PaperCity Magazine

July / August 2016 - Houston

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You could say chef Ronnie Killen has a thing for meat. Particularly beef. The Pearland-based restaurateur, who oversees the state-of-the-art kitchen of Killen's Steakhouse and the smokers at Killen's BBQ, has just added Killen's Burgers to his triumvirate of meat-lover shrines in his hometown. He researched the subject of burgers for years and now creates his own custom-ground, all-natural angus- beef mix daily, combining the beef shoulder clod and rib meat in a 75/25 ratio of beef to flavorsome fat. Each burger starts with a hand- formed 10-ounce patty (5-ounce for the kiddos), cooked to order, the exterior beautifully seared to seal in those meaty juices, and ends with a toasted potato bun. Killen's Burgers has taken over the location of Killen's first steakhouse, which relocated. The retro '50s diner vibe was inspired by Gott's Roadside (formerly Taylor's Refresher in Napa Valley) with red, white and blue booths and chairs, Formica tables and a jukebox. Prices range from $7 for a hamburger to $17 for the #99 burger, named for J.J. Watt's jersey number, which packs two huge patties totaling 20 ounces, Nueske's applewood smoked bacon and Wisconsin cheddar cheese. Also on the menu are a fried chicken club sandwich ($9), 44 Farms all-beef hot dog ($), hand-cut fries ($2.75), half-inch-thick onion rings ($3.50), cheese curds ($4) and, for old-school burger fans, crinkle-cut fries ($2.75, regular or sweet potato). It's a kick to see Whataburger condiments on the table, from spicy ketchup to original mustard (the owner's favorites, we're told). And while there's likely to be a line out the door, Killen takes the edge off by serving gratis beer while patrons wait. Laurann Claridge FARE WELL KILLEN IT State Fare, 947 Gessner Road in Gateway, 832.831.0950, Killen's Burgers, 2804 S. Main St., Pearland, 281.412.4922 L ee Ellis, the retail and restaurant impresario with an uncanny knack for putting the cool into his every concept, has made some significant career changes. The co-founder of F.E.E.D. TX restaurant group has left to form Cherry Pie Hospitality with partner/chef Jim Mills. The duo, tapped by the Silicon Valley investor who bankrolled Bradley Ogden's three short-lived Houston concepts, has been charged with the task of reinventing each space. As we go to press, Cherry Pie is putting the final interior touches on State Fare, an eatery that Ellis says exemplifies the kind of big-flavor food he and Mills grew up eating in Texas (Houston and Beaumont, respectively). Housed where Ogden's Pour Society once resided, in Gateway, a Memorial retail development off Gessner, State Fare has a bevy of talents - behind the bar (Laurie Harvey), in the kitchen (exec chef Bill McKinney and pastry wiz Susan Molzan) and managing the place (Rob Harvey). Besides serving lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends, this is also the place to hang out after work and grab a communal table or big booth with lots of friends and dive into hearty snacks and boozy libations. Don't miss the bean-free Jimmy's Texas Red Beef Chili Frito Pie, a complex stew of hand- cut beef devoid of the generic chili powder taste; instead, they roast, toast and purée chile peppers to give their dish a complexity and depth of heat that only gets better as it simmers ($9). Feeling virtuous? The shrimp cocktail ($17) can stand in for a light meal for one (especially if you add the lump crab for $5). Of course, soups are the telltale sign of a talented cook. Layered Sabine Pass Gumbo pays homage not to the New Orleans- style stew but to the Southeast Texas one; devoid of oysters, it packs plenty of chicken, sausage and seafood — including whole crab — into every spoonful ($15). Sous chef Armando Ramirez recalls the tortilla soup of his Oaxacan childhood, which is composed of crisp tortilla strips atop smoked chicken, avocado and cheese, doused with a steaming guajillo chile broth poured tableside. Move on to the mighty burgers and sandwiches, or opt for Ray's delicate cornmeal-dipped fried catfish with hushpuppies and slaw ($18) or the one hell of a big smoked double pork chop glazed with root beer ($27) alongside mashed potatoes and bacon-y green beans. Laurann Claridge JACK OPATRNY JULIE SOEFER KIMBERLY PARK KIMBERLY PARK Ronnie Killen Lee Ellis Crab cakes IT ONLY HAPPENS ONCE A YEAR! FRIDAY, AUGUST 26 9 AM – 5 PM SATURDAY AUGUST 27 9 AM – 4 PM SUNDAY, AUGUST 28 1 – 4 PM DESIGNER SAMPLE SALE DON'T MISS This Once in a Year Sale with amazing buys on Designer Furnishings including antiques, art, accessories, floor samples, lighting, residential and commercial furniture, Oriental rugs and more! & Meet Our Design Expert Who Will Share His Design Tips! 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