In the late 90’s, Terry McBurney relocated his family from Houston to The Woodlands - back when Woodlands Parkway stopped at Kuykendahl and a wooden sign from the 70s still greeted commuters. As The Woodlands Mall and Market Street grew into the scene, he watched regional and national restaurant chains move in.

"There was a void of locally-owned restaurants,” said Terry. “I envisioned a concept that could preserve the roots of The Woodlands.” 

Terry McBurney in front of The Republic Grille in The Woodlands, Texas

The Republic Grille Owner and Founder, Terry McBurney

Though he had no restaurateur experience, he was a driven, self-made entrepreneur. He developed a business plan centered on his desire to create a “modern-day Cheers,” highlighting The Woodlands history with a positive restaurant culture built on accountability and professionalism.  

Working with long-time photographer Ted Washington to obtain historic photos of The Woodlands' founder, Mr. George Mitchell, and gathering old newspaper articles for display, he adorned the walls with the historic beginnings of The Woodlands. From a bio outlining Mr. Mitchell’s education at Texas A&M to Frank Sinatra performing one of the first concerts at The Pavilion, the walls at The Republic Grille showcase how The Woodlands came to be.  

The Republic Grille quickly became the local lunch and dinner hotspot. Terry filled his menu with Southern, Texas-centric dishes, inspired by his grandmothers and his upbringing in Augusta, Georgia. Outside of supply chain issues, Terry says he’s never removed anything from the menu – just added a few new customer favorites. 

The Republic Grille in The Woodlands, Texas

Chicken Fried Steak from The Republic Grille in The Woodlands, Texas

“In the beginning, I can’t say everything we did was spot on. We just had this desire to offer dishes we loved. This is what we like, this is what we’re going put on the menu,” Terry laughed. “Apparently, everyone else liked it, too.” 

He added nameplates in the restaurant for “regulars” and established a company culture anchored in community and high-quality service. This, paired with the food (made from scratch daily), was the perfect recipe for success.  

“We actually exceeded our sales goals in the first year,” Terry said. “I couldn’t believe it. Afterward, it became really clear that we had something very special.”  

Wedge Salad from The Republic Grille in The Woodlands, Texas

Tres Leches at The Republic Grille in The Woodlands, Texas

Although multiple restaurants weren’t in the initial plan, following two successful years at Panther Creek, Terry opened a second location on FM 2978 - This time, highlighting the local story and history of Montgomery County. Terry expanded again in 2020, opening a location on the Grand Parkway 99 in Spring. Now, he’s developing a Conroe location.  

“Our mission is to continually build on the solid foundation we’ve developed in our culture and work environment at The Republic Grille,” Terry shared. “That’s our mainstay.” 

The Republic Grille continues to prioritize community, giving back to local schools, veterans, policemen, and first responders. Customers vet new dishes before they become menu specials, and Terry still visits each location every week to provide direction, encouragement, and a hello to guests.  

“You must stay the course and always seek to improve,” said Terry. “It really is a community, and it’s all about giving back.”  


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