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The Better Luck Tomorrow team is raring to go.

Image: Jenn Duncan

Fresh places to eat and drink arriving in April:

AJI Ramen: Opening in Winding Hollow Plaza—a Katy hotspot housing several popular Asian eateries like Korean fried chicken hub Hoodadak and recently opened Korean spot Tasty Ko—is this cozy ramen shop serving hearty noodle bowls filled with a 24-hour broth. Also look out for varied Japanese grilled skewered meats and veggies.

B’s Wine Bar: This Sienna Plantation wine bar offers Texas-based and Old World varietals by the glass and bottle. Also available, a full bar and menu featuring small plates. 

Better Luck Tomorrow: With a newly announced name and opening in sight, the no-longer-under-wraps restaurant/bar from two of Houston’s industry heavyhitters is nearing its arrival. Bobby Heugel and Justin Yu’s neighborhood spot replaces Dry Creek Cafe, offering a day-to-night menu of casual bites (think patty melts) and "hyper-seasonal" cocktails utilizing ingredients found on the Gulf Coast. The buzzy bar is expected to open in late April.

Cane Island Bar & Grill: A new neighborhood tavern will bring casual Southern fare and craft beer to Katy. Expect cheffy takes on down home dishes like crispy pig wings with whiskey-apple butter, plus shrimp and grits, alongside burgers, chicken fried steak and other familiar comfort items. The watering hole will also offer “a full bar with micro-distilled liquors,” for sipping on the sprawling covered patio.  

El Toro: Look for patatas bravas, jamón-ibérico-and-manchego served on ciabatta, tumbet mallorquín (roasted vegetable sandwich), and other Spanish-style eats from this roving food truck debuting in April. 

Galiana's: Houston-based Grupo Herrera Restaurants Inc.’s mini-empire (Alicia's Mexican Grille, Marvino's Italian Kitchen, Dario's Steakhouse & Seafood) will soon include a bakery-and-café concept in Cypress. A slim menu of made-to-order breakfast items, salads and sandwiches crafted on artisan breads will be on offer, in addition to coffee options. Patrons can also expect fresh baked goodies like cinnamon rolls, kolaches, cakes and tarts when the cafe debuts April 17. 

King’s BierHaus: Father-son duo Hans and Philipp Sitter are preparing the debut of their Heights-area German bistro and beer garden. Similar to King’s Biergarten, the pair’s popular beer-focused, yet gimmicky concept in Pearland, expect a more refined atmosphere with an expansive menu of German and  Austrian fare. Patrons will also find a wide-range of German brews and Texas suds, alongside cocktails, all perfect for enjoying a game of Jenga on the dog-friendly outdoor patio. Read more about the concept here.  

Local Pho: Situated in Sawyer Yards, this casual spot will serve up banh mi and bowls of pho when doors open in mid-April. 

Ohn: It’s all about soju, beer, and bar bites at chef/restaurateur Mike Tran’s (Tiger Den, Mein, Night Market) forthcoming Korean joint. Part dive bar, part gastropub, this Chinatown newcomer caters to late-night crowds with a menu inspired by L.A.’s Koreatown. Much of the focus, however, centers on the eatery’s soju program, which will offer a slew of rice wine options including cucumber-infused soju, lemon sesame, and classic yogurt. To add some sustenance to those cocktails, feast on kimchi pasta, crispy garlic soy wings, pork spine soup, and other casual eats on offer. Ohn is gunning for a mid-to-late April debut.

Starfish: Seafood is the star of Lee Ellis and partner Jim Mills’ latest Heights venture, where coastal dishes abound. Situated at the former Bradley’s Fine Diner site, just a few doors down from sibling Pi Pizza, the eatery features wood-fired items from chef Armando Ramirez, plus a raw bar. The seafood-focused spot quietly opened the week of April 17. 

The Lost Cajun: Another Cajun option will land in Humble, courtesy of this Colorado chain serving blackened catfish, po’ boys, fried seafood and a bevy of other Cajun eats. The family-friendly restaurant expects to open its doors around mid-April. 

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Piggy's Kitchen & Bar.

Look for these restaurants later this year:

1895 Deli: Situated within Brasserie 1895, the French-influenced eatery in Friendswood, comes a new casual concept focused on handcrafted sandwiches. On the menu, muffalettas stuffed with house-cured salami, capicola and ham; roasted pork shoulder banh mi, among traditional sandwich selections. Also on offer, burgers, soups and varied deviled egg options. Look for a debut around early to mid-April. 

4D Gelateria: Amidst the ongoing local “gelato boom,” this global chain with locations in Europe and the Middle East, will begin scooping Italian-style ice cream soon in Katy Mills Mall. The Katy location marks the first Texas outpost for the gelateria, which also serves a variety of pastas, pizzas, salads, and panini. Look for this newcomer to open by late April or early-to-mid May.

Chapman & Kirby: This ultra-swanky gastrolounge, whose name pays tribute to Houston’s founders, is on track to open sometime this spring (possibly late April) at East Downtown’s new multi-use complex East Village. The collaborative project from industry vets Mazen Baltagi (Christian Tailgate, Slowpokes), Hoang Cao (Hughes Hangar), and Steven Bien Tran (Hughes Hangar), will house Houston’s largest rooftop patio. As for food offerings, look for a mashup of cuisines reflecting the city’s diversity from chef Tim Soufan (Pappas Bros. Steakhouse).

Local Poke: Just a few doors down from Mary'z Mediterranean Cuisine, comes this fresh destination for Hawaiian-style fish bowls opening soon on Washington Avenue. The new fast-casual restaurant will feature a concise menu of customizable and signature bowls, although mix-in options here are more limited compared to similar spots in town. Look for an early-to-mid May arrival.

Maclane’s Cafe: Taking over the former space of a location of Thai eatery Nit Noi Café, comes this follow up to the Masraff family’s eponymous Euro-American haunt. Nestled in the Woodway Square Center, the new restaurant will focus entirely on American comfort food, featuring items like fried chicken, mac 'n' cheese, and burgers. A milkshake bar will also be available when this Tanglewood spot opens in late spring.

Merchant: This New Orleans-born coffee shop is almost ready to take flight. Owners Marcel Wisznia and Rosario Tortorice Jr. are bringing their European-style café to the Bayou City this spring, along with crêpes and wine. Located within Post Oak Plaza in the Galleria-area, this NOLA  breakfast haven will also serve up lattes, espressos, cappuccinos and iced coffee brewed solely with Illy. 

Pokéworks: Design your own bowl, salad or burrito stuffed with poke—and if you choose, organic tofu or sous-vide chicken, among other options—when this California import lands in Houston. A location hasn't been announced for the forthcoming outpost, however, doors are slated to open sometime this spring.

Retrospect Coffee Bar: After several years of restoring the historic Gulf Coast Oil gas station on the corner of La Branch and West Alabama, Sharon Haynes (Tacos A Go-Go, Fajitas A Go-Go) and husband Chas are closer than ever to debuting their Midtown coffee shop. The caffeinated spot, which will also serve crêpes and frozen treats from Honeychild’s Sweet Cream, expects to open around late April or early May.

Spring Street Beer & Wine Garden: After closing her wine Corpus Christie wine bar last year, owner Amy Felan is set to bring chill vibes and plenty of wine to this upcoming First Ward neighborhood bar. Expect small plates, wine, and beer when doors open later this spring. 

Tarka's Indian Kitchen: Austin’s burgeoning fast-casual chain is bringing more high-quality Indian fare to the Heights. Opening across the lot from Ka Sushi and ice cream purveyors Fat Cat Creamery, this counter-service spot offers a variety of curries and biryanis in choose-you-own-combo formats, in addition to gluten-free and vegetarian options. The Heights outlet is slated to open in May, followed by a fall opening for its northwest Houston outpost at 2168 Spring Stuebner. 

The Ivy & James: This quaint cafe from Jamie and Dalia Zelko will dole out farm-to-table fare at Evelyn’s Park’s cornerstone “Little Yellow House.” The menu will include shrimp and white cheddar polenta, short ribs braised in St. Arnold’s root beer, and a host of salad and sandwich options. An opening date has been set for May 1. 

Two Bowls Bun Bo Hue: The main draw of this forthcoming Vietnamese spot is pho’s distant and spicier cousin, bun bo hue. Expect a range of traditional hearty bowls—typically filled with rice vermicelli noodles, amped up with a bit of heat and lemongrass—to creative takes like ramen bun bo hue. Look for doors to swing open in May.

U-Maki Sushi Burrito: The latest player to the raw fish game is this fast-casual spot at Vintage Marketplace, slated to open in late April. Capitalizing on two current food trends—poke bowls and sushi burritos—this northwest Houston shop offers deconstructed maki in a bowl and burrito-style maki wraps. As with similar poke places, it’s a build-your-own-style concept.  

Zayed’s Mediterannean Grill: Nestled between Sweet Paris Crepêrie and southern-inspired spot The General Public, comes this new casual cafe in CityCentre specializing in grilled meats and Mediterranean eats. The latest concept from Mike Zayed (Little Napoli, The Wine Cellar) is expected to open in late spring. 

High-profile restaurants on the horizon:

Aqui: After months of rumors, former Top Chef winner and one-time Houston resident, Paul Qui, is bringing his flair for sophisticated Filipino fare to Montrose. The James Beard Award winner’s upcoming restaurant will center on wood-grilled meats, utilizing locally sourced ingredients from a rooftop garden. This highly-anticipated epicurean destination is slated to open by late spring or early summer.

Knife: Three-time James Beard ‘Best Southwest Chef’ semifinalist and Top Chef contestant John Tesar is bringing his acclaimed modern steakhouse to Houston. The Dallas chef, in partnership with Hilton Worldwide, will open a Bayou City outpost at downtown’s DoubleTree hotel, rumored to rebrand as Allen Houston Hotel as part of ongoing Allen Center renovations. Further details remain under wraps. 

New concepts from established restaurateurs:

Cactus Cove: This forthcoming bar and grill, tentatively named Cactus Cove, is one of several new concepts on the horizon from the Creek Group (Onion Creek Cafe, Cedar Creek Cafe, Lowbrow). Details are hush-hush for now, but look for the eatery to take over the former Warehouse Bar & Chill in the Timbergrove neighborhood.

Fielding’s Rooster: Fielding's Culinary Group, the team responsible for Fielding’s Wood Grill and Fielding’s Local Kitchen + Bar in The Woodlands, is launching a new chicken-focused concept aptly dubbed Fielding’s Rooster. The menu will showcase varied chicken dishes ranging from grilled to wood-fired ones. On the beverage side, a full bar featuring craft beer and wine.

Holman Draft Hall: Following the recent debut of dual-concepts Heights Bier Garten and Worcester's Annex, the Kirby Group will roll out another bar project soon in Midtown. Details remain under wraps, but patrons can expect a variety of beers, wines, and cocktails on the menu.

The 401: This new concept from the Sharifi/Nowamooz family (Hungry’s, Baba Yega, The Local Table) will open later this year at former site of an Earthman Funeral Home in Bellaire. Expect a mix of Mediterranean plates, comfort food options and craft brews on tap.

King’s Kolache Haus: The Sitter Group — the father-son team behind German-Austrian beer garden spots King’s Biergarten in Pearland and its spin-off King’s BierHaus, opening soon in the Heights and League City — have plans to open a dedicated kolache shop featuring its gourmet sausages. The location and other details are unknown at this point, however, the concept is shooting for a late 2017 or early 2018 debut.

Q-SHI BistroFresh off their appearance on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Ray Aker and Robert Henry, owners of barbecue-sushi hybrid Q-Shi Bistro in Spring, are cooking up expansion plans for their sophomore project in Conroe. While some signature items will carry over to the new spot, the menu’s headliners will include tapas and small plates. Expect elevated takes on sushi rolls like rice-wrapped filet mignon and lobster, alongside wine and sake offerings. The forthcoming eatery is expected to open in June. 

Anticipated out-of-town concepts:

85 °C Bakery Cafe: Dubbed the “Starbucks of Taiwan,” the uber-popular Taiwanese coffeehouse, known for its sweet and savory baked goods, is finally making its way to Houston. Two locations are in the works, with construction currently underway at 9750 Bellaire Boulevard, Suite 180 in Chinatown’s Sterling Plaza. Another outpost is slated for the 99 Ranch supermarket-anchored center at 1027 Blalock. Minimal details are available, including an estimated opening date.

Handlebar: Brett Vance and Willie Stark, the moustache-clad duo behind the Austin themed-bar glorifying the facial style, are bringing their beloved neighborhood pub to Houston. Taking over the former Glass House/Roosevelt spot at 5219 Washington Avenue, expect no-fuss cocktails and beers in a laid-back setting, complete with an outdoor deck with a giant-size Jenga. The bar is slated to open sometime in late spring or early summer. 

Kula Revolving Sushi Bar: The fast-casual sushi chain, with multiple locations throughout the Los Angeles area, arrives in Houston this summer. Serving assorted sushi rolls via a conveyor belt, the restaurant is set to open in the Westchase area at 11161 Westheimer Road, Suite B. Another location is slated for the Mid-Main development in Midtown at 3510 Main, Suite A.

MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company: Look for more build-your-own Neapolitan pizzas arriving soon from this fledgling California-based chain. Following news of outposts coming to Kirby Grove (2925 Richmond Avenue, Suite 150) and in Katy (21784 Katy Freeway, Suite 100), another location is now in the works for Pearland at 2560 Pearland Parkway, Suite 182. No word yet on an opening date for the Pearland site, but the Katy and Houston restaurants are expected to debut this spring, or at the latest, this summer.

Midtown Common: Huge plans are in store for the 2400 block of Caroline in Midtown. Syn Group, a hospitality team based out of Dallas, will convert the site at 2403 Caroline into an entertainment district, consisting of four restaurants and bars within walking distance of each other. Established eateries slated for the upcoming development include vibrant gastropub The Social House and the patriotic-themed beer garden America Gardens. Additionally, there will be a Tex-Mex spot and margarita bar called Don Chingnon, along with a neighborhood watering hole named Wishful Drinking. The development is projected to open in 2018.

Nektar Juice Bar: The juice craze continues to press on as California-based Nektar Juice Bar arrives in Houston. A Greenway Plaza location is set to debut this spring at 2800 Southwest Freeway, Suite 144, followed by outposts in Midtown (304 Gray) and Bellaire (6700 Ferris, Suite 120). In addition to cold-pressed juices, the West Coast health-focused spot offers customized acai bowls, smoothies, and chia-seed parfaits. 

Snappy Salads: Specializing in big bowls filled with well-dressed leafy greens, this Dallas-based salad purveyor has its sight set on the Houston area. Several locations are in the works, including one near the Galleria at 1920 Fountain View and another in Katy’s new mixed-use development Katy Green.

Von’s Chicken: This South Korean chicken import, known for its 24-hour marinating process, is set to open its first Houston location later this year. The casual eatery, which will also serves a variety Korean eats and soju cocktails, will set up shop along Spring Branch’s Korean restaurant row on Long Point. Doors are expected to open this summer or early fall at 10020 Long Point Road.  

Buzzy newcomers

A’Bouzy: Shawn Virene is no stranger to Houston’s dining scene. Having served as general manager at River Oaks' ritzy see-and-be-seen Brasserie 19, the restaurant vet is striking out on his own with his first solo venture set to debut this summer. The concept is centered on champagne, featuring over 150 sparkling wine selections, along with a modern American menu of seasonal seafood, including a raw bar.

Balls Out Burger: Ireland native Ian Tucker joins Houston’s booming craft burger scene with his new Heights spot, soon to be dishing out the All-American classic with a side of Saint Arnold suds this fall. Expect a short roster of standard burgers and cheeseburgers featuring locally sourced beef from 44 Farms served on Slow Dough buns. In addition to local brews, the drink menu will include milkshakes and Texas wines.

Emmaline: Sam Governale spent eight years as operating partner at the Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Bar in River Oaks, one of several outposts of the upscale national chain. Here, he’s calling the shots as proprietor of the forthcoming neighborhood cafe situated in the former Teala’s restaurant space. The restaurateur has tapped recent NY transplant Dimitri Voutsinas (Bar Boulud, Motorino Pizza,and La Gamelle) to helm the kitchen, who will oversee the menu featuring seasonal eats and late-night bites. Read more about the concept here.

Goodnight Charlie's: Dust off those boots and get ready for a line-dancing good time when this Montrose honky tonk debuts this fall. Master sommelier David Keck (Camerata at Paulie’s) and partner Peter McCarthy’s new concept will showcase country, bluegrass, zydeco and Americana music acts in a “barn-like structure” from Content Architecture. Expect whiskey and beer options plus wine kegs, alongside Mexican dishes from former Master Chef contestant Alvin Schultz.

Nancy’s Hustle: Arriving soon to Polk Street Market, the retail space currently undergoing renovations in EaDo, is a neighborhood wine bar from chef Jason Vaughan (Daily Review Café, L20 in Chicago) and industry vet Sean Jensen (Shade, Canopy, Hay Merchant), who is currently general manager of Public Services Wine & Whisky. Look for more details to come as the eatery nears its fall debut.

Poitín: Paying homage to his Irish roots, Ian Tucker—who is also opening the Heights burger joint Balls Out Burger—is set to open this chic cocktail bar and restaurant at Sawyer Yards this fall. Details, such as an address and menu specifics, are scarce at the moment, but expect more information in the coming months.

More new concepts to look forward to

Leaf & Grain: This downtown fast-casual concept will offer another one-dish trend gaining in popularity: grain bowls. The blueprint is similar to build-your-own poke and burrito spots, pick a base like quinoa or rice, layer with greens, raw or cooked veggies and nuts. Customized salads will also grace the menu when doors open later this year.

Tapped DraftHouse & Kitchen: As the beer scene in Houston’s far north suburbs heats up, a new brew hub with plenty of local suds is in the works for Spring. Andrew and Kelsey Neidert, the husband-wife team behind this upcoming spot, will offer 50 craft beers on tap and a short menu of Texas wines. On the food side, expect bar bites like pizzas, burgers and soft pretzels. The bar, which will also include a dog-friendly patio, is on track to open in May.

Big Paulie’s Pizzeria: Classic New York-style pies from scratch and old school vibes is what this locally owned pizzeria will serve up when it opens in Katy this summer. The menu will also include sandwich, pasta and salad options.

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More Bernie's Burger Bus is pulling up to the Heights.

Image: Andrea Weir

Local favorites expanding to other neighborhoods:

Beer Market Co.: The group behind Midtown and Downtown’s hottest bars (Pub Fiction, Irish Cowboy, Third Floor, Boots ‘n Shoots, and Dizzy Kaktus) will bring their beer mecca Beer Market Co. to the Heights-area in 2018. Taking over a 10,000-square-feet warehouse in Shady Acres at 1239 West 19th Street, this upcoming outpost will be the sports bar’s largest. The new addition marks the third outlet for the local bar and grill, which has a location off Washington Avenue at 920 Studemont Street and another under construction at 3304 Milam Street in Midtown.

Bernie’s Burger Bus: One of Houston’s most-beloved destinations for burgers, this food-truck-turned-brick-and-mortar will open its third local outlet this spring. Chef-owner Justin Turner will bring his school-themed concept to 2200 Yale Street in the Heights, which features menu items sporting playful names like the Homeroom (a bacon cheeseburger) and Detention (a towering cheeseburger consisting of two grilled cheeses). Look for this local favorite to debut its newest digs by early-to-mid May.

BuffBurger: A second outpost of this Spring Branch-area restaurant will open inside the Loop. Owners Paul “Buff” Burger, and wife, Sara, are bringing their eco-friendly burger joint to Montrose’s Alabama Row, a mixed-use project currently under construction at 1540 West Alabama Street. The new location, expected to open this fall, will also include an expanded menu. 

Calliope's: This southwest Houston eatery, dedicated to po’ boys and Louisiana fare, is expanding further west with a second location. The forthcoming shop, expected to open sometime this spring, will take over the Shipley’s Donuts space at 12225 Westheimer Road within the Royal Oaks Shopping Center (the donut shop relocated to a nearby site a few months ago).

Capone’s Bar and Oven: A new outpost of this Upper Kirby spot is coming to Missouri City in May. Replacing the former Black Eyed Pea restaurant at 3434 FM 1092, the menu will be identical to its Houston location, complete with brick oven pizzas and bar bites.

Center Court Pizza & Brew: This homegrown sports bar chain has its sights on Friendswood. A new outpost of this pizza hub is reportedly opening later this year in the newly constructed Fountains Commercial Park at 2111 West Parkwood. Expect standard pub fare with a sizable beer menu.

Coco Crêpes, Waffles & Coffee: This ever-expanding mini-crêperie chain that also specializes in waffles and caffeinated drinks, will open two additional outposts later this spring: 6777 Woodlands Parkway, Suite 214 in The Woodlands and inside the Galleria at 5015 Westheimer Road.

Crust Pizza Co.: With four locations throughout The Woodlands area, this locally owned pizzeria will open its fifth outpost outside Houston’s far north suburbs. Owners Mark Rasberry and Clint Price recently leased 2,450 square feet of retail space in their hometown of Katy. Further details aren’t available, but the pair’s thin crust Chicago-style pies will land at the new Stableside at Falcon Landing development.

Dot Coffee Shop: Prepare for a second helping of a longtime Houston staple. The Pappas family (Pappas Seafood House, Pappadeaux, Pappasito’s) is converting its former Pappas Meat Co. space at 12010 East Freeway into a second outpost of Dot Coffee Shop. The old-school diner is expected to open in June with hearty breakfast options, home-style plates and from-scratch pies.

Fajita Pete’s: Houston-based fajita haven is on quite the expansion spree. With three newly opened local restaurants within the last six months (Tomball, Pearland, and Katy), two more outposts are on the horizon. The Mexican eatery is gearing up to open in Missouri City at 6144 Sienna Ranch this spring, and later this year, an undisclosed Cypress outlet.

Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream: A Galveston favorite is expanding with a new mainland shop in time for the summer. Hey Mickey’s Ice Cream is opening a second location of its beloved ice cream parlor at 613 Sixth Street in Texas City. Although the new outpost from owners Mike and Kathy Bouvier will be larger than its current one, ice cream lovers can expect to still find their favorite flavors alongside milkshakes, sundaes, and Italian ices once doors open around June or July.

House of Pies: Considered one of Houston’s few holy grails for sweet fillings baked in buttery pastry crusts, this local pie temple will soon serve slices of apple, pecan and its signature Bayou Goo pie on Houston’s south side. The 24-hour spot replaces the former Black Eyed Pea at 11311 Fuqua near Almeda Mall, bringing along its familiar menu of hearty breakfast plates, burgers, chopped steak, and other solid diner fare offered at its Kirby and Westheimer locations. Doors are expected to open towards the end of April or early May; however, for those who can’t wait, snag an early peek during the diner’s reservation-only soft opening the week of April 24.

Hughie’s Tavern: Taking over the ill-fated Foreign Correspondents/Canard space at 4721 North Main, is a second outpost of this casual neighborhood Vietnamese pub. The menu for the upcoming Heights location will mirror its Timbergrove one with a thoughtful mix of Vietnamese staples and Viet-Tex fusion dishes. Look for a late spring or early summer arrival.

Island Grill: This fast-casual Mediterranean chain is expanding to Rice Village with its fourth area location. Moving into the 2365 Rice Boulevard space previously occupied by Liberty Kitchen’s Little Liberty, the Houston-based spot will serve American Mediterranean offerings like pita sandwiches, burgers, and smoothies. Island Grill is projected to open around early May.

Mia Bella Trattoria: Joining Jenni’s Noodle House, JuiceWell and Siphon’s upcoming coffee sibling Cavo at Regions Financial Center (3773 Richmond), a forthcoming Greenway Plaza outpost for Italian eatery Mia Bella Trattoria. The menu will feature popular dishes from its existing locations in downtown, Sugar Land, and Vintage Park. Additionally, there will be an expanded menu of pastas, grass-fed beef and fresh Mediterranean seafood, plus an overhauled wine menu with most bottles priced under $50. The restaurant anticipates a late spring opening.

Michael’s Cookie Jar: Michael Savino’s cookie emporium will soon be available in the Galleria-area. The eponoymously named dessert shop is opening a third location within Three Fountains Shopping Center at 1864 Fountainview, joining its West University and downtown outlets. Doors are expected to open in May.

Pollo Bravo: The Mexican-Peruvian roast chicken chain continues to expand across the Bayou City, opening an additional location near the Rice Military neighborhood at 5801 Memorial Drive, Suite C. The Houston-based restaurant will move into the space previously occupied by Express Rolls.

Pokeology: Look for more chef-driven poke bowls from Jason Liao when this pop-up-turned-brick-and-mortar opens it full-fledged standalone spot later this year. The second outpost will land at 2313 Edwards in Sawyer Yards, joining its current Rice Village location. And yes, there will be sushi donuts and poke tacos.

Russo’s New York Pizzeria: Anthony Russo’s mini-pizza empire continues to grow with a new location slated for Cypress. Known for its hand-tossed New York-style pizzas, this local favorite is set to open this spring at 286010 Highway 290 in Fairfield Market.

Sammy's Sports Bar & Grill: Owner Sammy Vela’s continues his plans for suburbia domination, in particular, the suburbs west and northwest of Houston, with two upcoming sports bars set to open soon in Tomball (24441 Tomball Parkway) and Sugar Land (17101 West Grand Parkway). Existing locations include Spring, Katy and Richmond.

Six Ping Bakery: This Chinatown staple and popular Asian dessert hub is expanding its operations to northwest Houston. Best known for its mini custard tarts and expansive selection of baked goods, the beloved Chinese bakery is set to open at 12914 FM 1960 West sometime in late April.

The Cheese Bar: Troy and Melissa Boyce’s shrine to gourmet cheese is on track to open its second outpost this spring. The cheese-focused bistro with a European slant, is setting up shop at 23501 Cinco Ranch Boulevard, Suite D130, within Katy’s LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch. Expect similar offerings to those found at its Cypress location, including thoughtful cheese plates and grilled cheese options, along with a well-curated menu of wines and Texas brews.

The Teahouse: With 10 locations spanning the Houston-area, the purveyors of Taiwanese bubble tea continues to dominate with three additional outposts on the horizon. Look for upcoming outlets in Cypress (12343 Barker Cypress, Suite 190), Gulfgate (810 Gulfgate Center Mall), and Meyerland (4926 Beechnut Road), all serving a staggering array of tea and blended beverages options, along with a short snack menu.

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AGU Ramen Bistro's swift expansion continues.

Image: Alice Levitt

More chain favorites on the horizon: 

Hawaiian-based AGU Ramen Bistro will open three new suburban outposts in the coming months: 514 South Mason (Katy), Sugar Land (2130 Lone Star Drive), and 1360 Nasa Parkway (Nassau Bay). The locations are slated to open this spring with over 20 ramen options,  including tonkotsu and its signature Parmesan ramen, the Hot Mess.

Korean fried chicken phenom BonChon Chicken is expanding to Sugar Land. The restaurant will be located at 1520 Lake Pointe Parkway within the Lake Pointe Village East center, making it the third Houston-area outpost for the global chicken spot, which also serves its twice-fried crispy wares in Katy and Pearland. No other details, including an opening date, have been confirmed.

Poké Bar, a fast-casual shop serving customized raw fish bowls, is aggressively expanding in Houston. Following the opening of its first area location in March, the California chain has plans for two additional local outposts (with even more to come), both projected to open this spring: Vintage Marketplace at 10123 Louetta and 6465 Westheimer Road in the Galleria area.

MOD Pizza, Zoe's Kitchen, and Yogurtland have signed on to open in a forthcoming Westchase retail center, located near Westheimer and CityWest Boulevard.

Hipster taqueria Torchy’s Taco, fast-casual Mediterranean Pita Pit, and smoothie chain Jamba Juice are headed to a new development dubbed Katy Green, situated at I-10 and Barker in Katy. Look for doors to open by late 2017 or early 2018.

Pasadena Pavilion, a new “four-restaurant complex” opening in Pasadena by the end of the year, will include Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s, Outback Steakhouse, Razzoo’s Cajun Cafe, and burger hub Red Robin.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, famous for its namesake frosty desserts, will soon serve up burgers and shoestring fries at three additional local outposts: 2955 South Interstate 45 (League City), 2620 Pearland Parkway (Pearland), and 4637 East Sam Houston Parkway South (Pasadena). The League City location will open later this year, while the latter two could open as soon as this spring.

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BonChon

$$ Korean, Pub/Brewery 24437 Katy Fwy., Ste. 100

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$ American/New American Multiple Locations

As the name would imply, this is the place to get a slice of pie 24 hours a day. Of course, if you’re not there for a slice of Bayou Goo (our favorite, with ...

Editor’s Pick

Dot Coffee Shop

$$ American/New American, Diner 7006 Gulf Fwy.

The restaurant that started it all—and by all, we mean the Pappas empire—opened its doors in 1967 and has rarely closed them since. Open 24/7, Dot serves com...

Crust Pizza Co.

$ Pizza Multiple Locations

Crust Pizza Co. is known for its cleverly conceived gourmet pizzas, ranging from the traditional (a great take on the classic margherita) to the exotic (the ...

Coco Crepes, Waffles & Coffee

$ Café, Dessert, Sandwiches Multiple Locations

Enjoy the calm pace here over one of the menu’s many crêpes (we prefer the breakfast version with lamb sausage, eggs, and cheese) or simply indulge in a gela...

Center Court Pizza & Brew

$ Pizza, Pub/Brewery 9721 W. Broadway St., Ste. 101

This is your best bet if you find yourself in Pearland, thirsty for a brew that’s not a Bud—not to mention some pizza to soak it all up with. Center Court sp...

Editor’s Pick

Calliope’s

$ Cajun 7590 W. Bellfort St.

A local offshoot of Peter’s Po-Boys in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, this Houston spot offers po-boys par excellence, naturally, but the crawfish is the thing to...

BuffBurger

$$ Hamburgers 1014 Wirt Rd.

At Spring Branch fast-casual favorite BuffBurger, owners Paul "Buff" and Sara Burden get the beef for their house-ground burgers from Texas’s acclaimed 44 Fa...

Editor’s Pick

Bernie's Burger Bus

$ American/New American Multiple Locations

Our top pick from the former food truck’s menu is still The Principal, a classic cheeseburger with Bernie’s signature garlic-roasted tomatoes. Of the new ite...

Editor’s Pick

Brasserie 19

$$$$ American/New American, French 1962 W. Gray St.

Grab a bar seat at this swanky River Oaks bistro, and watch the pros do some shucking. A partnership with Island Creek Oysters, a farm in Massachusetts, keep...

Editor’s Pick

Fielding’s Local Kitchen

$$ American/New American 26400 Kuykendahl Rd.

At Fielding’s Local Kitchen in The Woodlands, owner Cary Attar applies his successful Fielding’s Wood Grill concept to an even higher-brow venture, creating ...

Editor’s Pick

Fielding’s Wood Grill

$$ American/New American 1699 Research Forest Dr.

This ambitious burger-oriented venture from Hubbell & Hudson founder Cary Attar is a temple to the house-made concept. Here, meats are butchered and grou...

Editor’s Pick

Fat Cat Creamery

$ Dessert 1901 N. Shepherd Dr.

Once only available in pints at a few area stores, Fat Cat Creamery has finally expanded into a shop of its own. The three signature flavors—Mexican Vanilla,...

Editor’s Pick

Ka Sushi

$$ Japanese 1901 N. Shepherd Dr.

Even the (lower sodium) soy sauce is house brewed at Fat Bao owner Pak Sui's highly original Heights sushi house. Small plates include Hamachi Pop—rolls of y...

Editor’s Pick

Fajitas a Go-Go

$$ Mexican/Tex-Mex 5404 Kirby Dr.

From the owners of—what else?—Tacos a Go-Go comes this never-knew-you-needed-it concept offering family-size servings of fajitas, served to-go from a conveni...

Editor’s Pick

Tacos A Go-Go

$ Mexican/Tex-Mex Multiple Locations

Tacos a Go-Go acts as an anchor for “The Best Block in Houston,” situated between some of the city’s most colorful attractions: the Continental Club and Shoe...

Nit Noi

$$ Thai Multiple Locations

As one of the best-known Thai food purveyors in the city, Nit Noi prides itself on standards that have been in place for over 20 years. The chicken satay is ...

Editor’s Pick

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

$$$$ Steak Multiple Locations

If there’s a Platonic ideal of a Houston steakhouse, Pappas Bros. may be it. At both locations, its dark, wood-paneled interior swarming with crisply dressed...

Pi Pizza

$$ American/New American, Italian, Pizza 181 Heights Blvd.

The same creative pizzas that won Anthony Calleo's pizza truck a following are on the menu at his restaurant. But there's more than pies topped with combos l...