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Historic Houston Restaurants


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I don't remember the C&W days, but in the Disco Era it was The Barbary Coast. It was two stories and you could lean on the rail and look down on the dance floor.

joe

Yes, that's it - The Barbary Coast! It was a beautiful club.
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  • 3 weeks later...

Anyone rememebr a pie place that was just outside of the heights? I think it was across 45N from the Heights...on the east side...it was right on the freeway. The sign could be seen from the freeway...it was an image of a man dressed in a little babie's clothing (it mightve been 3 men) and they were holding a big pie. The actual big sign is still up...at least it was 6 months ago when i was in houston...but it's painted over with something else.

????

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've been meaning to start a thread on this for a while...

Is anyone willing to give up some of their favorite Houston finds? Restaurants, bars, shops, or things to do that seem to have remained somewhat to largely undiscovered by other Houstonians?

By way of example, I'm thinking of places/things like:

Domy/Brasil Outdoor Movies - Domy Books and Cafe Brasil share a back patio and, each Monday night, they show a free movie.

Nundini Imported Food Store - Would be a "find" as an imported food store, a deli, or as a gelateria - and it's all three.

Shady Tavern - An old-fashioned ice house in the Heights that is very welcoming to newcomers. The shady trees and outdoor seating make it a stand-out among local ice houses.

Lankford Grocery - Delicious hamburgers, and the most down-home atmosphere of any restaurant I can think of in Montrose.

I know places/things like this can be jealously-guarded secrets, but you'll have our thanks - and presumably the business owners' thanks - for sharing one or two...

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One of the places that I'm always amazed that many Houstonians have never been to, is Canino's and the produce market on Airline drive. It's a great way to spend a Saturday morning. One of the best bakeries in town, El Bollio, is across the street from Canino's. Pick up a sweet roll and a cup of coffee, and you can stroll the market for a couple of hours, picking up cheap produce for Saturday night's dinner.

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Variety Fair on Rice Blvd.

Allrecords on West Gray.

Brazos Bookstore on Bissonnet.

Bellaire Broiler Burger

Cafe Artiste

JMH (?) Market in West. U.

Admittedly, these aren't as obscure as some of those mentioned. Still, all a part of what makes Houston special, and all somewhat threatened by larger national chains and big-box competition.

marmer

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Admittedly, these aren't as obscure as some of those mentioned. Still, all a part of what makes Houston special, and all somewhat threatened by larger national chains and big-box competition.

Bellaire Broiler Burger and JMH Market were new to me. Here are some more links/info:

Variety Fair

Brazos Bookstore

Cafe Artiste

AllRecords: "A small privately owned 'record' store filled to the brim with CDs, tapes, and yes, even albums! One of the best sources in Houston for all kinds of music. People have been coming to AllRecords for years to get the best in Jazz, Broadway, Pop and Rock. Customers browse and chat with each other as they flip through the racks...no lone downloading, here...this is the old-fashioned way of shopping. The owner, Fred, is a great resource. If he doesn't have it, he'll try his best to get it for you! 1955 West Gray, 77019 713-524-4900"

Also...

Canino's Produce Co.

El Bolillo Panaderia

Texas Junk Company

They were, unfortunately, on the rat and roach report a while back.

Ack. A link to the story re Nundini's.

Edited by tmariar
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Ack. A link to the story re Nundini's.

Wow. I knew I had heard Marvin rattle off their name, but I forgot that their problem was ROACHES everywhere....I thought it was something more tame like slime in the ice machine.

Edited by jm1fd
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I have roaches in my kitchen, and I eat there every day. Roaches are a fact of life in Houston, and it didn't sound like they were on food prep areas. Besides, you have to decide, do you want poison spray everywhere, or can you live with roaches?

Anyway, a few more:

How could I forget Murder by the Book on Bissonnet?

Fred's Italian Corner on Greenbriar

The Hot Bagel Shop on Alabama

British Isles in the Village.

This would have been so much easier twenty years ago, when we could have added World Toy and Gift, Kaplan's Ben-Hur, Phil's Restaurant, Hamburgers by Gourmet, Zeke's, Neal's Ice Cream, Chicago Pizza Company, British Market, Cactus Records, the Ale House, and Avalon Drug to the list. :(

marmer

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I have roaches in my kitchen, and I eat there every day. Roaches are a fact of life in Houston, and it didn't sound like they were on food prep areas. Besides, you have to decide, do you want poison spray everywhere, or can you live with roaches?

Indeed. The fact that a place appears on Marvin's report is generally not sufficient to make me quit going there - by the time these reports air, the cited establishments have usually addressed the issues in question anyway.

I was going to post this link earlier, but the website was temporarily unreachable:

Hot Town, Cool City

That's probably the closest thing to a canonical list of unique Houston places I've ever seen. The film premiered at the MFAH a couple of weekends ago, but I was unfortunately unable to attend any of the screenings; however, there is apparently a DVD for sale on the website. The director/producer is a former veteran operations director for Landmark Theaters.

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I have roaches in my kitchen, and I eat there every day. Roaches are a fact of life in Houston, and it didn't sound like they were on food prep areas. Besides, you have to decide, do you want poison spray everywhere, or can you live with roaches?

OF COURSE the roaches were on the food prep areas....because that's where the food is. Roaches don't like to hang out in the living room and watch TV...they live and crap indiscriminately in the KITCHEN because that's where the food is.

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Roaches are a fact of life in Houston, and it didn't sound like they were on food prep areas. Besides, you have to decide, do you want poison spray everywhere, or can you live with roaches?

Yeah - I wasn't going to say it, but it's not going to stop me from getting their gelato (no slime in the ice machine, after all). I've read that they supply the gelati served at most Italian restaurants in town, and I'm certainly not going to go on a gelato boycott. Plus, the report was nearly two years ago - and I haven't heard another report since. For some (like jm1fd, sounds like) it will be a non-starter, though - and I can understand that point of view, too.

Anyway, a few more:

How could I forget Murder by the Book on Bissonnet?

Fred's Italian Corner on Greenbriar

The Hot Bagel Shop on Alabama

British Isles in the Village.

Good ones. All of the above have been good ones.

Thinking about the Rice area made me think of Valhalla (some of the cheapest beer in town). Which made me think of Alice's Tall Texan (and their goblets o'beer). Though those two may also fall more under the category of "what makes Houston special" - like many of the places on the excellent Hot Town, Cool City website - than "undiscovered".

Edited by tmariar
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OF COURSE the roaches were on the food prep areas....because that's where the food is. Roaches don't like to hang out in the living room and watch TV...they live and crap indiscriminately in the KITCHEN because that's where the food is.

My sense, borne out by what exterminators have told me, is that they are more likely to inhabit cool, dark, places or places where they can find water. They like bathrooms for this reason. They also like electronics, maybe for the warmth or because they have some sensitivity to electromagnetic fields. I have replaced two phones in my office this past year because they were full of little German cockroaches. (!) It's not just me saying so; Matsushita has recently released a printed circuit board impregnated with pyrethrins (roach poison) to minimize damage to gear caused by short circuits from zapped roaches.

The Nundini report said the roaches were found behind posters, unused equipment, and the plastic wrap box.

I'd be a _lot_ more worried about 59 Diner's off-temp meat storage cited in the same article.

marmer

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My sense, borne out by what exterminators have told me, is that they are more likely to inhabit cool, dark, places or places where they can find water. They like bathrooms for this reason. They also like electronics, maybe for the warmth or because they have some sensitivity to electromagnetic fields. I have replaced two phones in my office this past year because they were full of little German cockroaches. (!) It's not just me saying so; Matsushita has recently released a printed circuit board impregnated with pyrethrins (roach poison) to minimize damage to gear caused by short circuits from zapped roaches.

The Nundini report said the roaches were found behind posters, unused equipment, and the plastic wrap box.

Interesting. I've nearly ALWAYS seen them in kitchens in houses.

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Never been to Lankford, but I have heard they have the best burgers in town.

Favorite oddball store is Texas Junk on Welch at Taft. Just what it says, an eclectic collection that is fun to check out.

My realestate agent took me there after I bought my house two months ago. The place was packed for lunch and has weird hours. It was good but the the decore is pretty shabby. I can understand old school originality even with the wavy floor but it needs a full rehab. Maybe keep the wavy floor. Dare I say Fudrukkers is my favorite burger. Applebees makes a good one too.

Lankford... not bad. Oh and they had cobbler!

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Soundwaves is a pretty cool place. It has coffee, great music selection, listening stations, great surf board and decent skateboard selection. Softgoods and good skateshoe selection. Fun place for surf skate music types and more.

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I've got a friend who lives in the "Dakota lofts", and there is a great little bar/restaurant in the area called the "Last concert cafe" http://lastconcert.com/.

I used to go to Last Concert regularly about 8-9 years ago. I especially liked to go on Wednesday nights to see Carolyn Wonderland and the Imperial Monkeys play. Her set-break song was "Let's Go Get Stoned". Then, the band and the audience would all adjourn together to the patio and smoke dope for 15-20 minutes until she was ready to play again. Good times.

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I used to go to Last Concert regularly about 8-9 years ago. I especially liked to go on Wednesday nights to see Carolyn Wonderland and the Imperial Monkeys play. Her set-break song was "Let's Go Get Stoned". Then, the band and the audience would all adjourn together to the patio and smoke dope for 15-20 minutes until she was ready to play again. Good times.

:lol: Believe it or not that's still happening, except without Carolyn Wonderland. A few weeks ago they had the equivelant of a "dead head" convention with street booths, musicians galore, and of course a whole lot of "Zeppelins" floating around. As you said... Good times.

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They were, unfortunately, on the rat and roach report a while back.

Don't take those reports as gospel.

Channel 2's version of Zindler's report incorrectly listed a Midtown bagel joint I used to frequent as being cited by the city. In reality, what happened was that the city asked them to replace the wooden planks they used for their dough rising with metal ones (less pouous, less prone to accumulating cruft). The owners contacted channel 2 which admitted the error, but refused to run a retraction. They posted a note about it on the door explaining, and I think there was an article in one of the small papers about it, which was also posted. But the damage was done. The place closed weeks later because people believed the KPRC report and never saw a correction. Sad.

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Channel 2's version of Zindler's report incorrectly listed a Midtown bagel joint I used to frequent as being cited by the city. In reality, what happened was that the city asked them to replace the wooden planks they used for their dough rising with metal ones (less pouous, less prone to accumulating cruft). The owners contacted channel 2 which admitted the error, but refused to run a retraction. They posted a note about it on the door explaining, and I think there was an article in one of the small papers about it, which was also posted. But the damage was done. The place closed weeks later because people believed the KPRC report and never saw a correction. Sad.

So that's what happened to Midtown Bagel. I used to eat there quite frequently, went off on business for a few weeks, and came back to find it closed. What a bummer that was.

On the original topic, has anyone been to the Central City Co-op produce market in Montrose? 2115 Taft in Ecclesia (?) on Wed and Sat. http://www.centralcityco-op.org Sounds like it has the making of an "unknown gem".

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I used to go to Last Concert regularly about 8-9 years ago. I especially liked to go on Wednesday nights to see Carolyn Wonderland and the Imperial Monkeys play. Her set-break song was "Let's Go Get Stoned". Then, the band and the audience would all adjourn together to the patio and smoke dope for 15-20 minutes until she was ready to play again. Good times.

Is this the same Last-Concert-playing Carolyn who was (is?) also a technical director at KHOU?

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Is this the same Last-Concert-playing Carolyn who was (is?) also a technical director at KHOU?

Not to my knowledge. Carolyn Wonderland is an eclectic Blues guitarist who has been in the Texas music circuit for many years.

Edited by Gary
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Is this the same Last-Concert-playing Carolyn who was (is?) also a technical director at KHOU?

That question came up in another thread, I remember.

The Last Concert Cafe site includes a couple of interesting old articles about the place. I don't recall ever having to knock to get in, though. I'd always heard it used to be a bordello, but haven't ever found any details about the history.

451613646_a78df8ddf1_b.jpg

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hmm...where to start

-the tuesday farmer's market (now at Rice near the stadium)

-Rice Cinema

-Sloane gallery

-Tel Wink

-Andy's (on 11th)

-Carter and Cooley deli

-Droubi's hillcroft

i think it's time to eat, judging from my responses :blush:

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Good ones. I'll have to try Tel Wink sometime. Here are some links.

-the tuesday farmer's market (now at Rice near the stadium)

-Rice Cinema

-Sloane gallery

-Tel Wink

-Andy's (on 11th)

-Carter and Cooley deli

-Droubi's hillcroft

and

Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum

Art Car Museum

Big Head on Main St.

Soundwaves

Edited by tmariar
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Last Concert: I was in a blues band that played there several times in the early 90s. Fun place. Yes, you did have to knock to get in back then. Pretty much the closest person, waiter, customer, whoever would just open the door. When we were loading in audio gear we'd pull one of the curtains over from the nearest window to kinda keep the door from closing. Most of their back area is basically open air. In nice weather it was great. Highly recommended. I don't know if they have noise issues now that there are lofts nearby.

marmer

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  • 2 weeks later...

I love this thread. I was fortunate enough to have parents who loved to dine out and took me with them, so I tried many of these great places before I was old enough to really appreciate them.

Someone mentioned the Velvet Turtle; wasn't that off 59 just outside of Hillcroft? I remember going there with my parents, probably late 70's or early 80's.

Another place I've not seen mentioned was La Pavillion; IIRC it was just inside the Loop over near Post Oak. First place I ever had bearnaise sauce.

The photo of Los Troncos was amazing. Anyone have one of Albert Gee's Poly Asian? We were regulars there; the mynah bird up front was an old friend of mine. LOL.

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Speaking of La Pavillion ... is Tony's still around? Remember it was somewhere on 'the Boulevard' too? I never ate there (always heard how expensive it was/is).

Anyhow, another place that comes to mind not for their restaurant really, but for the building that is no longer there. Does anyone remember the Astro Lodge ...? I think that is the name. It was off Main, but on the east side of the bayou. It was a big hotel/motel complex right on the border of the bayou and I may have the name wrong.

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Does anyone remember The Happy Buddha on lower Westheimer? They did the chop everything up at the table thing like Benihana. There was a courtyard that had a fake thunderstorm (complete with water, thunder, and lightning) about every thirty minutes? The place burned numerous times in the early to mid 80's. When I was little, I wanted to have my 16th birthday party there. It wasn't really a place for kids, though.

Also, does anyone remember how many Hamburgers by Gourmet there were in Houston? They were amazing. The #10 and some onion rings really hit the spot. I think they had locations in Austin, too. The last one was on Alabama next to The University of St Thomas. They tore it down to build a chapel. I'd rather still have HBG.

I loved the Happy Buddah. It made me very....Happy. Does anyone remember The Bacchanal? I think it was across the street from Michaelangelos on lower Westheimer. They had really rich greek food and belly dancers. They would take everybodys shoes and hoist them up in a net to the ceiling and you had to dance before you could have your shoes back. And yes, they would even break dishes.

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Armando's just reopened where River Oaks Grill was. I'm a foodie so all of the above restaurants will be missed.

Here are my additions, hey right on with the Quilted Toque:

Centanni's (Shepherd Plaza)

Strawberry Patch (I10)

Jalapenos (best gourmet tex mex in Houston at Kirby and Westheimer)

River Cafe (Montrose)

Maxim's (Greenway where Tony's is now)

Baroque (Sunset by Rice Univ.)

Dolce & Freddo (Kirby location and San Felipe)

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Yes, there was a Hamburgers by Gourmet on Kirby. I'm thinking it was between Westheimer and Richmond, but it could have been farther south. My favorite burger there was the bacon bleu cheese burger.

There was also a competitor, Rolando's Burger Factory. He actually predated HBG in his original location on Richmond Avenue, not far from Dunlavy. He later opened a number of locations, on Kirby just off West Alabama and farther up West Alabama I think, up closer to Univ of St. Thomas. I worked for Rolando for a while when I was in college -- He only used very lean meat and when I first started working for him he was proud of his fresh cut fries but success eventually pushed him to frozen, as the locations were too small to devote the resources to storing, cleaning, cutting fries day in/day out.

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I haven't lived in Houston for quite a while, but the place I miss is an old Mexican Restaurant that used to be on Shepherd Drive, Leo's ...

Old Leo supposedly used to ride with Pancho Villa and he'd work the register. It was supposedly a favorite hangout of ZZ Top. It had a funky atmosphere and a fairly generic array of standard Tex-Mex but it was real comfort food too and it was always good. I think it eventually burned down ... I was shocked when I came to town and saw only an awning ... no building anymore.

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I haven't lived in Houston for quite a while, but the place I miss is an old Mexican Restaurant that used to be on Shepherd Drive, Leo's ...

Old Leo supposedly used to ride with Pancho Villa and he'd work the register. It was supposedly a favorite hangout of ZZ Top. It had a funky atmosphere and a fairly generic array of standard Tex-Mex but it was real comfort food too and it was always good. I think it eventually burned down ... I was shocked when I came to town and saw only an awning ... no building anymore.

I think you got the right restaurant but got mixed up on the location.

Leo's was just off washington a couple of blocks east of heights blvd.

It's where the "new" Heights Star Pizza location is.

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I think you got the right restaurant but got mixed up on the location.

Leo's was just off washington a couple of blocks east of heights blvd.

It's where the "new" Heights Star Pizza location is.

No, he's right. The original Leo's was on Shepherd between Welch and Fairview. The awning, as mentioned, that used to lead to the front door is still there. Leo's moved to Washington Ave after years and years of being on Shepherd. Now there is a car wash or a car detailing place there. I think the only thing they brought to the Washington location was the sign.

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  • The title was changed to Historic Houston Restaurants

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