Welcome to AM Intel in the time of coronavirus, a round-up of the city’s newest bits of restaurant-related intel. Follow Eater on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date details on how COVID-19 is impacting the city’s dining scene.
David Chang to represent South Smoke Foundation on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
Celebrity chef and Momofuku founder David Chang will represent the Houston-based nonprofit Southern Smoke Foundation on the gameshow Who Wants To Be A Millionaire this weekend. The episode will air at 8 p.m. Sunday, November 15 on ABC. Chang, a longtime friend of Southern Smoke founder Chris Shepherd, will donate all of his earnings from the game show to the organization, which provide financial assistance to people in the food and beverage industry. The trivia show is hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, and this season features both celebrity contestants playing for charity and frontline heroes. The Southern Smoke team plans to host a socially distanced watch party at Hay Merchant at 1100 Westheimer on Sunday.
It’s last call for Disco Kroger
The Kroger grocery store at 3300 Montrose, colloquially referred to as Disco Kroger for its late night hours and eclectic Montrosian crowds, is shutting down. The grocery store will close its doors in January, according to ABC13. It’s the second grocery store in the Montrose/Midtown area to close in recent months — the Fiesta Mart on Wheeler and San Jacinto closed in July.
The grocery store had been renovated only five years ago, but Kroger officials told ABC13 it had been losing money for some time. Still, no Kroger employees will be laid off — instead they’ll be placed elsewhere within the company.
Over on the Houston Architecture Info Forum, speculation abounds about what might take Disco Kroger’s place, even as posters mourn the loss of yet another Montrose institution. (A Jack in the Box in front of the Kroger was also torn down last month.) A block north, at 1001 Westheimer, the strip mail containing Spec’s, Half Price Books and 369 Oriental Bistro is slated to eventually be torn down to make way for mixed use development.
The Bearded Baker to open brick and mortar
The Bearded Baker, a cookie shop originally operated by Allen Hursig out of his Houston-area home kitchen, will be opening a brick and mortar location in the Heights later this month. Hursig, who was perviously an oil and gas landman, started the bakery in 2016 after leaving his career at Conoco-Phillips. His elaborate iced cookies, personal-sized cakes and scones landed him the position of first runner up in the Food Network Christmas Cookie Challenge in 2019. His bakeshop will be located at 518 West 11th Street, and will be take out and curbside only.
Bernie’s Burger Bus founder lands new gig
Chef Justin Turner, founder of wildly popular food truck-turned restaurant Bernie’s Burger Bus, has a new role. Turner was tapped to be the culinary director for the newly-founded hospitality company Gastropub Productions, Culturemap reports. In his new role, Turner will help develop restaurant ideas for Generation Park, a 4,200-acre mixed use development near Lake Houston. In May, Turner announced that the Bernie’s chain, which had grown from a fleet of food trucks to several restaurants throughout Houston, was closing “indefinitely.” “I’m fortunate to have options,” Turner said sat the time. “No matter where I go, my remaining staff will be by my side.”