HOUSTON – James Beard award semifinalist Ronnie Killen is set to open a new restaurant in Houston, this one will be inside the Loop.
Killen is taking over the historic Hickory Hollow building at 101 Heights Blvd., at the intersection of Heights Boulevard and Center Street. Hickory Hollow served locals from 1987 until January.
It'll be Killen's seventh restaurant and first inside the Loop.
The menu at the new will feature Killen’s greatest comfort food hits from his other venues: Killen’s Steakhouse, Killen’s Barbecue, Killen’s Burgers, Killen’s STQ and Killen’s TMX.
“Comfort food has always been my thing,” Killen said. “It’s my roots. It’s what my mother, my grandfather, my aunt taught me, and it’s what I like to do.”
The new restaurant is expected to open in late summer 2019.
Killen’s chicken fried steak, 24-hour brined fried chicken, jumbo fried shrimp, beef ribs, burgers and smoked brisket enchiladas on the menu. Downhome sides will include creamy mac ‘n’ cheese, Southern-style braised green beans and Killen’s legendary creamed corn, as well as cornbread, biscuits and yeast rolls are expected to be on the menu. Killen’s bread pudding and carrot cake will also be available.
Killen said beer, wine and possible mixed drinks will be offered. If there is enough room, a bar will be built.
“I still need to have a bonding period with the restaurant to envision what I really want regarding decor,” Killen said.
New additions to the menu are expected to include a smoked meatloaf based on Killen's mother’s recipe and braised pork chops with dirty rice, influenced by Killen’s love of Big Mama’s, a soul food kitchen in Pearland.
Rnovation plans at the new location include new paint and flooring, renovating the restrooms and opening up the kitchen, which will have a new barbecue pit and wood-burning grill installed.
Killen's will serve lunch and dinner and will also feature a happy hour with a bar menu. Hours have not been determined.