le menu

James and I had a fun conversation about where we’d eat in Houston if we could magically be transported there. You’ll see the abbreviated list below, and it includes places that are no longer in business. Because why not. Yes, this is a bit of homesickness creeping in (hence the focus on comfort food). We don’t miss Texas yet, but we do miss a bunch of Texans. I hope you know who you are.

BREAKFAST

  • Pig Stand (RIP) home of the cowboy omelet, which cured every hangover it went up against – I wrote about my conflicted feelings when Pig Stand closed in this post
  • Shipley Donuts – we’ve had donuts only once since moving, at the most highly reviewed donut place in the area – didn’t even come close (in fact, we ended up throwing them away) – you can’t beat Shipley’s, except when they’re getting raided
  • Chilosos Taco House – the egg + Chappell Hill sausage breakfast taco is magic in a homestyle tortilla – they always screwed up at least part of our order, but all was forgiven after the first bite
  • Aunt Bea’s – I’ve never eaten at a restaurant that serves so much butter or hosts so many morbidly obese guests – read this about my first experience there (and the butter)
  • One’s a Meal (RIP) – anyone who ate at this restaurant likely remembers the very tall Greek waiter named John who worked there forever – you can find him at Avenue Grill, and he’ll probably remember you – he remembered James after not seeing him for years – randomly, here’s a Reddit conversation from a week ago about this very man
  • Tel-Wink Grill – the line gets so long for breakfast, it snakes its way through the restaurant (nothing like eating with a stranger’s ass mere inches from the edge of your plate) – the Houston Press weighs in

LUNCH

  • Stanton’s – though this place has been around for a while, I didn’t make it there until a few years ago – it would have been a contender for best burger in Houston during the burger journey – it reminds me of grocery/burger joints in the country
  • New Orleans Poboy (RIP) – here’s what I had to say about its closure in that fake advice column I used to write – still one of my favorite burgers of all time
  • Antone’s (before the family sold out) – if you had the privilege of eating an Antone’s back in the day, you would want to slap the fools who make the mushy bread, no chowchow version for sale today – Houstonia talks about the decline of the Houston poboy
  • James Coney Island (RIP the two-story location downtown on Main St) – I used to go to this location with my grandfather – always loved sitting at the old school desks amidst the white-, blue- and no-collar patrons – after lunch, we’d hit the tunnels and wander around, eventually capping off our experience at the 60th floor observation deck of Chase Tower, the tallest building in Houston
  • Liberty Kitchen – I used to go to the one in the Heights (in what was once a quickie mart) (Pepperidge Farm remembers), but I heard a rumor there’s a framed FIGHT STUPIDIZATION sticker on the wall at the fancier Liberty Kitchen on San Felipe

DINNER

  • Barbecue Inn – this place will always have my respect for telling Guy Fieri they weren’t interested in his greasy ass filming his TV show there – plus, the food’s delicious and there’s always a line, so they aren’t hurting for business – I had an awkward encounter in the bathroom there on my birthday eight years ago
  • Tia Maria – we moved through a number of TexMex haunts over years, and this was the most recent favorite for our regular Friday night nosh – that first sip of frozen margarita marked the end of the work week
  • Beaver’s – there’s something very “Houston” about Beaver’s – their delicious drinks inspired me to purchase a muddler
  • Spanish Village – we ate there when I was a kid, and I still remember the multi-colored chairs with straw seats and the Christmas lights that lined the dining room – luckily, not much has changed (except I became old enough to understand why the adults liked eating there–the margaritas will knock your ass out)
  • Dolce Vita – the only forced-valet restaurant on the list (you can still find parking in the surrounding neighborhood, so that’s okay) – I had some great meals there with some great people, and I credit Dolce Vita for introducing me to the concept that brussels sprouts can be delicious
  • Hickory Hollow – two words: hot tots

I think I gained 10 pounds writing this post. I hope at least one of you is inspired to check out some of the places that are still around or maybe revisit one of your old favorites.

And don’t worry about us. We might be a little homesick for our peeps, but we still have all of this to keep us company.

4 Replies to “le menu”

  1. Ahh this cranks the old memory engine, Antone’s- instantly transports me to the week Mason and I would often spend during the summers with the grandparents. Where the Houston Zoo, Natural Science Museum,sleeping in the back guest bedroom in one of the most comfortable beds known to man,the ham shack talking to strangers from across the globe,visiting the local radio shack,watching old James Bond films,munching on two James Coney dogs with a Delaware punch……. And eating in the Antone’s with the train Caboose inside and convincing Grandad to crawl up the small narrow ladder up to the nook that had a booth to eat your sandwich in which for a kid is pretty much the most awesome place ever to have a sandwich …..ahhhh memories ….I can almost taste the chowchow.

    1. Man, that’s good stuff. You paint a great picture. Granddad was an adventurer of the first degree. And Grandmom did her best to fill you full of pancakes before you left for that day’s journey.

      James Coney Island still serves Delaware Punch, by the way.

  2. Add: Goode Company on Kirby (Grilled chicken sandwich and cinnamon-chocolate shakes), Beck’s Prime in Memorial Park (Swiss-mushroom burger with the juices running down my hand to my elbow and a thick strawberry shake), La Strada on Westheimer (especially the fettucine la strada, the fresh bread, and the paper-bag chocolate raspberry cake), Antone’s on Taft ( red-wrapper sandwiches, Zapp’s spicy Crawtator chips and a cold Aranciata), Cavatore’s on Ella (any entrée along with tableside-made eggless spicy Caesar salad, and followed by their tiramisu), any Pappas location; so many more…

    I have a jar of Antone’s chow-chow in the fridge, with just a few dregs remaining at the bottom. Are you saying I won’t be able to resupply during my next trip to Houston? I usually get one red-wrapper to go, and take a jar of chow-chow back to San Antonio with me…

    1. Man, I miss Antone’s on Taft. That’s one place where you could take someone with their eyes closed and they’d know immediately where they were just by the (wonderful) smells. The building is a rich hipster bar now, I think. So it goes in the city of my birth.

      Save your positive Antone’s memories and skip getting one the next time you’re in Houston. The wrapper looks the same, but then you take your first bite of disappointment and realize you just wasted $6.

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