You know how it is: We hear of a restaurant scheduled to open (insert number greater than 10) months down the road, and everyone gets excited, and then ... nothing. Then, a year and a half later, we suddenly we find out dinner service is beginning tomorrow.
So, take all of these with a grain of salt, but here are some of the likely restaurant openings we're excited about for 2020.
Killen's | Heights
Back in March, pitmaster and restaurateur Ronnie Killen announced he was taking over the old Hickory Hollow space in the Heights, turning it into a Southern-comfort-style restaurant with chicken fried steak and other old-school delights. A fall 2019 opening was anticipated, but if you drive by these days, you'll notice a lot of work still to do. That said, Killen has hosted some pop-ups outside the Heights Boulevard property over recent weekends, giving folks a taste of that chicken fried steak and whetting whistles for something to come.
Hugo Ortega's Yet-Unknown Restaurant | Uptown
"The opening is at least a year away," wrote Tracy Vaught, co-founder of H-Town Restaurant Group, about a lease she and husband Hugo Ortega signed with EDENS to take over the old Cafe Express space at Uptown Park. It'll be the couple's fifth restaurant (Backstreet Cafe, Caracol, Hugo's, Xochi), and while details are unknown about what exactly the powerful hospitality couple will bring there, is late 2020 a possibility? Sure, why not?
One Fifth Part V | Montrose
Another Chris Shepherd Jawn | Unknown
We know that in August, Shepherd's "five concepts in five years" experiment One Fifth will have its final go-round. What could it be? Some ideas (at least to this writer) include Indian/Pakistani, Chinese, Vietnamese, West African, Tex-Mex, Mexican ...but whatever the case, we'll be going. As for what "Another Chris Shepherd Jawn" means: The chef is on record wanting to open a standalone version of his very good Mediterranean concept from 2018. Who knows if that'll happen in 2020, but if there's one thing we know about Shepherd, it's that he'll do anything at any time.
March | Montrose
Goodnight Hospitality had a big year in 2019, opening Montrose Cheese & Wine before giving us our pick for restaurant of the year in Rosie Cannonball. But just upstairs from Rosie will be March, the group's fine-dining concept that many hope will fill in the void left by the now-shuttered The Pass. Reservations will probably go quickly here.
Satisfy | River Oaks
Clark Cooper Concepts, which operates Punk's Simple Southern Food and Coppa Osteria in Rice Village, will open health-forward restaurant Satisfy in the spring at 2229 San Felipe. Satisfy's promise: no refined sugars and flours, no GMOs, no artificial stuff.
Mico's Hot Chicken | Heights
Rising in June amid a fury of chicken sandwich nonsense, Mico's by the Galleria was an instant hit thanks to its flavorful heat and substantial portions. Before the end of 2019, owners Kimico and Chris Frydenlund announced they were opening a brick-and-mortar at the former Balls Out Burger space at 1603 Durham Dr. Look for that (or maybe you'll smell the spices cooking) to open in the first months of 2020.
Kin Dee | Heights
Lots of expected openings in the Heights in 2020, including this modern Thai restaurant from Miranda Leotkhamfu and Lukkaew Srasrisuwan. Kin Dee will take 2,500 square feet in the Market at Houston Heights at 1533 N. Shepherd Dr. It's set to open in the spring.
Voodoo Doughnut | Washington Avenue
One of the most notable doughnut shops in America is coming from Portland to Houston. Voodoo announced in the summer it was landing at 3715 Washington Ave., and the iconic pink imagery is in place. Look for Voodoo to open very soon, with a second on the way at 1719 Westheimer Rd. in Montrose.
Sushi Rebel | Springwoods Village
The minds behind Uptown Sushi are opening this new sushi concept at 60-acre mixed-use development CityPlace near Spring in late 2020. Joining them will be an Island Grill location, a Common Bond location, and Dallas salad-and-baguette chain Bread Zeppelin.
Be More Pacific | Heights
The popular Austin import serving up Filipino goodies like pancit and lumpia, plus adobo chicken and brisket kare kare (stew), is close to opening its brick-and-mortar Yale Street in the Heights.
Karne Korean Steakhouse | Heights
When Dak & Bop, Jongro BBQ, and Keki Modern Cakes got together, they devised Karne Korean Steakhouse, which is slated to open in 2020 at 2805 White Oak Dr. in the Heights. Karne Korean plans to be a modern Korean concept with banchan flights, grilled proteins, and a soju-starring bar menu.
Tim Ho Wan | Katy
Houston's dim sum game continues to improve, and it'll get a nice budget-level boost from this affordable Michelin-starred chain out of Hong Kong. Its website claims an opening at 23330 Grand Circle Blvd. (near Katy Asian Town) in the winter.
More Food Halls
We're keeping our eyes peeled on the possible opening of Post Houston at the former Barbara Jordan Post Office; the arrival of Miami-based Asian food hall 1-800-Lucky in Midtown; the Company of Nomads (Bravery Chef Hall, Conservatory) project Railway Heights at 8200 Washington Ave.; and the long-awaited Lyric Market at 411 Smith St. in the Theater District. And of course, we're sure to see some changes at the existing halls across town.
(Editor's Note: See how quickly things change? Read this piece to keep up on big changes at Conservatory, plus more projects coming.)