Burger Chains Ready Attack on Houston: Carl’s Jr., Smashburger, Five Guys

A new company has signed an agreement to open 121 new Carl’s Jr. franchises in Texas — including as many as 40 in the Houston area — over the next 10 years. But it’ll take a while for them to get started here at least. The Houston Business Journal‘s Allison Wollam reports that RWJP Star Enterprises has

a franchise agreement to open locations in the eastern part of Houston, and [partner Rich] White expects the first location to open in the first quarter of next year. They are still in the process of scouting sites, the first of which will be built from the ground up.

Carl’s Jr. franchises have to agree to open at least three units, for a total initial investment of $1.3 million, according to the company’s Web site.

Will the year-long wait leave enough time for other competing newcomers to get established? Wollam reports Smashburger is planning to open a second location at Briarforest and Eldridge later this month. And:


The company is also scouting sites in The Woodlands, Sugar Land and the Memorial area.

Meanwhile, Arlington, Va.-based Five Guys Burgers and Fries plans to open 50 locations in the Houston market. Leases have been signed for restaurants in the Kroger Center at 1645 S. Voss Road and in the H-E-B Center at 9762 Katy Freeway, both of which are set to open in late spring.

Another Five Guys location, at 13346 Briar Forest Dr., is listed as “coming soon” on the company website. Five Guys restaurants are already open in Rosenberg and near Lake Conroe.

Photo of Smashburger, 7811 Main at Kirby: Alison Cook

19 Comment

  • They’re crazy. It’s a recession/depression. Who’s going to shell out money for expensive burgers when there are already so many other local alternatives?

  • While I welcome the additional choices that these bring, I do agree with marmer about our large variety of local choices.

    We have so many local burger joints doing their take on the classic that Michael Berry has posted a monster list on his blog at ktrh.com. There is voting going on for the top choice. A lot of listeners are running around trying all the local favs to have a better informed vote.

  • It may just be my particular taste, but I’ve had Smashburger twice now – it might make its way to my favorite. Not that we don’t have good local stuff (and I’m ALL about the local stuff), but there’s just something about the burgers there (for the record, I have only had the 1/2 lb – the smaller one didn’t *look* as appetizing).

  • Like the Wine Bar craze… the Burger Stand craze will soon subside. I can’t wait.

  • Maybe the big chain burger craze will die down, but the smaller local ones will be here as long as someone will run it.

  • Simple, just support your local burger place. Christian’s Totem, Lankford Grocery, Stanton’s City Bites, Guy’s Meat Market, Sparkle’s, DJ’s, Broken Spoke, Little Big’s, HubCap Grill, all are locally owned and make a damn fine sandwich. Support your local businessman.

  • The Five Guys location at Kroger Center at 1645 S. Voss Road, Houston, is opening Wednesday, April 29! Everyone spread the word and go eat some amazing burgers and fries!

  • I can do without FiveGuys but Smash burger immediately became my favorite burger joint.

  • Do eny of y’all know wene carls jr is coming to town

  • Five Guys is overrated and Smash Burger should simply close its doors. The worst dry burger I’ve ever tasted, it was simply awful and overpriced. Five Guys- very average burger, a slight notch above Wendys or Whataburger. As for the so called local places, I’ve yet to see a single amazing tasting burger anywhere in Houston.

  • Carl’s JR has opened!! Last week was the first week, and I can’t explain how happy I was that it finally made it’s way to Houston, I’m not a native Houstonian so this was the burger from chain that I had craved since moving here. I tried smashburger for the first time and I was impressed..5 guys was ok not great. I’m definitley looking into local burger joints to eat at. Oh and let me say that Kita in the woodlands has by far the best burger ever!It’s a sushi place but they did have a burger (my so doesn’t eat fish).

  • I’ve never posted on this site before, but the houstonian’s warped view on burgers has prompted me to do so. i’ve been living in this lame city for the last 2 years to finish my MBA. tell me, what good local burgers joints are there? Whataburger? fuddruckers? lankfords grocery? burger palace? give me a fucking break. I was soooo dissapointed when I moved out here, thinking Texans should know how to make a good burger. Boy was I wrong. Your meat is always bland, drenched in the nastiest sauces, and either under or over cooked. The standards for food in general out here are terrible. Travel to any other major city and you will experience the difference in quality my little southern hick big city-wannabes.

    In n’ out, carls jr., five guys, the counter, fatburger, umami burger, johnny rockets… these places run circles around your so-called “great local burger joints.” they’ve truly mastered the flavoring of the meat, the preparation, the experience, the service. I can’t wait for the day that they all invade houston. And you might be right…. because they might not survive due to your persistent ignorance and lack of balls to try new things. So stick to your lame little burger joints and ill savor all the treasures for myself….

    Might I add that the service at these places in houston are terrible. SSS waiters (slow, stupid, and sleazy). you go into a place that has wooden decor and a moose head, and u think ur in for some good burgers or bbq or whatever. WRONG ! always overrated, and overpriced (thought theres supposed to be deals out here)and once again the meat is ALWAYS tough and always bland. So please don’t ever talk to me about good burgers if your from houston. end of speech…

  • @Brad oh and hubcap grill, little bigs??? GTFO. worst fucking burger places ever.

    stupid fucking texans.

  • James, no one’s makin’ you stay. Why don’t you get the hell outta town!

  • I say don’t stop at the city limits, James… keep on going til’ you hit Oklahoma. I hear they’ve got real good Carl’s Jr. burgers up there. All this talk about burgers makes me want to stop off at Christian’s on the way home.

  • We went to the new Carl’s Jr on Ella this weekend,to check out breakfast. We lost the girl as she went in search of jelly, the Brinks money person was there pulling bags of sorted money at the order counter, and it seemed like everyone was confused. 530 calories later, I was still hungry. Im sticking with Texas Cafeteria for breakfast. IMO Best burgers, Miller’s, Southwells, and my backyard! :)

  • Carl’s Jr is about to open another factory of deliciousness in Spring, TX, corner of hwy 249 and Louetta Rd. built from the ground up, it started about two months ago, and just last week they hung the signs, no word on when it opens. I’ve submitted pictures to Swamplot, they might publish them soon.

  • Yeah, the fast food places are ok but if you want a real hamburger, you should try Thirsty Parrot. They make a great burger which puts 5 guys, what-a-burger and all the fast food chains to shame. Running up next to Thirsty Parrot is my home made hamburgers, they are the best to me.. I would much rather eat at home.

  • I am the daughter of a fifth generation Texas cattle rancher and I really don’t get that excited about new burger spots because in my opinion…Whataburger is the best 100 percent beef burger hands down. I don’t eat spam, I don’t eat fish sticks and I wouldn’t eat at Burger King if they paid me salary to do so.