In and Out

The Opening & Closing of the Week: Oct. 10-16

Is this burger chain worth the wait?

By Katharine Shilcutt October 16, 2015

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Hopdoddy is known for its creative burgers and shakes. Oh, and its lines. Expect lines.

We got a little ahead of ourselves this week, excitedly announcing the opening of two new restaurants: Lee's Fried Chicken and Donuts, which is one block away from the Houstonia offices and which will inevitably be the diet downfall of at least a quarter of our staff, and Method, the new restaurant from Marque that's open to the public (unlike the rest of the members-only club in CityCentre).

But that doesn't mean we're out of news to report, starting with the sad closure of Majorca Bistro and Tapas in Midtown after four years. Moroccan-born chef Hicham Nafaa's tapas were more influenced by North African cuisine than your average Spanish restaurant, serving excellent merguez, a Moroccan lamb sausage, alongside standards such as albondigas and patatas bravas. There was a time when Majorca was even considered one of the best restaurants in Midtown. But times change, new concepts move in and crowds move on—especially in the restaurant-saturated area near Gray and Bagby, which is now home to so many great new restaurants we wrote an entire article about how to hit them all in one epic night. (Ed. note: A previous version of this article wrongly indicated that Hicham Nafaa was associated with Mia Bella Trattoria and Coco's Crepes. We apologize for the error.)

Elsewhere, the River Oaks District (unfamiliar? Sarah Rufca catches you up on what you need to know about the new luxury district here) has announced the impending opening of two new restaurants: Hopdoddy Burger Bar and The Tuck Room, the latter of which sounds like Buffalo Bill's signature move from Silence of the Lambs but that's okay, we're not making any judgments yet.

Rumors of Austin-based Hopdoddy's entrance into the Houston market have been milling about for almost three years; Dallas even has three locations of its own, each met with the sort of opening-day lines usually reserved for the likes of Jollibee. Lines? Yes. Hopdoddy is famous for them. Even a year after opening the original Austin location on South Congress in 2010, owner Chuck Smith reported that the burger bar was still averaging a 20-minute wait in line, with Hopdoddy serving around 1,000 customers a day. What's the attraction? 

Mostly, it's the chain's health-oriented spin on burgers, which feature black Angus beef from cows raised sans hormones or antibiotics, as well as tuna, turkey, bison, lamb, chicken and other options (yes, even vegetarian burgers; look for its black bean-corn patty on the La Bandita burger with goat cheese and avocado on a whole wheat bun). The meat is ground and the buns are baked daily, while other ingredients are sourced as locally as possible. Hopdoddy is also known for its line-up of craft beers, cocktails and creative milkshakes, which range from specials like chipotle peanut butter cup to standards like chocolate stout.

Meanwhile, The Tuck Room is, according to a press release, "an intimate gastro lounge located in the iPic Theater, featuring skillfully crafted cocktails and soulful social plates." As with Hopdoddy, iPic—a luxury theater chain—was long rumored to be building a new location in River Oaks, bringing an upscale aesthetic to the concept of dinner-and-a-movie all in one place that was first pioneered by Alamo Drafthouse. iPic offers membership to its theaters, which reduces the prices of tickets and allows the use of "Premium Plus" seating that comes with fully-reclining chairs and your own waiter. Of course, if you prefer to keep your dinner separate for your movie, The Tuck Room will be ready and waiting for you.

No word yet on when exactly Hopdoddy or iPic/The Tuck Room will open, but look for both to debut within the coming months.


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