Ronnie Killen’s first inner-Loop endeavor is now open in the former Hickory Hollow space. At Killen’s, expect much of the same mouthwatering comfort-food fare experienced at his fried-chicken pop-ups throughout the last year, plus fried green tomatoes with buttermilk sauce, and an ever-comforting chicken-and-dumplings dish. 101 Heights Blvd., 713.637.4664
Chef-owner Benchawan Painter finally has a permanent home for her Street to Kitchen pop-up concept. The East End restaurant spotlights self-proclaimed “unapologetically, authentically Thai” food, elevating items that are traditional street foods in Painter’s native Thailand to chef-driven dishes made with local and organic ingredients. 6501 Harrisburg Blvd., 713.428.1975
The Memorial area’s new White Elm Bakery — a joint effort of Chico Ramirez of Dinner Table Investments, Bread Man Baking owner Tasos Katsaounis, and Chez Nous owners Scott and Stacy Simonson — is a nearly 3,500-square-foot space with a patio that offers walk-up coffee and pastries in the morning and lunch and dinner daily. Expect fresh bread, and Greek specialties nodding to Katsaounis’ upbringing. 14079 Memorial Dr., 281.496.2920
The Heights outpost of The Burger Joint was in the works for years, and finally opened shortly before the shutdown in March. But owner Shawn Bermudez is already planning to expand: The Taco Stand will debut next-door to the burger hotspot on Shepherd before the end of the year. Expect all-day breakfast tacos, plus burritos and street tacos, all on housemade corn and flour tortillas. 2002 N. Shepherd Dr., 713.485.6734
Montrose restaurant Riel — previously only open for dinner — now offers a special to-go lunch menu of sandwiches and more. Louie’s will offer “Riel Good Sandwiches,” like a classic Italian sub or a mouthwatering, monstrous chicken-caprese creation — fried mozzarella, tomato, basil, and pesto-drenched chicken, topped with honey-balsamic — along with sides like Ryan Lachaine’s signature poutine. 1927 Fairview St., 832.831.9109
Now open on Wash Ave: Bottled Blonde Pizzeria + Beer Garden, with a sports-bar-meets-biergarten vibe and covered patio dining. Expect an extensive selection of craft beer, along with weekend brunch, late-night bites and a killer happy hour that includes half-off pizzas from 3-6pm on weekdays. 4901 Washington Ave.
Get a taste of what Brennan’s newest exec chef can do! Joey Chavez’s five-course tasting menu ($80) includes items like Hamachi crudo made with Texas peaches and truffled-aji-amarillo vinaigrette, and a savory barbecue lamb with smoked-tomato tart. 3300 Smith St., 713.522.9711
AT TOP: This Lil' Piggy cookies at White Elm Bakery