“The Woodlands chose us,” Bonnie said. “We came across this space, and it was perfect. It was absolutely perfect.”
Uli’s Kitchen opened in May in the Village of Alden Bridge. The owners said they chose to open the concept in The Woodlands as they were drawn to the “foodie” culture of the community.
“Introducing something that’s vastly different than [Tex-Mex] is a little bit risky, [but in] this area, we felt like people would get it,” Bonnie said. “They would appreciate it, and they would be adventurous enough to give it a try.”
The chef’s inspiration
Ulises said he has been in a kitchen his entire life. Starting as a busser, he worked his way through kitchens, apprenticing under chefs until becoming one himself.
As a chef with roughly 30 years of experience, Ulises—alongside his wife Bonnie—felt it was time to open their dream restaurant, Uli’s Kitchen.
“It has been my life,” Ulises said. “Now, it is my career.”
Ulises said he pulled inspiration from his culture when creating the Uli’s Kitchen menu. The menu features a selection of dishes inspired by and based off his grandmother’s original recipes.
“My grandmother used to make mole once a year, and she would make it the same way as we do it right now,” Ulises said.
Other items inspired by her cooking include albondigas con papas—all-beef meatballs stuffed with boiled egg and simmered with diced potatoes in a chipotle tomato sauce.
“He is so passionate about his craft. This is him bringing his upbringing, his culture, his passion onto this menu,” Bonnie said. “These are things a lot of people grew up with.”
Culinary tour of Mexico
The owners said everything on the menu is an authentic Mexican dish, pulling from different regions and incorporating recipes that have been passed through a variety of cultures. The menu lists where dishes originated, featuring items from Puebla, Acapulco and Hidalgo.
“[It’s] almost like [how] in a wine list they tell you what region it came from,” Bonnie said.
The owners said some popular menu items include enchiladas de mole and garnachas, which are fried corn tortillas topped with garnishes.
“This is not just about throwing food on a plate, but to bring a cultural experience,” Bonnie said.
The Alcarazes said they hope to bring more restaurant concepts to life. For now, the owners said they are focusing on incorporating more items and features into the Uli’s Kitchen menu.
More menu items were added in late November, such as shrimp tacos. Uli’s is also developing an extensive wine selection and offers wine tastings, the owners said.
“We want people’s favorites to always be here for them, but we also want to offer something that, when you come into Uli’s, you find something a little different each time—something new, something to look forward to,” Bonnie said.
8021 Research Forest Drive, Ste. A, The Woodlands
Hours: Tue.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. noon-9 p.m., closed Mon.