Local food, beverage concepts on the rise

Three local entrepreneurs have opened businesses in Sugar Land and Missouri City aimed at providing the community with more options.

Three local entrepreneurs have opened businesses in Sugar Land and Missouri City aimed at providing the community with more options.

Local food, beverage concepts on the rise




The opening of several independent eateries and unique concepts over the past few months has broadened the food and beverage landscape around Sugar Land and Missouri City. These establishments are providing residents with the type of options typically found inside the inner loop of Houston.

“In suburban communities like Sugar Land and Missouri City, you often see a lot of chain and franchise restaurants go in first because they have bigger budgets,” said Melissa Stewart, executive director for the Greater Houston Restaurant Association. “But the [Sugar Land] area has really come into its own, and you have seen more independent restaurants open because there is a larger customer base.”

Keeping it local


For many years franchises and chains have dominated the dining landscape in the Sugar Land and Missouri City area, prompting residents in search of alternative options to drive to Houston where the options are more diverse.

“In the suburbs you do see the chains and franchises get a lot of business because families are trying to manage a lot of obligations in the evening and they want a quick meal,” Stewart said. “But you also have people who want an interesting, unique or fine dining experience and don’t always want to be driving back to the city to find it. They want to stay in their community, which has opened the door for some of these concepts and ideas to pop up.”

Recognizing the opportunity presented by the tremendous population and commercial industry growth in the area, many entrepreneurs have opened businesses locally to change that and fill that void by offering more diverse and new concepts to the community, Stewart said. The business climate in the area has also created opportunities for local entrepreneurs to open close to home.

[polldaddy poll=9013157]

"For a restaurant owner who wants to try and have some semblance of family life, it makes sense to be in their own backyard as much as they can,” she said.

Ron Brandani, a resident of Sienna Plantation with more than 15 years of experience in the restaurant industry, is one of those entrepreneurs. He opened Brandani’s Restaurant & Wine Bar on March 3 in Township Square in Missouri City. Brandani described his restaurant as an American restaurant with an Italian heart where customers can also get good wine.

“I have always wanted to open up something in my own community,” Brandani said.“It makes sense to open something in your own area. I could have opened in Houston, but being close to home is better.”

Brandani said he also chose to open in Missouri City because he noticed there were very few dining options in an area that has a significant population.

“You look around this area and you see all these master-planned communities with all these people, and they don’t have a place to eat,” Brandani said. “When I looked at coming here, I looked at that. I think out here everybody is traveling out of town to find something different to eat, and now they can travel here instead of out of town.”

Robert White, who has been a Sugar Land resident for more than 20 years, is another local entrepreneur who wanted to provide his community with more dining options. White is the owner of four restaurants in Town Square in Sugar Land: Japaneiros, Jupiter Pizza & Waffle Company, Guru Burger & Crepes and The Ginger Mule Tonics & Meals. The Ginger Mule is White’s latest concept, which he opened June 16.

“The driver behind me opening all these concepts was because it was what I wanted to see here and something this area was lacking,” White said. “I don’t like eating at franchises at all, and I thought the people here deserved better. I wanted to bring to the community the types of restaurants you used to have to drive a ways to eat at.”

With The Ginger Mule, White said he wanted to bring a gastropub concept similar to Anvil—a popular gastropub in Houston—to the Sugar Land area.

“The whiskey industry in the U.S. is just exploding with amazing products, and I wanted a place that would showcase that,” he said. “The spirits we offer are a high percentage of brown spirits, and of that, a high percentage is American spirits. I also wanted a menu that kind of matched that, so that’s why we also offer classic American dishes.”

Top 5 Food Trends Top 5 Food Trends[/caption]

Unique concepts


In addition to new independent restaurants, a number of unique concepts, such as Vino & Vinyl in Missouri City, have opened in the area recently.

Vino & Vinyl, which opened June 1, is a business owned by Missouri City resident Paul Killingsworth that sells wine and records. Killingsworth said he wanted to open a shop that appealed to both wine buyers and record collectors.

“I was frustrated with the big-box stores and the corporate wine destinations,” he said. “You see a lot of the same brands everywhere you go, and I wanted to just focus on these small family-owned wineries and the stuff that is made by hand. With the records I am trying to appeal to the younger generation and those who grew up listening to vinyl."

The idea to open his business in Missouri City not only stemmed from a desire to open close to home but also to provide the community with something it was lacking and that might appeal to young parents such as himself.

“I feel like people my age, if they didn’t have kids, would totally be living in the city,” he said. “If you have people who are starting to build a family, a lot of the time it makes more sense for them to raise their family in the suburbs. But they are still people who want the cool restaurants and the cool places to go [to], so I am trying to provide that.”
By David Pollan
David has been with Community Impact Newspaper since July 2013. He has been the editor for the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition since November 2014 and prior to that he was the editor for the Tomball/Magnolia edition. Before joining Community Impact, David worked for eight years in Denver at various newspapers as a copy editor, reporter, designer and editor. David covers business, transportation, development, education and local government.


MOST RECENT

Right Mentality offers individual, couples and family counseling to assist with depression, anxiety, trauma, anger management and substance use. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Right Mentality Mental Health and Wellness provides therapy at new Sugar Land location

The practice offers individual, couples and family counseling to assist with depression, anxiety, trauma, anger management and substance use.

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon begins rollout of statewide vaccination clinics for employees

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Memorial Hermann is hosting a drive-thru vaccine clinic at the Smart Financial Center in Sugar Land April 15-16. (Community Impact Newspaper)
Walk-ins welcome at COVID-19 vaccine clinic April 15-16 at Smart Financial Center

Haven't recieved the COVID-19 vaccine yet? Memorial Hermann is hosting a drive-thru clinic from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. in Sugar Land. No appointment necessary.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Homes priced above $750,000, such as this one in the Heights, saw a surge in sales in March, with almost twice as many properties sold. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Average Houston single-family home price jumps 20% in March

The average sale price for a home in March was $370,847.

The proposed change would have moved all city employees except the city manager from a minimum-median-maximum to a defined pay progression plan. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
Missouri City City Council rejects proposed change to municipal employees' pay plan

The proposed change would have moved all city employees except the city manager from a minimum-median-maximum to a defined pay progression plan.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

Missouri City staff said a bond election is necessary to fund projects related to transportaion, parks and recreation, and facilities over the next five years. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
Missouri City City Council begins process of calling November bond election

City staff said a bond election is necessary to fund projects related to transportaion, parks and recreation, and facilities over the next five years.

Fort Bend County's Mobile Health Unit will administer vaccinations in portions of the county that are economically disadvantaged or lack access to transportation, said County Judge KP George. (Screenshot courtesy Fort Bend County)
Fort Bend County to administer COVID-19 vaccinations from new Mobile Health Unit

Fort Bend County's Mobile Health Unit will administer vaccinations in portions of the county that are economically disadvantaged or lack access to transportation, County Judge KP George said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Costco Business Centers, of which there are only about 15 in the country, carry different products and provide a different shopping experience to members than do traditional Costco Wholesale stores. (Courtesy Costco Wholesale)
First Houston-area Costco Business Center under construction at The Grid in Stafford

Costco Business Centers, of which there are only about 15 in the country, carry different products and provide a different shopping experience to members than do traditional Costco Wholesale stores.

Uncorked: Daiquiris & More makes drinks in flavors such as peach, strawberry and pina colada, which can be enjoyed at the daiquiri bar or be ordered to go. (Courtesy Pexels)
Uncorked: Daiquiris & More brings frozen, mixed alcoholic drinks to Missouri City

The drinks come in flavors such as peach, strawberry and pina colada, and can be enjoyed at the daiquiri bar or be made to go.