RECAP: Tomball and Magnolia eateries featured throughout 2020

The Shrimp Brochette ($18.84) from Aguirre's Tex Mex features eight bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp stuffed with peppers, Monterey Jack cheese and grilled vegetables. (Adriana Rezal/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Shrimp Brochette ($18.84) from Aguirre's Tex Mex features eight bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp stuffed with peppers, Monterey Jack cheese and grilled vegetables. (Adriana Rezal/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Shrimp Brochette ($18.84) from Aguirre's Tex Mex features eight bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp stuffed with peppers, Monterey Jack cheese and grilled vegetables. (Adriana Rezal/Community Impact Newspaper)

In the past year, Tomball and Magnolia eateries were faced with business closures and other challenges during the coronavirus pandemic. Read on to learn more about

Red Flame Steak & Grill owner aims to offer international cuisine, high-end meals for affordable price in Magnolia

Growing up in Mexico, Red Flame Steak & Grill owner Julio Amer said his family has always been involved in the restaurant industry. He said he helped out at his family’s restaurants and eventually started working at bigger restaurants in Mexico until he moved to the U.S. in January 2006.

“I worked in construction [when I first moved here], and I didn’t like it, so I went back to restaurants,” he said. “I set up my mind that I wanted to have my own restaurant someday.” Read more.

Magnolia Coffee House Bistro co-owners carry on family legacy


For Vickie Patterson and Janna Hartigan, Magnolia natives and co-owners of Magnolia Coffee House Bistro, opening a local bistro is carrying on a family tradition of hospitality and food service. In the '70s and '80s, Hartigan said, the two friends’ families would sell barbecue sandwiches to Texas Renaissance Festival patrons. Read more.

Owner of Captain Brad’s Coastal Kitchen in Tomball honors late father’s legacy

The idea for Captain Brad’s Coastal Kitchen stemmed from Brad Aplin—father of owner Brittney Aplin—and his career as a commercial crabber, shrimper and oysterman, Brittney said.

“We lived along the Southern coasts, like Florida, Louisiana and Texas. I’ve lived in Corpus Christi, Rockport and San Leon [in Texas],” Brittney said. “We were raised on the water, you know?” Read more.

Tressie's Southern Kitchen trades upscale dining for to-go menu

Tressie’s Southern Kitchen opened in early November to offer fine Southern dining in Magnolia. Just months later, Tressie’s was forced to cease dine-in services and offer only carryout amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read more.

2 Guys 1 Pit BBQ & Catering adds permanent drive-thru to weather pandemic

When co-owner Chris Clarabut catered his brother-in-law’s wedding four years ago, he did not know it would be the start of 2 Guys 1 Pit BBQ & Catering, he said. Clarabut started the catering business with his father-in-law, Richard Rodriguez, before opening a restaurant in July 2019 in Tomball. Read more.

Magnolia eatery Patra's Thai Cuisine introduces community to Thai food

Owner Yuwaree Staley opened Patra’s Thai Cuisine in Magnolia last July to give the community its first taste of Thai food, she said.

“Out here, [there were not] any Thai restaurants,” she said. “So I [thought] a Thai restaurant would be a good option for the local people.” Read more.

Grab N Go Tacos lives up to its name during pandemic

Co-owner Denia Ferguson said Grab N Go Tacos started because she wanted a place that served fresh and high-quality food. Denia and her husband, Darren, opened Grab N Go Tacos Tomball in February 2019. Read more.

British-American fusion restaurant Pengus's Place in Magnolia serves ‘real food for real folk’

Serving up British classics, from fish and chips to bangers and mash, Pengus’s Place is the city of Magnolia’s small piece of northeastern England, situated just off FM 1488.

After years of working in pubs in the U.S. and U.K., Magnolia native Lori Gwynn and her English husband, Stephen Gwynn, opened Pengus’s Place in late September 2019 with hopes of offering a sit-down family restaurant for local and foreign clientele. Read more.

Aguirre’s Tex-Mex in Tomball weathers pandemic with low prices

Five years ago, Aguirre’s Tex-Mex co-owner Sam Sahragard and his brothers, Masood and Julio, took on the challenge of moving from Missouri City to the west Houston area with the dream of establishing a Tex-Mex restaurant. After opening a second location along Hwy. 249 in Tomball in 2018 and weathering the coronavirus pandemic, Sam said the key to standing out is championing quality food with competitively low prices. Read more.

Family-run eatery Market Street Cafe is ready to bounce back

After less than six months of business, the coronavirus pandemic caused Market Street Cafe to furlough employees, suspend dine-in service and adapt to curbside pickup. During this, restaurant owner Forrest Edmonds said he relied on his daughter, Elaine, and his wife, MaryEllen, to keep things going. Read more.

Magnolia's Havana House offers Cuban cooking

Mary Sanchez and her aunt, Marcela, opened Havana House in December 2018 with the goal of providing authentic Cuban fare, a business idea they credit to Mary’s late father.

“We decided after his passing ... to pursue this new venture ... and bring some of our culture to Magnolia,” Mary said. “And that’s where it came from. We love to cook; we have a passion for cooking.” Read more.
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The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon begins rollout of statewide vaccination clinics for employees

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District, which regulates groundwater usage in Montgomery County, is part of Groundwater Management Area 14. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
GMA 14 approves proposed desired future conditions; LSGCD objects to subsidence factor

On April 9, Groundwater Management Area 14 voted on its proposed long-term goal for the Gulf Coast Aquifer System.

According to Devon Street Homes—one of the builders in the community—model homes will be available this fall, ranging from 1,454 square feet to 2,883 square feet and ranging in price from $220,000 to $300,000. (Rendering courtesy Devon Street Homes)
51-acre Rosehill Meadows underway in Magnolia

The 51-acre community Rosehill Meadows is in the early stages on Decker-Prairie Rosehill Road in Magnolia. Developer Ahmet Ozan said the community will include approximately 250 home sites in two sections. The first 120 sites are slated to be ready in July for model home construction.

Tomball ISD officials announced in a social media post April 14 the district is planning for a "mask optional" 2021-22 school year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Tomball ISD plans for 'mask optional' 2021-22 school year

Tomball ISD officials announced in a social media post April 14 the district is planning for a "mask optional" 2021-22 school year.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Homes priced above $750,000, such as this one in the Heights, saw a surge in sales in March, with almost twice as many properties sold. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Average Houston single-family home price jumps 20% in March

The average sale price for a home in March was $370,847.

U.S. Rep Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, spoke at the Economic Outlook Conference in The Woodlands on April 14. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady: 'This term, my 13th, will be the last'

U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, announced he will retire after completing his current, 13th term in the U.S. Congress.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

Spearheaded by state Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, the new court, if established, would expand the capacity of the county's criminal court system in hopes of reducing its backlog, which stood at 70,951 total cases pending before criminal district courts in Harris County as of April 8. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County supports creation of new criminal district court to tackle case backlog

If the efforts are successful, this would be Harris County's first new criminal district court since 1984 when the 351st District Court was created.

Northwest Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 5 covers 22 communities and roughly 2,800 acres around the border of Cy-Fair and Tomball. (Courtesy Northwest Harris County MUD No. 5)
Northwest Harris County MUD pitches bond referendums to keep up with growth, bolster trail system

Northwest Harris County MUD No. 5—which caters to 22 subdivisions around the border of Cy-Fair and Tomball—is seeking voter approval on bond referendums that officials said will help maintain aging utility infrastructure, launch a water reclamation project and bring new trails to the community.

Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough speaks during a budget presentation April 13. (Screenshot via Montgomery County livestream)
Montgomery County commissioners begin FY 2021-22 budget talks

Budget talks have begun at the county level, with a workshop scheduled for late July.