Updated February 2024. Originally published in 2021.)
A well priced, elevated spin on traditional southern favorites🥈 Recommended Burger
One of the Woodlands most scenic dining rooms has gotten a new concept and a total makeover. Back Table rises from the ashes of the late, lamented Robard’s at the Woodlands Resort, and has done so with an entirely new Southern American concept. The beautiful room feels far more casual; the private board room is now a game room for families to enjoy. The beautiful view is thankfully unchanged, and a second patio has been added with a waterfront view to the green. The food is a modern take on southern classics. Distinctly American charcuterie (think country ham instead of salumi), all-American burgers, and a variety of southern favorites are on the menu. Lots of impressive preparations and high end ingredients, but thoughtfully curated to keep prices moderate. We were taken by the large, delicious chicken sandwich, the soulful gumbo, and the aforementioned burger. We’re looking forward to exploring the dinner menu on our next visit. Service was friendly, informed, and very professional.
$$ and $$$ | American (New), Brunch, Burgers, and Charcuterie
Full Bar, Happy Hour, HRW2022, Live Music, Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Scenic View, and Upscale
Big mesquite-grilled burgers, fast casual service
Update (4/2023): This Houston institution has slipped in recent years. While we’ve seen numerous new competitors enter the Woodlands market with some killer burgers, Beck’s keeps on chugging along with the same burgers they’ve been serving for 20+ years… and the concept is tired.
Execution is slipping as well. Burgers come overcooked yet somehow lukewarm, with a slice of cheese placed on top; even if you ask them to melt the cheese, that seems to be an impossible task for the kitchen. Texture of the beef reveals overhanding. As always, mesquite flavor is far forward, eclipsing any flavor the beef has.
Beck’s was a great burger back in the days when great burgers were few and far between in the Houston area. Now we’ve got far better options.
Mesquite is the thing at this popular Houston-based burger chain. Thick, beefy burgers grilled on an open mesquite flame carry the wood’s distinctive flavor, and keep hungry locals coming back for more. The menu goes beyond burgers; it may be the only place in Texas where you can order a mesquite-grilled ribeye steak through the drive-through. (Please don’t eat it in traffic.)
Tucked away in the Grogan’s Mill Village Center, the inviting restaurant boasts wrap-around decks and even hidden tables beside Lake Harrison. Counter service is friendly and efficient.
$$ | Burgers
A neighborhood pub in the Grogan's Mill Village Center
Blue Lion Pub - closed🥇 Best Happy Hour
🥈 Recommended American (Traditional)
🥈 Recommended Burger
UPDATE: Despite strong support from the community, the Blue Lion Pub was forced to close, a victim of the ambitions of the Howard Hughes Corporation.
Woodlands residents have been clamoring for more spots to relax with a cocktail, and the Blue Lion Pub delivers. Owners Wes Cordova and Kristi Sides have created a cozy, stylish haven for thirsty patrons looking to beat the heat day or night. The food was a pleasant surprise; the tightly-edited menu features a superb Sonora dog that was our favorite bite. Bacon-wrapped all-beef dog topped with fresh veggies and perched on a pretzel bun resulted in one of the best hotdogs we’ve had south of Buldogies. Fresh grilled Brussels sprouts were another great surprise; a beautifully executed version of this healthy snack.
$$ | American (Traditional)
Family-Run Small Business, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Live Music, Outdoor Dining, and Romantic
New York-style pizza from this iconic local chain
🌟 — 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.
$ and $$ | Pizza
Delivery by Restaurant, Family-Run Small Business, and Good for Kids
Modern Italian in a sleek urban setting🥈 Recommended Italian
🥈 Recommended Pizza
🥈 Recommended Wine Bar
The Grogan’s Mill / Town Center area gets an outpost of the hugely popular Washington Avenue Italian hotspot… Porta’vino.
Combining moderately-priced pastas, entrees, and appetizers with BYOB wines (and a reasonable corkage fee), Porta’vino brings a new, modern Italian offering to hungry Woodlands foodies who love wine but don’t want to pay restaurant prices for it. Tucked away at the entrance to the tony East Shore neighborhood, Porta’vino offers a full Italian menu, from sharable and pizzas to salads, pastas, entrees, and desserts.
$$ and $$$ | Italian, Pizza, and Wine Bar
Catering, Outdoor Dining, and Private Room