Ramen Tatsu-Ya, 1722 California, will reopen its dining room March 24 beginning at 5 p.m. It closed for dine-in service March 16, 2020 in compliance with the governor's restaurant shut-down at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. The ramen restaurant has been serving to-go food only for the past year. It will begin its daily lunch and dinner services March 25.
The restaurant has practiced very strict safety protocols since the pandemic began in order to provide a safe space for its team to work and to ensure safe standards for the community it serves. Shion Aikawa, a partner at Ramen Tatsu-Ya, acknowledges that the challenges for restaurants have been immense. In a press release, Aikawa said, " We've studied long and hard to devise a plan for reopening that we feel is positive for everyone involved and we're stoked to get back to seeing people inside the restaurant while upholding some serious safety standards."
With the reopening of the dining room, the restaurant has brought in Todd Patterson as executive sous chef. Patterson has experience from stints at Brenner's on the Bayou, Revival Market and Royal Oaks Country Club. His job will be to oversee culinary operations including the to-go, delivery and dine-in services.
Ramen Tatsu-Ya is one of four concepts in the brand. The other three, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, Domo Alley-Gato Tatsu-Ya and DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya are located in Austin.
Homestead comes from Jeff Svenvold, a native Houstonian, whose roots come from a farming and ranching family who immigrated from Norway in the late 1800s to homestead in eastern Montana. The oil and gas industry brought his parents to Texas but much of his family still farms and ranches in Montana. Svenvold spent youthful summers on the family homestead working with cattle and learning grain production but his desire for a social life outside of hanging with cattle took him in another direction.
His culinary adventures began with subjecting his family to his experiments as a child. Their willingness to give him free rein in the kitchen inspired him to continue his enjoyment of cooking. He worked in restaurants throughout high school and college, ending up at Montana State University studying business management and finance. The restaurant scene in Bozeman was limited so Svenvold had to resort to cooking meals for himself and friends if he wanted the flavors of Texas. He eventually returned to get his degree from the University of Houston. His first job after graduation was working for the Wine Director at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. However, he felt that grad school and a career in energy trading were in his future until his father talked him out of it. Instead, his father reminded him of their dream to open a restaurant together. With his father's support, the vision was put into motion.
At first, they envisioned a restaurant focused on breakfast. More brainstorming led to incorporating three cuisines that Svenvold felt met at a culinary crossroads unique to Houston: Tex-Mex, Cajun and Southern. The three cuisines are so well-represented in Houston that their appearance together on a single Houston menu does not seem out of place. Breakfast and brunch will still be the primary focus of Homestead and will be served daily, all day long. However, the lunch and later menu plus a great beverage program will offer more dining opportunities for guests and residents using the Hike and Bike Trail. Conveniently, the patio is right off the trail.
according to Eater Houston.
While its plant-based broths allow for vegans and vegetarians to get their ramen fix, the restaurant also offers traditional pork and beef additions to the broth and noodles. It also put a big emphasis on umami with a focus on quality fermentation. It offers different styles of ramen with its Amber (soy) Pearl (pure rock salt), Quartz (creamy sauce) and Garnet or Spicy Garnet, made with miso. Its umami sauce is made with dried bonito flakes and dried sardines, so it is not vegan. However, it has a small selection of gyoza, buns and hand sushi rolls, all of which have vegan versions.
Golden Chick, 125 Remington Valley, opened March 15. This is the seventh Houston area location for the chicken chain which has over 200 locations in five states. It is planning to reach 500 stores by 2030. It began in San Marcos, Texas in 1967 as Golden Fried Chicken but changed its name to Golden Chick in 1993. The new franchise location is owned by Alam Khandaker.
It offers fried and roast chicken pieces, chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches and salads. Its sides include mashed potatoes, battered French fries, dirty rice, fried okra, jalapeno poppers and corn nuggets. Its popular hot yeast rolls were introduced in 2006. The chain recently added fish to its menu with its hand-battered Alaskan Cod Sandwich and Cod and Shrimp combo.
Red Crab Juicy Seafood, 5370 W. 34th, began its soft opening March 4. It first opened in Florida and now has multiple locations across 15 states. It offers a number of boil options including blue crab, crawfish, shrimp, crab legs, mussels, clams and lobster tail. Guests can pick their seafood, then choose from Lemon Pepper, Cajun or Garlic Butter sauce and choose a spice level from mild to extra hot.
It also offers fried seafood baskets, po-boys and chicken wings along with a selection of appetizers. There are cocktails, beer and wine.
as reported here in the Houston Press but Pereney continued to be a force in the Houston restaurant scene as a consultant at A'la Carte Food Service Consulting Group. He most recently created the menu for The Nash downtown as well as training its staff to execute it.
With the motto of "Making your food ideas real! " the new venture, with Pereney as Principal and Brand Visionary, includes other up and comers along with industry veterans to provide the tools, services and expertise to clients looking to open their own concepts in the food and beverage business or for local restaurateurs and bar owners looking to refresh their brands.
Pereney's team includes Chris Cai as Culinary Specialist, Diedre Goodhue as Beverage Specialist and Jaime De Leon as Wine Specialist. Jiolo (Jo) Dingayan will serve as Pastry Chef, Niki Vu as Head Recruiter and McKenzie Loock as Senior Strategist. The Creative Direction will be done by Kim Lewis Design. Omar Pereney Sr. will be the I.T. Director and well-known local photographer Kirsten Gilliam will be in charge of food photography.
Romano's Pizza, 1528 W. Gray, is hoping to reopen in April according to a post on its Facebook page. The March 3 post said that the family hopes to reopen within four to six weeks. It closed in late October 2020 due to a fire at the next door Q Nails and Spa River Oaks. The fire severely damaged the pizza restaurant which has been a favorite of Houstonians craving authentic New York-style pies since 1998. This writer misses its calzones.
Davis St. at Hermann Park, 5925 Almeda, is shooting to reopen in April, according to a post on its Facebook page. Chef Mark Holley and his team made the decision to close the restaurant at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. We have reached out to the restaurant for more information but we do not yet have a definite opening date. Its Facebook page, however, promises that it is just around the corner along with photos of Crispy Thai Shrimp and its Down South Coconut Cake.
The “China Town” menu includes dishes reflective of commercial Chinese food blended with Northern Thai influences. There will be starters like the four-piece Dim Sum with Shrimp Shu Mai and pan-fried or steamed Shanghai Chicken plus soups such as Shrimp Wonton and Chicken Dumpling. There will also be Lo Mein, Szechuan Wok Bean Curd and the Wok Stir-Fried Broccoli with Chef Special Sauce which can be made with tofu, chicken, beef or shrimp.
Andre Queirolo, business development manager for Yi Peng said “We noticed that the takeout and delivery trends are here to stay so we made the decision to expand our offerings to better serve those needs through Plus Kitchen... Our loyal customers will now have access to upscale dining from the comfort of home, and have the added convenience of being able to order from a variety of different cuisines all on the same bill.”
Queirolo and Hurapan plan to open a new brick-and-mortar this year which will serve as the prime "ghost kitchen" for Plus Kitchen with Queirolo at the helm. In the coming months, Plus Kitchen plans to unveil two additional new menus including "NY Little Italy" and "Taste of Thai" which pay homage to Chef Jett’s extensive experience in exploring a variety of cuisines including Italian, Mediterranean, Thai and Traditional American.
Raising Cane's, 4908 Garth Road, will open August 3 in Baytown. It will make the forty-first Houston store for the Baton Rouge-based chain known for its One Love Chicken Finger Meals. The new location will feature a multi-lane drive-thru, limited-capacity indoor dining and an expansive patio. Raising Cane's also offers online ordering through its mobile app.
Little Woodrow's, 11241 Timber Tech, opened February 23 in Tomball. It has a dog-friendly, astro-turfed patio with heaters and televisions. There are bar bites like the Italian Sammich and Jumbo Pretzel plus 14-inch handmade pizzas. The bar also has a rotating line-up of food trucks.