Killen's Barbecue has a new location now open in Cypress

Houston pitmaster Ronnie Killen flipped the restaurant space that was formerly Burro & Bull in just a few months.

Photo of Emma Balter
Killen's Barbecue has taken over the Houston area, including Cypress, its newest restaurant location.

Killen's Barbecue has taken over the Houston area, including Cypress, its newest restaurant location.

Kimberly Park

Change happens fast in Houston's food scene. One minute there's a new restaurant in town, the next it's a different concept entirely—or closed. Legendary pitmaster Ronnie Killen has made good on his promise to transform the Cypress space formerly occupied by Burro & Bull into a Killen's Barbecue location in just a few months.

Killen's has been a Houston sensation since the opening of its original location in Pearland a decade ago, in 2013. Local barbecue lovers and out-of-towners have made it a ritual to drive out to the southeastern Houston suburb and wait in a long line to get their 'cue.

Since then, Killen's has launched spin-off concepts, including Killen's Steakhouse, Killen's STQ, Killen's TMX, Killen's Burgers and Killen's of the Heights. This is the barbecue joint's second expansion, after the one in The Woodlands that opened two years ago. The Killen's Barbecue in Cypress had its grand opening on Jan. 20.

Veronica and John Avila had opened Burro & Bull in Cypress in October 2021, a larger version of their downtown concept that is also no more. They had entered a partnership at this location because the space was already outfitted and it seemed like an easier transition than their initial plans to open something in the East End. But with the couple living in downtown Houston, it became difficult to be fully present in the venture, and they withdrew from daily operations in March 2022.

By the summer, Burro & Bull had closed, and Killen swooped in to take over the lease from them. At the time, John described it as "a no-brainer." With the announcement came a tongue-in-cheek Instagram post from Killen: "Can anyone build a 1,000 gallon offset in 30 days?" It took five months instead to get up and running, but that's still a pretty good record for opening a restaurant.

As for the Avilas, they are busy opening the second location of their beloved general store and barbecue spot Henderson & Kane in the Houston Farmers Market on Airline. They are also partnering with renowned local chef Monica Pope on Telegram Tea Room, which will open this year in the Heights. Last August, they said they hoped to bring back Burro & Bull in some capacity, but there's no word on that yet.

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