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McBurney addresses young professionals at Chamber Luncheon

THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS (November 21, 2014) – Terry McBurney, local restauranteur and president of the Greater Montgomery County Restaurant Association, inspired a group of up-and-coming businesspeople to explore the increasingly vibrant and varied local dining scene in and around The Woodlands.

McBurney spoke at The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Network luncheon held on Nov. 13. Speaking alongside Gil Staley of The Woodlands Economic Development Partnership and representatives from The Woodlands Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, McBurney discussed recent economic and tourism growth in The Woodlands by detailing the influx of independent, local and national restaurants in the area.

“We anticipated the explosive growth and are fortunate to have caught lightning in a bottle in Panther Creek,” McBurney said of the spring 2014 opening of The Republic Grille, where he is managing partner. The Republic Grille has received a hearty welcome from food critics and The Woodlands’ area diners alike for its innovative, healthy take on Texas/Southern favorites. “The Woodlands and Montgomery County dining scene is one of the hottest markets for restaurants in the Houston area.”

McBurney took attendees on a foodie’s map of The Woodlands, highlighting popular spots, hidden gems and upcoming openings. The new 66-acre Hughes Landing development on the east shore of Lake Woodlands will be the home of several high-profile Houston-area and national restaurant names that are able to maintain such desired real estate—Starbucks, California Pizza Kitchen. Escalante’s and Local Pour. Around The Woodlands, Grub Burger, The Corner Bakery, Crave Cupcakes, Ruggles Green, as well as a third Crust Pizza location and a new Fielding’s Wood Grill in The Village of Creekside Park have McBurney excited about the expanding culinary scene.

An independent restaurateur himself, McBurney welcomed the additions but urged the crowd to try out local, independent restaurants for unique dining experiences. McBurney singled out Capri Italian Restaurant north of 242 on the I-45 feeder for its authentic Tuscan food, and Lama Mediterranean Cafe for its fresh offerings. For those who like belly dancing and want to break a plate once in a while, he recommended Olive Oil on Rayford, as well as Pho Be Asian Kitchen for its excellence just down the street. He applauded CorkScrew Barbecue for selling out everyday and Schilleci’s on Market Street for its quaint, lively New Orleans favorites.

Representing all facets of the dynamic food-service industry, McBurney inspired the luncheon guests to try out any of the multitude of small family restaurants at the village centers of The Woodlands.

The GMCRA is comprised of over 200 local and national companies that work in the area food-service industry and is Texas’ youngest restaurant-association chapter. He educated the Young Professionals Network on the GMCRA and its considerable local charitable works, first and foremost its contribution to the Culinary Arts program at local schools. With the help of the GMCRA, the Conroe Independent School District is able to offer a two-year accredited education program that teaches students the skills needed to work in a professional kitchen. CISD’s program offers courses on budgeting, inventory management and food safety, and includes a state of the art professional kitchen at Conroe High School. The GMCRA holds several events during the year to raise funds and increase awareness for the program.

“There are new restaurants constantly opening in the area,” McBurney says. “Go try them, and when you’re there, ask them if they are members of the GMCRA.”

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