For years, West Houston’s Memorial area has remained a haven for local, under-the-radar restaurants. Places like Empire Turkish Grill, Jonathan’s The Rub and Le Mistral draw residents nightly, serving up award-winning cuisine that’s anything but stereotypical suburban fare. And, lately, it seems that the rest of Houston’s restaurateurs are taking note, as a wave of well-known Inner Loop businesses are set to expand in the coming months. Read on for the scoop.
Hot on the heels of its successful EaDo launch, Tout Suite Café is expanding its presence with a second outpost in Memorial City Mall. Owners Anne Le and Sandy Tran are no strangers to the local market, as their CityCentre-set coffee shop and bakery concept, Sweet, has enjoyed a loyal following since it first opened in 2011. The new Tout Suite location will continue the concepts promise to turn out fresh, locally-sourced light bites and desserts.
With three locations in the Houston area, Niko Niko’s will soon unveil its fourth when it’s Memorial store opens this summer. Set in the shadow of the Beltway 8 and I-10 exchange, in a revamped space most recently home to Chili’s, Niko Niko’s will serve up its popular loukoumades, gyros and kebabs to eager westsiders.
Despite having a location less than 6 miles to the east (and technically just outside The Loop), restaurateur Aaron Lyons will soon add a third spot of his farm-to-table concept, Dish Society, in the upcoming Memorial Green center. Located between Gessner and the Beltway, the latest incarnation is slated for a spring 2017 opening and will be the largest venue for the brand with 4,000 square feet of interior space and a 1,300-square-foot patio. Expect a full bar and items like quinoa stuffed avocados, gouda grits and brunch options to be on offer.
More than four years after Jerry Built Burgers (pictured above) first put down roots in the West University area, the gourmet burger venture headed west with a third location along the Katy Freeway. Nestled between CityCentre and Memorial City Mall, the casual, family-friendly biz serves burgers and sandwiches that are free of added hormones, antibiotics and nitrates, as well as handspun milkshakes. The restaurant officially opened in late May.
The folks behind the cheery Inner Loop seafood joint, Liberty Kitchen and Oysterette, are venturing west with Liberty Kitchen at The Treehouse. Though an official opening date hasn’t been set, the concept will unfold along Bunker Hill Road, where the MetroNational building juts out in a dramatic, two-story, glass-encased restaurant space. There will also be an expansive rooftop patio, where diners can get their fill of gumbo and oyster-topped deviled eggs with bacon jam.
With more than a half-dozen locations of his Middle Eastern namesake restaurant, it’s clear that Chef and restaurateur Fadi Dimassi is doing something right. At Fadi’s Mediterranean Grill, faithful followers line-up for cafeteria-style service where they can mix and match fresh fare including stuffed eggplant, savory lamb shank and fluffy pita bread. Though the company already has a nearby Westchase location, Fadi is in the process of building out a space near Jerry Built Burgers on Katy Freeway.
Fans of Benjy Levit’s wildly-successful Local Foods have eagerly awaited a location on the West side and soon, they will have easy access to those crunchy chicken sandwiches and seasonal soups when the brand’s third location opens. Setting up shop on the ground floor of the Gables Tanglewood, near Dish Society, the restaurant will offer Local Foods’ classic menu, as well as new wood-fired pizza and Texas wines. Look for the store to open in early summer 2016.
The brains behind Houston’s beloved South African restaurant chain Peli Peli continue to make waves in the Houston market and soon, the team will add a fast casual concept to the company’s portfolio. Dubbed Peli Peli Kitchen, the build-your-own model will give guests a chance to choose proteins, served up on a plate, roll or tortilla. The employee-led “Sauceology Bar” will help round out selections, pairing meals with complementary curries, chutneys and salsas. Look for Peli Peli Kitchen to open by the end of year at 9090 Katy Freeway.