Veronica and John Avila took over the corner store in 2018, opening Henderson & Kane—part barbecue restaurant and cafe and part grocery store powered by local producers. The building is still owned by the Vietnamese family who ran a store and restaurant there for many years.
“We really wanted to return it back to what it was for the neighborhood,” Veronica said.
Veronica is not a restaurateur, but as an architect who worked for about 10 years on hospitality projects, she was drawn to the craft of creating experiences. She oversaw the design, refurbished furniture and made some fixtures by hand.
John, her husband, is the chef. After helping launch three restaurants in New York City, he started El Burro and the Bull, selling small-batch barbecue at a farmers market in Houston’s East End. That effort later spun off into a slot in the former downtown food hall Conservatory. For now, Henderson & Kane is the only place to find El Burro barbecue, though all the smoking is done in an off-site kitchen.
The barbecue is a big draw, Veronica said, but the nightly dinner specials are a hit with the neighbors, who can walk to dinner each night of the week and get something different, from steaks on Monday to “winner winner chicken dinner” on Thursday. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday.
“That’s when we see the whole family turn out and the place fills up,” Veronica said. “Everybody packs in.”
The regular crowd has become an extended family, Veronica said, and the shop itself is family-run. Veronica’s brother, also a chef, helps run the kitchen, and even a nephew or two have been known to pitch in, she said.
The help has come in handy, as Veronica and John are plotting the return of El Burro and the Bull with a restaurant on the east side.
“Even then, the store will always be here. We love being part of this community,” Veronica said.
Henderson & Kane
715 Henderson St., Houston
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-10 p.m.