Jim Hallers, co-founder of Citizens Grill restaurant and bar off FM 1488, launched the eatery last spring after a decade of working in the The Woodlands-area dining business. Hallers said his new Americana-inspired concept was designed as a community-friendly follow-up to the Tailgators Pub and Grill franchise he started in 2009.
“Ten years later, since the first Tailgators, we’ve all grown up,” Hallers said. “Now, my customers [ask], ‘Can we get a glass of wine? Can we get a little nicer meal?’ So really, what you’re sitting in is the culmination of all of that.”
Hallers said Citizens Grill was built to appeal to customers looking for a quality, filling meal and a cold drink. The restaurant’s signature comfort food is served across three distinct areas: a traditional main dining room; a quieter, speakeasy-style lounge; and an expansive outdoor patio space with room to host individual diners and larger special events.
“The whole idea was to create a place where ... you can bring your family, you can bring a date, you can bring the kids,” Citizens Grill co-founder Marissa Salmassi said. “It’s going to be a place where everyone wouldn’t feel uncomfortable in any way.”
Citizens Grill serves a range of traditional American fare, featuring entrees such as Texas ribeye steak or blackened salmon. The menu also includes signature side dishes and shareable, homemade desserts, such as six-layer cake and peach cobbler.
While Hallers said he developed the Citizens Grill concept around its atmosphere and hearty American cuisine, the restaurant does feature a full drink menu and two main bars in the dining room and lounge areas. Wine and cocktails are available, alongside a beer list highlighted by local Montgomery County- and Houston-based brewers.
“When people come in, they don’t know even that there’s all these breweries,” Hallers said. “You have no idea, but yet, now, you can come in and say, ‘Oh my gosh, I can drink and support people that are down the street.’”
Hallers and Salmassi said the grill has gained a group of established regulars while also consistently attracting new guests since it opened. Hallers also said he plans to open a pizza parlor and bar next door to Citizens Grill this summer while continuing to build on the main restaurant’s cuisine and cement its community ambience.
“You see people walking in here. You see them talking. It’s not just, ‘Come into our chain restaurant, sit down, eat and leave,’” he said. “There’s a whole social vibe—a whole warmth ... And when you give that to people, they come back again and again and again.”
315 Enclave Drive, Ste. 300, Conroe
Hours: Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Citizens Grill restaurant and bar celebrates American food, drinks and cheer
Citizens Grill co-founders Marissa Salmassi and Jim Hallers designed the Americana restaurant as a community-friendly evolution of Hallers' Tailgators Pub and Grill concept. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)