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Historic Houston Restaurants


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Chez Beignets on Bellaire Boulevard.

 

Uh...no thanks.  I don't need the attitude from that place.  Or the fact that they aerate your to-go box using a ball point pen they grab off the counter.  Plus their beignets aren't all that good.

 

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Regarding Beignets in Houston. The Shipley's Donut location 12225 Westheimer between Dairy Ashford and Kirkwood serves them. Don't be in a hurry. They are cooked to order just like at Café du Monde and Morning Call in New Orleans. They are the same franchise location that makes the Hoffy Twist named for Ken Hoffman of the Chronicle. It is a Cinnamon Twist Donut dipped in Chocolate.

 

I've tried those, too, since it's just down the road from me, but they are too doughnut-ty.  You're right, though, that they need to be cooked and eaten fresh.  There are several places on Bellaire where you can get them, but they're mostly cooked earlier and just sitting around.  I did find one place, Parisian Bakery near the beltway and Bellaire that will cook them fresh for you and they're fairly good, but not quite as good as Crescent City was.

 

I heard rumors a while back that Cafe du Mond would be openning here, but haven't seen anything happen.

 

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Does anyone remember Swiss Haus (or House), a sandwich shop in Rice village at Rice & Kelvin?

Did it move to another location or just close?

 

 

isn't Swiss haus the one you had to go through to get to le cue upstairs? I'm pretty sure it.closed.in the 80s.when the village began it's transformation from a laid back lower key place to what it is now.

 

It was still there in 82-83, but I think it closed within the next couple of years after that. They served a mighty fine French Dip sandwich. 

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Regarding Beignets in Houston. The Shipley's Donut location 12225 Westheimer between Dairy Ashford and Kirkwood serves them. Don't be in a hurry. They are cooked to order just like at Café du Monde and Morning Call in New Orleans. They are the same franchise location that makes the Hoffy Twist named for Ken Hoffman of the Chronicle. It is a Cinnamon Twist Donut dipped in Chocolate.

Shipley's beignets?! I mean, besides the fact that I'm surprised any Shipley's actually serves beignets, but it just seems so insulting. It's like if someone asked a good place to get a Philly cheesesteak and you suggested Subway. sick.gif

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^or Domino's for authentic Italian.

The Shipley's on Rankin doesn't sell beignets that I'm aware of. I'll ask, heck, I might even try one just to see, but the expectations would be low. While the Westheimer location may be the only franchise calling the chocolate cinnamon twist a "Hoffy", it's available at other locations, such as Rankin, as its original namesake. I've honestly never heard of it called a Hoffy.

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I liked going to Bill Williams restaurant on OST right before Southpark, across the street from MacGregor Park.

 

I saw that 1950's restaurant listed for demolition on Swamplot.  5080 O.S.T at M.L.K. (previously S.Park)

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I loved reading about all the great old Houston restaurants like Alfred's and The Velvet Turtle. Like someone else mentioned, I sometimes wonder if I dreamed it - but does anyone remember the Treehouse Restaurant in the early 70s? I think it was on or off old Westheimer.

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I came across this article in the Chronicle Morgue Files with a piece on the 20 Oldest Restaurants in Houston, published in 1986.

How many of these are still in existence?

Apologies for the crappy chopped up photos -- they don't let you use anything except your phone in the Texas Room.

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NinaE: I remember loving the two-story McDonald's in the Galleria area, on Post Oak, I believe. My college roommates grew up in the Meadowbrook area, & I spent lits of time with them there in the early 70s - lots of good memories.

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I loved reading about all the great old Houston restaurants like Alfred's and The Velvet Turtle. Like someone else mentioned, I sometimes wonder if I dreamed it - but does anyone remember the Treehouse Restaurant in the early 70s? I think it was on or off old Westheimer.

 

I believe it was Los Troncos...try this site; it's loaded with info...http://blog.chron.com/bayoucityhistory/2010/07/los-troncos-restaurant/

 

Edited by readam
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NinaE: I remember loving the two-story McDonald's in the Galleria area, on Post Oak, I believe. My college roommates grew up in the Meadowbrook area, & I spent lits of time with them there in the early 70s - lots of good memories.

I think I read that the two level McDonald's in the Uptown area was built sometime in the mid 1980s. A few years ago, it was leveled (even though it had been renovated relatively recently) for a standard one-level McDonald's while a high rise was built next door.

As for Houston restaurants that are old, I remember reading in an article about the San Jacinto Inn that the late 1980s (due to changing tastes more than the recession) was when a lot of the old-line restaurants were purged (a similar "event" happened in Bryan-College Station, though less dramatic).

Prince's still survives in one form or another, though I doubt any original locations...and Felix Mexican Restaurant survived all the way up until 2008.

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The first one on your list, Allbritton's Cafeteria met its untimely end when Mr. Allbritton retired. The building sat empty for a couple of months and was demoed. It was almost to the corner of Waugh and West Dallas, directly across the street from Jack in the Box, on the east side of Waugh. A friend of mine that works at Whole Foods on Kirby said they built a new location on the old Allbritton's footprint, but I haven't taken the time to go all the way down there to have a look see for myself.

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Torimask- Cleburnes is still there... second location. The first location (on Cleburne) is rumored to have been a speakeasy. It's one of my favorite topics on HAIF. It was recently painted white, much to my disappointment. Great list, thanks for sharing.

 

DebbieW - Welcome to HAIF... yes, I am familiar with that McDonalds. I took HCC classes in a '70's (4 story?) office bldg. (now demolished) across from it. 

Edited by NenaE
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NinaE: I remember loving the two-story McDonald's in the Galleria area, on Post Oak, I believe. My college roommates grew up in the Meadowbrook area, & I spent lits of time with them there in the early 70s - lots of good memories.

Ah, never mind. I thought you were implying the McDonald's was built in the early 1970s, which it wasn't (and was about to bring up that it was built in '88, with a Chronicle article and HCAD backing it up (the building was razed in 2012)

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I came across this article in the Chronicle Morgue Files with a piece on the 20 Oldest Restaurants in Houston, published in 1986.

How many of these are still in existence?

Apologies for the crappy chopped up photos -- they don't let you use anything except your phone in the Texas Room.

 

   Brenner's and Molina's still exist, at those same locations.

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I came across this article in the Chronicle Morgue Files with a piece on the 20 Oldest Restaurants in Houston, published in 1986.

How many of these are still in existence?

Apologies for the crappy chopped up photos -- they don't let you use anything except your phone in the Texas Room.

 

 

The ones that still exist in some sort of form are:

 

Prince's 
Brenner's
Avalon
Christie's Seafood
Cleburne Cafeteria
Molina's
One's a Meal --> Became Theo's
Edited by kylejack
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back in 1975-76 we would drive all the way from the East End just to have drinks at Bonapartes Retreat. There I consumed my first singapore sling and first white russian.

My wife & I loved their singapore slings 1973,  do you know what recipe they used,  was it the original recipe from singapore

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Oh, WOW!  So great remembering all those wonderful oldies - Cannot say which was (were) my favorites.  Anyway, am doing research and need to find out the year that the Port City Stockyards restaurant was opened - the Stockyards in Houston - not Sealy.  I know the Stockyards itself was opened in 1931 and closed down in 1968.  But could someone let me know when the restaurant in it was first opened???  Thanks so very much.

Judy

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You might try contacting members of the Sartwelle family. I'm sure someone with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo could provide you with contact information. I tried Google and Yahoo for restaurant information but had now luck. There probably was a café or restaurant there since most Stockyards and Livestock Auction facilities usually have one next door or nearby. Those cowboys got to have a decent place to eat a steak!

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I ate at Cardet's in the mid 70's. If my memory is correct, they were part of a Latin food market. Does anyone else remember? The food was good there.

 

I started eating at Cardet's in the late 1970s. The food was good, and the restaurant was attached to a little grocery store--Cuban, of course, like the restaurant--that sold normal groceries and also a few exotic vegtables, like malangas (google it), as well as Cuban records and even books.  I'm pretty sure the Cardet family originally lived above the store; in later years it appeared that the cook and her family lived there.

I would see Cubans and people who seemed to be from the West Indies shopping there. After the 1980 Mariel Boatlift catapulted a lot of destitute Cubans into the country, I noticed several new employees. The food, if possible, got even better. Then, in 1983, it was sold to some Koreans,who re-named it Latina Cafe (this name jarred a bit if you knew Spanish and caught the incorrect grammatical gender of Latina + Cafe). But they kept the same cook and wait staff. I remember seeing a diminutive oldish Cuban waiter upbraiding his Korean lady boss in Desi-Arnaz-rapid-fire Spanish (the time I remember it was something about that customer didn't want his milk-coffe pre-sweetened). The new Korean owners soon learned enough Spanish for self-preservation, and I remember seeing their pre-school daughter sitting at the counter, the pet of elderly Cubans doting on her. The Koreans tried a Korean dish or two but eventually reverted to all-Cuban food. I didn't go for several years. When I went back, the daughter was old enough to take my order! A few years later, I heard it had been sold to some Indonesians, who, fortunately, kept the menu and the cook. Not all that many years ago, it ceased to be Cuban/Korean/Indonesian/Cuban, and became The Roost. I ate there once. The food is quite good, but the place was too noisy for quiet conversation, at dinner time, anyway.

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Phil's is now known as 59 Diner.

 

Phil, the owner of Phil's, which did indeed relocate to Shepherd, off Richmond, and is 59 Diner, worked there as a host for a number of years after he retired. Around 1992, when my mother was 80-something, she went there to eat but had forgotten her purse. Phil (also 80-something) was there, hosting, and he lent her the price of her meal--a true gentleman!

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I stumbled on this last night while rummaging around, looking for a photo of the old Mrs. Baird's bakery on W. Gray (I get distracted easily).  Story Sloane writes this feature for Houston Lifestyles emag using some pictures from his great collection at Sloane Gallery and a couple of years ago published this one about old restaurants.

 

I know what the mystery cafe is.  I wonder if he's got all ten winners yet.

 

I'm still working my way through all the other articles but there are some great photos.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi,

I just saw your post from over a year ago regarding Windswept Inn.... I remember that restaurant like it was yesterday... I grew up in Houston and we went there regularly back in the 70's... There was a skating rink next door to it.... ANy how, I believe that was Airline Drive that it was on....

That is where I first had Red Plum Jelly for the rolls... Do you remember them serving it in a little bowl with a spoon?

Do you remember the jukebox up against the wall by the front door?

The fried chicken had such a thick cruncghy batter on it.... and there was always more food to eat then people to eat it.... it was the BEST!!!! Oh the good ol days!!!!!!LOL

biggrin.gif

 

Wind_Swept_Inn.jpg

 

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Wow, Subsude, you never cease to amaze! That's the Windswept Inn building I remember. Certainly a far cry from what it looks like in its current incarnation as Tacos de Julio.

 

The Wind Swept Inn is older than most people think. I can't give you an exact date of its opening, but I have found evidence that it was in business as far back as at least 1948, albeit at a different location.

 

In 1948, the Coles Directory listed the Wind Swept Inn's address as 9010 Airline. That's at Airline and Gulf Bank.

 

Sometime in the 1950s the restaurant moved to then U.S. 75 and about Rankin Road. I do not have a date for this because I only fully researched the area that corresponds with today's Aldine High attendance zone and Rankin Road is out side of that.

 

In 1963, the Wind Swept Inn moved to its final location at 10719 Airline. Judging from the date, I can guess the move had something to do with the construction of the North Freeway. Perhaps the land the restaurant was on had to be taken for the construction of the freeway and that forced the move? I don't know, but that's my guess.

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I would have guessed the Windswept was a late fifties bldg. The clues are the medium tan brick (as opposed to the 30's-40's light, yellow-tan brick), those high, rectangular sliding windows and the ornamental screen. The forties seemed to use a lot of white brick and/or black shiny tiles. 

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  • 1 month later...

Hello. First post from a newbie.  I used to live near the Oak Ridge area up I-45 in the mid to late 70s.  My folks would take us to a Mexican restaurant at the Robinson road exit.  Casa __________  I believe was the name.  Can anyone fill in the blank?  It was a chain, probably unremarkable, but I have some specific and fond memories of meals there.  There was another location on FM1960, in the vicinity of Stuebner Airline.

 

Thanks for any help.

Edited by barry92
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Iron Tiger:  MOST of Houston's Tex-Mex restaurants are unremarkable. They're adequate for a meal out, and you probably won't come home with food poisoning, but they're nothing to write home about. There are some that are better than adequate, and a small few that are simply great, even "remarkable, but I'm keeping their names to myself.

 

Nothing ruins a great restaurant quicker than spreading the word about how great they are. As Yogi Berra once said about a certain New York City restaurant he once frequented: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too popular."

 

Just kidding. I will share the name of the single finest Mexican Restaurant I ever went to when we lived in Houston. Notice I said "Mexican." It isn't strictly Tex-Mex. It serves real Mexican food found in the southern region of Mexico's interior. On any given evening you will find most of the people eating there are Latinos.

 

The name is Romero's Las Brazas Mexican Kitchen. It's at Hwy 6 and Longenbaugh in Copperfield, about 2 miles south of 290.

 

http://romeroslasbrazas.com/

 

Check it out. It's worth the drive to Copperfield. I promise you won't be disappointed. When our son got married in 2006 we held the rehearsal dinner there. It was fantastic.

Edited by FilioScotia
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Iron Tiger:  MOST of Houston's Tex-Mex restaurants are unremarkable. They're adequate for a meal out, and you probably won't come home with food poisoning, but they're nothing to write home about. There are some that are better than adequate, and a small few that are simply great, even "remarkable, but I'm keeping their names to myself.

 

Nothing ruins a great restaurant quicker than spreading the word about how great they are. As Yogi Berra once said about a certain New York City restaurant he once frequented: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too popular."

 

Just kidding. I will share the name of the single finest Mexican Restaurant I ever went to when we lived in Houston. Notice I said "Mexican." It isn't strictly Tex-Mex. It serves real Mexican food found in the southern region of Mexico's interior. On any given evening you will find most of the people eating there are Latinos.

 

The name is Romero's Las Brazas Mexican Kitchen. It's at Hwy 6 and Longenbaugh in Copperfield, about 2 miles south of 290.

 

http://romeroslasbrazas.com/

 

Check it out. It's worth the drive to Copperfield. I promise you won't be disappointed. When our son got married in 2006 we held the rehearsal dinner there. It was fantastic.

 

Great tip.  Thanks!

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Las Alamedas closed in 2008, didn't it?

 

That sounds about right.  Someone (they, or at least family members) eventually opened another Las Alamedas in Cinco Ranch.  The setting is different and they have altered the menu, but the food is good and reminds me of the original location.  They also opened a place in Addicks called Las Ventanas, which strikes me as a bit more casual, but is also good.

 

As with any place that aspires to be "interior Mexican" here, they both have to walk a fine line between authenticity and appealing to Anglo-Texan tastes.  Fortunately, they both seem to also draw a large number of affluent Spanish-speakers from Mexico, which I guess helps them avoid having to turn the menu into Tex-Mex in order to stay in business.

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Was it the recession or the widening of Katy Freeway that killed Las Alamedas?

 

Yeah the property owner died. The surviving family then opened a property dispute. So when the lease that was valid when the owner died, finally expired. A new lease couldn't be granted due to ownership disputes.

 

Eventually the restaurant just relocated. I believe they're out in Katy now. I'm not sure if a deal was ever met on the ownership of the property. Even if it was though, that strip of land is nothing like it once was in terms of businesses. So you'd probably be hard pressed to find someone willing to take that big of a lot that they'd have to tear down anyways. (I don't think that building has been maintained since 2009).

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  • 3 months later...
Does anybody around here remember Las Casuelas? The greatest Mexican food restaurant in Houston history? In a big old house at the corner of Fulton and Quitman out in the barrio on the near north side? I think it was even better than the original Ninfa's on Navigation.

 

 

I remember it well, or pretty well. :blush:   It was a great all night greasy spoon for menudo, caldo de res, etc. and as much atmosphere as I've ever experienced. 

 

BTW...there is still a Las Cazuelas on Little York in the Northside, but I have serious doubts it's affiliated in any way.

 

 

Edited by fortbendtomontrose
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  • The title was changed to Historic Houston Restaurants

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