Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: Street to Kitchen Sets Date, For the Culture Grand Opening

Street to Ktichen's new home will have more space for feasting on authentic Thai food.
Street to Ktichen's new home will have more space for feasting on authentic Thai food. Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

Street to Kitchen, 3401 Harrisburg, opens November 11. What began as a take-out only Thai concept in a gas station in 2020 has now blossomed into an acclaimed nationally-recognized restaurant that has earned its chef, Benchawan Painter, a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Texas 2023. Chef Benchawan co-owns Street to Kitchen with husband Graham Painter whose biography includes a bachelor's degree in philosophy, a decade-long advertising gig in London, a whole lot of international travel and most recently, his sommelier certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers, which is no easy feat. He serves as wine director for Street to Kitchen and also th prsrv, a collaboration restaurant from Chef Benchawan and David Skinner, owner and chef of the much-lauded tasting restaurant eculent in Kemah.

The new digs for Street to Kitchen will be a much larger restaurant than the original. The couple worked with Gin Braverman of Gin Design, a familiar name in the Houston restaurant scene, to create the look of a trendy Bangkok neighborhood with vintage Thai movie posters and a bar glowing with pink LED lights. To add to the urban feel, there will be Thai hip hop music in the background.

Jack and Vy Collett of Limitless Solutions were also involved in renovating the space, which most recently housed Cafe Louie. The restaurant will join other businesses at The Plant in Second Ward including the ice cream shop Popston, Neighbors Pizza Bar and the upcoming Tenfolds Coffee Company's new roastery.
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The pad thai at Street to Kitchen is a fave of Houston Press writer Brooke Viggiano.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
Chef Benchawan's cuisine is famous for being "unapologetically authentic Thai food". There are traditional favorites such as Massaman Curry, Pad See Yew, Drunken Noodles and Tom Yum Soup. At the new location, guests will be able to enjoy some of the elevated weekend specials such as Tiger Cry Ribeye and Deep-Fried Thai Snapper every night. With the larger space, guests will be able to enjoy a new cocktail and drinks menu along with the eclectic wine list.

The original East End location closed October 14.

For the Culture Brewing, 7201 Wynnpark, is hosting its grand opening October 21 and October 22 from noon to 9 p.m. There will be prizes and "lots of fun". The brewery and taproom softly opened September 4 with limited hours.

It's part of a craft beer co-op with Ovinnik Brewing, sharing a roof and a taproom at Craft Culture X. As a majority African American-owned brewery, its vision is one of inclusiveness within the craft brewing community. Co-founders Jonathan Brown and Carl Roaches Jr. of For the Culture Brewing began as home brewers then expanded into doing pop-ups, according to Eater Houston.
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Lisa Halili is the oyster queen of Galveston Bay.
Photo by Kimberly Park
Rett Reef, 113 6th, will have a ceremonial christening October 27 for the new oyster haven in Galveston Bay. It will be the first oyster restoration reef by a private oyster industry member. Lisa Halili, co-owner of Prestige Oysters  and founder of the San Leon Oyster festival is dedicated to the mission of restoration after the reef, originally known as San Leon Marina Reef,  was destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008. She is also the mother of Raz Halili, owner of Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House and also vice-president of Prestige Oysters.

Together with the San Leon Oyster Fest, Pier 6, Prestige Oysters, The Nature Conservancy in Texas and Texas Sea Grant, the reef will return to being a marina for sport fishing. It has been renamed Rett Reef to raise awareness of Rett syndrome, a rare and severely debilitating neurologiocal disorder. Lisa Halili became aware of the disorder after meeting Kevin Black, a local country artist and photographer who is also the brother of country music star Clint Black. Kevin Black lost his daughter Courtney to Rett syndrome at the age of 16.

The christening ceremony begins at 2:30 p.m. with an official launch of the project. There will be a musical performance by Kevin Black at Pier 6 seafood & Oyster House to raise funds for Raising a Hand for Rett and the International Rett Syndrome Foundation. Tickets are $35 and include priority seating for the concert, a featured cocktail and a copy of Kevin Black's book project "Raising a Hand, Volume 2".
Chicken & Waffles can be tame or fiery depending on tolerance levels.
Photo by Lorretta Ruggiero
Urban Bird Hot Chicken, 3011 W. Grand Parkway N., is having a grand opening celebration October 23. This local and veteran-owned fried hot chicken joint is on a major roll, opening locations all across the Greater Houston area and beyond with increasing frequency. The newest Katy store is right on the heels of the recent Baytown Urban Bird which opened October 2 bringing the total to 12 locations with a restaurant in Cypress coming soon to make lucky number 13. However, its website says the Kirby restaurant is closed for relocation.

The popularity of its jumbo fried chicken tenders just keeps spreading. With customers able to choose their spice level, it's a good fast-casual option for the whole family. There's No Spice, which speaks for itself and Fire in the Hole, which is also pretty self-explanatory. We love spicy food but the Nashville Hot is the level we recommend sticking with for a nice, slow burn that isn't overwhelming.

Diners can opt for the Chicken Sando, Chicken & Waffles or Chicken Tender Baskets. For sides, there are crinkle-cut fries, sweet potato fries and seasoned street corn. There are a number of loaded fries as well. There are soft drinks plus delicious milkshakes that make wonderful antidotes to the peppery heat.
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Arish Momin and his father Lehjatali Momin pose with their staff.
Photo by MaKlay Simon
Big Madre Tacos Y Tortas, 6199 Decker, opened in Baytown this week. It's the 37th location for the brand in the Greater Houston area. The homestyle Mexican food brand was founded in 2017 by the Greater Houston Retailers Cooperative Association. Located inside the Time Maxx #6 gas station and convenience store, the newest location is number 11 for Lehjatali Momin, a local entrepreneur and past board member of GHRA.

With a name like Big Madre, the concept was inspired by a mother's love of cooking for her family with a focus on tradition. The recipes at Big Madre have been developed by executive chef "Captain" Glenn Cates from the marinades and salsas to the handmade flour tortillas. With over 50 years of experience, Cates still credits his madre for his expertise.
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Homemade tortillas get filled with tasty grilled beef.
Photo by MaKlay Simon
The made to order menu features tacos, burritos, bowls, tortas and quesadillas with protein options such as slow-cooked carnitas, grilled carne guisada and marinated chicken or beef fajitas. The fresh tortillas are pressed and cooked in front of waiting guests.
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The Chili Garlic sauce is one of three that will be available.
Photo by Mark Hannah
Verandah Progressive Indian Restaurant, 3300 Kirby, will launch three of its most popular sauces at local Costco stores. The sauces will be introduced by Verandah co-owner Anupama Srivastava at the Sugar Land Costco, 17520 Southwest Freeway, October 19, followed by the Galleria Costco, 3836 Richmond, October 26. The final store for now will be the Katy Costco 23645 Katy Freeway, November 2.
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Anupama and Sunil Srivastava are going retail with their restaurant's sauces.
Photo by Mark Hannah
Costco is just the latest retail expansion for Anupama's business venture outside of Verandah, a restaurant she co-owns and operates with husband Chef Sunil Srivastava. Verandah first opened in 2019 and is known for roasting and grinding all of its own fresh spices which are used in the signature sauces. Customers loved the fragrant sauces so much that the couple began selling them in to-go containers. In 2022, Anupama paired with Houston's Phoenica Specialty Foods to sell the sauces, branded as W'Khana Gourmet sauces and chutneys. They are available at both Phoenicia locations as well as Spec's downtown.

For the Houston Costco stores on the list, there will be the Chettinad Masala, the Chili Garlic and the Tikka Masala. All three sauces are gluten-free, vegan and made with no preservatives.
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A Niman Ranch Skirt Steak gets topped with chimichurri at Andiron's Friday lunch.
Photo by Dominique McGhee
Andiron, 3201 Allen Parkway, is launching a Friday lunch service October 20. The wood-burning steakhouse from Michael Sambrooks will have lunch available each Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with new dishes like Prime Rib Sandwich, Niman Ranch Skirt Steak with chimichurri and Chicken flavored with mustard tarragon and served with roasted vegetables. there will also be some of its menu favorites including the Andiron Burger, Grilled Caesar, Steak Tartare and Smoked Salmon with mustard buerre blanc and toast points.

In addition to the highly-acclaimed food, the Friday lunch service will also feature $5 martinis and $5 Manhattans. 
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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.