Must-Know Houston Food News This Week — Week of June 19, 2023 — Updated

Smashe donuts

The Houston food scene continues to be as hot as this summer heat, with new spots opening for coastal Italian, fast casual burgers, smashed donuts and a surprising pizza and crudo combo. We’ve rounded up some of the latest food news you should know.

Burgers and Fries Shake Shack
Signature burgers and crinkle cut fries at Shake Shack. Photo by Audrey Ma.

What started as a hot dog cart in New York City, Shake Shack has grown into an international fast casual chain, with twenty-one locations in Texas and six in Houston. The sixth location opened June 22 in Sugar Land and is the first location in Texas with a drive-thru. Located at 2515 Town Center Blvd North, in a former TGI Fridays, it is nestled in a busy shopping center, among other family friendly restaurants. It will be an ideal spot for guests to stop in for its classics, such as the ShackBurger®, Avocado Bacon Burger, vegetarian options such as its ‘Shroom Burger, crinkle-cut fries and of course hand-spun shakes. Shake Shack also serves beer and wine made exclusively for the chain. While it may still be considered fast food, Shake Shack prides itself on making everything to order and only using premium ingredients.

Shake Shack hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Guests will be able to order directly inside and in the drive-thru lanes.

A location in Katy is also already under construction and slated to open later this year.

Dishes at Pastore
An array of dishes at Pastore. Photo by Duc Hoang.

The second of Underbelly Hospitality’s restaurants in the Regent Square development now has an opening date. Pastore is opening at 1180 Dunlavy on Friday, June 30.

When it was initially announced, Pastore was described as an “American-Italian red sauce” restaurant based on one of now-closed One Fifth’s iterative menus. Since then, the concept has changed. Executive chef Jeff Potts and Underbelly Hospitality culinary director Scott Muns have created a seafood-forward, coastal Italian menu. Diners can expect handmade pastas, flatbreads, and fresh seafood dishes, such as scallop crudo and oysters with prosecco granita. Larger entrees will include branzino puttanesca and porchetta with gigante bean ragout. Guests can indulge in desserts that will feature interesting twists on Italian classics such as olive oil cake and celery root panna cotta with glazed figs and limoncello sabayon. The wine menu will place emphasis on Italian varietals and regions. Mixologist Sarah Troxell has crafted cocktails featuring Italian spirits and ingredients.

The ambiance will evoke an Italian garden setting – elegant and charming. The space will be anchored by floor to ceiling windows that will warm the modern dining room.

“Pastore has been a long-time in the making and chefs Jeff and Scott have done a tremendous job in curating an incredible coastal Italian dining experience for our guests,” said newly promoted President of Underbelly Hospitality, Nina Quincy, via press release. “From the design to the menu, Pastore is far different from our existing concepts. We are incredibly proud of our opening team and are excited to finally open our doors and welcome Houston and beyond.”

Pastore will be open for dinner service Monday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11:00 p.m. and Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m., with future plans for lunch service. Reservations are encouraged and can be made on Resy.

Smashe donuts
Signature Smashed donuts from Yonutz in Pearland. Courtesy photo.

If you like your desserts with a side of fanfare, Yonutz, a donut and ice cream concept has opened its first Houston area location at 11200 Broadway, in Pearland. Yonuts offers specialty donuts, ice cream and milkshakes, but its signature Yonutz SMASHED™ Donuts, a donut stuffed with ice cream, smashed, hot-pressed and topped with bits of candy or cookies is its claim to fame. Options include a Brownie SMASH donut with chocolate ice cream with chocolate drizzle, brownie bits and M&M’s and a Tiramisu SMASH donut with coffee mocha ice cream, cinnamon sugar and Nutella drizzle.

The signature dessert has won Dessert Wars, a dessert festival and competition, three times and has been made social media famous by the founder, Tony Bahu’s son, Angelo, a TikTok and YouTube celebrity who goes by the name, YoAngelolo.

There are now 8 locations in the US with plans with several others slated to open by the end of the year. The Pearland location is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

A grand opening event is scheduled for June 24, featuring giveaways, entertainment and a meet and greet with YoAngelolo.

Chef David Guerrero preparing a plate of conchas asadas at Andes Cafe. Photo by Cindy Wang.
Chef David Guerrero preparing a plate of conchas asadas at Andes Cafe. Photo by Cindy Wang.

Latin Restaurant Weeks, a two week event that highlights Latin-owned restaurants, owners, and culinary businesses across the Greater Houston area returns July 7–July 21. Latin Restaurant Weeks partners with national nonprofit Feed the Soul Foundation to provide grants to culinary businesses. Andes Café, the South American cuisine and ceviche bar located in the Post, has already received its grant, and three more restaurants will be announced. 

Terrence Gallivan
Chef Terrence Gallivan, formerly of The Pass & Provisions, is opening his own restaurant in the Montrose and Midtown area. Photo by Julie Soefer.

And finally, after much anticipation, chef Terence Gallivan’s Midtown neighborhood pizzeria and crudo bar, Elro located at 2405 Genesee, opens for dinner on Friday, June 23. The restaurant had to delay its soft opening this past week due to a power outage. Updated 6/23/2023 with newly confirmed opening date.

Gallivan along with chef Seth Siegel-Gardner fronted the much acclaimed, The Pass & Provisions, which closed in 2019, earning James Beard Award nominations for both chefs. Elro will be a more personal, solo venture. The website is now live with a menu and opening hours. Reservations are not required but recommended. 

Things move fast in the food scene, so before heading out, we recommended checking in with the restaurants for any changes in dates and hours.

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