Blue Lion Pub is a family-run pub located in the Grogan’s Mill Village Center

Family-run restaurants are the heart and soul of a thriving restaurant scene. We’re highlighting the best family-run places around the Woodlands. (To be on this list, the owner(s) need to be the ones actively running the restaurant, either serving as GM or heading up the kitchen.)

Featured Family-Run Restaurants The Woodlands

Notable craft BBQ in a cozy backyard spot near the Woodlands

3rd Coast BBQ & Catering

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best BBQ
There’s a new rising star on the north side craft BBQ scene, and their name is 3rd Coast BBQ. Pitmaster Troy Mulligan is a Houston native, and has mastered his art after driving around Texas and sampling ‘Q from dozens of the state’s top pits. His dedication and research is paying dividends: The centerpiece is superb brisket; remarkably moist, beautifully rendered, and with a cravable bark created by his top secret rub. Other proteins aren’t shortchanged; the pork ribs are savory masterpieces, with a plucky texture and effortless pull from the bone. Sausage should’t be overlooked; Troy makes an outstanding boudin, with perhaps the best meat/rice balance that we’ve come across. For those eating lighter, turkey is beautifully smoky and tender. Attention to detail shows in the sides (all made in-house, don’t miss the gently spicy street corn or the excellent buns and breads (all Slow Dough, the local baking wizards.) Open Thursday through Sunday, and they’re typically sold out by 4pm.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | BBQ
Family-Run Small Business and Outdoor Dining

25219 Oakhurst Dr | Spring 77386
713-545-0718
| Map
Website

Seafood by Lake Conroe

Amore Seafood

🥇 Best Seafood

Amore specializes in expertly prepared seafood that ventures beyond the Gulf and brings in great flavors from the East Coast. Seared tuna steak was a highlight; a slab of beautiful sushi-grade tuna delicately seasoned and seared rare. Fried calamari was among the very best we’ve tried; exquisitely tender, and accented with deep fried red and jalapeño peppers. Standards like fried shrimp are outstanding as well; unique Italian breadcrumb crust compliments the large, tasty shrimp. Don’t let the casual, charming setting fool you; this is serious seafood.

(Formerly The Original Tony & Al’s Seafood Shack)

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Seafood
Family-Run Small Business, Happy Hour, and Outdoor Dining

14860 TX-105 | Montgomery 77356
936-582-1053
| Map

Indian cuisine meets French technique at this luxe location near the waterway

Amrina

🌟🌟🌟 — Notable on a statewide level.

🥇 Best Brunch
🥇 Best Happy Hour
🥇 Best Indian

World-class Indian cuisine from noted chef Jassi Bindra meets French technique in this swanky location near the Woodlands Waterway. GM Giorgio Ferrero has assembled a spectacular wine list (first growth Bordeaux, anyone?) to complement the luxurious, beautifully crafted cuisine. Spare-no-expense interior design is the backdrop for a special night out; those looking for an upscale scene need look no further.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$$ and $$$$ | Indian
Brunch, Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Good Desserts, Good for Vegetarians, Happy Hour, Late Night, Live Music, On the Radar, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Romantic, and Upscale

3 Waterway Square Pl #100 | The Woodlands 77380
| Map | Review
Website

Outstanding tacos from a local truck

Antojitos Junior Taco Truck

🥈 Recommended Mexican
🥈 Recommended Tacos

The Woodlands area has a great taco truck located in the parking lot of the HEB on Sawdust. Antojitos Junior serves a variety of Mexican and Honduran specialties; the family that runs it is Honduran. We sampled several different tacos. Skip the trendy birria and go straight to the classics; we were very impressed by the Tacos de Pastor (seasoned and marinated pork, with onion and cilantro) and the Tacos de Carne de Res (marinated beef with onion and cilantro). It’s a taco truck, so no seating. Cash only.

Info and Photos >>

$ and $$ | Mexican
Family-Run Small Business and Food Trucks

130 Sawdust Road | The Woodlands 77380
(In Sawdust HEB parking lot)
281-203-7787
| Map

South-Texas-Style BBQ served from a food truck

BBQ Godfather

🥈 Recommended BBQ

Do you like your barbecue with a little kick? Then BBQ Godfather has you covered. Award-winning competition pitmaster Tony Faour brought his South Texas style ‘Q to Deacon Baldy’s food truck park, and the locals have been lining up ever since. Each meat gets a unique rub, and the perfect sauce is available for those who prefer it. From the delicious pork ribs to spicy brisket, BBQ Godfather offers unique versions of all the Texas BBQ classics. Sides are top notch as well; don’t miss the sweet potato casserole or the mac & cheese burnt ends. Sandwiches come on a crusty Italian loaf… just don’t call it French bread, or you risk the ire of the Godfather himself.

Info and Photos >>

$ and $$ | BBQ
Family-Run Small Business and Outdoor Dining

5447 Fm 1488 Rd | Magnolia 77354
713-828-5960
| Map
| Order Online

A neighborhood pub in the Grogan's Mill Village Center

Blue Lion Pub

🥇 Best Happy Hour
🥈 Recommended American (Traditional)
🥈 Recommended Burger

Woodlands residents have been clamoring for more spots to relax with a cocktail, and the Blue Lion Pub delivers. Owners Wes Cordova and Kristi Sides have created a cozy, stylish haven for thirsty patrons looking to beat the heat day or night. The food was a pleasant surprise; the tightly-edited menu features a superb Sonora dog that was our favorite bite. Bacon-wrapped all-beef dog topped with fresh veggies and perched on a pretzel bun resulted in one of the best hotdogs we’ve had south of Buldogies. Fresh grilled Brussels sprouts were another great surprise; a beautifully executed version of this healthy snack.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | American (Traditional)
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Live Music, Outdoor Dining, and Romantic

2230 Buckthorne Pl Suite 150 | The Woodlands 77380
In the Grogan's Mill Village Center
832-205-0817
| Map

New York-style pizza from this iconic local chain

Brothers Pizza Express

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Pizza

This long-time Woodlands standby serves big New York-style pizzas to hungry patrons who’ve been visiting for years. Calzones and pastas are also offered. The environment is basic but comfortable; no frills, but a great place to grab a pizza. Brother’s was the winner of our 2022 Pizza Shootout.

Info and Photos >>

$ and $$ | Pizza
Delivery by Restaurant, Family-Run Small Business, and Good for Kids

2260 Buckthorne Pl #173 | The Woodlands 77380
(also in Sterling Ridge Center)
281-298-9299
| Map
Website | Menu | Order Online

Flawlessly Executed Carnival Cuisine

Buldogies

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best American (Traditional)
🥈 Recommended Sandwiches

Foodies in search of the best hot dogs around make the hike up to Highway 105 to drop in at Buldogies. Inside they’ll find handcrafted versions of the food that’s found at a state fair… but prepared far better. Huge hot dogs made from quality ingredients and assembled with attention to detail are the centerpiece, but the excellent sandwiches, carnival favorites, and indulgent desserts delight kids and adults alike. Foodies jump right to the City Crafted Dogs or the Outlaws, each of which is a well-balanced dish with expertly layered flavors. This isn’t James Coney Island; you don’t need to order three, although you may want to try them all.

Info and Photos >>

$ | American (Traditional) and Sandwiches
Family-Run Small Business

14543 TX 105 #406 | Conroe 77304
936-588-6688
| Map

Quality Tex-Mex and outstanding margaritas

Casa Medina

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Mexican

Solid Tex-Mex entrees and big margaritas are the main attraction at this family-owned Tex-Mex spot. Owner Adan Medina and his family differentiate their place with delicious flavored margaritas; we’re partial to the Avocado Margarita, which is smooth and delicious. Service is prompt and professional in both the big dining room and the cozy bar.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Mexican
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, and Happy Hour

28777 I-45 | Spring 77381
281-298-9866
| Map
Website

Superlative Thai cuisine in a jewel-like strip-center setting

Charm Thai Bistro

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Asian
🥇 Best Thai

A wide variety of expertly crafted Thai dishes is on the menu at Charm Thai Bistro, and we were impressed with every single one we sampled. From the cool, tangy, refreshing Som Tum (papaya salad) to the delightfully complex Tom Kha (coconut soup) to the soulfully rich Panang Curry, we were blown away by the obvious care that went into every dish. Even the de rigueur Pad Thai was the best we’ve found ’round these parts. Chef Adam Gorelick is not a native of Thailand, but you’d never know by the food that flows from his talented kitchen. Modern, comfortable setting, featuring artifacts imported from Thailand, and a huge mural of a Thai lion overseeing the dining room. Service is warm, friendly and professional.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Thai
Family-Run Small Business, Good for Vegetarians, and HRW2021

2203 Spring Steubner Rd #100 | Spring 77389
281-516-5555
| Map

Gourmet cinnamon rolls with hundreds of options

Cinnaholic

🥈 Recommended Sweet Shop

The Woodlands area has a fun new spot for sweet treats and desserts. Cinnaholic bakes fresh cinnamon rolls, then cranks them up to 11 with your choice of frostings, toppings, fresh fruits, and nuts. There are hundreds of possible combinations, but fortunately the clever staff has a selection of predefined choices that are enticing and delicious. Catering for business and group events. The shop is bright, clean, and inviting, and the staff is smiling; you would be too if you were surrounded by cinnamon rolls all day.

Info and Photos >>

$ | Sweets
Catering, Family-Run Small Business, Good Desserts, Good for Kids, and On the Radar

27630 Interstate 45 N | Oak Ridge North 77385
281-719-5327
| Map
Website

Iconic Craft BBQ

CorkScrew BBQ

🌟🌟🌟 — Notable on a statewide level.

🥇 Best BBQ

When Will Buckman quit his job with the phone company to focus on barbecue, some thought he was crazy. Our first taste of Will’s brisket, served from a trailer on Budde road, convinced us he was crazy like a fox. Along with wife Nichole, Buckman has built Corkscrew BBQ into one of the best BBQ joints in the world – Texas Monthly named them to their prestigious Top 10 list in 2017. From the superlative brisket to the gargantuan beef ribs (Saturday only) Corkscrew’s meats do not disappoint. But don’t skip the sides, or Nichole’s remarkable cobblers. And get there early. Corkscrew routinely sells out by mid-afternoon, and the line starts an hour or more before opening.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | BBQ
Family-Run Small Business and Outdoor Dining

26608 Keith St | Spring 77373
832-592-1184
| Map
Website

Eclectic Family-Run Cafe

Eden Cafe

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best American (Traditional)

This family-run cafe has been making area diners happy with generous portions of eclectic, home-style cuisine. American favorites, Italian, and Cuban entrees are the highlights.

Owner Ulises Larramendi originally hails from Cuba, and he brings a gentle latin twist to American favorites. Service is friendly and reliable, and the family-friendly environment is filled with diners of all ages.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ | American (Traditional)
Brunch, Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Good for Kids, Happy Hour, and Private Room

33418 Egypt Ln #16 | Magnolia 77354
832-934-2800
| Map | Review
Website

Modern American bistro in an upscale park setting

Fielding’s Local Kitchen + Bar

🌟🌟🌟 — Notable on a statewide level.

🥇 Best American (New)
🥇 Best Brunch
🥇 Best Burger
🥇 Best Happy Hour
🥇 Best Steak

Housemade is a term you’ll hear at Fielding’s Local. Owner Cary Attar is passionate about the details, and his customers are the beneficiaries. His partner, Chef Edel Goncalves, has created a tightly edited menu featuring local, all-natural, and organic ingredients. This chef-driven approach to the food delights and surprises, be the dish based on pan-roasted chicken, housemade bacon, or 44 Ranch beef.

Chef Edel’s creativity always impresses, be it a vibrant starter with shimmering flavors and textures or a soulful entree with a clever surprise. His European outlook and mastery of classic technique is reflected on every plate. But Local is not pretentious; steak lovers will be pleased to discover that the steaks stack up against the best steakhouses in town, and there’s always a killer burger on the menu.

The airy, modern bar doesn’t disappoint, with their talented staff concocting superb craft cocktails from an impressive collection of spirits. Beers are sourced locally and internationally to stock the rotating selection of taps, and featured bar menus are created on a regular basis. This is easily the top bar in the Woodlands.

Service is professional and friendly. The building is stunning, with glass overlooking the expansive patio and Creekside green beyond. Fielding’s Local is a true destination restaurant, and worth a spot on any foodie’s short list.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$$ and $$$$ | American (New), Brunch, Burgers, and Steaks
Brunch, Catering, Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Happy Hour, HRW2020, HRW2021, Live Music, Outdoor Dining, Romantic, Scenic View, and Upscale

26400 Kuykendahl Rd | Tomball 77375
281-351-2225
| Map | Review
Website

Burgers and American favorites, chef-driven and scratch made

Fielding’s Wood Grill

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best American (New)
🥇 Best American (Traditional)
🥇 Best Brunch
🥇 Best Burger
🥇 Best Happy Hour

Gourmet burgers cooked over a wood grill are the centerpiece at Fielding’s Wood Grill, the original member of the Fielding’s family of restaurants. Founder Cary Attar sweats the details, and believes in making everything in-house, from the custom grind of 44 Ranch Beef to the house cured bacon. Culinary Director Edel Goncalves takes these ingredients and creates unique burgers and an evolving menu of appetizers and entrees that keep the regulars coming back for more. The appeal of Fielding’s extends past the burgers; a very popular weekend brunch features creative spins on brunch classics, and the bartenders pull mugs from a great selection of locally brewed beers when they’re not slinging craft cocktails. Service is brisk and efficient.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ and $$$ | American (New), American (Traditional), Brunch, and Burgers
Brunch, Catering, Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Happy Hour, HRW2020, HRW2021, and Upscale

1699 Research Forest Dr | Shenandoah 77380
832-616-3275
| Map | Review
Website | Menu | Order Online

Enticing Asian fusion in a cozy, family-run nook.

Fu Manchung

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Asian
🥇 Best Vietnamese

Delightfully quirky family-run Asian fusion spot with an enticing slate of unique and memorable dishes. These family recipes surprise and delight; highlights are the deep, rich pho, surprising noodle dishes, superb curry, and a slate of tasty and clever appetizers. Don’t skip the beverages; Café Su Da and Thai Milk Tea are both among the best we’ve sampled.

Calling the staff friendly does them a disservice; Paul and his team are incredibly personable and charming. Service is professional, with a delightfully personal touch. The setting is cozy, comfortable and spotless.

Info and Photos >>

$ and $$ | Vietnamese
Family-Run Small Business and Good for Vegetarians

3416 FM 2920 Suite 210 | Spring 77388
832-791-5873
| Map
Website

Artistic Charcuterie Boxes

Grazeables

Grazeables isn’t a restaurant, but rather a creator of artistic, delicious charcuterie and grazing boxes. A typical Grazeable contains interesting cheeses, savory meats, crackers, nuts, fruits, veggies, dips, spreads, chocolates, and more. The components are hand selected by owner Amy Martinez, and assembled in a commercial kitchen off Sawdust road.

Info and Photos >>

$$ and $$$ | Charcuterie
Catering, Delivery by Restaurant, Family-Run Small Business, and Good for Vegetarians

25275 Budde Rd Suite 4B | Spring 77380
281-797-0262
| Map
Website

Fresh and Healthy

Herb & Beet

🥇 Best Salad
🥈 Recommended American (New)

Garden fresh salads, hefty sandwiches, and well conceived appetizers (try the avocado beet toast) are the draw at this Sawdust area restaurant featuring healthy ingredients from local sources. The modern, inviting room is a relaxing space to enjoy. Fast and friendly counter service makes it a perfect spot for a quick lunch.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ | American (New), BBQ, Salads, and Sandwiches
Family-Run Small Business, Good for Vegetarians, and Outdoor Dining

448 Sawdust Road | The Woodlands 77380
at Budde
832-791-2338
| Map | Review
Website | Menu | Order Online

Burgers and sandwiches from a small-family-run spot

Honey Bee Ham & Deli

🥈 Recommended Burger

Burgers and sandwiches are the draw at this tidy strip-center shop. Family run, they’ve been delighting locals since 1994.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Burgers and Sandwiches
Family-Run Small Business

4747 Research Forest Dr #495 | The Woodlands 77381
281-364-9200
| Map
Website

Family-run Italian in a tidy strip center location

Italian Cafe

🥈 Recommended Italian

Fettucine alfredo is a dish found on almost every Italian restaurant’s menu. Few make it as well as Italian Cafe; this one standout dish demonstrates the care that goes into preparing every dish at this cozy Spring cafe. All the dishes show a distinct New York inspiration, from the excellent pastas to the veal, chicken, and seafood entrees.

Service is warm and friendly at this family-run operation. They’ve been hard at work since 1989. You’re likely to see owner Leo Coronel and his wife Zoly checking on tables and greeting guests. Check ’em out.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Italian
Family-Run Small Business

19620 Kuykendahl Rd | Spring 77379
281-528-2919
| Map
Website

Elevated pizza in a hidden strip center location

Jackpot Pizza

🥇 Best Pizza

Pizza lovers in the know rave about Jackpot Pizza. This unassuming strip center location turns out well conceived gourmet pizzas made from a variety of top quality ingredients. Their standard pizzas are very good, but the creativity of the kitchen shines in their gourmet pizzas. Jackpot owner Mary Ann Ledesma sweats the details; her team shreds blocks of cheese daily rather than using a preshredded product, and you can taste the difference. Gluten free and cauliflower crust available; those avoiding gluten, or on a keto diet can rejoice; it’s a far better pizza than you find in overpriced “gluten free eateries”.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Pizza
Catering, Delivery by Restaurant, and Family-Run Small Business

6450 Louetta Rd | Spring 77379
281-257-0762
| Map
Website

Creative Mexican food and Tex-Mex favorites

Julio’s Mexican Grill – Magnolia

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Mexican
🥇 Best Tacos

The original location of this growing restaurant empire (Julio’s Sawdust, Red Flame) is still packing ’em in. They’re drawn in by the impressive Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, which goes beyond the typical fajitas (although Julio’s are outstanding) to superb creations like the El Sabroso (lightly breaded chicken breast covered in a shrimp/poblano cream sauce). The menu is strong from top to bottom – street tacos are a don’t miss, and their al pastor may be the best on Houston’s north side. Service is friendly and professional.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Mexican and Tacos
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Happy Hour, and Outdoor Dining

33418 Egypt Ln #2759 | Magnolia 77354
281-259-4522
| Map
Website

Creative Mexican food and Tex-Mex favorites

Julio’s Mexican Grill – Sawdust

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Mexican
🥇 Best Tacos

The best Mexican restaurant in Magnolia has opened a second location on Sawdust road, and savvy locals are already converging. They’re drawn in by the impressive Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, which goes beyond the typical fajitas (although Julio’s are outstanding) to superb creations like the El Sabroso (lightly breaded chicken breast covered in a shrimp/poblano cream sauce). The menu is strong from top to bottom – street tacos are a don’t miss, and their al pastor may be the best on Houston’s north side. Service is friendly and professional.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Mexican and Tacos
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Good Desserts, and Happy Hour

544 Sawdust Road | The Woodlands 77380
(by PetCo)
281-419-5441
| Map
Website | Order Online

Great Tacos and Mexican dishes from a hidden gem

La Cocina de Roberto

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Tacos
🥈 Recommended Mexican

A hidden gem at the far west end of Sawdust (and now with a second location on I-45 just south of Woodlands Parkway), La Cocina de Roberto began as a cozy little taqueria, serving the Timber Ridge neighborhood. But the savvy owners have added more full-fledged entrees to the menu, making it one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in the Woodlands. Tacos are still delicious: Carne asada and camerón are the standouts. Don’t miss the bargain faijta / shrimp combo, or the excellent chicken enchiladas.

Alcohol is BYOB – bring your own liquor, and Roberto will provide setups. You can’t beat a bargain margarita made with premium tequila.

Info and Photos >>

$ and $$ | Mexican and Tacos
Catering and Family-Run Small Business

26817 Interstate 45 N | The Woodlands 77380
832-813-8030
| Map
Website

Serious tacos in an unpretentious spot in Conroe

La Palma Taqueria

🥇 Best Tacos
🥈 Recommended Mexican

La Palma has been a hidden destination for Woodlands foodies for years. In this nondescript little building are made some of the best traditional tacos you’ll find around these parts. We are draw to the al pastor, but we’ve not had a bad taco here. Late hours make this the perfect retreat when the chains are all closed; don’t let the slightly sketchy neighborhood scare you off from some amazing tacos. And don’t pass up the grilled onions on the hot plate.

Info and Photos >>

$ | Mexican and Tacos
Family-Run Small Business and Late Night

309 W Avenue G, Conroe | Conroe 77301
936-539-6792
| Map

🥈 Recommended Italian

Families seeking out Italian comfort food in a calm, pleasant setting love Lasagna House III. This family-run business has been quietly turning out Italian favorites for years. Pasta is a strength here, and value is impressive: A lasagna dinner with garlic bread and a salad is $11. It’s rare to find good Italian food priced so well; Lasagna House delivers.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Italian
Catering, Family-Run Small Business, and Private Room

217D Cypress Creek Pkwy | Houston 77090
281-580-7797
| Map
Website | Order Online

Authentic Monterrey-style tacos in a cozy strip-center shop

Mirrey Tacos y Mas

🥇 Best Tacos

Tacos as you’d find in Monterrey are the thing at Mirrey Tacos y Mas, a small, family-run taqueria tucked away off Cypresswood. The outstanding tacos al pastor are the star; the meat is cooked on a vertical trompo, in the traditional style. Cozy, clean environment, and they close early after the lunch crowd.

Info and Photos >>

$ | Mexican and Tacos
Family-Run Small Business

727 E Louetta Rd ste 120 | Spring 77373
281-362-5224
| Map

Traditional Indian cuisine, Indian fast food, and more

Namaste Indian Cuisine

🥈 Recommended Indian

Namaste offers solid versions of all your favorite traditional Indian dishes. From Chicken Tikka Masala to Saag Paneer to Naan. Namaste specializes in chaat (Indian Fast food) while also dabbling in some southern Indian dishes and fusion foods, which combine more than one type of cuisine. They have an extensive Indochinese offering, too.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Indian
Family-Run Small Business and Good for Vegetarians

202 Sawdust Rd Suite 115 | Spring 77380
832-299-6476
| Map
Website

Classic Tex-Mex in a warm, family-friendly setting

Natalita’s #2

🥈 Recommended Mexican

Natalita’s brings traditional Tex Mex to a comfortable strip center on Sawdust road. This family-run spot has solid versions of all of your Tex-Mex favorites, including two tasty table salsas that appear with the complimentary chips. Lunch menu is well priced; lots of good options under $10. In a market full of Mexican restaurants, Natalita’s #2 is a solid choice for families wanting a good meal in a relaxing setting.

Info and Photos >>

$ and $$ | Mexican
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, and Happy Hour

387 Sawdust Rd | Spring 77380
In the Woodwinds Center
281-298-8195
| Map
Website | Order Online

An upscale cafe from the talented team behind Charm Bistro

Noe’s Cafe

🥈 Recommended Brunch
🥈 Recommended Burger

Noe’s Cafe brings combines an airy, modern setting with a carefully crafted menu, and the result is a delightfully upscale destination for breakfast, lunch, and brunch in Spring. Chef Adam Gorelick skillfully creates from high quality ingredients, and his expert technique results in some memorable dishes.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ | American (Traditional), Breakfast, and Brunch
Brunch, Family-Run Small Business, and Outdoor Dining

2120 Spring Stuebner Rd Ste. 610 | Spring 77388
In the Market at Springwoods Village
281-656-9999
| Map | Review

Classic Italian, prepared skillfully from scratch

Nona’s Italian Grill

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Italian

Foodies in search of outstanding Italian food have a tucked away spot to try. Chef owned and relocated to the Woodlands, Nona’s Italian Grill shows the kind of carefully crafted cuisine that is the hallmark of a memorable restaurant. From classics like the excellent Chicken Parmigiana to creative combinations featuring pastas, seafood, and outstanding steaks, we were impressed by quality of the ingredients, the solid execution, and the classic flavors of the signature sauces.

Located in a strip center on Highway 242 just west of I-45, Nona’s modest yet upscale setting is cozy, quiet, and perfect for date night. Nona’s moving to the Woodlands triggered the Italian food renaissance that totally remade the cuisine’s footprint in our area. Full bar, professional service.

Info and Photos >>

$$ and $$$ | Italian
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Happy Hour, HRW2022, Live Music, Romantic, and Upscale

3091 College Park Dr #185 | The Woodlands 77384
936-224-3132
| Map
Website

Authentic Shanghai cuisine in a tidy strip center location

Noodle Kitchen

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Chinese

Kuykendahl road has a great destination for serious Chinese food. Called Noodle Kitchen, this small, family-run Chinese spot features hand-pulled noodles, superb xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and a nice selection of well-prepared Chinese favorites. North siders who are craving authentic cuisine from the Shanghai region now have an option that doesn’t involve a drive down to Bellaire, and for that, we are forever thankful. Friendly service from new staff that can be overwhelmed; showing a little grace and patience will be greatly rewarded.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Chinese
Family-Run Small Business, Good for Vegetarians, and On the Radar

18363 Kuykendahl Rd | Spring 77379
346-463-8078
| Map
Website

Sophisticated Indian cuisine in a cozy family-run setting

Palette Indian Kitchen

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Indian

Discerning foodies looking for a great Indian restaurant now have a solid local destination. Palette Indian Kitchen creates remarkably complex, subtly spiced dishes that will please the most demanding palate. From the scrumptious Chicken Popsicles, with their lush garlic lemon creme sauce, to the savory Lamb Seekh Kabob, boldly aromatic, herbal, moist and incredibly flavorful, there is a lot to love on the expansive menu. Surprises abound; we were tickled by the gently sweet Peshwari Naan (baked in the tandoori oven with coconut, nuts, and hints of cherry) and the Goan Shrimp Curry, a subtle curry with plump, beautifully cooked shrimp and layer upon layer of flavor. Don’t let the casual strip-center location fool you; this is a serious kitchen with serious food.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Indian
Family-Run Small Business, Good for Vegetarians, Outdoor Dining, and Private Room

3559 Rayford Rd Suite 200 | Spring 77386
281-362-5999
| Map
Website | Order Online

Handmade contemporary Italian cuisine

Papa Amadeos

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Italian

Don’t be fooled by the modest strip center location. Papa Amadeos crafts some of the finest Italian food in the Woodlands area. Chef Arturo Huerta’s meticulous personal approach delivers delicious results. Everything is handmade in house; from the pastas to the balanced, classic sauces, to the more innovative dishes featured in the evenings. The classics are beautifully executed; we keep getting drawn in by the flawless chicken parmigiana and the light, pillowy gnocchi. Well priced, curated wine list.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Italian
Catering, Family-Run Small Business, Live Music, Private Room, Romantic, and Upscale

432 Sawdust Rd. | Spring 77380
Behind Herb & Beet
713-389-5975
| Map
Website

A Woodlands classic for great takeout and delivery

Pizza Tonight

🥇 Best Pizza

Locals keep talking about this hidden gem located in a tiny strip center on Glen Loch. Take out or delivery are your two options, and you’ll be glad you did. Thin crust is the specialty, with hand-tossed crust, plentiful real cheese, and good quality toppings. Savvy customers jump on the bargain carry out special; a one-topping extra-large for $10. Calzones, subs, and salads round out the offering. There’s no seating at Pizza Tonight; you don’t have to take your pizza home, but you can’t eat it there.

Info and Photos >>

$ and $$ | Pizza
Delivery by Restaurant and Family-Run Small Business

27190 Glen Loch Dr | The Woodlands 77381
281-465-4774
| Map

Flavorful, handmade pizza from a small, family-run spot

Pizza Zone

🥈 Recommended Pizza

Pizza lovers in the know have flocked to Pizza Zone for years. They’re brought back by the very good and seriously flavorful handmade pizzas, made in a variety of styles (hand tossed, thin crust, thick crust deep dish, no crust, and gluten free) with a wide range of toppings. Well thought out specialty pizzas or build your own. Lots of non-pizza options like wings, sandwiches, salads and plated Italian dinners, too.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Italian and Pizza
Catering and Family-Run Small Business

4660 Louetta Rd #130 | Spring 77388
281-288-8500
| Map
Website

Brooklyn-style pizza with a Texas accent

RC’s NYC Pizza & Pasta

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Pizza
🥈 Recommended Italian

The Woodlands has no shortage of great pizza places. But one name comes up over and over when asked for recommendations. RC’s NYC Pizza & Pasta serves honest-to-Vito New York street pizza, either traditional (cheese only) or with your choice of toppings. They’re serious about pizza: RC himself travels around the nation competing against the best pizza makers in the country, and has repeatedly brought home the hardware.

RC’s goes beyond pizza, with outstanding wings, delicious calzones, and great plated entrees. This isn’t your average pizza spot, which is why it earned a spot on our list.

Info and Photos >>

$ and $$ | Italian and Pizza
Family-Run Small Business

501 Sawdust Rd | Spring 77380
281-298-4663
| Map
Website | Order Online

Prime steaks in a comfortable suburban setting.

Red Flame Steak & Grill

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥈 Recommended Steak

Serial restauranteur Julio Amer (Julio’s Mexican Grill, Julio’s Mexican Grill Sawdust) has another hit on his hands with Red Flame Steak & Grill. Brining top-quality steaks to the Magnolia area is an idea long overdue; locals pack in to the beautiful bar and casual dining room to enjoy flame-grilled prime steaks and other enticing entrees. Service is reliable, good wine selection and cocktails.

Info and Photos >>

$$$ | Steaks
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Outdoor Dining, and Upscale

7214 Farm to Market Rd 1488 | Magnolia 77354
281-521-5066
| Map
Website

Superb Tex-Mex in an unassuming strip center

Rita’s Cantina

🌟🌟 — Among the best restaurants in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Mexican

When WAF member Bob Frasier dines at the same restaurant several times a week, it’s worth investigating. And we’re glad we did. Rita’s Cantina, located in a nondescript strip center off Hwy 249, is a restaurant we’d have driven by without noticing. But now we’re in on the secret.

Inside Rita’s is some of the best Mexican food in the Houston area. From beautifully composed combination plates to the sizzling fajitas, Rita’s food is several steps above the typical Mexican restaurant in the area. Both flavors and presentation are superb; chef Javier Gonzalez is one of the most talented in the city. His wife Judy oversees the comfortable dining room, filled with regulars who are in the know.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ | Mexican
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, and Happy Hour

32015 TX-249 | Pinehurst 77362
(About 10 minutes from Woodlands Pkwy and 2978)
346-248-5097
| Map | Review
Website

Donuts, kolaches and breakfast egg rolls

Robin’s Snowflake Donuts n’ Cafe

🌟🌟🌟 — Notable on a statewide level.

🥇 Best Sweet Shop

Apparently word is getting out: Robin’s Snowflake Donuts has been recognized as the Best Donut Shop in Texas by Yelp, USA Today and Travel + Leisure. Congratulations to Robin and the team for such an impressive achievement!

A variety of breakfast creations are the draw at Robin Nou’s Snowflake Donuts n’ Cafe, located in a strip center on Louetta. Unique creations like Breakfast Egg Rolls, well crafted kolaches (actually klobásníky) and a wonderful assortment of donuts are the draw; somehow this small shop manages to delight both Krispy Kreme and Shipley’s fans. We’re huge fans of the savory Brisket Kolaches (made with brisket from local favorite 3rd Coast Barbecue), the supremely southern Biscuits & Gravy Kolache, and Robin’s incomparable Apple Fritter. They close at noon, so get there early.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$ | Breakfast and Sweets
Catering and Family-Run Small Business

4660 Louetta Rd #170 | Spring 77388
832-585-1106
| Map | Review
Website

The tastes of New Orleans in an upscale, family-run establishment

Schilleci’s New Orleans Kitchen

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Seafood

Schilleci’s brings Louisiana classics, from seafood gumbo to crawfish étouffée, shrimp creole and red beans & rice to the Woodlands. The family’s goal is to use many New Oreleans staples in the restaurant, including Gambino’s Bread, Blue Plate Mayonnaise, Community Coffee, and Abita Beer. Locals say they’re successful; it’s the closest thing to the French Quarter you’ll find in the Woodlands.

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$$$ | Cajun/Creole and Seafood
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Outdoor Dining, and Upscale

9595 Six Pines Dr #1120 | The Woodlands 77380
In Market Street Center
281-419-4242
| Map
Website

Elevated Americanized Chinese Food

Shanghai Bistro

🥇 Best Chinese
🥈 Recommended Asian

Suburban Chinese restaurants can be mind-numbingly predictable, but Shanghai Bistro brings its Manhattan sensibility to the Woodlands. No surprise, because the chef hails from New York City. His relocation brings a decidedly upscale approach to Americanized Chinese cuisine. Dishes that are often mundane are elevated by a savvy choice of better ingredients, and the housemade sauces are a welcome departure. Clean, airy setting in a strip center on Research near Gosling.

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$$ | Chinese
Delivery by Restaurant and Family-Run Small Business

4223 Research Forest Dr #300 | The Woodlands 77381
281-298-9998
| Map
| Menu

A hidden gem known for outstanding breakfast tacos

Sofy’s Taqueria

🥇 Best Tacos

Breakfast tacos are what keeps in-the-know locals coming back again and again to Sofy’s, a taco truck tucked away off I-45 in Oak Ridge North. This small, family-run business creates authentic tacos using family recipes, and the results are delicious. Outdoor, covered seating.

Info and Photos >>

| Mexican and Tacos
Family-Run Small Business, Food Trucks, and Outdoor Dining

25403 Oakhurst Dr | Spring 77386
832-257-2609
| Map

Handcrafted burgers in a quaint small town setting

Tejas Burger Joint

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Burger

The burger at Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue was just too good to offer one day a week, so Scott Moore and his team opened Tejas Burger Joint, offering a variety of superb, handcrafted burgers every day. The flagship Smokehouse Burger (ground brisket, smoked and then seared on a griddle, topped with housemade bacon and smoky cheddar) is one of the best burgers in the Houston area. Cozy, casual setting on Tomball’s Main Street.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Burgers
Family-Run Small Business

214 W Main St | Tomball 77375
832-349-6116
| Map
| Order Online

World class BBQ, outstanding specials, unique sides

Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue

🌟🌟🌟 — Notable on a statewide level.

🥇 Best BBQ

World class craft barbecue is the draw at Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue, a classic Texas barbecue joint located just off Main Street in Tomball. It’s also one of the best on the planet; in 2017, Texas Monthly ranked them #6 in the nation in their prestigious list. We agree. Pitmaster Scott Moore, Jr. and his brother (and chef) Greg smoke some of the best brisket, ribs, and sausage to be found in the state. Thursdays are a special treat, when housemade pastrami is added to the mix; don’t miss it. Wednesdays have become a big deal with the appearance of the Smoked Burger on the menu; it’s a destination burger worthy of a trip. (Update: The burger spawned its own restaurant.)

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ | BBQ
Family-Run Small Business and Outdoor Dining

200 N Elm St | Tomball 77375
832-761-0670
| Map | Review
Website | Menu

Greek Cuisine and Live Entertainment

The Olive Oil

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Greek

A classic Greek experience awaits hungry diners at The Olive Oil. Located in a huge strip center on Sawdust, The Olive Oil offers classic Greek cuisine, well prepared by the bustling kitchen. Favorites include the mixed grill (the marinade drizzles enticingly onto a bed of spinach beneath the meat) and the gyro. Families pack the restaurant on weekend nights, where belly dancers and musicians turn the dining room into a party.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ | Greek
Family-Run Small Business

373 Sawdust Road | The Woodlands 77380
281-367-0114
| Map | Review
Website

Well-prepared American classics in a comfortable strip center location

The Omega Grill

🥈 Recommended American (Traditional)

Modern versions of American classics are the order of the day at the Omega Grill, the sister restaurant of the popular Olive Oil, located a few doors down. The warm, friendly staff serves up big portions to hungry locals, who rave about the chicken-fried steak, pork chops, big burgers, sandwiches, and salads. Their “Twisted Texas” entrees are among our favorites, with Omega’s unique versions of these classic southern favorites. Kids menu brings in the families.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | American (Traditional), Burgers, Salads, and Sandwiches
Family-Run Small Business

399 Sawdust Rd | Spring 77380
832-299-6665
| Map
Website | Menu | Order Online

An authentic Italian bakery tucked away off Sawdust

Tosca Italian Bakery

🥈 Recommended Italian
🥈 Recommended Sandwiches

Tosca Italian Bakery brings the experience of an Old World Italian bakery to the Woodlands area. Owner Mario and his team have immigrated from Italy, and brought years of baking expertise with them. The result is a wonderful selection of breads, pastries, sandwiches and focaccia pizzas brimming with character and charm. If you’re looking for an authentic Italian experience, Tosca should be your destination.

Info and Photos >>
Full review >>

$$ | Bakery, Italian, and Sandwiches
Catering, Family-Run Small Business, and On the Radar

25227 Borough Park Dr | Spring 77380
| Map | Review

Authentic Mexican cuisine in a cozy Alden Bridge corner

Uli’s Kitchen

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Mexican
🥈 Recommended Tacos

Uli’s Kitchen brings authentic Mexican cuisine to the residents of Alden Bridge. This cozy neighborhood spot features an interesting menu that offers both upscale versions of Mexican tacos, as well as pricier plated entrees. Menu looks promising, but the tacos we ordered were a mixed bag; Birria Tacos were beautifully presented but flavor was very mild; the signature Uli’s Tacos were bursting with medium rare ribeye, chicharron and veggies. We’ll give ’em another try soon. Friendly service, comfortable neighborhood setting. Full bar.

Info and Photos >>

$$$ | Mexican and Tacos
Family-Run Small Business and Full Bar

8021 Research Forest Dr suite a | The Woodlands 77382
281-323-4853
| Map

Big burgers in a relaxed setting from this East County transplant

Uncle Tony’s

🥈 Recommended Burger

Tony Marron opened a very successful burger business over near Porter, and Woodlands residents are lucky he transplanted it to our part of the world. Big, unique burgers are his specialty, and he does two styles of patties: A standard ground beef option for purists, or his special combination of beef and pork for those who walk on the wild side. Very good hand cut fries (or optional tater tots) complete your lunch. Friendly, laid-back setting.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Burgers
Family-Run Small Business

314 Sawdust Rd Suite 108 | The Woodlands 77380
281-719-0916
| Map
Website

Japanese and Chinese cuisine in a spacious Sterling Ridge location

Uptown Asian Fusion

🥈 Recommended Asian
🥈 Recommended Chinese
🥈 Recommended Japanese

Sterling Ridge residents now have a convenient option for well executed sushi and other Asian options. Uptown Asian Fusion is a small, family-run spot in a beautiful, spacious room, focusing on sushi and offering a variety of Chinese and Japanese dishes. Sushi was well executed and featured generous cuts of fish. Service was friendly but could be slow at time; a bit of patience will work wonders.

Info and Photos >>

$$ and $$$ | Chinese, Japanese, and Sushi
Family-Run Small Business and On the Radar

6700 Woodlands Pkwy | The Woodlands 77382
281-651-2542
| Map
Website

Real farm-to-table cooking in a cozy, family-run spot

Wheel Kitchen

The Wheel Kitchen is an honest-to-goodness farm to table restaurant that sources its food from local farmers, and uses it to create new and interesting dishes for hungry guests. Open breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s popular with those looking for a unique, healthy alternative to chain restaurants.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | American (Traditional) and Breakfast
Brunch, Family-Run Small Business, Good for Vegetarians, and HRW2022

25510 Zion Lutheran Cemetery Rd | Tomball 77375
346-336-8098
| Map
Website | Menu

Family-run Mediterranean restaurant in a cozy strip center setting

Zara’s Mediterranean Kitchen

Zara’s Mediterranean Kitchen is a family-run restaurant located in a strip center on Rayford Road. They focus on healthy, homemade food made from fresh ingredients. Locals rave about their multiple varieties of hummus, grilled meats, vegetarian options, quick service, and lovely setting.

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Lebanese and Mediterranean
Catering, Family-Run Small Business, and Good for Vegetarians

415 Rayford Rd | Spring 77386
713-575-9272
| Map

Restaurant Listings

3rd Coast BBQ & Catering $$ BBQ   I-45 Corridor and Rayford Road
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Amore Seafood $$ Seafood   Outside the Bubble: Hwy 105
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Amrina $$$ and $$$$ Indian   Waterway
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Antojitos Junior Taco Truck $ and $$ Mexican   Sawdust
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BBQ Godfather $ and $$ BBQ   1488 West
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Blue Lion Pub $$ American (Traditional)   Grogan's Mill
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Brooklyn Cafe $ and $$ American (Traditional) and Breakfast   Panther Creek
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Brothers Pizza Express $ and $$ Pizza   Grogan's Mill and Sterling Ridge
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Buldogies $ American (Traditional) and Sandwiches   Outside the Bubble: Hwy 105
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Casa Medina $$ Mexican   I-45 Corridor
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Charm Thai Bistro $$ Thai   Outside the Bubble: Spring
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Cinnaholic $ Sweets   I-45 Corridor
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Compadres Texas Cafe $ and $$ American (Traditional) and Breakfast   Oak Ridge North
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CorkScrew BBQ $$ BBQ   Outside the Bubble: Spring
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Eden Cafe $$ American (Traditional)   1488 West
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Fielding’s Local Kitchen + Bar $$$ and $$$$ American (New), Brunch, Burgers, and Steaks   Creekside Forest West
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Fielding’s Wood Grill $$ and $$$ American (New), American (Traditional), Brunch, and Burgers   Research East
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Forest Cafe & Bakery $$ Bakery, Breakfast, Burgers, and Sandwiches   College Park
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Fu Manchung $ and $$ Vietnamese   Outside the Bubble: Spring
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Gessner’s Grub BBQ Co. $$ BBQ   Sawdust
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Grazeables $$ and $$$ Charcuterie   Sawdust
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Herb & Beet $$ American (New), BBQ, Salads, and Sandwiches   Sawdust
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Honey Bee Ham & Deli $$ Burgers and Sandwiches   Research East
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Italian Cafe $$ Italian   Outside the Bubble: Spring
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Jackpot Pizza $$ Pizza   Louetta and Outside the Bubble: Spring
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Julio’s Mexican Grill – Magnolia $$ Mexican and Tacos   1488 West
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Julio’s Mexican Grill – Sawdust $$ Mexican and Tacos   Sawdust
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La Cocina de Roberto $ and $$ Mexican and Tacos   I-45 Corridor and Sawdust
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La Palma Taqueria $ Mexican and Tacos   Outside the Bubble: Conroe
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Lasagna House III $$ Italian   Outside the Bubble: 1960
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Maine-ly Sandwiches $$ and $$$ Sandwiches   Grogan's Mill
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Mirrey Tacos y Mas $ Mexican and Tacos   Outside the Bubble: Spring
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Namaste Indian Cuisine $$ Indian   Sawdust
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Natalita’s #2 $ and $$ Mexican   Sawdust
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Noe’s Cafe $$ American (Traditional), Breakfast, and Brunch   Outside the Bubble: Spring
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Nona’s Italian Grill $$ and $$$ Italian   College Park
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Noodle Kitchen $$ Chinese   Kuykendahl
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Palette Indian Kitchen $$ Indian   Rayford Road
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Pallotta’s Italian Grill $$ Italian   I-45 Corridor
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Papa Amadeos $$ Italian   Sawdust
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Perry’s Steakhouse & Grill $$$ and $$$$ American (Traditional) and Steaks   Sterling Ridge
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Philipose’s Kitchen $$ and $$$ American (Traditional), Indian, and Seafood   Outside the Bubble: Magnolia
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Pizza Tonight $ and $$ Pizza   Panther Creek
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Pizza Zone $$ Italian and Pizza   Louetta and Outside the Bubble: Spring
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RC’s NYC Pizza & Pasta $ and $$ Italian and Pizza   Sawdust
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Red Flame Steak & Grill $$$ Steaks   1488 West
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Rita’s Cantina $$ Mexican   Outside the Bubble: Pinehurst
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Robin’s Snowflake Donuts n’ Cafe $ Breakfast and Sweets   Outside the Bubble: Spring
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Schilleci’s New Orleans Kitchen $$$ Cajun/Creole and Seafood   Market Street
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Shanghai Bistro $$ Chinese   Research East
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Sofy’s Taqueria Mexican and Tacos   I-45 Corridor
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Tejas Burger Joint $$ Burgers   Outside the Bubble: Tomball
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Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue $$ BBQ   Outside the Bubble: Tomball
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The Olive Oil $$ Greek   Sawdust
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The Omega Grill $$ American (Traditional), Burgers, Salads, and Sandwiches   Sawdust
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Tosca Italian Bakery $$ Bakery, Italian, and Sandwiches   Sawdust
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Uli’s Kitchen $$$ Mexican and Tacos   Research West
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Uncle Tony’s $$ Burgers   Sawdust
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Uptown Asian Fusion $$ and $$$ Chinese, Japanese, and Sushi   Sterling Ridge
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Wheel Kitchen $$ American (Traditional) and Breakfast   Creekside Forest West
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Wisdom Vegan Bakery Bakery   I-45 Corridor and Rayford Road
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Zara’s Mediterranean Kitchen $$ Lebanese and Mediterranean   Rayford Road
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