Sugar Britches Cafe on FM 1488 serves sweet, savory twists on Southern cuisine

The Donut Burger ($10.95) features a glazed doughnut patty stuffed with two beef patties and cheese. (Courtesy Raydon Creative)
The Donut Burger ($10.95) features a glazed doughnut patty stuffed with two beef patties and cheese. (Courtesy Raydon Creative)

The Donut Burger ($10.95) features a glazed doughnut patty stuffed with two beef patties and cheese. (Courtesy Raydon Creative)

Image description
A Southern favorite, the Shrimp 'N Grits ($15.95) include a plate of Gulf shrimp and smoked sausage doused in Creole sauce over fried grit cakes. (Courtesy Raydon Creative)
Image description
The sweet stack of It's Your Birthday Cake Pancakes ($9.95) is made with cake batter and topped with cake batter whipped cream. Available with bacon or sausage ($1) or ham $1.55). (Courtesy Raydon Creative)
Sugar Britches Cafe owners John Irwin and Carlie Saranthus said they opened their new eatery and coffee bar north of The Woodlands this year to share their take on traditional breakfast fare and Southern-style cooking.

“I grew up in the deep South in Alabama and just had aunts and moms and grandmas that were fabulous cooks, and I learned a lot of stuff from them,” Saranthus said. “That’s kind of just the food that I know. We call it ‘Southern with a twist’ because there’s some takes on Southern classics that are a little bit different.”

Irwin and Saranthus said they bring decades of experience in the restaurant industry to their newest venture, the modern farmhouse-style cafe located at 2400 FM 1488, Ste. 100, Conroe. The pair said Sugar Britches’ Southern focus and mix of creative dishes is aimed at providing both comforting and intriguing options for diners.

The menu at Sugar Britches Cafe features familiar breakfast items including pastries, biscuits and gravy, waffles and egg dishes alongside exclusive items like the Cajun- and Middle Eastern-blended Southern hummus plate and cake batter pancakes. The restaurant’s lunch offerings also include a slate of recognizable plates prepared with handcrafted flavor.

“All of our meats are smoked. We smoke them ourselves, and make our own barbecue sauce, potato salad, everything, and it’s a little bit different. That’s where we get that Southern twist from,” Irwin said.

Classic chicken-fried steak and Creole shrimp and grits are accompanied by more unique customer favorites like the donut burger—a double-stacked cheeseburger served on a glazed doughnut—’brisket on a biscuit,’ and fried green tomato BLT served on jalapeno bread.

“It’s a little different than your average burger or barbecue plate, but people seem to like it and we enjoy doing it,” Irwin said.

Sugar Britches held its soft opening back in March, but was almost immediately shuttered by Montgomery County’s restaurant closure order that prevented service aside from takeout and delivery options. As a brand-new establishment, Irwin and Saranthus decided to wait until community members would be allowed to dine in-person before officially opening the cafe’s doors and first welcomed customers at limited capacity in June.

“We wanted to get to at least 75%. To open a new restaurant, we need at least that. So we kicked that off here around the middle of June ... and then we took another blow because they put us at 50%. However, it’s worked out the best that we could and we’re going to be here for the long term,” Irwin said. “We enjoy what we do and we enjoy being part of the community here.”

The cafe owners said they have made other adjustments to follow safety guidelines, including the limited seating, regular cleaning, and sanitary requirements including the use of face masks by employees. To-go and curbside service is also offered to meet customers’ needs, Saranthus said.

“We just try to do our part, which I think is important to the community and this industry,” Irwin said.

An outdoor patio space is also currently in use for customers seeking an open-air experience, while the eatery's side room for group dining or private events and parties will be available once larger gatherings are permitted. In addition to welcoming more customers once capacity limits are lifted, Saranthus said the cafe’s menu will be expanded to include new dishes and treats like ice cream and milkshakes as more supplies become available.

“We’re not at [a] 100% full menu. We’re adding things every week, some things we may not be able to add until this is over,” she said.

Despite the challenges of opening a new business during a pandemic, the owners said they are pleased with the reception they have received from their clientele so far and are looking forward to growing Sugar Britches’ offerings and local presence in the future.
“Our goal is to get through this pandemic, be here for the community, pack this place as busy as we can, and just try to do our part with everything and have people come in and enjoy the food,” Irwin said.

Sugar Britches Cafe

2400 FM 1488, Ste. 100, Conroe


8 a.m.-2 p.m. daily
By Ben Thompson
Ben joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2019 as a reporter for The Woodlands area and began working as Austin's City Hall reporter in April 2021.


The third-quarter law enforcement report was presented to The Woodlands Township board Oct. 27. (Ally Bolender/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Woodlands' third-quarter law enforcement report shows rise in some crimes in September

The month with the lowest occurrence of crimes of note so far this year was June with 289, according to the report.

ExxonMobil has held office space at Hughes Landing in The Woodlands. (Courtesy The Howard Hughes Corp.)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: ExxonMobil to bring Hughes Landing employees back to Spring location; Dave's Hot Chicken to open in Plano and more top stories

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 27.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg outlines the current domestic violence situation in the county during an Oct. 27 web panel. (Community Impact Newspaper via Harris County District Attorney's Office)
Harris County District Attorney's Office outlines plan to combat domestic violence

To date, 10,888 domestic violence assault cases have been filed so far in 2021.

Harris County residents with certain disabilities will now have better access to potentially life-saving information, thanks to a new accessible alert system launched by The Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Oct. 26. (Screenshot via Facebook Live)
Ready Harris rolls out new accessible alert system

Known as the Ready Harris Accessible Alert System, the new program will provide accessible alerts, warnings and preparedness information to individuals who are deaf, blind, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or low vision.

Early voting is underway for the incorporation election in The Woodlands, and Election Day is Nov. 2. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
The Woodlands-area groups, officials weigh in on incorporation before Nov. 2 vote

Kevin Brady was among those offering a public statement on a position concerning incorporation.

After being closed to the public for the 2020 season, the Houston Repertoire Ballet is returning to Tomball for its 22nd annual performance of "The Nutcracker," the nonprofit organization announced in an Oct. 25 release. (Courtesy Houston Repertoire Ballet)
Houston Repertoire Ballet's 'The Nutcracker' to return Dec. 3-5

After being closed to the public for the 2020 season, the Houston Repertoire Ballet is returning to Tomball.

ExxonMobil has held office space at Hughes Landing in The Woodlands. (Courtesy The Howard Hughes Corp.)
ExxonMobil confirms it is bringing Hughes Landing employees back to Spring location

The energy company previously moved employees to The Woodlands to satisfy a tax abatement requirement.

Montgomery County needs to approve new precinct maps by Nov. 12 as part of the redistricting process. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Montgomery County to redistrict commissioner precincts following initial assessment

Following the release of the 2020 U.S. Census, a legal firm that contracted with the county recommended commissioner precincts be redrawn to reflect Montgomery County's growth.

From left, Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia, Wayne Young, CEO of The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, and Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis announced a new community-initiated mental health care project during a press conference Oct. 26. (Screenshot via Facebook Live)
Harris County officials unveil new three-year $8.93M community-initiated mental health care initiative

The community care model will focus on 10 ZIP codes totaling about 300,000 residents that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and suicide, and that have a lower utilization of behavioral health care services, by providing mental health education and training to members of the community.

Harris County Deputy Kareem Atkins was honored by Harris County commissioners on Oct. 26. (Emily Lincke/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County commissioners designate Oct. 25 as 'Deputy Kareem Atkins Day'

“Deputy Kareem Atkins Day” will be celebrated annually to recognize Atkins' heroism and service, Judge Lina Hidalgo said at the court’s Oct. 26 regular meeting. According to Hidalgo, Atkins was the first Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's Office deputy to be fatally shot.

A judge granted a temporary restraining order against Magnolia ISD, pausing enforcement of its gender-based hair length policy. (Community Impact staff)
Judge grants temporary restraining order against enforcement of Magnolia ISD's gender-based hair policy

The temporary restraining order allows students who had been disciplined for their hair length to return to regular classes.