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

Outstanding tacos from a local truck

Antojitos Junior Taco Truck

🥈 Recommended Mexican

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
🥈 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
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

🥈 Recommended 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.

Info and Photos >>

$ and $$ | Pizza
Family-Run Small Business

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
🥈 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 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

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.

🥈 Recommended American

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
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Happy Hour, and Private Room

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

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, Family-Run Small Business, and Good for Vegetarians

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

Family-run Italian in a tidy strip center location

Italian Cafe

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 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

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
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

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
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.

🥈 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
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

🥈 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
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

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

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 surprising new spot to try. Chef owned and recently 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’a is an excellent addition to the surprisingly thin Woodlands Italian landscape. Full bar, professional service.

Info and Photos >>

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

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

Chef-prepared seafood in a modern strip-center location

Off The Hook Seafood

🌟 — Notable in the Woodlands area.

🥇 Best Burger
🥇 Best Seafood

Rayford Road isn’t a haven for affordable, upscale food, but Off The Hook Seafood is doing its best to change that. Owner Alex Abdulwahab has created a comfortable, casual setting that delights foodies with seafood that goes far beyond the typical fried baskets… although those are present, and very well executed. From the gigantic Nashville Fried Fish Sandwich to the sublime Fried Calimari, with its light breading and cravable sauce, The kitchen demonstrates strong expertise with the fryer. The other dishes are even more delightful; a light, tangy seafood salad had us craving one more bite, the Tuna Poke po boy was another highlight. An entree of Monkfish and mushrooms shows a gift for complex, layered sauces, at a stunningly affordable price. We were even pleasantly surprised by the chef’s excellent cheeseburger, something we wouldn’t expect from a seafood spot.

Woodlands Area Foodies looking for great seafood need to put Off The Hook Seafood on their short list.

Info and Photos >>

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

2222 Rayford Rd Suite 105 | Spring 77386
Across Rayford from Kroger
346-331-2893
| Map
Website | Menu | Order Online

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 Amadeus

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

🥇 Best Italian

Don’t be fooled by the modest strip center location. Papa Amadeus 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
Family-Run Small Business

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

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 Donut 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 Donuts
Catering and Family-Run Small Business

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

Info and Photos >>

$$ | Chinese
Family-Run Small Business

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

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

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, 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

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 >>

$ and $$ | Bakery and Italian
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

🥈 Recommended Mexican

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
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, and On the Radar

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

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 and Breakfast
Brunch, Family-Run Small Business, and Good for Vegetarians

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
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Amore Seafood $$ Seafood   Outside the Bubble: Hwy 105
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Antojitos Junior Taco Truck $ and $$ Mexican   Sawdust
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

BBQ Godfather $ and $$ BBQ   1488 West
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP     💻 ORDER

Blue Lion Pub $$ American   Grogan's Mill
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Brothers Pizza Express $ and $$ Pizza   Grogan's Mill and Sterling Ridge
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP     💻 ORDER

Buldogies $ American and Sandwiches   Outside the Bubble: Hwy 105
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Casa Medina $$ Mexican   I-45 Corridor
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Charm Thai Bistro $$ Thai   Outside the Bubble: Spring
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Compadres Texas Cafe $ and $$ American and Breakfast   Oak Ridge North
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

CorkScrew BBQ $$ BBQ   Outside the Bubble: Spring
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Eden Cafe $$ American   1488 West
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Fu Manchung $ and $$ Vietnamese   Outside the Bubble: Spring
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Gessner’s Grub BBQ Co. $$ BBQ   Sawdust
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Grazeables $$ and $$$ Charcuterie   Sawdust
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Italian Cafe $$ Italian   Outside the Bubble: Spring
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Jackpot Pizza $$ Pizza   Louetta and Outside the Bubble: Spring
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Julio’s Mexican Grill – Magnolia $$ Mexican   1488 West
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Julio’s Mexican Grill – Sawdust $$ Mexican   Sawdust
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP     💻 ORDER

La Cocina de Roberto $ and $$ Mexican   I-45 Corridor and Sawdust
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

La Palma Taqueria $ Mexican   Outside the Bubble: Conroe
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Lasagna House III $$ Italian   Outside the Bubble: 1960
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP     💻 ORDER

Maine-ly Sandwiches $$ and $$$ Sandwiches   Grogan's Mill
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP     💻 ORDER

Namaste Indian Cuisine $$ Indian   Sawdust
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Natalita’s #2 $ and $$ Mexican   Sawdust
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP     💻 ORDER

Nona’s Italian Grill $$ and $$$ Italian   College Park
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Off The Hook Seafood $$ Burgers and Seafood   Rayford Road
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP     💻 ORDER

Palette Indian Kitchen $$ Indian   Rayford Road
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP     💻 ORDER

Pallotta’s Italian Grill $$ Italian   I-45 Corridor
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Papa Amadeus $$ Italian   Sawdust
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Philipose’s Kitchen $$ and $$$ American, Indian, and Seafood   Outside the Bubble: Magnolia
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Pizza Tonight $ and $$ Pizza   Panther Creek
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

RC’s NYC Pizza & Pasta $ and $$ Italian and Pizza   Sawdust
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP     💻 ORDER

Red Flame Steak & Grill $$$ Steaks   1488 West
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Rita’s Cantina $$ Mexican   Outside the Bubble: Pinehurst
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Robin’s Snowflake Donuts n’ Cafe $ Breakfast and Donuts   Outside the Bubble: Spring
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Shanghai Bistro $$ Chinese   Research East
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Tejas Burger Joint $$ Burgers   Outside the Bubble: Tomball
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP     💻 ORDER

Tejas Chocolate & Barbecue $$ BBQ   Outside the Bubble: Tomball
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

The Olive Oil $$ Greek   Sawdust
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

The Omega Grill $$ American, Burgers, Salads, and Sandwiches   Sawdust
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP     💻 ORDER

Tosca Italian Bakery $ and $$ Bakery and Italian   Sawdust
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Uli’s Kitchen $$$ Mexican   Research West
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Uncle Tony’s $$ Burgers   Sawdust
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Wheel Kitchen $$ American and Breakfast   Creekside Forest West
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Wisdom Vegan Bakery Bakery   I-45 Corridor and Rayford Road
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP

Zara’s Mediterranean Kitchen $$ Lebanese and Mediterranean   Rayford Road
☎ CALL     🚘 MAP