Original article published by Nick Rama on Link Local at LocalLivingGuide.com. View the article here
242 Pub & Grill, with four local locations in Conroe, Magnolia, Spring, and Willis, are setting themselves apart with their commitment to serving fresh foods, with 90% of their menu being made in house, from scratch. The owners have been elevating pub food to another level and once you taste it, you can tell they really care on the great quality they put out.
The restaurant serves staple pub food such as wings, burgers and fried foods, as well as salads, soups, sandwiches. The local flare on their menu is impressive, from Texas Sized Kobe Beef Chicken-Fried Steaks, Beer Battered Gulf Shrimp, Rib Eye Steak dinners to even Cajun dishes such as Cajun Pasta, Gumbo, Shrimp/Crawfish Étouffée and a Cajun seafood platter.
Chicken Fried Steak Photo Credit: Nick Rama
The food is so fresh one of their signature appetizers, 242 Flare Bites, are “while supplies last”. Hand-battered mozzarella sticks wrapped with bacon, jalapeños and deep fried. 242 also features Boudin Bites – Boudin sausage and cheddar cheese balls, hand breaded and fried to golden brown, served with homemade gator sauce.
242 Flare Bites – Photo Credit: Nick Rama
Newly Famous Oscar Dip -Photo Credit: Nick Rama
242 has been a local favorite for boiled crawfish, just this year they have gone through over 70,000 lbs. of crawfish. Boiled and seasoned with their award-winning recipe, one can add on corn, potatoes, boiled mushrooms, spicy shrimp, jalapeño hill country sausage. “Flavor it up!” with Spicy Garlic, 242 Dry Rub, Lemon Pepper to add extra levels of flavor.
Hot n’ Spicy Crawfish Photo Credit: Nick Rama
We sat down with Anthony, one of the owners who is super involved with day to day operations and recipes.
1) 242 Pub and Grill prides themselves on 90% of the menu being scratch made, explain what that looks like.
“A fresh diverse menu with lots of comfort food classics, as well as our twist on some local favorites. Our goal is to be a ‘Texas grill, with a Cajun kick’. We like making items new and exciting, yet they still feel familiar and approachable. We honestly just like to play and have fun with the menu.”
2) What was the inspiration for your current seasonal menu and what ingredients are sourced locally?
“This time of year is always crawfish and Cajun focused. We are very well known for our crawfish and like to roll that over into some of our other menu items. We try to use local products whenever possible. Our crawfish, gator, and gator wings are procured by local vendors (Nick, Gary, and Craig), but fresh out of Louisiana. In season they are driving in 7 to 10 thousand pounds of freshly caught crawfish per week. Boudin is from DJ’s in Beaumont, TX. Our sausage is from Slovacek in Snook, TX. We took months of trying different cut and types of meat to finally land on our prized cut for our wildly popular Chicken Fried Steak. It’s from Heart Brand Beef in Flatonia, TX, and is a Certified Akaushi Beef. It’s amazing, and fork tender.”
3) What makes each individual location unique to its local guests?
“We keep all food and recipes consistent throughout all the locations. However, each store has its own identity from the communities around it. The 242 location is a relaxed lunch/early dinner store. It then flips to a definite bar/party vibe after 10 pm. Our 2920 location has a real sports bar feel. Over 60 plus TVs and projectors, and always packed with families, after work groups, sports teams after games, and during all sporting events. It has an amazing covered outdoor patio, and a big late night/service industry following. 1097 is laid back and near Lake Conroe. The regular guest in the area frequent that store 2 to 5 times a week. It’s a real local hangout. Starting up again in March they do a Wednesday Karaoke and Thursday “Lakeside Live” live music on the patio. Both are hugely popular. Our newest store is 1488. It is filled with lots of families and serious crawfish enthusiasts. They recently added a full bar, and now late nights are now the place to be.”
4) 242 Pub is planning to open for brunch soon, what can someone expect from 242 Brunch?
“What dishes or drinks will name your brunch original or unique?*The Willis 1097 location has been doing brunch for a couple of months now, and it’s going great. The 3 other locations will start up brunch in the next couple of weeks. Our menu consists of some breakfast classics and our twist on a few local favorites. Our crawfish quesadillas with loaded breakfast potatoes and Crown caramel French toast with house-made Crown caramel whipped cream are two of the standouts on the menu.”
5) How is 242 Pub & Grill involved in their local community?
“We do an annual bike ride and toy drive every December. We support many high school groups, and sports teams. We also support local neighborhood newspapers and flyers.”
6) Many bars, pubs, and restaurants have the same menu items. Wings, Mozzarella Sticks, Fried Mushrooms to name a few. What sets yours apart?
“We do have all 3 of these items, but these are all hand made from scratch. Our wings are fresh, never frozen. If you like boneless or tenders, those are fresh, and hand battered to order. All of our wing sauces are made in house daily. Mozzarella sticks are hand cut from fresh mozzarella. Then they are hand panko battered. Our mushrooms are marinated in our house-made hot sauce, then hand-battered and fried to order as well. We do carry traditional pub items, but we do the freshest and best house-made version of them that we can.”
7) What do you say to a family that is hesitant to bring kids to a “pub”?
“All of our locations are packed with families. We have a full kid’s menu with lots of fresh house-made options. We are definitely kid-friendly but turn into a fun adult atmosphere after 10 pm nightly.”
8) We like to ask what’s the locals eating, so what is your top sellers for each location:
“Our best-selling items change with the seasons and menu changes throughout the year currently…”
Appetizers: Fried Gator Bites
Entrees: Chicken Fried Steak
Beer: Michelob Ultra, Southern Star Blonde Bombshell
Specialty Drink: Ocean Water, Cherry Limeade
Beignets -Photo Credit: Nick Rama
Appetizers: Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
Entrees: Wings, Hand Smashed Burgers.
Desserts: Caramel Cookie
Beer: Dos XX, Karbach Love Street
Specialty Drink: White Gummy Bear Shot
Buffalo Wings -Photo Credit: Nick Rama
Appetizers: Oysters half-shell or Rockefeller
Entrees: Boiled Crawfish, fresh grilled skewers
Beer: Miller Lite, Karbach Hoppadillo
Specialty Drink: Old Fashioned
Roadkill Skewers Photo Credit: Nick Rama
Appetizers: Fried Gator Bites
Entrees: Fried Shrimp, Catfish, or Fish n Chips
Desserts: Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Beer: Coors Light, St Arnold Lawnmower
Specialty Drink: Bloody Beast
Fried Catfish Platter
Ready for a party? Inquire about 242 Pub & Grill’s catering and party platters to feed a large crowd at your next party or big game day. Appetizer sampler platters, sandwich or slider platters, pasta, and salad platters are available.
Learn more about 242 Pub & Grill at 242pub.com.
Source: Nick Rama, Link Local
Article originally published on February 28, 2019 by Nick Rama on Link Local at LocalLivingGuide.com
Nick Rama is a food writer for HelloWoodlands.com and Local Food Ambassador for Link Local. In addition, he also shares his restaurant experiences on Nick’s Local Eats at NicksLocalEats.com and the Q Up The Burgers Facebook page. Nick enjoys helping the small business owner, supporting his community with fundraising for food banks, and planing tasting events with locally owned mom and pop restaurants.
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