Valuing Our Customers

With everyone on the go these days, sometimes it’s easy to forget the customer.  But here at Willie’s our customers are first and foremost in the minds of our employees.

The only thing as important as the food in a restaurant is the service and according to Gallup, the most powerful driver of engagement is “being treated as a valued customer,” followed by “the warmth of the greeting” and “the taste of the food.” Yet most diners don’t feel they are being treated and fed well. Gallup’s analysis shows that 27% of restaurant customers are fully engaged, and 20% are actively disengaged.  Among fast-food customers though, 20% are fully engaged, and 31% are actively disengaged. Continue reading “Valuing Our Customers”

The History of Tipping

Though tipping your waiter or waitress may feel like something that’s always been part of the dining experience in America, the fact is, the act of tipping is a borrowed custom from Europe.

It is not clear when the word “tip” came into the English language but some speculate that the origins of the word came from Samuel Johnson.  Johnson frequented a coffee shop which had a bowl labeled “To Insure Promptitude,” and Johnson and other guests would put a coin into the bowl throughout the evening to receive better service.  This soon was shortened to “T.I.P.” and then simply, tip.  Continue reading “The History of Tipping”

A Restaurant Tale

Here at Willie’s, we love our history just as much as we love our food.   The backstory of how the restaurant became a part of our societal culture is quite a fascinating one and yet people have rarely heard it.  That is where we come in.

The word restaurant comes from the French restaurer, meaning to “restore or refresh.”  A restaurant was a place to make people feel better. In fact, during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance it was common to study medicine and food preparation together.

Paris is often cited as the birthplace of the restaurant. The institutions in which these “restaurants” were served had costly and luxurious interiors and appealed to a wealthy clientele. They were a far cry from the unsavory taverns and inns that typically provided food to travelers. Concepts such as seating patrons at their own tables, providing dining at unspecified hours and a menu from which diners could choose their own dishes came out of these institutions and became an established part of “restaurant” service.

The idea of selling food for profit goes back as far as the earliest civilization. The need for public eateries was firmly established as far back as the Roman Empire and Ancient China. When peasants and farmers brought their livestock and other goods to the urban markets, often they traveled for several days at a time. This brought about the earliest form of restaurants, the roadside inn. Usually located in the middle of the countryside, inns served meals at a common table to travelers

During the Middle Ages, it was actually illegal to sell cooked meat in any form.  But in 1765, a man by the name of Boulanger added cooked lamb to a stew he sold in his shop.   The caterer’s guild sued and Boulanger won the case. Over the next 20 years leading up to the French Revolution, more and more shops like Boulanger’s began opening up all over Paris.

But what of the first American restaurant?  That distinction is generally given to Julien’s Resorator, a Boston establishment opened in 1793 by Jean-Baptiste Julien.  Julien specialized in turtle soup, and he went so far as to take out advertisements in local papers exalting his “fresh supply of green sea turtles, of a midding size” prepared “in the best manner.” Taking a cue from eateries in France, Julien emphasized the healthy nature of his dishes, promising to nourish, invigorate and strengthen bodies with his various cordials, broths, soups and meats.

Nowadays, whether it’s for a sandwich or a 10-course tasting menu, many people don’t think twice about getting a bite to eat at a restaurant. In fact, nearly every street corner presents a new opportunity to enjoy a meal without the hassle of messing up our own kitchens.

The next time you feel grabbing some good old fashioned grub we encourage you to visit Willie’s for a truly historic meal!

Countdown to the End of the Season

With crawfish season rapidly coming to a close, we hereby invite all you mudbug lovers to enjoy one last chance feast with some of the biggest and best crawdads in Texas, here at Willie’s Grill & Icehouse!

Willie’s is having our “Countdown to The End of the Season” promotion that will serve up some of the tastiest crawfish in Texas!

As it gets hotter, crawfish shells get thicker and harder to peel. Crawfish tail meat is available year round, but during the off-season it’s better fried or in dishes like etouffee. We only serve boiled crawfish during the time of year that we can get the best, live crawfish. Willie’s gets the largest hand-selected crawfish daily.

Here are 10 more fun facts about crawfish that you might not know.

  • Crawfish have inner gills that allow them to live out of water
  • Crawfish can drown
  • There are over 500 species of crawfish. Only two are harvested although over half of the different species live in North America
  • There is a cave dwelling species of Crawfish that are colorless and have no eyes
  • There are no crawfish in Africa.
  • Louisiana is the first state to have an Official Crustacean and it is the crawfish
  • The eggs develop while attached to the swimming legs of the female.
  • Europeans consider them a delicacy.
  • A crawfish has four pair of walking legs and four pair of swimming legs.
  • Crawfish feed at night.

Now you can brag to your friends and be the know-it-all of crawfish when you sit down to your next crawfish boil. Hopefully that will be at one of our tables here at Willie’s!

Don’t miss out on the “Countdown to The End of the Season” at any of our Willie’s locations throughout our great state of Texas.

Happy “tails!”



Welcome to Willie’s!

It is with great pleasure and warms smiles that we welcome you to Willie’s Grill & Icehouse! We are proud to say that we have been serving up mouthwatering food and tremendous amounts of fun to Texans for over a generation, and the good times just keep on rolling!  willies

Starting as a stand-alone burger joint back in 1993 in Houston, Willie’s is still the place people venture to when they are looking to kick back with family and friends and dig in to some good ole’ down-home Texas grub! Our menu boasts some of the best burgers in Texas, a giant hand-breaded chicken fried steak, finger lickin’ baby back ribs, scrumptious seafood and tons more!    And don’t forget our vast line up of ice cold beers as well as our signature ritas to help quench your thirst on those hot summer days!

With locations ranging from Houston to San Antonio, Willie’s Grill & Icehouse is proud to call itself a Texas original. We also take pride in being a child friendly restaurant, so feel free to bring along your little ones and let’s all have a rockin’ good time!

In addition, Willie’s Catering brings the same great cuisine from our restaurants to any party or event! Our crowd pleasing fajitas, signature seafood, and down-home Texas fare are sure to make your event a complete hit! Whether you need us for a wedding, company picnic, neighborhood shindig, or just a family get together, Willie’s is here and we promise to deliver with outstanding food and service every time!

We invite you to visit our website to take a gander at our full menu, as well as to sign up for Willie’s E-Club to receive special offers, the latest on Willie’s news and a FREE appetizer! You can also keep track of all of Willie’s happenings by following us on Facebook and Twitter!

Once again, we welcome you to Willie’s and we look forward to seeing you at one of our convenient and fun-filled locations soon!