The most restaurant experience Jim Hallers had before opening Tailgators Pub & Grill in March 2009 was a job as a bus boy when he was 16. But armed with decades of Information Technology experience and the desire to open a quality sports bar in The Woodlands area, Hallers now operates three restaurants and is looking to expand his Tailgators locations.
“I was sitting around with friends and we were lamenting the fact that The Woodlands doesn’t have any good sports bars,” Hallers said. “It was just a crazy idea, but I think being in business for 25 years in technology—managing large budgets, big groups of people—teaches you all the sound business concepts of a business like this.”
Serving quality bar food and drinks, Tailgators has earned a solid reputation. The original restaurant opened on Hwy. 242 in 2009, while a second location opened in Magnolia along FM 1488 in 2010.
Hallers purchased The Stadium Bar & Grill in Harris County about two-and-a-half years ago and said he is considering expanding Tailgators to Conroe or Spring in the next six months.
“What you find is if you provide a good restaurant with good food at reasonable prices, people really like it,” he said.
With Hallers having lived in Southeast Texas for more than 30 years, Tailgators’ menu showcases a Cajun influence, featuring seafood dishes, a Cajun turkey melt, Po Boy sandwiches, gumbo, boudin and even hand-breaded alligator.
“We’re not afraid to spice things up or blacken them,” he said.
Hallers said the restaurant’s menu features a variety of pub options as well, highlighting the custom burgers, chicken strips with homemade honey mustard or gravy, chicken fried steak, distinctive salads and, of course, chicken wings.
“What we learned is that you can’t buy anything out of a can, nothing pre-packed,” he said. “You have to make it yourself if you want it to be really good.”
In addition to liquor and mixed drink options, Hallers said Tailgators features 16 beers on tap and several more bottled options.
Although offering well-known brand beers, Tailgators also offers brands from local breweries, featuring Conroe’s Southern Star Brewery, as well as offering Magnolia’s own Lone Pint Brewery at the Magnolia location.
Hallers said crawfish season is a big seller for the restaurant, but Tailgators also thrives during football season.
With dozens of TVs, the restaurant caters to fans of all professional football teams, not just the Texans, featuring out of market games on different televisions.
Wings: Served bone-in or boneless in any of 10 homemade sauce flavors of varying degrees of spice. $5.99 for eight. $9.99 for 15. $16.99 for 25. $29.99 for 50.
Burgers: Tailgators offers a variety of distinctive burger options, including a hatch green chili cheeseburger, the Tailgators Smokin’ Hot Burger and the Texas Toast Patty Melt. $7.99-$12.99.
Gator Bites: Hand-breaded alligator, fried golden brown with homemade Gator Sauce. $7.99.
Southwest Cobb salad: The house favorite combines chicken, avocado, pico de gallo, egg, Applewood smoked bacon, black olives and shredded cheese piled onto spring mix with a choice of dressing. $7.99.
Tailgators Gumbo: Authentic Louisiana recipe includes chicken and Andouille sausage, served with rice. $3.99 for a cup. $6.99 for a bowl.
Chicken strips: Hand-breaded chicken strips made in-house and served with homemade gravy or sauces. $5.99.
Tailgators Pub & Grill
8000 Hwy. 242
The Woodlands 936-271-4200
Hours: Daily 11 a.m.—2 a.m. (both locations)
33418 Egypt Lane