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Restaurant Reviews
The Woodlands Texas Restaurant Chew and Reviews

Archive for the ‘Restaurant Failures’ Category

Woodlands Restaurant Closures

And another one bites the dust…

closed restaurant window posting

Dining in The Woodlands…

What are the requirements to open and maintain a successful Restaurant in The Woodlands? There are a multitude of places to eat in The Woodlands including everything from fast food (ie: McDonald’s) to fine dining (ie: Kirby’s or Perry’s).

What is it that some restaurants possess that others do not? From the outside looking in, the answer to this question would seem to be fairly straightforward… both delicious food and an attentive wait staff. If you look a little deeper, you will find that it is much more than that. It takes savvy business sense, experience (or some formal training) in the industry, well-calculated finances, and a lot of trial and error. From a consumer view point, the waiter or waitress at a given restaurant would generally be the only person responsible for creating their overall decision as to whether or not they make a return visit. The decision to eat at a restaurant a subsequent time can also be strongly influenced by the food. So, we have established that the wait staff and the food are indeed two very important factors in determining the overall life of a restaurant. Simply stated, if the food and service is bad, a consumer is not likely to return while if it is either satisfactory or excellent, then a return visit can be assumed. Okay then, let’s say that a given Woodlands restaurant has both great service and excellent food, and you can almost always expect to find a crowd their at most any time of day (ie: The Egg & I). The management of this hypothetical restaurant also has to ensure that the raw food products are delivered on time and the rent is paid (among other things).

Without going into more detail, we should get back to our original question – “Why have so many restaurants in The Woodlands failed?”

Some of the most common reasons for the failure of a dining establishment are likely bad food and or poor service. But it can just as easily be increased rents or a property being sold. Marketing of the business is also important; making sure that the restaurant is widely known is certainly a requirement, as well as establishing and maintaining a positive reputation in the community.

This article will not attempt to explain why any one of these Woodlands restaurants have failed, but merely presents some possible reasons why. One or more of them might have had a great concept for the foods but were unable to remain open long enough to establish themselves and others may have not had enough business savvy to actually run it correctly. In any case, we present this list of closed restaurants in The Woodlands, including what some may have considered to have been the Worst Woodlands Restaurants. All anyone can know is that for one reason or another, they have all closed.

303 Club 303 Club • 26710 I-45 N (Northbound)
• Oak Ridge North, Texas 77386
• (a.k.a. One Oak Club)
CLOSED
2013
Alamo Joes The Woodlands CLOSED Alamo Joe’s • 4747 Research Forest Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77381
CLOSED
August 2010
Aldo's Italian Cucino The Woodlands Aldo’s Cucina • 18450 I-45 N (Southbound)
• Shenandoah, Texas 77384
CLOSED
April 2013
Ambience Lounge CLOSED Ambience Lounge • 27832 I-45 N (Northbound)
• Oak Ridge North, Texas 77385
CLOSED
September 2009
Applebees in Magnolia - CLOSED Applebee’s • 6111 FM 1488
• Magnolia, Texas 77354
CLOSED
February 2010
Big E McGee's Old Town Spring Big “E” McGee’s Boarding House • Old Town Spring
• 123 Midway Street
• Spring, Texas 77373
CLOSED
January 2011

Our Review
Brass Monkey Brass Monkey • 26710 I-45 N (Northbound)
• Oak Ridge North, Texas 77386
CLOSED
2013
Bull Dog Burritos College Park CLOSED Bulldog Burritos • 3335 College Park Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77384
CLOSED
Bt's Grill and Bar The Woodlands Sawdust Road BT’s Grill
(previously CJ’s Grill)
• 399 Sawdust Road
• Spring, Texas 77380
CLOSED
November 2012
Cafe Adobe Mexican Restaurant CLOSED Shenandoah Cafe Adobe • 18310 I-45 N (Southbound)
• Shenandoah, Texas 77384
CLOSED
November 2010
Cafe Del Mar Club and Grill Rayford Road Cafe Del Mar • 638 Rayford Road
• Spring, Texas 77386
CLOSED
caffe diem coffee shop on 242 closed Caffé Diem • College Park Plaza
• 3091 College Park Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77384
CLOSED
Fall 2011
cantina de tejas in shenandoah on i-45 Cantina de Tejas • 28777 I-45 S (Southbound)
• Shenandoah, Texas 77381
CLOSED
December 2011

Our Review
Classics Pizza Shenandoah The Woodlands CLOSED Classics Pizza • Research Forest Plaza
• 1500 Research Forest Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77381
CLOSED
October 2010
new burger concept by grimaldi's pizza Coal Burger • The Waterway
• 20 Waterway Avenue
• The Woodlands, TX 77380
CLOSED
April 2012

Our Review
Coffee Expressions The Woodlands CLOSED Coffee Expressions • The Plazas at Alden Bridge
• 8021 Research Forest Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77382
CLOSED
2010
copas bar lounge the woodlands Copas Bar • 314 Sawdust Road
• Spring, Texas 77380
CLOSED
May 2012
crows nest bar and lounge in oak ridge north Crow’s Nest • 26094 I-45 N (Northbound)
• Oak Ridge North, Texas 77386
CLOSED
July 2012

Our Review
lake robbins bar and lounge Dolce Vita Pizzeria & Enoteca • 1701 Lake Robbins Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77380
CLOSED
March 2011

Related Article
Dragonfly Secret Kingdom Dragonfly Cafe/
Secret Kingdom
• 9311 FM 1488
• Magnolia, TX 77354
CLOSED
extreme pizza woodlands CLOSED Extreme Pizza • 9595 Six Pines Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77380
CLOSED
CLOSED figaros pizza college park Figaro’s Pizza • 9420 College Park Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77384
CLOSED
CLOSED fox & hound The Woodlands Fox & Hound Pub • 19189 I-45 S (Northbound)
• Shenandoah, Texas 77385
832 813-0102
CLOSED
July 2013
Garlic Jims Gourmet Pizza CLOSED Garlic Jim’s Gourmet Pizza • 8000 Research Forest Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77382
CLOSED
huddle house breakfast waffles coffee CLOSED Huddle House • FM 2920
• Spring, Texas
CLOSED
Jack's Place Bar Jack’s Place • 26710 I-45 N (Northbound)
• Oak Ridge North, Texas 77386
CLOSED
November 2011

Our Review
Johnny Rockets Hamburgers woodlands CLOSED Johnny Rockets • 9595 Six Pines Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77380
CLOSED
January 2011
Kebab House Mediterranean woodlands Kebab House Mediterranean Cuisine • 18450 I-45 N (Southbound)
• Shenandoah, Texas 77384
CLOSED
June 2011
burgers and Chicken, a&w, colonel sanders A & W/Kentucky Fried Chicken • 9945 Six Pines Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77380
CLOSED
la mesa tex-mex on lake robbins La Mesa Bistro • 1701 Lake Robbins Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77380
CLOSED
January 2009
las fuentas mexican restaurant Las Fuentes • 6960 FM 1488
• Magnolia, Texas 77354
CLOSED
December 2012
los cucos in shenandoah Los Cucos • 18310 I-45 N (Southbound)
• Shenandoah, Texas 77384
CLOSED
November 2012
marco's_mexican_woodlands_spring Marco’s Mexican Restaurant • 592 Sawdust Road
• Spring, Texas 77380
CLOSED
2011
Mariachis CLOSED Mariachi’s • 6777 Woodlands Parkway
• The Woodlands, TX 77381
CLOSED
2010
mi luna tapas the woodlands CLOSED Mi Luna Tapas Restaurant & Bar • 6777 Woodlands Parkway
• The Woodlands, TX 77381
CLOSED
2009
Murphy's Deli CLOSED Murphy’s Deli • 3091 College Park Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77384
CLOSED
moscow grocery CLOSED russian, moscow, cafe, grocery, spring, oak ridge, woodands Moscow 2 Cafe • Sawdust Road
• Spring, Texas 77380
CLOSED
2009
Naturalle Foods Restaurant CLOSED Naturalle • 6777 Woodlands Parkway
• The Woodlands, TX 77381
CLOSED
Nick and Willies take and bake Pizza Panther Creek CLOSED Nick n Willy’s Pizza • Panther Creek Shopping Center
• 4775 W. Panther Creek Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77381
CLOSED
mexican buffet, pancho, mexican to go Pancho’s Mexican Buffet • 27832 I-45 N (Northbound)
• Oak Ridge North, Texas 77385
CLOSED
July 2012
PM-Bistro-lounge CLOSED PM Bistro • Woodlands Crossing Center
• 10700 Kuykendahl Road
• The Woodlands, TX 77381
CLOSED
2010
Country Western Bar The Woodlands Rebel’s Honky Tonk • 26710 I-45 N (Northbound)
• Oak Ridge North, Texas 77386
CLOSED
2013
rio 24 cigar & premium bar CLOSED RIO 24 Cigar & Premier Bar • 24 Waterway Avenue
• The Woodlands, TX 77380
CLOSED
November 2010
rise and dine CLOSED College Park and Marcel Crossing Rise & Dine
(a.k.a.) Sunny Street Cafe
• College Park Crossing Center
• Marcel Crossing Shopping Center
• The Woodlands, Texas
CLOSED
2010 & 2012
Rockfish Seafood Grill at The Woodlands Mall CLOSED Rockfish Seafood Grill • 1201 Lake Woodlands Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77380
CLOSED
December 2010
sams boat, seafood, oak ridge north, spring CLOSED Sam’s Boat • 26710 I-45 N (Northbound)
• Oak Ridge North, Texas 77386
CLOSED
September 2009
shmo's bistro shenandoah on research forest closed Shmo’s Bistro • 1500 Research Forest Drive
• The Woodlands, Texas 77381
CLOSED
September 2011

Our Review
woodlands steel city pizza Steel City Pizza • 501 Sawdust Road
• Spring, Texas 77380
CLOSED
February 2013
Sirenuse Euro Bistro The Waterway Restaurant CLOSED Sirenuse Euro Bistro • 24 Waterway Ave
• The Woodlands, TX 77380
CLOSED
2009
stir crazy asian restaurant on the waterway Stir Crazy Asian Grill • The Waterway
• 25 Waterway Ave
• The Woodlands, TX 77380
CLOSED
July 2012

Our Review
taco bueno on college park drive closed Taco Bueno • 3375 College Park Drive• The Woodlands, TX 77384 CLOSED
April 2012
Market Street restaurant Taco Milagro CLOSED Taco Milagro • 1701 Lake Robbins Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77380
CLOSED
January 2008
CLOSED taqueria el gordo woodlands restaurant Taqueria El Gordo • 371 Sawdust Road
• Spring, Texas 77380
CLOSED
lake robbins Tesars steak house CLOSED Tesar’s Modern Steak and Seafood • 1701 Lake Robbins Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77380
CLOSED
June 2010
Shenandoah Melting Pot CLOSED The Melting Pot • 19075 I-45 S (Northbound)
• Shenandoah, Texas 77385
CLOSED
Tortuga Mexican Kitchen CLOSED Tortuga Mexican • 25657 I-45 S (Southbound)
• Spring, Texas 77380
CLOSED
2010
chocolate truffles CLOSED market street Truffle Chocolate Lounge • 9595 Six Pines Drive
• The Woodlands, TX 77380
CLOSED
Wahoos fish tacos the woodlands Wahoo’s Fish Taco • 19075 I-45 S (Northbound)
• Shenandoah, Texas 77385
CLOSED
August 2012

Reviewed
Pizza Place on FM 2978 Westwood Center Zini’z Pizza • 32823 FM 2978
• Magnolia, Texas 77354
CLOSED
Zunum Shenandoah Zunum 1620 Research Forest Dr.,
• The Woodlands, Texas 77381
CLOSED
Aug 4, 2013

Our review

Wahoo’s Shenandoah

Closed 2012

In the interest of full disclosure – this review is quite a bit different than any other that we’ve done. For one thing, it covers two separate visits to the restaurant over the course of a week. Additionally, many of the dishes we sampled were hand-selected for us. Finally, this is our first review where we’ve been accompanied by a couple of local foodies; Nick Rama and Kerry Stessel. Here’s how it went down:

We were invited by one of the owners to come in to Wahoo’s Fish Taco and try a variety of dishes from the menu. He had no input into what we would order, however, he did ask that as Wahoo’s is after all known for their fish tacos, we at least try some other dishes for the review. This being our first visit, we arrived right at the beginning of lunch hour and we pleased to see a smattering of tables already occupied. The register was manned by the manager, Jordan, who was very helpful and informative in our selection process of what to have for lunch. His answers to our questions assisted us in quick decisions, our order was placed, and we were off to fill our drinking cups.

Wahoo's chips, salsa, and queso

Having skipped breakfast, we opted to start with a couple of appetizers – Baja Rolls ($4.79) and Maui Onion Rings ($3.50). We felt we were off to a good start, as the beer-battered onion rings were hot, fresh and quite tasty; the onions were crisp-firm, but not raw. Overall, pretty perfect onion rings. We were a little baffled as to what made them “Maui,” however, other than the name. Unfortunately, we did not receive our Baja Rolls before our meals were served.

She Said

I ordered a Wahoo’s Sandwich w/Fries ($7.25); the sandwich ordinarily includes your choice of protein (I went with grilled chicken) guacamole, salsa and cheese. I actually don’t much care for guacamole, so I requested mine without. In retrospect, I’m afraid that may have been a mistake. What I learned was this: because I had my sandwich sans guacamole, the lightly seasoned chicken left the sandwich to be somewhat lackluster in flavor.

He Said

I ordered the #2 Combo ($6.50), which includes two tacos or enchiladas, or one of each, with sides of rice and beans. Based on Jordan’s suggestion, I opted for a chicken enchilada with red sauce and a shrimp enchilada with green sauce. I also decided on brown rice and black beans. My plate arrived hot and fresh looking – very appealing. The chicken enchilada was slightly dry and rather mild in flavor while the shrimp enchilada had just enough spice to allow for a distinction between the sauces and the shrimp itself. The shrimps were of average size and the freshness factor was good for a restaurant not too distant from the gulf in which they are caught. The rice could have cooked a bit longer and the full flavor of the black beans didn’t need any seasoning at all.

Wahoos Enchilada Combo

In the end, we really didn’t have a meal that offered us much of a “wow” factor. When the owner followed up with us a few days later, we shared our experience with him. He expressed his concern that we had not really ordered any of Wahoo’s “signature” dishes. As an owner, he of course has a vested interest in the diner’s experiences being favorable, but he also let us know that he dines there quite a bit himself, and there are a host of other dishes available on their menu. He left it up to us; we could simply post a review based on our lunch experience, or if we would let him, he would offer us some suggestions as to what might better appeal to us on the menu. We decided one more go of it couldn’t hurt – so we took him up on his suggestion.

And this is where Kerry and Nick come in.


Same Store, Second Verse

We were back in Wahoo’s Fish Taco for a second time in as many weeks, this time with a list of dishes to try. Now, before you cry bias, understand this: like many patrons before us and many more that will come after, we simply didn’t try these dishes on our own the first time around because the menu is huge, so when you don’t know, you go with dishes that sound “normal.” And, to us anyway, dishes with names like “Kalua Pig Bowl” seemed a little more off the charts than say the “Chicken Enchilada” – am I right? So really, if you think about it, it’s not entirely Wahoo’s fault that we were less than adventurous in our original foray into the menu. We could have asked more questions. We should have asked more questions. Because the difference between the first lunch and the second was night and day:

Our scond meal began with Chips ‘n Salsa ($1.49), along with a side of Queso ($1.59). The chips were crisp and fresh, the salsa had a unique, almost sweet taste to it, and the queso was dense and cheesy, not runny or dull in that ‘canned cheese’ manner so often found in Mexican or Tex-Mex establishments.

Nick wanted to sample the Baja Rolls, and we also had a Carne Asada Quesedilla ($6.95) with grilled mushrooms, sour cream and guacamole. All of us agreed the the beef in the quesedilla was tender and flavorful; pretty much exactly what one would expect carne asada to be. The Carne Asada at Wahoo’s is worthy of any full service Tex Mex restaurant in the area. Also before the entrees was a Wahoo’s Salad topped with Balsamic Vinaigrette and served with some good sized grilled shrimp, seasoned well with some guacamole on the side ($8.99). The salad was fresh, the shrimp flavorful without any of that ‘seafood smell’.

Wahoo's Patio Seating Portifino Center

The entrees promptly arrived one after another, and all of them looked amazing. The one dish we’d all been questioning we decided to dive into first, the Kalua Pig Bowl with Mr. Lee’s Sauce and Teriyaki ($7.99) We dove in, and once again, the meat was tender and flavorful; though we all agreed the teriyaki was slightly salty. The Mr. Lee’s Sauce was interesting; slightly sweet, a little smoky. Not quite barbecue, but not teriyaki, either. It was unique, which is presumably what makes it Mr. Lee’s Sauce, and not something any of us had ever heard of before.

shredded pork bowl

Another one of the entrees was the Maui Bowl ($7.99), with white beans and white rice. The Maui Bowl was served with steak which had been marinated in the same sauce as the pork in the Kalua Pig Bowl. The marinade was good, but not as good as it had been on the pork. Once again the presentation was appealing, everything looking and tasting fresh.

Wahoo's burrito

The last of our entrees was the Outer Reef Burrito, stuffed with chicken, brown rice, white beans and served “wet,” ($6.79) meaning it was covered in an enchilada-type sauce. You know how there are restaurants that serve burritos that claim to be “big as yo’ face?” This one would qualify. You may not be able to tell from the image above, but basically you’re looking at half of the burrito, with the other have resting atop it at an angle to give you a view inside. See how it covers the plate? Those are big plates, folks. The burrito received high marks across the board from all of us present. It and the Kalua Pig Bowl were the favorites, but then again, we all really liked everything. Here’s some additional feedback from Nick and Kerry:

Nick Said:

“I also sampled the Chicken Burrito, which had a nice mild green sauce with tender chunks of chicken, rice, beans and a mixture of veggies, and was topped with melted cheese. This burrito was insanely huge…easily split between two people. The Maui Steak bowl had chopped up pieces of marinated Teriyaki steak, served with seasoned white beans and seasoned white rice. Personally, I think the Teriyaki marinade worked better with the Kalua shredded pork. We also had a Steak Quesedilla, and while the steak was a little tough, the cheese and sauce they put in was very good. Overall the value is great. For a place that is famous for their Tacos I believe the other dishes they have are much better.”

Kerry Said:

“The food was terrific. We tried several dishes and with a few minor flaws. We had no complaints with freshness, flavor, presentation, prepared properly and value. Would I go back? Yes I would. As a small business owner myself and also working in retail management practically my whole life, service is a big issue with me. If they make a mistake or if something is not right, I’m not looking to be comped a meal for minor things, but at minimum, a sincere apology would be expected. The only negatives (which were minor to me) were these: I noticed a small hair on top of one of the dishes. I know, your thinking EWWW. OK. I get it. But the fact is that these things happen even with hats or hair nets – it happens. So you send It back or pick it out, your choice but either way when I told the manager he did not offer an apology or “Oops, sorry”. That’s all I wanted to hear, and that he would address the matter in the kitchen. That’s it.
The other minor infraction was that the pork in the pork bowl was a little salty – and the manager admitted that it did taste a little saltier than normal. Honesty…I love it.”

The Bottom Line:

Like we said at the beginning; this review is very different than any we’ve done before. You may be asking – did we get special dishes, made just for the review? The answer is no; these are all dishes prepared in ways anyone can go in and order, right off the menu. Did we get special treatment? No again; the staff was not aware of who we were or why we were there until we ordered – so the freshness of the food and how it was prepared should be representative of your typical Wednesday (or any day) lunch service. All that being said, would we recommend Wahoo’s Fish Taco? Yes, yes we would. The menu is far more diverse than the name implies, and if you’re willing to take a few extra minutes to look it over, and ask some questions about what you’re not sure of. We all think you’ll be glad you did. After this second visit to Wahoo we will be back for a third. If you are concerned that the food at Wahoo’s is similar to a place such as Taco Cabana, think again – Wahoo’s is much better.

So did we get it just completely wrong? Give them a try and decide for yourself. You don’t have to take our word for it!

Wahoo's Fish Taco Review

Jack’s Place Bar & Grill

The Woodlands – RIP 11-16-2011

Jack's Place I45N Spring The Woodlands - Previously Sam's Boat

The natural stone retail center which was previously home to “Sam’s Boat”, “BLVD” and “Dug Out Sports” a Sports Memorabilia store and then sat vacant for several months is experiencing what could be described as ‘a second chance’ at life.

Jack’s Place has moved into the building after some minor remodeling and as new eateries sometimes do, is enjoying the honeymoon phase when the curious come by to check out the interior, the service, and of course the food. The Grand Opening event was in mid July and we were there the following weekend, on a Friday night from around 7pm till just after 8pm. We noticed that ‘Jack’s Place’ was actually a bit quiet for a Friday night but they were staffed to the point where the easily could have handled a much larger attendance.  The servers were constantly on the move though some of them seemed to be merely ‘making the loop’ while food from the kitchen, and drinks from the bar were flowing out at what seemed to be a consistent rate.

Sliders at Jacks Place Spring TexasHappy hour isn’t what it used to be at Jack’s as our waiter told us; it was from
4pm to close but had just been changed from 4pm – 7pm and then again from 10pm to close. So we started with a round of drinks and “Jack’o’ Sliders“. The still warm mini-burgers were served on a sweet tasting white bread similar to a Hawaiian bun.  The condiments were fresh and crisp yet also warm ( as compared to what we normally get at 5 Guys with tomato slices that are still cold if you eat right away). We really like the condiments to be cold while the meat and cheese are hot – it really makes for a flavorful burger. The beef on the sliders was thin and the overall flavor was about average. The french fries were light and crispy with a great blend of (what seemed to be) salt and pepper and a little garlic salt. As this did seem to give the potatos some flavor, they became a bit dull after I had eaten less than half of the serving.

Jack's Place Chicken Fajitas

The Chicken Fajitas at Jack’s Place – in a word, “Boring”. Served with black beans, rice, sour cream, and a blend of finely grated yellow and white cheese, the chicken slices were thick, moist, and plentiful, they just didn’t have any flavor… The black beans were definitely ‘black’, probably the blackest I have seen in some time & were sitting in black water (presumably with which they had been prepared). The seasoned rice.. well, let’s just say it looked like seasoned rice and leave it that.  The menu refers to the chicken fajitas as being rubbed with an exclusive seasoning rub (wonder if it’s the same thing on the tables?) and then slow grilled – well, it did take a while to get the plate served but it likely wasn’t because of the time it would take to ‘rub them with the seasoning’ as the chicken was quite bland.  Overall, the presentation was nice and the server was prompt, enthusiastic and friendly but as we have all heard, ‘looks aren’t everything’.
Jacks Place could really be a great local hot spot if the food had more / better flavor. The outside patio is very nice and having direct bar service on the patio is a great idea.  When it comes to drinks at Jacks, we can’t really say one way or the other as we don’t drink when doing food reviews but the atmosphere and decor is excellent.  With an improved menu, we think that Jack’s Place could have a very good chance at survival in The Woodlands.

Jack's Place Chicken Fajitas

jacks-secret-seasong

Jack’s Place Bar & Grill26710 I-45 North Oak Ridge North, TX 77386 (Across from The Woodlands, Texas) Should we return in the future, we may add a little of “Jack’s Super Secret Seasoning” to our food and see if it livens things up a bit. Trust us when we say that the food isn’t worth dying for… ;)  Granted, Jack’s Place is not advertised as a Mexican Cantina but the food we had was very good ‘bar food’ and not quite restaurant quality.  Everyone can have a bad day now and then and maybe Jack was having a hard time this particular day so give them a shot and see what you think. Click here to pre-purchase a $20 voucher for only $10 (external) valid thru October 5, 2012 – Glad we didn’t buy into this one! :)

And should you not agree with our findings – please feel free to comment here on our blog; we welcome your comments and feedback.

November 17, 2011 update – Jack’s opened in August of 2011.
Jack’s Place in The Woodlands is officially closed.
Check our article on Restaurants in The Woodlands that have closed.

Jack's Place Oak Ridge North

Coal Burger

Coal Fired Burgeria

20 Waterway Ave, Suite 150

The Woodlands, Texas  77380

Closed

Upon first entering the newly opened Coal Burger in The Woodlands, you can’t help but notice at least 2 things – 1, the enticing aroma of the soon to be had, coal  fired goodness and 2, the mass of lime green T-shirt clad worker bees buzzing around and asking if you need any help in deciding what to order.
And that aroma – it instantly reminded of the local “Home Burger” I used to frequent during my high school years. I couldn’t say if “Home Burger” was using coal but I do know were making burgers on a similar type of fiery grill.

The Woodlands Coal Burger Ovens

So why would someone have trouble with the menu? Well, we could read it just fine but, it’s proximity to the front door might be an issue as person A stops to read it while persons B, C, D, etc attempt to enter.

And that would be the only less than positive attribute for the remainder of our visit. The staff was friendly and eager to accept our food request and we were promptly on our way to fill our drinks at the fountain. We ordered one beverage along with a water and were then handed 2 cups of the same size. None of those tiny little Styrofoam cups you might get at other places when you prefer just simple H2O with your meal at Coal Burger! Drink choices are many with flavors of Boylan pure cane sugar sparkling soda.
Stove Coal used at Coal Burger The Woodlands
The dining area (seats between 30 and 60 people) was clean and the chairs were comfy. We were just barely seated when a worker bee came by and asked if we needed anything, napkins, ketchup, etc. which was nice as there are no condiments or other eating apparatus type items at the tables.

We placed our number in the holder (yes, just like Pei Wei) and began to take in the ambience. Coal Burger is located on the street level just behind Grimaldi’s Pizza (same parent company) but only has space on that level. Grimaldi’s is below and Crush Wine Bar is above yet the patio seating area provides an excellent view of the Waterway Fountains which is perfect for the semi-regular live music performances held in the courtyard.coal burger drinks the woodlands

 

 

Our quarter pound coal fired burgers arrived in short order and while they initially appeared to be quite small, they were nothing short of fantastic. The bacon on the bacon-cheeseburger was cooked to perfection, nice thick slices with just a hint of salt. The Niman Ranch beef was cooked to perfection and the melted cheese was dripping in delight. The grass fed beef is hormone-free and pasture raised resulting in delicious burgers that go perfectly with Coal Burger’s sweet potato or french fries (cooked in rice-bran oil). The Classic quarter pound burger was quite honestly, even when served without the Coal Burger Sauce, fantastic. The peppery taste of the beef was a perfect compliment to the coal fired flavor. Burger prices start at $3.99.
More Burger Restaurants in The Woodlands

bacon cheeseburger woodlands coal burgerBacon Cheeseburger Woodlands Coal Burger

Think we got it wrong? Or did we hit the nail on the head? Let us know in the comments below. And remember, you don’t have to take our word for it – give them a try for yourself and decide!

Related:

Becks Prime
Burger Fresh Tomball Review
Burger Fresh Conroe
1$ Burgers @ Bar Louies
Dosey Doe Music Cafe
Jerry Built Burgers
Kirby’s Prime Burgers
Stadia Bar & Grill
TGI Fridays
Burger Restaurants in The Woodlands

Read the review on H-Town Chow Down

Coal Burger The Woodlands

Stir Crazy | Fresh Asian Grill in The Woodlands

Closed

Opening Weekend at Stir Crazy

In May of 2011, Stir Crazy Fresh Asian Grill opened at Waterway Square, offering area residents the opportunity to sample the menu at a 50% savings. It’s not anything new, BJ’s Brewhouse in Shenandoah had a similar offering in November 2010; the only difference was a limited menu… and the much larger crowd anxious to sample their food. BJ’s has a much larger following in Texas than Stir Crazy; 20 to none when it comes to locations anyway.

Asian Restaurants in The Woodlands

When it comes to Asian food in The Woodlands choices are
many, with nearly 40 different venues offering Asian favorites including Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Sushi and others. Kita Japanese already has a home along Waterway Avenue offering a fresh Sushi Bar along with other Japanese items. Stir Crazy features both an adult beverage bar as well as the “Market Bar” open to all with no age restrictions.  The Market Bar offers fresh vegetables for the picking and when added along with a meat, fish or tofu (optional), are fresh cooked in front of you and served up hot and/or spicy to suit your taste. Should you want to be seated and have everything brought to the table, you can also order entrées and dessert directly from the menu.

The Service

letttuce wraps

Lettuce Wraps with a chicken and veggie blend

As mentioned earlier, all the menu items at Stir Crazy were 50% off over the weekend. This in itself seems like a great reason to try out a new restaurant but, there was more to it than just half price food. Everything but the liquor, and (nearly) every employee was also at 50%, more or less. As they were probably a lot of new-hires and new-to-the-food-service-field, this was a training exercise for many of the worker bees at this Asian food diner/restaurant/fresh market eatery. You need to have full knowledge and understanding of this before venturing further into this realm so I repeat – presumably almost all of the staff were still in training at this point. While we may know a lot about a given subject, none of us can possibly know everything, so aren’t we all always in training to one degree or another? There was at least one employee there with some 10 years experience with the company – surely there were others, but, they weren’t the servers or among the many line cooks. This thought is based on some other reviews about the food, as well as our own, which we will get to in due time, and drinks received by other patrons. Having some experience in the food service industry myself, it’s not hard to spot the various staff members with that ‘deer caught in the headlights’ look. This is not to say that it was all bad – in fact it was pretty good – all things considered.

Our waiter was pretty well versed with the menu, and knew a little something about each of the different items when questioned. He was somewhat over the top in the enthusiasm department, and was very agreeable with our choices, frequently commenting on how this or that was his ‘favorite’ or was ‘fantastic’. That, and extremely courteous; he was very generous with a “Thank You” after nearly every encounter at our table.

The Food

chicken satay stir crazy woodlands

Chicken Satay Skewers

Our meal consisted of appetizers, the main course, and dessert. Nothing terribly exciting or unusual, just Asian food at a new Asian restaurant in The Woodlands. Initially, we sampled the
Chicken Satay (seared chicken skewers served with a peanut dipping sauce and Asian slaw) and Lettuce Wraps (a special blend of chicken, vegetables and spices, served with cool, crisp lettuce cups). The chicken strips are cooked in a curry based sauce (not actually listed on the menu) and as colorful as they were, we expected more pizzazz in the flavor yet, they were disappointingly bland.  The peanut sauce was more like peanut butter; consisting mostly of chopped peanuts, which is fine if you like peanut butter, I suppose. The lettuce wraps – the iceberg lettuce cups were cool and fresh, the chicken and vegetable blend (a rather unpleasant sounding description) was also a bit neutral when it came to the flavor, or lack thereof.

The Main Course

kung pao chicken woodlands stir crazy

The Kung Pao Chicken was more like Kung Poof

For the main course, we had Kung Pao Chicken served with scallions, red peppers, carrots, peanuts and hot chili peppers, and Thai BBQ Noodles – chicken, Shanghai noodles, tomatoes, onions, carrots, red peppers, snow peas and cilantro tossed in a Thai BBQ sauce.  The Kung Pao Chicken was unlike any I have ever tasted before, large chunks of white chicken, a few of the afore-mentioned extras and plenty of the dried red peppers, several of them being very healthy in appearance (plump). And did I mention that this item is served with your choice of noodles, white, brown, or fried rice? Yes, it comes with rice and lots of it too – though not much sauce; very little in fact (which we were told was not the norm).  For those familiar with Pei Wei, their entrées that are served with rice typically come with a matching size pile of chicken, not true at Stir Crazy… neither of our plates were equal in the chicken to starch ratio when compared to our reigning favorite, but they are more expen$$ive by about 40%. The Thai BBQ Noodles on the other hand, had plenty of sauce and a bit more flavor than the Kung Pao Chicken. Though the menu indicated it would be spicy (with two out of three possible flame indicators), unless one suffers from an ulcer, it’s safe to assume even a three-flame dish would be pleasantly mild. True to everything being fresh and house-made, each of the noodle bowls are made with a different Asian pasta.

thai barbecue chicken

Thai BBQ Chicken with Noodles @ Stir Crazy Asian Grill

Dessert at Stir Crazy

Triple Chocolate Happiness

The Triple Chocolate Happiness Ice Cream Dessert

Dessert at Stir Crazy was good, such as we read that others enjoyed as well. We sampled two of their in-house made desserts – the Pyphoon and the Triple Happiness Chocolate Cake.  The “Pyphoon” is a house made ice cream pie layered with coffee, chocolate and Swiss almond Haggen Daz ice cream on an Oreo cookie crust and drizzled with house made caramel sauce and is great, but it doesn’t compare to “Dominic’s Mud.”

The Triple Happiness Chocolate Cake is a house made chocolate bundt cake with a hint of ginger spice, topped with warm house made milk chocolate sauce, served with strawberry puree and loaded with fresh whipped cream.

 

Pyphoon

Mini Bundt Chocolate Cake

So knowing that this was opening weekend for the first Stir Crazy in Texas, would we return in the future? Yes because (most) everyone deserves a second chance and we have heard many say that the Japanese steak is wonderful. The appetizer and dessert portions were of decent size but the main course was short on both meat and flavor.  Maybe are expectations were wrong but based on the bright colors and the name / logo design, our taste buds were prepped for food with a loud flavor but all we got was a whisper. Maybe we will have better luck next time.

Stir Crazy Fresh Asian Grill in The Woodlands is located at the corner of Waterway Avenue and Lake Robbins Drive. Check the TWE! Restaurant Guide for more Asian Restaurants in The Woodlands.

Think we got it wrong? Or did we hit the nail on the head? Let us know in the comments below. And remember, you don’t have to take our word for it – give them a try for yourself and decide! Maybe we will see you there as we plan to return for more.

Stir Crazy The Woodlands closed in July 2012

Stir Crazy Review