12 restaurants featured in 2021 in The Woodlands area

Zanti Cucina Italiana offers its take on carbonara pasta. ($16) (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Zanti Cucina Italiana offers its take on carbonara pasta. ($16) (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Zanti Cucina Italiana offers its take on carbonara pasta. ($16) (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Rafaela’s Chilaquiles ($10.99) at Craft Grill Breakfast Club include custom-prepared eggs accompanied by a house tomatillo salsa verde, fried tortilla chips, cheddar and cotija cheeses, pico de gallo, avocado, sour cream and cilantro. Meat can also be added. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
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The jumbo bacon-wrapped shrimp and grits ($21) are part of the brunch menu at Hearsay on the Waterway and are stuffed with crab and served with Creole butter sauce.
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Diners at Baja Cantina and Fiesta can make a taco plate ($13.50) that consists of two tacos, rice and beans. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Popular items at CT's Sweets N Meats include a brisket grilled cheese sandwich with sides such as brisket baked beans and potato salad. (Courtesy CT's Sweets N Meats)
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The Grogan salad at The Republic Grille consists of grilled chicken, pecan-smoked bacon, avocado, tomatoes, shredded cheese and corn tortilla strips. (Ally Bolender/Community Impact Newspaper)
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The 27 oz. Snake River ribeye ($40) paired with cream corn ($2) is a chef-recommended menu item at Killen's Steakhouse. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
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JW's Place Soul Food and Barbeque has a full bar with specialty cocktails, happy hour specials and a daiquiri drive-thru. (Ally Bolender/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Trash Can Tacos ($13) at Uncle Tony's come with grilled chicken, jalapenos, mushroom and pineapple. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Ceviche, made with mahi mahi, is Baja Sur’s most popular appetizer. ($15.95)
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The Cosmic pizza ($18) at Cosmic Cowboy Lounge is topped with pepperoni, prosciutto, marinated tomatoes, mushroom and onion. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Uli's Kitchen features shrimp cocktail ($16) as an appetizer. (Ally Bolender/Community Impact Newspaper)
Here is a roundup of dining features that appeared in The Woodlands edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2021.

Zanti Cucina Italiana brings authentic Italian taste to The Woodlands area in a casual environment

After taking about 2 1/2 years to select a location and design a concept, Santiago Pelaez opened Zanti Cucina Italiana to bring authentic Italian cuisine to The Woodlands area in June 2019 on Research Forest Drive.

Southern concept Craft Grill Breakfast Club offers array of breakfast

Years after founding their Texas scratch kitchen Craft Grill just south of Creekside Park, co-owners Chris and Connie O’Donnell and Joe and Patti Copus brought a new, Southern-style concept to the area with the launch of Craft Grill Breakfast Club in January 2020.


Hearsay on The Waterway brings antique chic to dining

When the original Hearsay restaurant launched in downtown Houston 11 years ago, it opened in a building that has been in place since before the Civil War. According to Shawn Collier, a marketing representative for Hearsay On The Waterway, the style of that building has been a touchstone for the other three locations, including the one in The Woodlands, which opened in 2020.

Baja Cantina and Fiesta brings authentic Mexican taste to The Waterway

Before Baja Cantina and Fiesta found its home at The Woodlands Waterway, the restaurant got its start operating out of a food truck on Gosling Road for around a year.

Homemade barbecue and baked goods on tap at local food trailer CT's Sweets N Meats

CT’s Sweets N Meats, a cooking- and baking-centered food trailer and outdoor dining space east of Oak Ridge North, is built on partnership. The husband-and-wife ownership team of Cynthia and Anthony Anastasiades said they founded CT’s to provide customers with a blended menu of savory and sweet handcrafted barbecue and baked goods.

The Republic Grille founder brings local focus, themes to The Woodlands restaurant

Founder and owner Terry McBurney opened the first location of Republic Grille seven years ago because he wanted to provide a truly local restaurant to The Woodlands community, he said. “The mom and pops were getting squeezed out, so this was sort of my way to develop a concept for locals,” McBurney said.

The Woodlands location of Killen's Steakhouse emphasizes quality ingredients, experience

Since expanding to The Woodlands in April 2019, the management of Killen’s Steakhouse said they have paid extra attention to the quality and presentation of its food to make it stand out in the area. The restaurant is owned by Houston chef Ronnie Killen, who enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in London in 1997 before returning to Texas in 2003.

JW’s Place Soul Food and Barbeque brings homemade Southern dishes to Spring area

Jack and Cassaundra Webb, owners of JW’s Place Soul Food and Barbeque on Springs Trails Ridge in Spring, said they pride themselves on providing a menu of completely homemade dishes based on recipes passed down from generations of both family trees.

Uncle Tony's brings extra emphasis to burgers and tacos in The Woodlands area

From a young age, “Uncle” Tony Marron, owner of Uncle Tony’s Burgers, said he loved good food and wanted to work as a cook in a restaurant. After graduating from high school, Marron said he went into the automotive industry to make a living. However, when the industry began to decline, he opened the first iteration of his restaurant focusing on burgers and chicken tacos in Porter around 2007.

Baja Sur brings fresh Mexican cuisine, tequila bar to Creekside

The owners of Baja Sur Fresh Mex + Tequila Bar joined together to open in December 2020 with a goal of creating a contemporary, casual restaurant with an upscale feel.

“The initial plan and the idea was to just be a place where you can come on a date night, do brunch on the patio; you can have drinks at the bar,” owner John Amato said. “It’s a multifaceted concept. We still wanted to have that upscale feel.”

Cosmic Cowboy Lounge pairs curated drinks with classic American tastes

As the owner of local burger chain Jax Burgers, which has seven Houston-area locations, John Recio said he wanted to expand his offerings into a different service environment. The opportunity came up in October 2020 when he opened the Cosmic Cowboy Lounge.

Uli’s Kitchen brings a culinary tour of Mexico to The Woodlands

Uli’s Kitchen, named after owner and chef Ulises Alcaraz, was a concept developed by Ulises and his wife, Bonnie Alcaraz. The owners wanted to provide a culinary tour of authentic Mexican food to The Woodlands.

“The Woodlands chose us,” Bonnie said. “We came across this space, and it was perfect. It was absolutely perfect.”
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.