Openings & Closings: Say Howdy to Pinkerton’s Barbecue [UPDATED]

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On December 3, Pinkerton’s Barbecue soft-opened for a 12-hour preview event at 1504 Airline in North Houston. Pinkerton’s has been popular with barbecue fans for years and is known for delicious sides like jalapeno cheese rice and duck jambalaya. Owner Grant Pinkerton told the Houston Chronicle that, "everything starts in the kitchen. It's just like what your grandmother would make on Labor Day weekend. Everything starts fresh." Pinkerton will gather the feedback from the preview tasting and “work out the kinks” before opening to the public on December 10.

Michelin-starred Yauatcha is heading to Houston this coming spring. The Las Vegas-based Hakkasan Group announced plans to open the Chinese Dim Sum and European Patisserie restaurant at 5045 Westheimer, inside the Galleria. The Houston Business Journal reported that Las Vegas-based YWS Design & Architecture is designing the restaurant, and Paris-based GBRH is the interior designer. There are several locations around the world, including London, India and soon to follow Houston’s opening is Saudi Arabia.

A press release announced that Shake Shack and Torchy’s Tacos will set up shop in the space where Tal’s Hill sat inside Minute Maid Park. The two concession stands will be open for business by the next MLB season. Torchy’s will be located on the mezzanine level in the new center field area and Shake Shack will be located on the main concourse.

Abuelo’s is opening at the Shoppes at ParkWest at 24600 Katy Freeway, Suite 1020. The Mexican restaurant announced plans to open in February 2017 via press release. Lubbock-based Food Concepts International has 38 other locations nationwide; this is the first store to open in the Houston area. FCI President Robert Lin said the Katy location is an “excellent fit for us and we’re looking forward to being an active member of the community.” A representative told the Houston Press to look forward to a League City opening soon thereafter.

A Facebook post announced that Zaxby’s opened at 10:30 a.m. on December 5 at 8722 Barker Cypress in Cypress. The Georgia-based chicken joint has three other stores in the Houston area. Zaxby’s menu features made-to-order chicken fingers, bone-in and boneless wings, salads, sandwiches, appetizers, milkshakes and a variety of dipping sauces.

*Correction in following paragraph, 1:14 p.m. December 16, 2016:

A Chick-fil-A food truck is coming to Houston on December 15. The truck will serve a limited menu to include the Original Chicken Sandwich, the Spicy Chicken Sandwich, one or two cold entrée products and waffle fries. Beverages offered are sweet tea, unsweetened tea and lemonade. Franchisee Jesse Chaluh told the Chronicle that, "we worked with a food-truck manufacturer who understands our rigorous food safety and quality standards. In fact, we're in the process of going through safety and health inspections now." Chaluh owns and operates the two busiest locations second busiest location in the country, the first at Wallisville and Beltway 8 and the second at Southwest Freeway and Buffalo Speedway as well as the store at Beechnut near Meyerland Plaza.

Ono Poké has found a home in Montrose at 607 Richmond. The fresh fish concept has been teasing followers on social media about an opening date for weeks. Ono Poke has been sharing customizable bowls of marinated spicy ahi tuna, salmon and rice (among other goodies) with fans in a variety of pop-up events all over town since the spring of this year. A representative of Ono Poké told the Press that they plan on “opening in the upcoming weeks, before the new year for sure. We just want to make sure everything is 100 percent for a greater poke experience for Houston.”

A Florida-based breakfast, brunch and lunch chain is entering the Houston market. The Houston Business Journal reported that First Watch has signed a second lease in the area and plans to open in Katy on December 12 with a second location near Willowbrook Mall. The restaurant chain has operated for more than 30 years serving health-minded breakfast, brunch and lunch options such as omelets, salads and soups. Sounds like Snooze may have some competition.

CultureMap Houston reported that BB’s Café moved into the space that was formerly occupied by Verde Cali-Mex, which closed at 1275 Eldridge Parkway in early January this year. The Energy Corridor location, expected to open in winter 2017, will be the seventh store to open in Houston.

Gourmet mini burgers from Burgerim are coming to The Boardwalk at Towne Lake in Cypress. A November 28 message on its Facebook page said “opening doors in two weeks,” but a representative at the restaurant confirmed with the Press (on December 5) that it may take a bit longer due to permitting challenges. He added, “it looks like it will be a couple more weeks before we can announce our opening.” The fast-food chain is based in Israel and has seen huge franchising successes all over the world, including Spain, Russia, Asia, Romania and the United Kingdom. At Burgerim, 2.8 ounce burgers are served in party packs of two, three or 16, dressed and customized any way the diner orders them.

Sugar Land fans of spicy Chinese food won’t have to trek into town soon. A Facebook tip from local foodie Terry Wang mentioned a new Cooking Girl coming to Sugar Land sometime in December. The popular Szechuan eatery is moving into the space at 636 Highway 6, suite 100 which used to be Bombay Pizza Company (the pizza place moved into the Bonaventure Plaza in Telfair). The original Cooking Girl is located at 315 Fairview in Montrose.

Swamplot Houston reported new signage for Merchant at 1707 Post Oak in the Galleria/Uptown area. The space was formerly home to dessert shop, Tasti D-Lite. The New Orleans-based cafe serves coffee, crepes and wine. Judging from pictures on its Facebook page, the crepes and sandwiches look scrumptious.

A press release announced the ground-breaking of another Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers in Houston. The Louisiana-based restaurant chain expects to open the store at 9530 Main, near Buffalo Speedway by late February 2017. There are more than 100 locations in Texas and this store will mark the 24th in the Houston area.

That's it for this week's restaurant openings and closings! Leave us a comment or send us an email to let us know if we missed something.

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