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)

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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)
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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 January 2019 and is a reporter for The Woodlands edition.


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