Restaurant News

Openings and Closings: The Sauer Kraut Grill Opens, The Next Door Closes

The Sauer Kraut Grill offers hearty Bavarian cuisine.
The Sauer Kraut Grill offers hearty Bavarian cuisine. Photo by Eric Morse

The Sauer Kraut Grill, 734 Crabb River Road, opened January 21. Owner Eric Morse has been serving German cuisine from the Sauer Kraut food truck for five years and has now achieved his dream of owning his own brick and mortar restaurant. Morse attended culinary school in Austin and is a graduate of the Conrad Hilton College at University of Houston. He also has over 35 years of restaurant experience with names like Pappas Restaurants and Saltgrass Steakhouse.

click to enlarge Beer and  Jaeger Schnitzel make a lovely pair. - PHOTO BY SEAN HEYL
Beer and Jaeger Schnitzel make a lovely pair.
Photo by Sean Heyl
Patrons of the food truck will find their favorite items on the menu at the new spot including the "Schruben", described as a Reuben sandwich meets pork schnitzel.  There's also the Curry Wurst and deep fried pretzels. There are new dishes like from-scratch Spaetzle, made from his mother's recipe. The popular Texas burger rounds out the restaurant's menu, which is German cuisine with a Texas twist. That twist means large portions and a bit of spice.

Lunch runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday with dinner service from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The restaurant is open Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For now, the restaurant will be closed on Sunday and Monday, but hours will increase as staffing is brought up to speed. Morse plans to reopen the food truck for operation after getting the new restaurant going.

The Next Door, 2020 Waugh, closed January 11. The dive bar next to Rudyard's was known for its cheap drinks and the local art lining its walls. According to who you talk to, it was a great place for lounging on the sofas and taking in the punk vibe or it was a dive with surly regulars and even surlier bartenders.

However, a new bar will open in its place this year. 6s and 7s is slated to open in April 2020, according to CultureMap Houston. The new concept will combine the talents of bartender Lacy Williams and chef Anthony Calleo. Calleo has been turning out delicious pizza and bar food from Rudyard's kitchen since he took over for chef Jordan Economy in April 2019. He will now be creating a more elevated food menu for the new concept.

Williams, formerly of The Pink Elephant Room and Grand Prize, will  focus on classic cocktails. There are plans for pop-ups with guest bartenders, too. Williams also intends to incorporate sustainability and management of waste, an altruistic trend that has been ongoing for a while in the culinary world and is now taking root in the bar industry as well.

As with the former The Next Door, local artists will be featured as part of the design process, but to what extent remains a surprise.

A preview of the new 6s and 7s will be held February 13. For information, visit the Rudyard's website.

click to enlarge Seafood gumbo at Treebeard's. - PHOTO BY GWENDOLYN KNAPP
Seafood gumbo at Treebeard's.
Photo by Gwendolyn Knapp
Treebeard's, 9655 Katy Freeway, is planned for May or June 2020, as reported by Houston Business Journal.  This will be the sixth location for the concept, which serves Southern comfort cuisine like chicken fried chicken with cream gravy and Cajun favorites such as its famous red beans and rice and jambalaya. The gumbos are also popular, but the duck, chicken and sausage and seafood flavors are only available on certain days.

Currently, there are five Treebeard's locations. Three are full service, two are take-out. All five are lunch only and located in downtown Houston. The new spot will be the first foray out of downtown in the family-owned restaurant's four decades of operation. It will also be the first location to offer both lunch and dinner, a very welcome change for Treebeard's loyal following. There will also be a bar and patio.

It will join Masraff's, which is relocating from its Post Oak spot after nearly a decade, as reported in the Houston Press at the new development. It is slated for May 2020, after Masraff's closes the Galleria location in April. A new Texadelphia is also planned for the mixed-use complex at Interstate 10 and is currently recruiting investors through NextSeed.

Dak & Bop, 1805 W. 18th, opened softly last week., as reported by CultureMap. This is the second location for the Korean fried chicken restaurant from owner Jason Cho. The first location opened in 2015 at 1801 Binz, selling its twice-fried chicken wings, drumsticks and strips with a choice of sauces like soy garlic, medium spicy and Buffalo hot.

It terms itself as Asian Fusion on its website (so don't be getting all up in my grill for using that term) and that mix shows in items like Carnitas Bao or Kimchi Empanadas. Diners can feast on Bulgogi fries and chicken tortilla soup at the Museum District location.

The new location will have dishes like scallop crudo and pastas, along with items inspired by Korean street food, according to CultureMap. The restaurant takes over the former Pizza Hut building which was transformed into La Vista 101 in June 2018. La Vista 101 closed a year later.

Cho has brought in chef Jordan Economy (Rudyard's) who will also assist in launching Karne Korean Steakhouse with Cho, chef Moul Kim of Jongro BBQ in New York and food blogger extraordinaire Mike Chen. Karne is another business seeking investors on NextSeed.

click to enlarge Genghis Grill gets a colorful remodel. - PHOTO BY BLAKE JOHNSON
Genghis Grill gets a colorful remodel.
Photo by Blake Johnson
Genghis Grill, 9300 Six Pines, reopened January 21 after being closed for two weeks for a major remodel. The Woodlands location is the debut of the new prototype for the Build-Your-Own stir-fry chain which has nearly 60 locations nationwide. It was founded in 1998, a forerunner in the BYO concept. Its Fresh Market Bar has over 80 ingredients and sauces for guests to choose from before handing it to one of the grill masters to cook.

The new arrangement features colorful booths, geometric graphics decorating the walls and refurbished signs. Also new to the concept is a takeout pick-up area for added convenience. The design was done by Propaganda Studios and ID Studio 4.

Folks lucky enough to be among the first 50 guests on reopening day received a free bowl every month for a year. However, for those who missed out, Genghis Grill is offering a chance to win free Genghis Grill for a year for patrons who scan a code in-store to be entered in the sweepstakes. The winner will be announced March 22.

Crumbl Cookies, 28610 U.S. 290, held its grand opening January 17 in Cypress. The cookie shop and delivery service (yes, you can get cookies delivered to your home) offers six different flavors each week, rotating through the many creations. So, you have to keep any eye on its website to see which tempting cookies are available.  There are choices such as Hazelnut Churro, Snickerdoodle, S'Mores, and Milk Chocolate Chip. There's an over the top Oreo creation with vanilla cream cheese frosting and Oreo crumbs.

The business was founded by two cousins in Logan, Utah in 2017 and now has 50 locations in 11 states. The Fairfield location makes the first in the Houston area.

The cookies are $3.28 a piece or you can get a box of four ($10.98) or a dozen ($27.98).

The Local Bar, 10615 Fry, opened December 20. The bar comes  from The Local Table owners/ brothers Shervin and Neima Sharifi. Their uncle, Fred Sharifi, started Hungry's in 1975 as a sandwich shop and now, it has become a family business. Local Table and its sister The Local Bar are the second locations for the concept. There is a Local Table and The Local Bar in Katy at Villagio Town Center.

The Local Bar Cypress offers beers on tap,cocktails, wine and a menu of bar bites and pizza. There is also live music on occasion.

click to enlarge The new brunch at Postino offers proteins and sweet treats. - PHOTO BY POSTINO STAFF
The new brunch at Postino offers proteins and sweet treats.
Photo by Postino Staff

Postino, 642 Yale and 805 Pacific, has a new brunch menu that features ten Small Plates and five new Mains. The small plates include a Croque Monsieur/Madame, White Truffle Eggs, Panettone French Toast and a warm, pull-apart Cast Iron Sticky Bread. There is also a plate of Ricotta Fritters which is served with a trio of sauces: apple butter, raspberry and Madagascar vanilla caramel.

The new mains menu offers the P.R.E.A.M. Bowl, an anacronym for Protein Rules Everything Around Me, a play on the Wu Tang Clan's song, C.R.E.A.M.. Here, protein replaces "cash".  It's a bowl of heritage grains, soft boiled egg, avocado, asparagus with a petit filet skewer. Other mains include Meatball Shakshouka, Salmon Carpaccio and the Focaccia Stack.

click to enlarge Postino in Montrose offers a convivial atmosphere. - PHOTO BY JENN DUNCAN
Postino in Montrose offers a convivial atmosphere.
Photo by Jenn Duncan
There are plenty of wines and beers to choose from, as well as coffee and juice. A Postino Mimosa or a White Peach Bellini is only $5. Brunch runs Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Shabang Crawfish & Mi Quang, 13734 TX-249, had its grand opening December 30. The Vietnamese restaurant serves seafood dishes and crawfish plus its signature mi quang, a Vietnamese noodle dish of turmeric infused noodles which are served with a small amount of intense broth, crushed peanuts and toasted sesame crackers.

The restaurant's walls are decorated with underwater murals and the nautical theme is carried through with fisherman's netting. It's a family friendly and casual spot for a seafood boil or a bowl of hot soup.

It will host a Lunar New Year event January 25 at 3 p.m. with fireworks and a lion dance.

click to enlarge Tarka offers a spread of Indian dishes. - PHOTO BY TARKA
Tarka offers a spread of Indian dishes.
Photo by Tarka

Tarka Indian Kitchen, 3701 S. Shepherd, opens January 29. This will be the third Houston location for the Austin-based company and ninth system-wide. It serves curries, kabobs, biryani and freshly-baked flatbreads. There are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options including the Beyond Keema Curry.

The new location is partnering with Houston non-profit, Daya, donating ten percent of opening week sales to the organization which empowers South Asian victims of domestic and sexual violence. It will also have a donation drive.

The Shepherd location will be the first to offer express pick-up shelves and a self-ordering kiosk.

Anita Jaisinghani brought Pondicheri's unique Indian breakfasts to New York City. - PHOTO BY KATE MCCLEAN
Anita Jaisinghani brought Pondicheri's unique Indian breakfasts to New York City.
Photo by Kate McClean
Pondicheri, 15 West 27th, in New York City closed January 23, according to Eater NY. The second outpost of Houston chef and restaurateur Anita Jaisinghani's Pondicheri restaurant opened four years ago and impressed the palates of New Yorkers with its creative Indian cuisine. The restaurant was managed by Jaisinghani's daughter, Ajna Jai. Jaisinghani will now focus on Pondicheri in Houston and an upcoming line of spices and kitchenware, though she isn't ruling out any future concepts in NYC.
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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.