Killen’s TMX: Nationally recognized chef builds his Pearland portfolio

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With a successful steakhouse, barbecue restaurant and burger joint to his name, Ronnie Killen’s latest creation has been on his mind for some time.

“I’ve always wanted to open a Tex-Mex concept,” Killen said. “But visiting Mexico to learn about ingredients and techniques taught me more about the culture and elevated my excitement for the food. That inspired me to lean toward a focus on regional Mexican cuisines and the origins of Tex-Mex.”

From the light fixtures to the waitstaff uniforms to the menus on the table, references to Mexico mix with touches from Killen’s steakhouse and barbecue ventures. The menu offers familiar staples, such as queso, quesadillas and enchiladas, with Killen’s style upgrades, such as smoked brisket or wagyu beef fajitas. Other dishes explore different Mexican cuisine, like the tuna tostada or grilled octopus with chorizo. Throughout the menu, Killen only uses fresh, premium ingredients. The kitchen does not even have a freezer, he said.

“Doing things this way is a bit more expensive to execute, but we believe it’s worth it,” he said.

Fans of Killen’s Steakhouse may see familiar faces as well, with staff members helping with the launch, including chef Louis Lopez, who is leading the TMX kitchen. Killen said keeping all of his restaurants close in Pearland has made it easier to manage his growing food empire.

Opening in January, Killen’s TMX attracted a following long before the doors opened. The restaurant began with dinner service and plans to add weekend brunches and weekday lunch in the coming weeks.

Killen, a semifinalist for the James Beard Award, one of the most prestigious culinary awards in the industry, cannot spend too much time celebrating this launch; he is already deep in preparations to open a second location of his steakhouse in the Woodlands.

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Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018. A graduate of the University of Houston, Matt was most recently the director of community outreach and engagement at the Columbia Missourian and a professor at the Missouri School of Journalism.
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