Build-Your-Own Bowl Restaurant Emerges in Former Blackbird Izakaya in the Heights

Houston restaurant group Delicious Concepts, owned by Ken Bridge, has repurposed the space that housed recently shuttered Blackbird Izakaya (and, prior to that, Republic Diner + Soju Bar and Witchcraft Tavern) with yet another new concept, Robot Noodle. The restaurant is located at 1221 West 11th and opened the day after an Instagram announcement featuring a robot named Flynn. 

As noted above, Delicious Concepts has hosted a series of restaurants in this space for the past fifteen years. With the decision to close Blackbird Izakaya due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bridge needed a simpler eatery to fill the spot. While Blackbird Izakaya featured executive chef Billy Kin, this time around, Bridge is creating the menu. At Robot Noodle, customers can choose from a diverse selection of ingredients to create their own meals. The idea is inspired by another of the space’s many incarnations, Dragon Bowl, which closed in 2012 to become Witchcraft Tavern. 

Create your own bowl at Robot noodle. Photo by Ryan Baker

Ordering is done from the restaurant group’s in-house proprietary app, Roovy, and the selection process is straight forward. Customers have three options: dine in, carry out or have their food delivered. Unlike other Delicious Concepts restaurants such as Ritual, which are also options in the app and have extensive menus, Robot Noodle’s menu choices are streamlined. The main feature is the create-your-bowl option, where customers are given the opportunity to mix-and-match from a massive variety of fresh ingredients. The first step is to choose from a variety of proteins. The selections include steamed or fried chicken and beef, tofu, shrimp and egg. After selecting a protein, customers can choose from any number of a dozen vegetable options and one sauce. The final choice is the base ingredient for the bowl, with options that, include udon, egg noodles, and rice.

Houston restaurateur Ken Bridge

There are side dish options as well, such as vegetarian egg rolls called Robot Rolls and edamame, as well as a selection of canned drinks and beer.

For now, Bridge says that Delicious Concepts is still trying to organize the final schedule, but once the restaurant is out of its soft opening phase, the hours will likely be from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with shortened hours on Sunday. To view the full menu, download the Roovy app.

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