu of burger choices.