Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Orleans Seafood Fulshear, Killen's Barbecue Cypress

If this isn't heaven, it sure is close.
If this isn't heaven, it sure is close. Photo by Becca Wright

Orleans Seafood Kitchen
, 6230 FM 1463, opened in Fulshear August 25. It's the second location for the Cajun restaurant from Houstonians Chance Comstock and Marcus Payavla. The duo opened the first Orleans in Katy in 2008.

The business partners met in 1993 while working in a local restaurant, all the while planning and dreaming of a restaurant of their own. Now, to their surprise, they are opening number two. Comstock said in a press release, " When we opened in Katy over 13 years ago, we never thought about a second location-to be here now makes us incredibly thankful."
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Chance Comstock and Marcus Payavla feast in their own restaurant.
Photo by Becca Wright
Customers will find the same favorites from the first location at the new Fulshear spot, many of the family recipes from both Payavla and Comstock. The authentic Cajun-style dishes include seafood gumbo, etoufee, po' boys, jambalaya,char-grilled oysters and seasonal boiled crawfish. For a seafood feast, the Big Easy Platter offers the shrimp, stuffed shrimp, catfish and crawfish from its Seafood Platter plus alligator, three extra shrimp and an extra catfish.

There are fish dishes such as Salmon Orleans and Pecan Crusted Trout but also Chicken Fried Chicken, Pork Chops, Blackened Chicken Royale and the Old fashioned Cheeseburger. There's a kids menu as well.
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Can you swim in a bowl of gumbo? We'd like to.
Photo by Becca Wright
Frozen cocktails are a perfect accompaniment for some New Orleans-style fun and there's a colorful selection from which to choose. Most run $10 or less and during happy hour, they are $1.50 off. There are also beer specials and $3 wells Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Fulshear location has expanded its spirits and wine selections as well.

The restaurant was designed by Houston-based Batsche Fesign and designer Dawn Arcieri. It has seating for 120 persons in the dining room, 56 in the full service bar and an extra 48 on its outdoor patio.

As with the Katy location, the new Fulshear restaurant has counter ordering with a full service bar and patio.
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How many meats can you eat?
Photo by Kimberly Park
Killen's Barbecue, 25618 Northwest Freeway, is shooting to open in early October, according to CultureMap Houston. The newest location of Ronnie Killen's acclaimed barbecue restaurant will take over the space that currently houses Burro & Bull, the barbecue restaurant opened by John and Veronica Avila in partnership with Squealing Pigs, LLC in November 2021. Squealing Pigs was the group that brought Corky's Memphis BBQ to Houston. Burro & Bull took over the Corky's space in Cypress after a six month renovation. This past spring, Squealing Pigs took over control as the Avilas were getting more involved with the second location of their barbecue restaurant and market, Henderson & Kane, at Houston Farmers Market.

The new Killen's Barbecue in Cypress will be the third location of the concept, following the opening of its second in The Woodlands in January 2021. Killen, a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef first opened the acclaimed barbecue restaurant in Pearland in 2013. The restaurateur also owns and operates Killen's steakhouse, Killen's STQ, Killen's TMX and Killen's Burgers along with his outposts at Minute Maid Park and NRG Stadium.

Burro & Bull closed earlier this week to make way for the Killen's takeover.
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A second location of the Avilas' Henderson & Kane will open next spring at Houston Farmers Market.
Photo by Carlos Brandon
Henderson & Kane, 600 Airline, is projected to open at Houston Farmers Market in March 2023. Veronica Avila told the Houston Press that she could not be more excited and that it is their biggest endeavor yet. She also said that the concept will be very much the same at the second location including barbecue, smoked meats and an expanded offering of local goods. There will also be beer, wine and a coffee/dessert counter.

Meanwhile, husband John Avila is working with Houston chef/restaurateur Monica Pope to open a new concept, Telegram Tea Room, later this year at 2601 Baylor.
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The Tunes are bring Craft Burger back to downtown.
Photo by Julie Soefer Photography
Finn Hall, 712 Main, announced that three new food and drink establishments will join its line up of culinary vendors. It also said in a press release that Craft Burger, Shannen Tune's burger stand, will reopen after having closed temporarily due to the COVID pandemic. 

Located on the ground floor of the Jones on Main, the food hall first opened in December 2018. In March 2020, indoor dining was restricted due to the shutdown and many restaurants had to resort to take-out and delivery service. The restrictions hit the burgeoning food hall scene in Houston particularly hard. Finn Hall saw a loss of some of its tenants, though a few made it through the difficult time with take away options. In March 2022, Finn Hall fully reopened with a massive outdoor patio to accommodate diners who were still preferring to eat and drink outside. It also hosts a number of weekly events from art exhibitions to comedy shows to live music to draw visitors back in.
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Pecking Order will open at Finn Hall in October.
Photo by Julie Soefer Photography
When Finn Hall closed temporarily, Shannen Tune operated a ghost kitchen out of Blodgett Food Hall with a couple of chicken concepts, Thick Chick and Pecking Order. In late December 2020, the burger king opened his first brick and mortar for Craft Burger in Katy. Now the chef and his Jamaican-born wife and chef Stacey Tune, are bringing the burger concept back to Finn Hall this August. The couple will also open their chicken concepts, Pecking Order, at Finn Hall in October. At Pecking Order, Stacey's influence shows up in the grilled jerk chicken on the menu, along with other chicken preparations including buttermilk fried, rotisserie and Nashville hot.
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Loco Moco comes in a bento.
Photo by Julie Soefer Photography
There are a couple of new businesses making their debuts at Finn Hall as well including Maui Bento Box, a new concept from Henry Hamor and Sanae Belallam. The balanced all-in-one lunch boxes offer Hawaiian-inspired dishes such as Ahi Poke with namaso (often called namasu), Maui pickled vegetables and white jasmine rice. Of course, there's a Loco Moco box with ground beef Loco Moco sauce, macaroni salad, fried egg and stir-fried vegetables. Its operating hours at Finn Hall will be Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to feed the returning lunch crowds.

Also new to Finn Hall will be Cranky Carrot Juice Co. which offers cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices, shots, nut mylks and cold brew lattes. It originally operated out of a shared commercial kitchen space, so this is its first store front. With the new space, Cranky Carrot plans to expand its menu to include smoothies, toasts and bowls. It will debut at Finn Hall in September.
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This fried chicken sandwich is hot and tangy.
Photo by Dylan McEwan

Gristworkz, 1504 Chapman, is now the rebrand of Local Group Brewing. The new concept is led by Distincture Hospitality and will launch this fall. Co-owners and operators Dave Sorrell, Jorge Benitez and Morgan Green bought Local Group Brewing from original owners Todd Donewar, Michael Steeves and James Wolfe this past May, as we reported here in the Press. We were told then that there were plans to rebrand and the group has kept the taproom and brewery open while the 7,500 square-foot space underwent modifications. It takes its name from the 1948 building that originally was a foundry for the nearby Union Pacific Railroad railyard.

The trio are all hospitality professionals and they have brought in Chef Daniel Leal to create the new food menu which Leal says is a modern take on quintessential bar food. In the meantime, the rotating weekly offerings guests have enjoyed at Local Group Brewing will remain, including Korean BBQ Steak Night and the pizza and burger specials. Guests can also expect weekly pop-ups from Blue Tile Coffee, Wednesday through Sunday at 9 a.m.

As for cocktails and brews, Gristworkz will have something for everyone be they lovers of beer, booze or wine. The group will also use the canning capability at the brewery to create signature canned cocktails to-go.

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Healthy eating is easy and tasty at Salata.
Photo by Salata
Salata Salad Kitchen, 1014 Wirt, had its grand opening August 25. A portion of the day's proceeds went to Houston Children's Charity, a non-profit that offers assistance to abused, underprivileged and disabled children in the Greater Houston area.

The new location occupies 3,351 square feet of space and offers the customizable built to order salads and wraps that it is known for plus soups, organic teas and lemonade. The fresh fruits and vegetables are chopped in-house daily and there is a selection of lean proteins. There are five salad bases, over 50 toppings and 11 homemade gluten-free dressings.
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The Spring Branch location makes number 87 for Salata.
Photo by Salata
The restaurant offers pickup, delivery, dine-in and catering. It's the 44th location for Salata in the Greater Houston area and the fifth for Ashley and John Barneby of Barneby Andrews Enterprises.  The franchise group also owns and operates locations in Greenway Plaza, River Oaks, The Heights and West University.
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The Arabi Family Platter offers a tasty spread.
Photo by Christian Pena
Abu Omar Halal,16350 Stuebner Airline, is celebrating its grand opening with a two-day event September 2 and September 3 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. both days. For the opening, customers can take advantage of its entire menu of shawarma, kabobs and more for 50 percent off September 2 and 25 percent off September 3.

The menu offers sandwiches and shawarmas, rice or salad bowls, kabobs, falafel and a selection of Mediterranean sides like hummus, spicy hummus, fried cauliflower, fried eggplant and kibbe. Like any good halal food truck, it has killer French fries.
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The chicken kabobs are discounted for the grand opening weekend.
Photo by Christian Pena
Based in Houston, the Mediterranean food truck began its journey in 2011, founded by Chef Mohammad Al' Tawaha. It has earned fans for its Arabi Shawarma and it uses tortillas instead of the traditional Saj or pita bread commonly used for Jordanian street food. The brand now has trucks throughout Texas with other locations in Florida and Oklahoma.
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Chicken tenders, coleslaw, crinkle-cut fries and Texas toast: what more do you need?
Photo by Raising Cane's
Raising Cane's, 2473 Bay Area Boulevard, will open September 20. It will be followed by two more Greater Houston area locations in December at 8055 Spencer Highway in Pasadena and at 140 Airtex in North Houston. The three new fast food restaurants will put the chain's footprint in Houston at 49 locations. It will also create jobs for 375 crew members.

For those who don't know by now, Raising Cane's sells white meat chicken tenderloins that are marinated, hand-battered, then cooked to order, earning chicken tender fans known as "Caniacs", who are also addicted to its signature Cane sauce. The menu is basic with crinkle-cut fries, coleslaw and Texas Toast being the only sides on offer. The restaurant offers freshly-brewed sweet tea and fresh-squeezed lemonade for beverages along with sodas.

Brash Brewing, 508 Crosstimbers, has delayed its reopening due to permitting issues, according to the Houston Chronicle. The Chronicle had previously reported that the brewery and taproom had been saved from closing when Equal Parts Brewing bought the Independence Heights brewery in June.

Now, there seems to be some permitting issues as a routine inspection for the brewery, which originally opened in 2014, revealed that the taproom was without a permit, meaning it had been operating illegally. This has left the team at Equal parts with the unexpected job of working with engineers and architects to rectify any issues including bringing the building up to code so that the taproom and on-site consumption for the popular brewery can commence.

Luckily, the Health Department granted them a partial approval for the brewery itself meaning that Equal Parts owners Matt Peterson and Nick Sorenson can once again begin brewing with Brash's founding head brewer and now director of brewing operations and partner, Vince Mandeville.

The opening of the taproom itself however does not have a timeline as of yet.
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Beat the heat with a fruity beer treat.
Photo by Urban South Brewery
Urban South Brewery has launched an appropriately named brew befitting its Louisiana roots and its location in Houston. The "Oh! The Humidity" is a cantaloupe-mango fruited sour made with hundreds of pounds of fresh fruit to balance the sour base. The seasonal release was previously available only through the taprooms in New Orleans and Houston. However, Oh! The Humidity will also be available is distribution throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee throughout the fall season.

However, for Houstonians who want to give it a refreshing try, it will only be available at Urban South Brewery's taproom at 1201 Oliver.
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Lulu's rustic Italian fare can now be enjoyed with Sasha's Focaccia at both locations.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
Lulu's, 2518 Kirby, introduced a bread service this month from chef Sasha Grumman, owner of Sasha's Focaccia. The collaboration between Grumman and Lulu's executive chef Jose Monterossa is the first wholesale foray for the focaccia company. Lulu's original location in Round Top, Texas will also carry the $5 bread service which will be a basket of fresh-baked focaccia slices and mini loaves with whipped honey and olive oil. 
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Chef Joseph Geiskopf will lead the culinary team at CIEL.
Photo by Charlie Horse Productions

CIEL Restaurant & Lounge, 4411 San Felipe, an upcoming French Riviera-inspired restaurant, has announced its executive chef. Joseph Geiskopf will helm the kitchen when the modern, high-energy dining destination opens this fall. Raised in Napa Valley, the young chef has done stints with Michelin-starred restaurants such as French Laundry and Vespertine. The menu will be a blend of Japanese and French cuisines with a focus on sustainable ingredients.

Geiskopf will have Frank Hernandez alongside as chef de cuisine. Hernandez brings experience from his career in Miami hotspots such as Baoli and Marion, both swanky Asian fusion restaurants with lots of champagne-fueled glamour.

Tune in next week for more news:
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Gatsby's seafood tower defies inflation.
Photo by Raydon Creative
Gatsby's Prime Seafood will take over the former Tony Mandola's on Waugh.

Sugar Factory Express will open a second location in the Galleria.

Daddy's Chicken Shack, a Southern California-based chicken chain will open its first Houston location in September.

Ojo de Agua will bring its Mexico-based healthy fast casual brand to River Oaks.

Second Draught is coming to the Ion.

Cafe Express will reopen its West Gray location.

B.B. Italia Bistro & Bar plans to open in Sugar Land this September.

Williams Smokehouse BBQ & Blues
is headed to Sugar Land in November.

Kirby Ice House will open its third location in The Woodlands next month.

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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.