Bosscat Kitchen & Libations, 9595 Six Pines, will open its second Houston location in The Woodlands this fall. Located at Market Street, it joins the first Houston Bosscat which opened in February 2017 at 4310 Westheimer. The concept was founded by John “JT” Reed and Leslie Nguyen in Newport Beach, California in 2014.
Now, with their newly minted Daily Dose Hospitality group, Reed and Nguyen are expanding the Bosscat footprint to the north of Houston. Daily Dose also owns and operates Ten Sushi + Cocktail Bar in Southern California and there are plans for a Houston location of Ten later this year in River Oaks.
The buildout of the upcoming Bosscat is being overseen by Construction Concepts. The design of the space was done by award-winning interior design firm, Abel Design Group. The nearly 5,000 square-foot restaurant will have seating for 150 guests inside and 100 on the patio, which will feature a fireplace and an indoor-outdoor bar. The new location will still offer its signature Whiskey Room but there will also be a new “library” adjacent to the bar with semi-private dining for up to 20 people.
Besides its extensive whiskey selection, Bosscat offers a menu of American comfort foods like the Bosscat Burger, Gold Medal Chicken Sandwich, 12 Hour Beef Short Ribs and Shrimp and Grits. There are also American comfort desserts including Banana Pudding and Fried Apple Pie. Starters like Pork Belly Poutine, Pulled Pork Hush Puppies and Ahi Tuna Wraps are good for sharing over a round or two of drinks.
Passerella, 9945 Barker Cypress, opens May 17 at Towne Lake in Cypress. The chef-driven Italian restaurant comes from Gr8 Plate Hospitality, owned by Paul and Doris Miller. The restaurant group also operates The Union Kitchen establishments and Jax Grill.
The interior features plush leather chairs and booths, inviting guests to linger over a meal and after-dinner drinks. The walls are adorned with Italian-inspired art and brick walls add to the warmth along with an attractive bar lined with Ferrari-yellow barstools. An expansive outdoor patio offers a view of Towne Lake.
The menu itself starts with Antipasti that includes options such as Fritto Misto, Arancini, a selection of charcuterie boards and Ricotta Montata, a dish of whipped ricotta, mint, parsley, honey and extra virgin olive oil, served with polenta crisps.
Also on the menu are soups like Zuppa di Aragosta and a refreshing Insalata di Rucola made with Buffalo mozzarella and baby arugula.. The Frutti de Mare section includes seafood dishes such as Branzino alla calabrese with pan-seared branzino, spinach risotto, Calabrian pesto cream sauce and blistered grape tomatoes. An herb-crusted lamb tenderloin is served with three-cheese polenta and pasta options include Frutti di Mare Alfredo and Bucatini e Polpette.
A wine list offers guests a selection of Italian and Californian varietals, hand-picked by Miller and lead Sommelier Matt Stevenson. Crafted cocktails and beer are available as well. Beverage manager Dylan Hart has created a drinks menu inspired by Dante’s Inferno. The Paradiso is made with white rum, passion fruit liquor, Orgeat, lemon juice, Velvet Falernum and Luxardo cherry syrup while the Purgatorio is a libation of gin, Aperol, rosemary simple syrup, grapefruit juice, lemon juice and Peychaud’s bitters. Guests can decide if they want heaven or hell in a glass.
Loro Asian Smokehouse & Bar, 5333 Kirby, is planned for summer 2023 in Rice Village. This is the second Houston location for the Hai Hospitality concept which opened in the Heights in February 2022. It will be the fifth for the concept overall, joining the locations in Austin, Dallas and an upcoming restaurant in Addison, planned for winter 2022.
Loro was founded by James Beard Award-winning chef Tyson Cole, known for his Uchi and Uchiko restaurants, and pitmaster Aaron Franklin, also a James Beard Award winner and owner of the famous Franklin Barbecue in Austin.
The duo have created a menu that blends the rich and robust taste of Texas BBQ with Southeast Asian culinary influences using sauces, herbs and finishes to give diners flavors both familiar and new. Cole said in a press release, “Houston is the ultimate foodie community. Not only do they embrace and support new concepts, they’re not afraid to try new things and break from tradition.”
For his part, Franklin likes Houston’s warm welcome. “Houston has always had one of the most vibrant food scenes and I’ve been lucky enough to cook with some great friends for some of the friendliest folks!”
Clutch City Cluckers, 1005 Katy Fort Bend Road, will have a grand opening May 20 for its third Houston area food truck May 20 and May 21. The celebration begins Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 a.m. (or sellout) and the business will offer customers 50 percent off their entire orders and a raffle ticket for a PS5 giveaway. The first 25 hot chicken lovers in line will receive a free meal. The PS5 raffle will continue the next day with a winner drawn May 23.
Clutch City Cluckers was founded by Ahmad Kilani who immigrated to the U.S. in 2015 from Irbid, Jordan to earn his master’s degree. While continuing his education, he worked at Abu Omar Halal and that stint inspired his own entrepreneurial vision. He invested in the brand, which was the first Halal food truck in Houston, and Kilani currently co-owns six of the locations across Texas and Louisiana.
He named his Nashville hot chicken venture after the Houston Rocket’s nickname, given to the city when the Rockets won the 1994 and 1995 NBA championships. The fried chicken sandwiches are served on brioche buns and there are tenders baskets with fries and Texas toast. The Cheesy Bun option has queso and the Toasted Juicy Lucy sandwich is a big sandwich with hot chicken tenders on toast with slaw mix, pickles and queso. There are loaded fries available as well as the Cauliflower Tenders for vegetarians.
Refuge, 1424 Westheimer, opens May 17. Located on the second story, above owner Bobby Heugels’s acclaimed Anvil Bar & Refuge, the new bar will be a comfortable space described as a “formal cocktail apartment”, according to Houston Food Finder.
Guests will be able to relax with friends while listening to a blended playlist of ’90s to early 2000s hip-hop and late-era jazz. The drinks selection will include over 200 spirits, focusing on underappreciated liquors, many of which are staff favorites. Anvil regulars will see familiar faces such as Peter Jahnke, general manager at Heugel’s Tongue-Cut Sparrow and bartender Mate Hartai as they help to open the new concept, along with Tommy Ho, Anvil’s general manager. Ho, who will serve in the same role at Refuge, is currently finalizing agreements with Heugel and his business partner Steve Flippo to become a partner in both Anvil and Refuge.
Refuge will have Kristen Nepomuceno as its head bartender and she brings experience from stints in New York and more recently, work at Houston’s Uchi and also, Squable, co-owned by Heugel and Chef Justin Yu.
Thai Gourmet, 6324 Richmond, has closed, according to its website. It said, ” After 27 years, we have decided to close our door. We would like to thank all of our customers for these wonderful years”. The statement also advises customers to check back periodically for future updates, so all may not be lost.
However, there seems to be some ongoing legal issues, as reported by the Houston Chronicle and there have been allegations on social media regarding underpayment of wages. A 2018 lawsuit against Thai Gourmet by seven employees was settled in state court with the employees receiving financial compensation. A current lawsuit by one of the former employees, Saowalak Pimpanit, was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth District March 23 for unlawful retaliation, on appeal.
Many Thai food fans considered it one of the best and most authentic Thai restaurants in the city, especially those who loved extra heat. It also catered to those who wanted less spice and had a good selection of vegetarian dishes.
Jimmy Wok, 2268 W. Holcombe, closed February 25. The website had a simple statement, “We are now permanently closed. Thank you everyone again – Jimmy.”
Tim Hortons, 21811 Clay, has broken ground for its first Houston area store in Katy. Part of a deal with native Houstonians and brothers Ali and Emad Lakhany, the Canadian coffee and bakery brand is shooting to open 30 locations in Texas with ten in Houston over the next three years, as we reported here in the Houston Press.
Founded in 1964 by former Canadian hockey legend, Tim Horton, the company now has more than 4,800 locations worldwide. Loyal fans love Timmies, as Canadians call it, for its coffee drinks, breakfast sandwiches and the Timbits, its version of doughnut holes. It also serves lunch items like panini, wraps and bagel sandwiches.
The opening of the Katy shop is just the beginning as the Canadian import plans two more locations in 2022 at 5312 W. Richey and 13451 Northwest Freeway.
Heights Social, 1213 W. 20th, will open this fall. It comes from Harris Hospitality, a new company launched by Zach Harris, owner of Drift Bar, a Heights sports bar which opened in 2020. The new concept will be located right next to Drift Bar and will offer a full kitchen, bar and large colorfully-lit atrium for socializing and partying with friends in the 8,500 square-foot space.
It will feature more than 50 televisions with a 40-foot LED wall and advanced automated lighting. Designed by Harris and Cory Decuire, there will be a 101-inch Restoration Hardware chandelier, mounted above a fountain, in an atrium with massive skylights overhead. The buildout is from DSO Construction.
The cocktail menu will be martini-centric and will offer old-school versions of the classic cocktail as well as an espresso martini and gin cocktails on tap. There will be craft cocktail shots and flavored old fashioneds along with an elevated wine list plus off-the menu selections of Harris’ favorite wines like Plumpjack.
The kitchen will give guests an approachable menu of items such as thin-crust pizza, appetizers and charcuterie. A weekend brunch will feature tableside champagne service, including champagne sabering.
Poke Chef, 19325 Gulf Freeway, is expected to open later this year in the Baybrook Passage shopping Center in Webster located directly across Interstate-45 from Baybrook Mall. It will be the third location for the fast casual poke concept which has two current spots in The Woodlands and Humble, Texas.
The Woodlands location first opened two years ago and quickly earned a following for its quality ingredients and reasonable prices. The Hawaiian-style eatery offers both signature and create-your-own poke bowls plus sushi burritos with an option of seaweed or soy paper.
The new Poke Chef will join other food and drink businesses at the development from Gulf Coast Commercial Group including Mia’s table, Torchy’s Tacos and Pei Wei Asian Kitchen.
Clean Juice, 1203 Dunlavy, is slated to open September 2022 at Regent Square. It will be the second central Houston location in addition to the current Heights store. There are also Greater Houston locations as well.
The brand, which has a USDA Certified Organic classification, offers healthy sandwiches, wraps, acai bowls, salads and toasts plus its signature smoothies and fresh, cold-pressed juices. It will be a good fit for an area that features gyms, fitness studios and local parks.
Orange Leaf, 12702 Grant, is debuting its new design May 21 with a celebration from noon to 4 p.m. in Cypress. The Dallas-based frozen yogurt brand is offering guests $1 off Smoothies or Shakes and $2 off a Superfood Bowl plus buy one, get one free froyos of any size for the Guest Appreciation Event. There will also be giveaways, face painting and balloon art.
The new design offers a massive self-serve candy wall plus cotton candy, popcorn and over 50 toppings that customers won’t find anywhere else.
Present Company, 1318 Westheimer, has launched a Marvel-themed cocktail menu for the month of May. The Marvel Madness offerings are $12 each and include the Raspberry Thor-Bae with blood orange gin, aquavit, raspberry puree and grapefruit radler and the “Hulk Like Daiquiri” with rum, Key Lime liqueur, lime juice, simple syrup and coconut puree. Other fun libations like the Mysterio with mezcal, watermelon shrub, pineapple, jalapeno juice and an agave bubble on top offer an Instagram worthy photo sure to make your friends jelly. There’s also the Agatha All Along with spiced rum, blueberry puree, cranberry and lime juice and fresh blueberries.
Alicia’s Mexican Grille and Galiana’s Tex Mex & Agave Bar are celebrating national Salsa Month (who knew) with an Eat the Heat Challenge. It launched May 12 and runs through the end of May. It is available at Galiana’s Tex Mex, 24110 U.S. 290 and all five Alicia’s locations.
The challenge includes three salsas and chips for $6.95 with $1 from each order going to Kids’ Meals Inc, a Houston charity fighting childhood hunger. Those who finish 3 ounces of each scorchingly hot salsa will be recognized as an Eat the Challenge conqueror on the restaurants’ social media pages. Here’s a chance to prove to your parents that you are somebody.
The first salsa is a smoky blend using Mexican chile de arbol (15-30k Scoville units). Salsa number two uses the familiar and flavorful habanero ( 100-350k Scoville units). Then, if diners dare, there’s the big, bad number three made with Trinidad and Tobago scorpion pepper (800-1.5k Scoville units) with a slight sweetness that should not be taken for granted because it is followed by some serious heat.
The peppers are blended with fresh ingredients including tomatillos, tomatoes, garlic, onions and spices to make the spicy concoctions slightly less dangerous.
Local Foods Tanglewood, 5740 San Felipe, is offering diners a chance to enjoy a delicious allergy-friendly Grilled Herb Marinated Chicken while also helping to raise money for Camp For All, a non-profit organization in Burton, Texas that helps children and adults with challenging illnesses and special needs at its barrier-free camp.
The collaboration entree is meant to raise awareness for special dietary needs, including specific food allergies. The Grilled Herb Marinated Chicken is served with cilantro basmati rice, black-eyed peas, pico de gallo, avocado and topped with pepitas. It’s available from May 9 through June 12 for $17. Local Foods will donate 20 percent of profits from the dish directly to Camp For All.