where's the beef

New tech platform allows Houstonians access to the city's top BBQ

You can search Houston's top BBQ spots by a wide range of criteria. Courtesy of Houston BBQ Guide

Anew website wants to help Houstonians eat better barbecue. Created by the founders of the Houston BBQ Festival, the Houston BBQ Guide offers readers the ability to search for restaurants based on a wide range of criteria, including location, parking, and whether a restaurant is likely to sell out of food.

The editors of the guide, led by Houston Chronicle barbecue columnist J.C. Reid, have selected the 28 initial entries with an eye on small, family-run businesses that aim "to provide a quality product and experience on a consistent basis." Entries include both historic barbecue joints like Lenox Bar-B-Q and Pizzitola's Bar-B-Que as well as spots that have earned recognition on Texas Monthly's list of the state's 50 best such as CorkScrew BBQ and The Pit Room.

Each entry includes details about a restaurant's ownership and pitmaster, noteworthy dishes, and a brief video tour. The website also includes essays about the history of Houston's barbecue restaurants and other relevant topics.

As an "about the guide" section notes, people who want to eat barbecue may not know where to find it. By breaking things does geographically, the guide offers diners the opportunity to discover new places or be prompted to visit old favorites that aren't necessarily included in media-generated lists of the "best" barbecue restaurants.

"I like to think of it as a guide for everyday barbecue fans," Reid said in a statement.

The guide also offers an alternative to crowd-sourced review websites as well as the responses one gets on social media when a request for a restaurant near Sugar Land might be met with a suggestion to drive to Tomball — well-intentioned, surely, but not very helpful.

The guide will add new entries in time. For example, Feges BBQ's original Greenway Plaza location is listed but its newly opened Spring Branch outpost isn't (yet). A separate guide to barbecue pop-ups is already in the works, and the editors also tout the possibility of expanding to other Texas cities.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

VR training startup, HTX Labs, has raised funding from an outside investor for the first time. Courtesy of HTX Labs

HTX Labs, a Houston-based company that designs extended reality training for military and business purposes, announced last week that it has raised its first outside capital.

The company has received a $3.2 million investment from Cypress Growth Capital. Founded in 2017, HTX Labs — developer of the EMPACT Immersive Learning Platform — has been granted funding from the Department of Defense as well as grown its client base of commercial Enterprises. The platform uses virtual and extended reality that "enables organizations to rapidly create, deploy, measure, and sustain cost-effective, secure, and centralized immersive training programs, all within engaging, fully interactive virtual environments," per a news release.

“We have been looking to secure outside capital to accelerate the growth of our EMPACT platform and customer base but we hadn’t found the right partner who provided an investment vehicle that matched our needs,“ says HTX Labs CEO Scott Schneider in the release. “We found everything we were looking for in Cypress Growth Capital. They have a non-dilutive funding model that aligns with our capital expectations and have the level of experience that really makes this smart money.

"Cypress has a decade-long track record of success in helping emerging software and services companies achieve scale," he continues. "It is clear that the team’s collective entrepreneurial and operating experience will be of tremendous benefit to us as we focus on expanding our customer base in a very intentional way.”

The fresh funding will go toward growing and scaling the company's operations — both within the current Department of Defense and expansion opportunities into key commercial markets, like heavy industry, manufacturing, and higher education. Additionally, the funding will support increased customer adoption.

“Scott and his team have built an exceptional business that is poised for dramatic growth,” says Cypress Partner Pat McCaffrey in the release. “HTX Labs’ modern, immersive training solution provides clients with a force multiplier for modernizing training and an unmatched ROI.”

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