Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: Ziggy's Bar & Grill

Ziggy's Bar & Grill Montrose (formerly known as Ziggy's Healthy Food--more on that in a bit) is owned by Kevin Strickland and operates out of a converted house on the corner of Fairview and Taft in the Montrose area.  It reminds me of pubs & unique restaurants where I hung out during my Rice University days or places near LSU or in New Orleans. They have a varied menu--not your usual pub grub to be sure--and the various dishes have certain special touches that Kevin puts in to make the customer happy.

Rodrigue-esque artwork at Ziggy's
After you come in, you will notice lots of cool local artwork from a local artist who seems inspired by Rodrigue (the famous Louisiana Blue Dog painter).  I noticed it was fairly busy for a Sunday PM.  I perused the menu and saw that they have extensive brunch selections & a nice variety of pizzas.  Also of note:  much of their meat produced grass feed, free range, minimum cruelty and locally sourced.

Kevin contacted me and told me that they were rolling out some new burgers.  As a big time burger lover, this caught my attention.  The fact that this is a local establishment that patronizes local craft breweries and tries to do business locally as much as possible did not hurt my interest.  But would these burgers measure up?  I saw a huge party of women trying the burgers and providing feedback to Kevin, many of them sounding quite full and satisfied, so that  was also a selling point.  After looking over the list and being cognizant of it being Hatch Chile season, I chose the Santa Fe burger.  This burger has a patty of Mesquite grilled turkey, a roasted green chile, and pepper jack cheese; all on  a locally sourced Slow Dough bakery bun.  Burgers are served with a choice of Idaho White & Sweet fries, or Onion Rings, or a mixture of any or all of them.  I chose a mixture of all of them.

Santa Fe Turkey Burger
Of note, the Santa Fe normally comes with a roasted green chile, but  Kevin added a hatch chile pepper special--much obliged, Kevin!  Kevin also set aside a bottle of Saint Arnold Divine Reserve 12--again much  obliged.  The burger and the beer complemented each other quite well.  .

The turkey patty was sweet & smoky--I was surprised there was no smoke ring. It turned out to be the in house made mesquite BBQ sauce which gave it this quality. Nice! The hatch chile pepper started herbal & sweet, but heat builds. Personally, I love spicy food with some sweetness--like Jerk Chicken. If you don't like spicy you try another burger--they have a whole dozen to try, including a couple of Greek style with feta, a couple of chicken breast burgers and Chickpea patty veggie burgers as well. The Santa Fe suited me just fine though, and  the Slow Dough bun holds it all together nicely!  Also:  the Idaho white and Sweet french fries are natural cut in house.  The onion rings are like onion straws--slightly sweet--Texas sweet yellow onions. Everything had a bold, fresh taste & was all good.

Leprechaun Strawberry Cider Cupcake
Kevin persuaded me to try a Leprechaun Strawberry cider cupcake.  After having Zeapod's the other day, I was game for another unique cupcake.  This one was rich, tasty, not too sweet--had a nice bold strawberry flavour in the cupcake and in the cream frosting that topped it.  This is not the usual desserts you'd expect from an average pub.  However, Ziggy's is anything but average or ordinary.

The staff & diners were an interesting mix of Houston folks--some quite colorful characters, but they well represented the plethora of personalities that make up the Houston area. Kevin Strickland clearly cares about his food & business, and is a kind, visible presence on the floor & in the kitchen.  Just so you know, Zigge's was originally founded in the early 80s As Ziggy's Healthy Grill.  Kevin took ownership in 2004. and changed name to Ziggy's Bar & Grill in 2009.  This was mainly due to the fact those some folks perceive the terms "Healthy Food" in different ways and he didn't want to mislead anyone into thinking it was all bean sprouts and hummus.  Over time,  Kevin  branched the menu out a bit more into an eclectic mix of higher end pub grub.

New Burgers--a dozen of them--for your enjoyment!
I appreciate the Indie atmosphere, and as the straight relative of a Gay man, I appreciate their being Gay friendly yet welcoming to all. I for one will be back to try a couple of the other new burgers. I also like their support of local craft breweries & local suppliers. This is a good thing for our economy.  I found Kevin to be personable, had the gift of gab & quite a character. Got word from a couple of the diners that Kevin is very active in supporting several charities, such as the Montrose Area Counseling Service, and they clearly support local Animal Shelters and encourage adoption of rescued pets.  It's nice  to see a local entrepreneur making a positive contribution to the local community, to be sure.

Report Card for Ziggy's Bar and Grill Montrose:
Santa Fe Burger: A+
Frites & Onion Rings: A
Leprechaun Strawberry Cider Cupcake: A+
     Friendliness: A+
     Speed:  A-
     Dining Area: A
     Men's Room: Incomplete (did not check it out)
Atmosphere: (Indie converted house Heights/Montrose pub mixed with Gourmet) A-
Overall Grade: A

Ziggy's Bar and Grill has 2 Houston Area Locations
I went to the one at:
302 Fairview & Taft
Houston, TX 77006
(Note:  Parking is catacornered to the restaurant, behind Reeve's antiques)

Monday-Friday 9 am to 10 pm
On Friday and Saturday the kitchen is now open to 11 pm and the bar to midnight!
Saturday 8 am to 10 pm
Sunday 8 am to 9 pm
Serving breakfast every day to 3 pm
Brunch on the weekends to 3 pm

And remember to Eat Happy, Y'all!!!

Ziggy's Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

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