When he saw the property in Marcel Town Center off FM 1488 for what is now his restaurant, Burger and Bordeaux, Watkins said he fell in love with the location. He chose the site and opened the restaurant July 2, 2019. Despite facing challenges during COVID-19 closures, he said the restaurant continues to offer a break from stressful environments.
“People stress out everywhere else,” Watkins said. “They should not have to stress out at dinner too.”
Casual, fine dining
Watkins said while burgers are prominent on the menu, Burger and Bordeaux puts more emphasis on being a casual steakhouse with an extensive wine bar.
“Hamburgers and bordeaux wine are a classic pairing among sommeliers,” Watkins said. “I wanted to do a casual steakhouse and burger house that featured wine.”
Along with the menu, the restaurant offers a 90-foot bar and around 100 wines for pairings.
For the menu, Watkins said he wanted to keep offerings fun and interesting while balancing flavors.“I feel that is something a lot of chefs miss,” he said. “They do creative things, but they do not balance the flavors.”
Among the flavors Watkins said he likes to use the most is goat cheese, which is a personal favorite of his and is featured in several appetizers, including beef tenderloin tips and a basil tomato coulis, which is a type of sauce.
“[The coulis] is a common dish around the world,” he said. “You typically have a warm tomato sauce and warm goat cheese, and you do them together. I keep mine [as a] fresh and uncooked salsa, and then when the order comes in we heat it up to get it hot and serve it with pita.”
Watkins said he has always enjoyed good food and cooking, and he got his start when he was young.“I used to travel to Louisiana, and I would get Cajun food,” he said. “I came back to Houston ... and it had not diversified back in the 1960s. So I started buying cookbooks and learned to cook because I liked it so much.”
After getting a degree in economics and working in the investment industry for some time, Watkins said he opened up a small sandwich shop to generate some revenue. Eventually, he pursued a further education in culinary arts and graduated from a chef academy in 1982.
Since then, he said he has opened a variety of restaurants, including Blue Agave, Sierra Grill and The French Cafe in Houston.
“I found I was really good at cooking,” Watkins said. “I just love food.”
With Burger and Bordeaux, Watkins said he believes the casual environment can make anyone feel welcome.
“Feel free to come in shorts, and prepare to eat a really nice meal,” Watkins said.
545 Woodland Square Blvd., 4900 FM 1488, Conroe
Hours: Tue.-Wed. 3-9 p.m., Thu.-Sat. 11 a.m.-midnight, Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., closed Mon.