A few weeks after Buzz & Bites opened in the Spring Branch Management District late last summer, I took my teen-age daughter to the Blalock Road cafe for coffee and breakfast.
We hadn’t been out much due to the pandemic, and it was a much-needed escape from boring home-brewed coffee and tea, usually sipped while we sat at our laptops working in different rooms. It was a gloomy day, but Buzz & Bites was warm and friendly — and tasty.
Since then, we’ve been vaccinated and getting out more, and we keep finding ourselves at Buzz & Bites.
What is it about this local little cafe that keeps us coming back?
Is it the cheerful staff and Instagram-worthy decor? The adorable patio with bright yellow umbrellas and ample seating? The seasonal drink specials and extensive everyday menu? Is it the croissants?
“Yes,” said the daughter.
I will add one more reason: The Vegan All Day panini.
Opened by sisters who you will usually find at the cafe, Rosalyn Ros and Tida Sok, Buzz & Bites was set to open just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Rosalyn said it was heartbreaking and her first thought, after months of planning the new business, was: “Are you kidding me?”
Outside the busy shop on a recent afternoon, Ros said it was her mother who pushed the sisters to move forward until to their August opening.
“She said, ‘Keep going,’ ” Ros said, and now her mother texts her at the shop daily to check on how things are going. “She’s like HR,” Ros laughed.
Judging by the “buzz” surrounding Buzz & Bites and other local coffee shops like the even newer Cambrian Coffee at 9461 Hammerly Blvd., the District is ready and willing to support these new cafes with a growing population and increased business growth in the area.
On their website, the sisters said they “hope to grow along with the community.”
“What every hardworking community needs is a place to get ‘buzzworthy’ drinks and tasty bites. This is the purpose and commitment of Buzz & Bites,” they said.
Whether you are studying, working on your laptop, meeting an old friend on the patio for lunch or enjoying brunch (served all day) with the family, Buzz & Bites promises to “Feed the Need.” In fact, they have a sign that says so nside the cafe.
As mentioned, try the Vegan All Day panini — avocado, arugula, roasted peppers, artichoke and pickled onions served with a side of chips. You do not have to be a vegan or vegetarian to enjoy it. Same with the Kale Avocado Salad — baby kale mix, avocado, toasted almonds, cherry tomatoes, carrot, onion and homemade poppy seed vinaigrette.
Croissant lovers will love Buzz & Bites for its wide selection of the flaky pastries. Grab a chocolate one if you can get it. They also have a case full of other tempting treats from muffins to brownies to Buzz & Bites bee sugar cookies.
Lavender lattes are all the, er, “buzz” and, of course, Buzz & Bites is on it. Try one iced! The extensive drink menu offers something for everyone, from coffee to teas to lemonades to smoothies to frappes. Check the board outside for seasonal and daily specials.
While Ros describes herself as “obsessed” with coffee, she said her sister is a “foodie.”
The sisters moved to the U.S. from Cambodia with their family 14 years ago, landing first in California, where they both went to business school. Ros said she has worked in restaurants for years and has done every job from barista to bartender to server to dishwasher.
After moving to the Houston area a few years ago, Ros said she approached her sister about starting a business together. In 2019 they chose Spring Branch, where Sok lives, because it was one of their favorite areas, and their saw an opportunity for growth — for them and for the District.
“Spring Branch needs us, and we need Spring Branch,” she said. “We can help each other.”
Ros said she and her sister consider it an “honor” to serve people, and they endeavor to use high-quality, fresh ingredients in all their dishes. They use a lot of organic ingredients, she said, and try to keep their prices affordable for their neighbors.
“We want to make sure it’s healthy and not too pricey,” she said.
Popular menu items include breakfast wraps, the Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast and the Caramel Crisp iced coffee — their mother’s recipe, which includes espresso with milk, caramel, organic brown sugar and vanilla.
“It’s a family recipe,” Ros said. “We drink it at home.”
While the opening of Buzz & Bites was a bit difficult at first due to the pandemic, Ros said she is seeing things get back to “normal” — or what she believes normal to be since they haven’t actually been open except during the pandemic. While they are still sanitizing, of course, the whole staff is vaccinated, Ros said, and things just feel more calm and relaxed.
“We are just so honored to be here,” Ros said. “We love to make sure our guests are served, make sure everything is right. It’s just part of our concept — Feed the Need.”
Buzz & Bites
1444 Blalock Road, Ste G, Houston, TX 77055
— by Dorothy Puch Lillig