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Houston’s Willie’s Grill & Ice House Launches Delivery-Only Chicken Ghost Kitchen

Plus, Hopdoddy, Voodoo Doughnut, and Black Rock Coffee launch new locations in the Houston area

Roosters Run’s chicken wings cooling on a rack, with a ramekin of dipping sauce and veggie sticks.
Willie’s Grill & Ice House will use the same kitchen but will serve up different food with its new delivery-only restaurant Roosters Run.
Brian Kennedy

Instead of launching its new restaurant at a separate, physical location, Willie’s Grill & Ice House has gotten innovative. The Houston-born burger chain and icehouse launched its “virtual brand” Roosters Run, a chicken delivery service, out of each of Willie’s 13 locations around the state. It’s a move that allows a restaurant to branch out, increasing profits without the costs and responsibilities of a physical location.

The ghost kitchen specializes in 12-hour Shiner Bock-brined chicken wings in eight different sauces and dry rubs (like backyard barbecue, buttery garlic parm, lemon pepper tango, and Texas fire), plus other dishes like chicken tenders and a fried chicken sandwich on Texas toast that’s topped with housemade pimento cheese, crispy bacon, and jalapeño mayo.

Hopdoddy opens latest burger bar in the Woodlands

Austin-headquartered burger bar Hopdoddy is taking over the former Grub Burger Bar location (2417 Research Forest Drive, Suite A) in the Woodlands, with plans open on August 2.

The burger joint franchise, which already dishes out crafty burgers and loaded fries at six locations in the Houston region, acquired Grub Burger Bar earlier this year and officially closed the shop on July 23 to transform it into Hopdoddy. Seventeen other Grub Burgers around the country will be similarly converted.

Hopdoddy’s classic cheeseburger with a beer.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar will replace the Grub Burgers Bar in the Woodlands.
Kaci Langley

The 4,024-square-foot restaurant will offer seating for more than 130 people indoors, including 21 seats at the bar, and a 64-seat covered, dog-friendly patio outdoors.

The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

JW Marriott Houston’s restaurant gets new chef and menu

Stray Horse, the lobby-level restaurant in JW Marriott Houston by the Galleria, has done some revamping, updating its menu and hiring new executive chef Julio Cesar Valdivia.

Originally from Lima, Peru, Valdivia has worked in hotels in Colombia, Dubai, India, and Costa Rica. The new menu is informed by his travels throughout Central America while relying on local ingredients. Dishes like rodeo beef tartare, Angus ribeye with black marrow butter, salty key lime pie, and much more make appearances on the menu. The decor takes cues from Texas culture, with leather upholstery on chairs and benches, natural grain wood tables, rattlesnake skin-inspired tiles, and high-back bar stools designed with saddles in mind.

Portrait of chef Julio Cesar Valdivia.
Chef Julio Cesar Valdivia will serve as Stray Horse’s newest executive chef.
Sydney Sweeney

Voodoo Doughnut plans for 14th shop in Katy

Originally founded in Portland, Oregon, the Voodoo doughnut shop is launching its 14th location in the country in Katy (its fifth in Texas). The gourmet doughnut hub already has locations in Austin; in Houston on Washington Avenue and in Montrose; and in Cypress, which opened in May. Voodoo plans to open four more outposts this year, including a location in San Antonio, according to a release.

A Voodoo Doughnut box filled with a dozen frosted doughnuts.
Voodoo Doughnuts will open four more outposts in 2022, including a location in Katy.
Voodoo Doughnut

The doughnut shop has become known for touting creative pastries in more than 50 flavors, of which around half are vegan. Favorites include the bacon maple bar, which is topped with maple frosting and bacon; the cannolo, a cream-filled cannoli-like doughnut; and the fried Memphis mafia, which is loaded with banana chunks and cinnamon and topped with glaze, chocolate chips, peanuts, and a chocolate and peanut butter drizzle.

Get your caffeine fix at Black Rock Coffee Bar’s Fulshear location

Oregon coffee chain Black Rock Coffee will open its latest shop in Fulshear (5770 FM 1463, Fulshear) on Friday, July 29, marking its seventh location opened in seven months. Similar to its recent opening in Pearland, it will serve roasted coffees, teas, smoothies, and its signature Fuel energy drinks. It’ll give away free 16-ounce drinks to customers at its grand opening on July 29.

Black Rock Coffee Bar’s Fulshear outpost.
Black Rock Coffee Bar has opened seven outposts in the Houston region the past seven months.
Black Rock Coffee Bar