Chicken Fried Fantastic

Food News: Ronnie Killen's Inner-Loop Restaurant Officially Opens This Week

Get Texas-style comfort food in all its glory near the intersection of Heights Boulevard and Washington Avenue.

By Timothy Malcolm August 17, 2020

Fried chicken, anyone? You can get it at Killen's.

One of Houston's most highly anticipated restaurants unofficially opened quietly over the weekend.

Killen's, the comfort food spot from James Beard award-nominated chef Ronnie Killen (Killen's Barbecue, Killen's Steakhouse, Killen's STQ) served its first customers Saturday evening during a soft opening at 101 Heights Blvd. The restaurant will officially open its doors Wednesday.

The restaurateur and chef took over the former Hickory Hollow space in the spring of 2019, promising to offer food inspired by his grandmother Millie Simecek. That means old-school, Texas-style comfort food, like a pound of chicken fried steak and gravy; smothered pork chops; fried chicken; and sides like collard greens, creamed corn, and fried okra. For dessert there's peaches and cream bread pudding and German chocolate cake, among other options.

Killen had to demolish the interior of the old Hickory Hollow before renovating the space. With Sullivan, Henry, Oggero & Associates leading the redesign, Killen's is an homage to Simecek's home. There's both shiplap walls and exposed brick, glass canister lighting, and family photos at the bar area. The dining room has 178 seats, though in the early going seating is more limited and spaced out as the restaurant adheres to CDC guidelines.

Killen's will be open 5–10 p.m. Tues–Sun. Lunch and brunch will follow

Bistro Provence is remaking itself. The French restaurant at 13616 Memorial Dr will close after dinner service Saturday and a few weeks later should re-open as Bistro 555, focusing on a greater totality of French cuisine. "It’s time to refresh," said chef-owner Genevieve Guy in a press release. "I want a place to showcase more of France and more of what today’s French food is all about. The menu is going to be based on five appetizers, five main courses and five desserts, thus the name. We’ll have the flexibility to regularly change the menu based on what is fresh and new on the market."

Get an Italian sub at Louie's, a sandwich popup inside Riel.

A new job in Nashville? That isn't keeping Ryan Lachaine of Riel from delivering more goods at his acclaimed Montrose restaurant. Last week Lachaine launched Louie's, a sandwich pop-up he's trying out at Riel. He's using bread made by pastry chef Alyssa Dole of the Kirby Group to make sandwiches like BLTs, turkey clubs, Italian subs, and pizza subs. Also, find chicken parmesan, fried fish, and crispy pork sandwiches, along with sides like poutine, potato salad, pasta salad, coleslaw, and fries. It's open noon–5 p.m. Mon–Sat (Riel is open for dinner).

Finally, Alex Au-Yeung, chef-owner of Phat Eatery in Katy, will be starting up a ghost kitchen called Phat Kitchen in September at Blodgett Food Hall (2616 Blodgett St). The outfit is designed to bring Phat Eatery's Malaysian cuisine (beef rendang, chicken curry, and the best roti canai in the area) to Inner Loop residents. Going forward Au-Yeung will use the ghost kitchen space to unveil dishes from Yelo, the banh mi shop he and chef Cuc Lam will be rolling out in Katy, and Pig + Duck, a new Chinese barbecue concept he's putting together.

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