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Historic Houston Restaurants


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I too remember the Tommie Vaughn commercials. Funny how something sticks in your head after so many years. I also remember Richardson Chevrolet....."Richardson.....Chevrolet. Southwest Freeway at Hillcroft".

There was also another car ad that was somewhat annoying that had a little boy dressed in a devil's costume dancing on top of a car. I can't remember the dealership, but they sang "hot, hot, red hot deals, hottest deals in town". I'm losing it.

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I too remember the Tommie Vaughn commercials. Funny how something sticks in your head after so many years. I also remember Richardson Chevrolet....."Richardson.....Chevrolet. Southwest Freeway at Hillcroft".

There was also another car ad that was somewhat annoying that had a little boy dressed in a devil's costume dancing on top of a car. I can't remember the dealership, but they sang "hot, hot, red hot deals, hottest deals in town". I'm losing it.

The Tommie Vaughn Ford commercials sounded like the commercials for Chuck Davis Chevrolet: low, evenly-stressed baritone/bass-voiced jingle singers. Do you remember that one, too?

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All I could recall of the old Tommie Vaughn jingle is:

"..They got great service..they got good price, they got everything (missing words) that's nice......Tommie Vaughn...Tommie Vaughn Ford" All done in a deep baratone/"Texan sounding" voice.

Allthough no song comes to mind...I guess everyone recalls the "Rocket City" dealership on the Gulf Freeway near the Gulfgate mall. Was it Dan Boone's dealership? Lastly. was it Frizell (??) that had "A whale of a deal" with a whale cartoon as a logo?

The car dealership near gulfgate with the sign with the big rocket on it was Bill McDavid Oldsmoble. Dan Boone ran it for some years before the McDavid boys took it over.

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I bet no one else remembers this: There was a restaurant on the corner of W. Belfort & Chimney Rock next to the (then) Weingartens which had little horses on springs arranged in a semi circle for kids to sit on while they ate their burgers.

I don't know what else they served or what the name of the place was but I LOVED that place back in the early/mid 60s.

That was Brittain's Broiler Burger. I grew up just a few blocks away, and it was a big deal to go there for dinner. Burgers were 35 cents back in the mid '60s. If I close my eyes, I can still smell the smoke from the broiler. I think the barber shop next door is still there judging from pictures. I left Houston in the early '80s, but it still feels like home. Thanks for resurrecting a great memory.

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In the mid '80's, there was an empanada place on Richmond in a strip center around Sage and the loop. There was also, in what I believe to be in the same center, a great pizza place that I thought was Barry's, but husband says no, Barry's has always been further down (or up) on Richmond. The pizzas would sit atop a pedestal thingy at the table. It seems it had a single name to it like Barry's, Mike's, John's, etc. Neither of these places as well as the strip center exist as I found out recently. I went to Marines (sp.?) on Hillcroft and Richmond hoping for the same cream cheese and caramel empanada, but it wasn't.

Also, early '90's, somewhere close to downtown was an ice cream/smoothie shop called Hawaii Kai (sp?). Always ordered chocolate ice cream with cream cheese mixed in - Heaven!

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Don't kow about the empanadas, but I remember the first Barry's being somewhere around Windsor Plaza, around where the Chili's was.

Barry's used to be at the southwest corner of the Windsor Plaza parking lot at Richmond and Sage. The first Chili's I remember in Houston was Richmond and Fountainview, diagonally across from where Barry's is now.

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Bingo! Windsor Plaza. Now I'm going to have to hunt for pics to prove hubby wrong. I remember the Chili's being on Fountainview and standing in long line to get a seat at lunch time. They had the best tacos - the meat had corn and they put guacamole on top.

I'm still curious about the empanada shop. I checked Marini's website and it made no mention about being in the Windsor Plaza area.

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Lot's of great, and not so great memories being revived.

Toddle House (South Main Location) ~ Waffles, Burgers, and their Potato Pancakes

Pig Stand (Washington Ave.) ~ Pork Sandwiches

It's wasn't the "Huddle House" was it. Seems like I remember it as the "Huddle House". maybe Alzheimer's on my part.

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Hiya...did someone mention "One's a Meal" here? I was just reading my bank statement that came out today, and I saw an entry for a "One's a Meal" restaurant (!) from last month. Since I didn't remember eating at a resturant of that name, I checked in my checkbook, and guess what? It's the Biba's restaurant, the 24-hour Greek place on West Gray street. Not sure if that is the same restaurant someone was talking about, but the coincidence is certainly interesting.

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Oh My God! and we have Marini's Empanada House (one Westheimer on 8mm film) at night! That was a great eatery.

There once was a delicious Mexican Restaurant called Los Pinos at corner of Telephone Road and Dumble rigjht next door to Leonard's Dept store. The lunch plate was only about $3.50 thats right! It was a simple walk in and sit down and order place that easy. Man it was delicious!

Just next door or rather across the street was the Heap O Cream ice cream shoppe. Another Near East End teeny bopper hang out. :D Pineapple Freeze! Yummy!

There was a Luke's Hamburgers just around the corner from here too. They had just simple cheap burgers.

I remember Luke's on Shepherd - yummy burgers!

Hiya...did someone mention "One's a Meal" here? I was just reading my bank statement that came out today, and I saw an entry for a "One's a Meal" restaurant (!) from last month. Since I didn't remember eating at a resturant of that name, I checked in my checkbook, and guess what? It's the Biba's restaurant, the 24-hour Greek place on West Gray street. Not sure if that is the same restaurant someone was talking about, but the coincidence is certainly interesting.

Biba's and One's a Meal are the same entity. I'm not sure if it's still there, but One's a Meal is/was in the old IHOP building on Memorial, near Westcott.

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Marini's Empanada House on Westheimer.

Marini's Empanada House on Richmond.

Marini's Empanada House on Hillcroft.

Marini's Empanada House on Westheimer again, next to Ninfa's by the House Of Pies. *sigh*

You know Marini's is back in business, right? There's one at 10001 Westheimer and another at 3522 S Mason Rd # 100, Katy, TX.

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Bingo! Windsor Plaza. Now I'm going to have to hunt for pics to prove hubby wrong. I remember the Chili's being on Fountainview and standing in long line to get a seat at lunch time. They had the best tacos - the meat had corn and they put guacamole on top.

I'm still curious about the empanada shop. I checked Marini's website and it made no mention about being in the Windsor Plaza area.

Barry's was a standalone white brick building with alot of white lattice. Chili's was across Fountainview from the Magnolia. Chili's was a wooden green building with white trim. That's were I got hooked on chips and salsa after moving here in '79 (oh, and Margarita's too).

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Biba's and One's a Meal are the same entity. I'm not sure if it's still there, but One's a Meal is/was in the old IHOP building on Memorial, near Westcott.

Heard that before, somewhere. Biba's was good :P , when I used to go. It was in a googie type building, or a "used to be" carhop type of bldg. I also remember the One's a Meal across the street. Rainbow Lodge was around there too. And that barbeque place behind Bibas.

Edited by NenaE
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You know Marini's is back in business, right? There's one at 10001 Westheimer and another at 3522 S Mason Rd # 100, Katy, TX.

In fact Marini's at Westheimer location is having a BIG party tonight folks!

I was supposed to help with the crowd but have to attend another deal. Try to go as it's a rare event. That place has a very loyal following. They have hundreds of phtos framed on the walls of old customers. The lady told me that one customer found an original menu from around 1979? They framed it. Mr Marini is very active in local non-profit orgs. A good man.

I had not ate there since around 1985 (old location lower Westheimer) never knew they had a fire? They have a huge variety of empenada's. Bon appetit! :D

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Heights, you are right on! I remember them as Elliot, Walter, and Bennett, if we are talking the same group here. They played at the Steak and Ale on the SW Fwy not far from Sharpstown Mall in the mid-70's. My daughter and some her pubescent friends adored them. My wife took them to see E, W, & B in person and they got to (gulp) talk to them. I forget which was her favorite. I bet that 41 year-old "girl" still has a record or two of theirs.

Saw EWB at Steak & Ale at Gulf Freeway, with my dad. Still have his albums. He loved them. I also remember "Popcorn" local group. I loved "Don the Beachcomber" (Polynesian?) restaurant on Gessner & Westheimer. Gas station-Quick mart now. :angry:

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Chili's was across Fountainview from the Magnolia. Chili's was a wooden green building with white trim. That's were I got hooked on chips and salsa after moving here in '79 (oh, and Margarita's too).

We used to go to that Chili's specifically for the milkshakes. :wub:

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Saw EWB at Steak & Ale at Gulf Freeway, with my dad. Still have his albums. He loved them. I also remember "Popcorn" local group. I loved "Don the Beachcomber" (Polynesian?) restaurant on Gessner & Westheimer. Gas station-Quick mart now. :angry:

There are some discussions here on HAIF about Don the Beachcomber and other local tiki joints.

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No sir, Toddle Houses were all over South Texas. The one in Stafford was the last one i can remember visiting. There were other locations on South Main, Gessner (North of Bellfort), also visited them in Victoria, and Corpus.

Also had a brainlock yesterday trying to remember Yamins (good pizza, AWESOME Po Boy's). Locations were Hillcroft, Buffalo Speedway, and Westheimer (just inside the loop). I'd literally kill for a PoBoy served warm with melting cheese like that again! <jk>

What this town needs is a good Beer Garden serving up Po Boys and the like..... :wub:

Good Lord! I had not heard of Toddle House in years! They seemed to be everywhere. I heard they had a mean breakfast. Getting hungry just thinking about it. (Stomache grumble) :P

Thanks for jogging the old memory banks.

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Also had a brainlock yesterday trying to remember Yamins (good pizza, AWESOME Po Boy's). Locations were Hillcroft, Buffalo Speedway, and Westheimer (just inside the loop). I'd literally kill for a PoBoy served warm with melting cheese like that again! <jk>

There was one on I-45 at Edgebrook. I miss those po-boys, too.

Edited by memebag
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Wow....I've been skimming through this and it really makes me homesick for things that will never be again.

When I was in middle school, the manager of the San Francisco Steak House lived in my neighborhood. His daughter was my age and she had a bunck of their T-Shirts and bragged about being on the trapeze. I think it was a tall tale since she was so young at the time but you never know - life was a bit more relaxed back then.

I was also a mall rat at Sharpstown since I had gone to Sharpstown Middle and a few of my friends lived in that area. I vividly remember the food court and blowing a lot of quarters on air hockey. Remember the days of Tiffany? Kind of scary....

My first job after freshman year of high school was at a movie theatre just north of what was Trader Vic's at Westheimer and Gessner. The last time I looked, the movie theatre is long gone and is now a dance hall.

I grew up in the Gessner/Westheimer area and practically lived at the Galleria with several years of skating lessons and following my dad (an artist) up to the mall to work on weekends. I even later spent the summer after my sophomore year of high school working as a waitress at Farrell's Family Restaurant. I only had one odd experience that year when the father of a birthday boy (about 12/13) wanted to know if his son could pull off my leg garter for a hefty tip. My manager turned all sorts of interesting colors at that request!

Farrell's also owned The Coquery which was next door and kind of a cafeteria style restaurant. My dad was good friends with the manager for years and would set up his rig and do caricatures at the entry way to help him get more of a crowd. He also taught a basic art class there for awhile through HCC.

I can't tell you how many weekends I spent skating, haunting the Farrell's candy shop, and the Joke shop. Does anyone remember the theatre that was just down the way on that level? I remember that was where I saw the first Star Wars and how they made a huge deal about the new speaker system that they installed specifically for that movie. I also saw Legend there (remember all the hayfever fluff?)

There was also a wonderful book store on the same end as the Coquery that had a children's nook. It was great for grabbing the latest thriller/sci-fi and ducking into to read a few chapters first to see if it was worth my babysitting money.

I also miss a great little steakhouse that was just off of Richmond and Hillcroft? named Dirty's. It was part of a small chain and had the biggest chicken fried steaks I have ever seen.

Now I'm stuck in the frozen north and missing a Houston that is completely gone.

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Lockwood Inn and Cozy Kitchen barbecue on Lockwood and 1-10 East Frwy. Only Cozy Kitchen remains but has changed names. (Close to McReynold's Jr High School and that very old cemetary).

Lockwood Inn was the place to go after dancing, etc according to relatives as far back as the early 1940's. They had some of the best links and barbq sauce in the world. Served simple on a paper tray if to go or on a plain white plate with plain sliced bread. The sliced beef was killer. You could smell the aroma for miles it seemed. It was very hard to keep driving past since the aroma would put (me) into a trance. The sandwiches were as little as $2.00 up until about mid 1980's, then a terrible fire took the whole place down. The place had been handed down from one generation to the next.

All that remains is the broken out plastic sign above on the pole. Lockwood Inn was a true icon of that area. This is real old Houston. Nothing has ever matched this great place since. :mellow:

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"Lockwood Inn and Cozy Kitchen barbecue on Lockwood and 1-10 East Frwy"

The old BBQ Inn on Crosstimbers and Yale is still there ... and I remember Price's 19 cent hamburgers ... they had a hamburger stand on Bingle Road, I believe. And what was the name of that all you can eat Mexican food place on Longpoint? Also, I had several dates at the Copper Goblet on Hempstead Highway near I-610; it was my favorite restaurant in the 1970s. Wienerschnitzel on Longpoint is now Otilia's Mexican Restaurant.

Edited by Glitterik Eastend
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I have been trying to think of the name and location of this one for years. Seemed to be the center of Mexican culture in houston, especially late at night.

Another one I cant remember the name of was a place on Canal that served the best black bean refritos with huevos rancheros.

El Rancho on Canal?

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El Rancho on Canal?

I wonder if that was the one near intersection of Milby or near Olshan Lumber Yard? or close to Morales Funeral home? The name seems so familiar. That place was there for many years, I barley remember going as a kid once or twice.

There was another place called the Greenleaf Cafe about a block from the original Ninfa's on Navigation. It was very popular in mid to late 60's. Been gone for years.

There was a great high school hangout burger place directly across the street from Stephen F Austin High School called The Mustang Malt Shop, (Mustang for the school mascot Stevie) Ja! on Dumble street.

Thay had school desks all lined up under a simple overhang so kids could eat and hang out after school. It was owned and run by the couple that lived in the house adjacent to it. Nice old folks.

All now gone just an empty field. Depressing I know. Blah.

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I realize this is a 2 year old post, but I have to wax nostalgic about these two places.

These were the best empanadas I've ever had. The menu was huge. I think there were over 100 different kinds of empanadas. The original joint was tiny, with bull fighting posters on the walls and tables and chairs made from old barrels. I remember a few other locations later on, including one in Good Time Charlies at Sharpstown Mall. There was a location on Hillcroft that changed its name to Marines in the 90s when Marini opened up a new place on Westheimer. None of them are as good as the original, when grandma was making them in the back.

This place was incredible. They had a huge White Mountain ice cream freezer in the store, just like the one we had when I was a kid, except much larger. The ice cream they made tasted exactly like home made ice cream, because it was. There was a location on Guadalupe in Austin during the mid 80s.

It makes me sad to think of how great these places were.

Another place I miss was Phil's (where 59 Diner on Shepherd is now). I remember going there in the late 70s or early 80s and it wasn't a retro 50s restaurant, it was like someone had preserved a 50s restaurant, including the waitresses. Best chicken fried steak I ever had.

There was also a Phil's on Mandell just north of Richmond until the late fifties or very early sixties. I don't know if it co-existed with the Phil's that became the 59 Diner or if it relocated there, but my mother discovered the 59 Diner in the late 80's and began eating there often. One day when she was 80 she had her caregiver drive her there for lunch and discovered she had forgotten her money. Phil (the original Phil, from when 59 Diner was Phil's) was there, working as a host. He lent her the money to pay for her lunch. Of course, she remembered him from when he owned the Phile's on Mandell.

Also in the 50's, there was a little restaurant on Richmond at Mandell, just behind where Lucky Burger is, owned by an elderly couple named Golberg or some similar name. Mr. Goldberg was regularly mightily offended when my father would ask for Worcestershire sauce to put on his roast beef; he (the owner/chef) would say indignantly, as he dutifully brought the sauce, "How can you cover up the flavor of my delicious roast beef with that hot sauce?! And besides, it's bad for you! Worcester sauce draws the water out of your system!"

In the same little shopping center in the 1600 block of Richmond, there were also a variety store and a little drug store with a soda fountain where I remember getting 3 scoops of ice cream for 15 cents.

Does anybody remember the Whataburger or der Wienerschnitzel on Westheimer at the curve, west of Yoakum? It was one of the old A-Frame structures and it was orange.

I remember it. In the late sixties a red-haired high school classmate of mine named Ronnie worked there.

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Does anybody remember the Whataburger or der Wienerschnitzel on Westheimer at the curve, west of Yoakum? It was one of the old A-Frame structures and it was orange.

There was a Der Weinerschnitzel on far end of Telephone Road near Bellfort intersection. Must have closed in early 80's? The only time I have seen that place still in operation was in SoCal or rather LA area. The design was so unique and modern was much steeper than any Whataburger pitched roof.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello everyone,

First post here and can I just say thanks for making me feel so old! LOL

My list

Numero Uno - The Rail Head (some of the best memories I have of going out to eat)

Others

Pipe Organ Pizza

Beef & Bun

Alfie's fish and chips

York steak house at Memorial City mall

Farrell's ice cream in the Galleria

That Itallian place at Westbury square (Don't remember the name)

Pizza Junction

Goodtime Charlie's at Sharpstown mall back in the day. (What or where we ate didn't matter) If I had those quaters back from Funway freeway now, I'd be a rich man!

And don't laugh....Steak and Egg

Thanks for a great fourm guys, I've had a great trip reading these post.

Regards,

Rhino

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There are some discussions here on HAIF about Don the Beachcomber and other local tiki joints.

Subdude, checked those posts out, those are truly my favorite places...wish I could have seen them in their heyday, especially the one on S. Main with the gas line running to the pond, to light a flame in the middle of it, how cool! to see that at night!

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Out of curiosity I did a Google search on Los Troncos Restaurant and was quite surprised to end up at this site! I was pleased to see that several of the people on this site remembered it. The actual name of the restaurant was Los Troncos de los Arboles - the trunks of the trees. That was a mouthful, however, and the restaurant became known as "The Treehouse Restaurant".

I had arrived in Houston on 12/31/68 after getting out of the navy and worked there for four and a half years while attending the U of H from 1971 to 1975.

It was owned by a wonderful couple named Victor and Sally Sears. Victor was a Jack Kerouac type character who was born in Alabama and after completing his military service in Korea moved to Mexico City where he owned a bar called La Aquaria for about 10 years. In the mid-sixties the Mexican government decided they didn't like his politics so they picked him up one day and drove him to Laredo and said go north and don't come back!

He and his brother cut down the oak trees used in the restaurant from a piece of property they owned up in Conroe and hauled them into town themselves to renovate the old circa 1910 house at Westheimer and California streets in the Montrose.

It was a most unusual restaurant and great for a college student because of the limited operating hours - 6 pm to 10:30 pm Mon.-Thur. and 6 pm - 12 pm Fri & Sat.

It was also the most interesting and fun place I ever worked! One reason was the layout. Almost all of the tables were very private and it was immensly popular with people who did not want to be seen in public with their dinner partners. There was also a bit of hanky-panky that went on in those booths that kept us servers entertained.

In addition, Los Troncos attracted a number of celebrities who visited Houston in those days. I had the pleasure of serving the Edgar Winter Group on one occasion and, on another occasion, I served the winning couple from The Dating Game, which I'm sure many of you recall. It was rather humourous because the two contestants couldn't stand each other :P

I lived in Houston until moving to Austin in 1977 but loved (almost) every minute of living there. It's a great city and I always enjoy visiting there.

Edited by dadyer
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On another note about defunct restaurants...as I mentioned in a previous post, I worked at Los Troncos and lived in the Montrose, so I spent a lot of time in the various bars and restaurants in the area. Ari's was almost next door, the Empanada House across the street. I remember when The Hobbit Hole opened. And Las Casuelas, in the Heights, was definitely the best Mexican restaurant in those days, while Tin Tin Cafe was a regular stop for chinese.

But...how many of you old hippies can remember KFMK, the underground radio station, or the Family Hand Restaurant over on Bagby (I think). Definitely the first "hippie" restaurant in Houston to the best of my recollection. Those folks then moved on and opened Liberty Hall down on Chenervert (I think) where the best music acts were booked on their way to stardom! It was an old American Legion Hall converted to a fairly intimate concert hall/bar/restaurant. I remember seeing Steely Dan, Jimmy Buffet, Asleep at the Wheel, Cold Blood, Sha Na Na, Johnny D and the Rocket 88's, Shiva's Head Band, and the list went on and on.

How about La Carafe down on Market Square? Or Esther's down on the banks of Buffalo Bayou as you crossed over from the Montrose to the Heights? Ted's Bar on Richmond? Richwood Market? And, that Greek restaurant over on the ship channel with the belly dancers and the Greek sailors from the ships dancing with the handkerchifs?

Remember about '72 or '73 when it snowed about 4 or 5 inches one night?

Ahhh...those were great times to be young and alive and in Houston!

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Back in the 70s, my mom and dad would leave us with a babysitter (rare!) and go out with their pinochle-party friends on date-night to the Athens Bar and Grill. I guess Steak and Ale was just too dull. It must have made an impression, because my mom went through the belly-dancing phase. She took classes, made her own outfits out of chiffon and those jingly things, had the little finger bells, everything.

No wonder my dad stuck with her. Now I'm going to try and not think about it what happened post-belly-dancing performance.

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There was a fine Italian restaurant a block from Rice University that we frequented when our daughter was in school there in the 1980s. I can't remember the name but was so sad when it closed.

Trattoria Pasquale? They moved to Montrose Blvd, I think where Nelore is now.

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I have been trying to remember the names of las conseulas and tin tin cafe for years. I remember the family hand and I worked at hobbit hole, but I also remembe the family child, and there was a kundalini (sic) restaraunt behind "a movable feast" which was on westheimer, that had the most excellent enchiladas and salads.

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  • The title was changed to Historic Houston Restaurants

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