Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Rakkan Ramen Rocks Tomball, PrimoHoagies Debuts in Houston

Vegan broth is full of umami at RAKKAN Ramen.
Vegan broth is full of umami at RAKKAN Ramen. Photo by RAKKAN Ramen US Franchise LLC

RAKKAN Ramen, 12645 Tomball Parkway, opens February 24. This is the second Greater Houston area location for the ramen brand which opened its first Houston restaurant at M-K-T Heights in May 2021.

Though the restaurant offers both vegan and meat options, its broth is 100 percent plant-based, giving it a lighter and healthier profile. Vegan guests can opt for its Umami shiitake mushrooms as a substitute for the pork and tofu instead of egg. The vegan ramen also uses corn in place of bamboo shoots. The pork in the ramen dishes can also be exchanged for crispy chicken.

Each ramen on its menu is given an earthy, mineral name like Amber, Quartz, Pearl or Garnet. The Quartz is creamy while the Garnet miso sauce can be ordered regular or spicy.  As for noodles, its signature RAKKAN version are made with high-quality wheat and whole grain while the gluten-free noodles are made from rice and potatoes. The vegetable noodles are made from kale.

It was first founded in Nishiazabu, Tokyo in 2011 as a four-seat ramen joint and has since expanded across the United States and Japan. Three more Houston area locations are planned for the future in Westchase, Katy and The Galleria, according to its website.
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PrimoHoagies has a number of Italian-style sandwiches.
Photo by PrimoHoagies
PrimoHoagies, 4015 Washington, will celebrate its grand opening February 23. The ribbon cutting will start promptly at 9:45 a.m. followed by an opportunity for the first 100 customers in line to win a free Primo Size Hoagie. The caveat is that giveaways are only available to those who sign up, or are currently enrolled, in its free Rewards Program. Interested folks can text "Primo" to 484-270-4000 to join.

PrimoHoagies has been serving customers since it first opened in South Philadelphia in 1992. Currently, it is headquartered in Westville, New jersey.  After three decades, it has finally landed in Houston. The Washington location is the first for our city and the second for Texas.
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The Bada Boom is filled with juicy chicken cutlets.
Photo by PrimoHoagies
The loaded-high hoagies are made with Thumann's gourmet meats and cheeses. Thumann's is a family-owned deli business out of New Jersey that has been around since 1949. The Philly-style hoagies have a unique blend of spices and the seeded bread for the multitude of sandwiches is baked fresh throughout the day. Hoagies are available hot or cold and there are other menu items such as wraps and antipasti salads plus vegetarian options like the Nonna's Veggies and Veggie Diablo. And, of course, there are cheesesteaks.
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Rice Village welcomes a new cafe and coffee shop.
Photo by Bluestone Lane
Bluestone Lane, 2412 Rice Village, opens this weekend in Rice Village. It's the third Houston area location for the New York-based concept coffee and cafe concept influenced by the Australian lifestyle, much of that inspiration coming from its founder Nick Stone, a native of Melbourne, Australia. Since 2013, the brand has made the modernization of U.S. coffee culture its mission with an expansion nationwide of nearly 60 locations. The Aussie-chic cafe combines its dedication to superior coffee with a food menu that focuses on healthy ingredients.
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Founder Nick Stone is expanding the Aussie-inspired brand.
Photo by Bluestone Lane
The Rice Village store will be one of its largest with both indoor and outdoor dining areas, inviting guests to relax. The beachy, blue and white decor blends the laid-back culture of the Land Down Under with Houston touches such as the custom-made mural from local artist Shelbi Nicole. Coffee drinks run from espresso, macchiato and latte to the Australian-born flat white. We won't go into the ongoing dispute between Australia and its neighbor New Zealand about the origin of the microfoam brew. For non-milk drinkers, there's also a long black. Organic teas, smoothies and several wellness drinks are also available.
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The Avocado Smash is loaded onto multigrain bread.
Photo by Bluestone Lane
The food menu offers All Day Brekkie, which we hope is self-explanatory. The Avocado Smash is a popular item and heartier appetites will be sated by dishes such as the BL Burrito filled with scrambled egg, bacon potato, avocado, guajillo sauce and feta. It's served with potato wedges for some added heft. Gluten-free diners can breakfast on its Collective Granola or GF Banana Bread served with ricotta, fresh berries, pecans, honey and edible flowers.

The lunch menu offers several bowls heavy on the ancient grains or fresh veggies. There's also the Bayside Beef Burger or the 'Impossible' Bayside Burger so veg-heads and carnivores can dine side by side in relative harmony. Both are served with caramelized onions and fig jam on brioche but vegans might want to opt out of the cheddar cheese.

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Kolache Shoppe satisfies both sweet and savory cravings.
Photo by Becca Wright

Kolache Shoppe, 11940 Broadway, opens this summer in Pearland. It will be the fourth location for the longtime Houston kolache bakery and coffee shop. First opened in 1970, this new store is a franchise partnership from Cecilia and Luis Rey along with Kolache Shoppe owners Lucy and Randy Hines.

Cecilia is a native Houstonian while Luis immigrated from Mexico over ten years ago. The couple have made their home in Pearland and are raising their two children in the community in which they will open their first franchised business.
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Owners Randy and Lucy Hines (left) pose with Pearland franchisees Cecilia and Luis Rey.
Photo by Dragana Harris
The new location will be similar to the design of the Heights and Kingwood shops with warm wood accents, white subway tile, given a pop of color from blue and white patterns. The 1,200 square-foot buildout will feature a drive-thru window, convenient to students and staff at the nearby Shadow Creek High School. It's also an easy stop for commuters along Highway 288.
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Mardi Gras is almost over and these King Cake kolaches will soon be gone.
Photo by Sabrina Miskelly
Kolache shop serves both sweet and savory versions of the Texas-Czech favorite with its longstanding popularity due to its pillow-soft yeast dough. Signature flavors like apricot, apple and poppy seed are offered alongside more unique kolaches such as smoked brisket and venison. Kolache Shoppe often works with local chefs on collaborative creations, with weekend specials monthly. The company utilizes a number of local vendors for its ingredients and the coffee for its different drinks is locally roasted.

Currently, the other three Kolache Shoppe locations are serving King Cake Kolaches filled with cinnamon cream cheese and pecans. They will be available through the month of February for $2.75 each; Thursday through Saturday at Greenway Plaza and Friday through Sunday at the Kingwood and Heights locations.

Kolache Shoppe has also extended its Boudin Kolache special through Mardi Gras season as well.
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La Diabla made me do it.
Photo by Sergio Trevino
La Diabla Retro Bar, 300 Main, will celebrate its grand opening February 16, 2023. It originally opened January 4. Located in Houston's Market Square, the new hotspot's grand opening party will run 8 p.m. through  2 a.m. with music provided by  local artists Jaky Alarcon, Stereo Cover  and DJ Cris. Guests can sip frozen margaritas, mojitos and pina coladas and nosh on its signature flautas.
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The Strawberry Margarita gets a garnish of Mexican candy.
Photo by Sergio Trevino
From the owners of local street taco concept, La Calle, the new nightlife venue is an ode to 80s and 90s Mexico City pop culture, owing its vibe to crafted cocktails, chelas (beers), music and art. La Diabla offers modern interpretations of classic drinks like margaritas, Micheladas, pina coladas and mojitos plus cocktails featuring fresh fruits. There's an extensive selection of mezcals and tequilas plus Mexican staples such as caguamas, 32-ounce beers.

La Diabla's space of 4,000 square feet can accommodate 200 party people. There's also an outdoor patio with room for 50 guests. The colorfully-lit bar is almost 30 feet long and showcases an exclusive selestion of tequilas one can expect to find in Mexico City cantinas. Live music will be featured every evening with Thursday nights dedicated to live balada; soft, romantic Latin pop. Friday will have more upbeat Latin pop, while Saturday will have Latin Rock favorites. Each evening that the club is open will have a DJ spinning classics while the televisions will display original music videos, encouraging nostalgic singalongs.
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Music and nostalgia are part of the appeal at La Diabla.
Photo by Sergio Trevino
Co-owner Ramon Soriano says of the new nightclub, "It is amazing to see how excited people are to finally have a place catered specifically to them. From the music to the decorations, it is like they are being transported to their teenage years! We are bringing an experience that Houston has not seen before and it makes me so happy to be able to share it with everyone!"

Chicky Boy popped up February 11 at the critically-acclaimed fine dining hotspot Bludorn, 807 Taft. First announced on Instagram, the fried chicken concept comes from Bludorn's chef de cuisine, Chase Voelz, and general manager Cole Perry. The chicken sandwich concept began as a staff meal at Bludorn, according to the Houston Chronicle, and now the duo are utilizing the restaurant's kitchen on occasion to offer the sandwiches to the public.

To find out when the next pop-up will occur, check out their Instagram account or Bludorn's Facebook page.
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The Power Bowl offers a number of healthy choices.
Photo by Liz Dickey/Piada Marketing Team
Piada, 119320 West Bellfort Boulevard, will open on Tuesday, February 28. Inspired by the family-owned street food carts of Rimini, Italy, Piada is known for its fresh ingredients served in a fast casual environment. The new Richmond location is number 50 for the brand nationwide and 10th for Texas. Its Houston area locations include Sugar Land, Memorial Park and the Med Center.

Located in Aliana, a planned residential community in Richmond, the Piada grand opening starts at 10:45 a.m. The first five guests in line who order in-store will win free Piada for a year. The next 20 orders will be entered into a drawing for prizes including gift cards and coupons. Students and teachers can take advantage of the $8 Student Special all day with their student or staff ID. The deal is extended to first responders and veterans with valid identification as well.

For the grand opening day, 50 percent of sales will go to William B. Travis High School and its Travis High School’s Tiger Pride Points program.
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Carbs can be healthy with the right ingredients.
Photo by Liz Dickey/Piada Marketing Team
Piada's menu has an array of customizable options with guests able to create more than 30 different dishes with the three available entrees: the Piada, Pasta Bowl or Chopped Salad. The Piada is a wrap made with thin-crust Italian dough baked on a stone-grill. Customers can choose from a variety of proteins like spicy Italian sausage, grilled or crispy chicken, calamari and hot peppers, grilled steak, grass-fed meatballs or grilled salmon. There are are four different sauces such as Marinara, Pesto, Alfredo and Diavolo. There is a multitude of fresh salad toppings along with a selection of cheeses.
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Allen Center has plenty of green space for a farmers market.
Photo by Peter Molick
Brookfield Properties will launch two monthly Farmers Markets March 1. The first, Smith Street Farmers Market, will be located at The ACRE at Allen Center, 1200 Smith. It will debut March 1 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. It will then be held on the first and third Wednesdays of each month.
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The glamorous Houston Center will get a rustic touch with a twice-monthly farmers market.
Photo by Shannon O'Hara
The second, McKinney Street Farmers Market, will open March 8 on the Central Plaza at Houston Center, 1221 McKinney. It will operate every second and fourth Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. through 1:30 p.m. On months with five Wednesdays, there will be no market on the fifth Wednesday.
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Valentine's Day may be over but bubbles are nice all year long.
Photo by Julia Keim
Twin Liquors, 13740 Jordan Lewis Way, opened February 16 in Magnolia. While that may seem a bit out of the Houston area, there are some dates that readers may want to put on their calendars. The new store will celebrate its grand opening beginning February 23 with a kick-off to Twin Liquors' annual three-day Dollar Sale. The Magnolia location will begin its festivities at 10 a.m., featuring Deep Eddy vodka and offering customers free breakfast tacos.

The Dollar Sale itself is available at all Twin Liquors locations and will run from February 23 through February 25. The sale offers customers the chance to buy all wines and spirits at the lowest possible cost plus one dollar.

Twin Liquors was founded in 1937 in Austin, Texas and the family-owned company now has more than 100 stores across the Lone Star State. 
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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.