Restaurant News

Pit Room Owner to Open Tex-Mex Restaurant

The pitmaster will take over the old Cane Rosso space in Montrose.

By Timothy Malcolm January 7, 2019

Michael Sambrooks, left, with Steve Breaker, director of operations at Sambrooks Management Co.

Image: Lisa Gochman

After snatching UP Lee's Fried Chicken & Donuts (now Sam's), Pi Pizza, and Star Fish from Cherry Pie Hospitality, Sambrooks Management Co. apparently isn't slowing down. According to the Houston Chronicle, the hospitality company helmed by Pit Room owner Michael Sambrooks has taken over the lease of the now-shuttered Cane Rosso space in Montrose

Around summer, per the Chronicle, Sambrooks plans to open a Tex-Mex restaurant. A representative for Sambrooks Management Co. confirmed the details.

That means another likely outlet for the Pit Room's famous brisket tacos, plus an opportunity for the mega-busy restaurateur to show his skills in a different medium. According to the representative, Lyle Bento, the culinary director of Sambrooks Management Co., chiefly responsible for Lee's Fried Chicken & Donuts, Pi Pizza, and Star Fish, will help plan the menu at the Tex-Mex concept.

Sambrooks plans to remodel the space and update the kitchen; opening is scheduled for mid-2019.

The move is on the heels of another famous barbecue pitmaster's Tex-Mex grab—Killen's TMX opened last week in Pearland. And it continues a furious last six months for Sambrooks. As Cherry Pie began to fall apart, the Pit Room pitmaster swooped in and took over three of the hospitality group's lead concepts. Sambrooks hired Lyle Bento (formerly of Underbelly Hospitality) to run the culinary operations of Lee's Fried Chicken & Donuts, Pi Pizza, and Star Fish, and also tapped J.D. Woodward (formerly of La Vista 101) as executive chef of the latter. Lee's has since changed over to Sam's, showcasing plenty of Bento's Southern touches, while Pi and Star Fish have yet to transition fully.

"We have been wanting to do Tex-Mex 'The Pit Room way' for some time and could not be more excited to start down this path in the perfect space at 4306 Yoakum," said Sambrooks. "Every menu item will be made from scratch daily and we intend to put the best in town on each plate, from cheese enchiladas, to beef fajitas to chef driven specials."

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