ChannelTwoNews Posted October 7, 2022 Share Posted October 7, 2022 I didn't want to gum up the Houston thread with the restaurants I grew up with more locally, so I figured I would start one in this section. Some were local favorites. Others were chains that did something different. Most of this is personal recollection so if I get some details wrong, I apologize. Schulze's - Rosenberg Not to be confused with the BBQ place of the same name next door. Every small town needs a restaurant like this one - a place that gets applause for it's burgers and fries as much as it does for it's enchiladas and tacos. Going here was a Saturday ritual for a while in the 90s, as well as when we'd go to the Fair the first night it was open. I'd get a burger and my mom would get a taco salad. Good times. I can smell the fryer at work just thinking of the dining room back then. They'd periodically update the decor but it never really mattered to me at least. I know they closed a while back and have recently re-opened the space under another name with a similar menu, but I'm not sure if anything has changed. Camino Real - Rosenberg "The Best Enchiladas You Never Tasted" Started going to this place with my family after they opened in the early/mid 90s. They started at Avenue H & San Jacinto where Bull Creek is now. Good solid Tex-Mex. Their platters were all named after cities in South Texas. To this day, thanks to them, a basic cheese enchilada dinner is a "Refugio" to me no matter where you go. This was where Sylvia Casares got her start before she started her own restaurant - Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen, and after seeing her years later, I do remember her working both the kitchen and the front counter at times. They later moved to the spot where the 1st Golden Corral was at Avenue H and Herndon Drive and made some improvements inside and out. From what I remember, in the late 90s or early 2000s, the original owner sold to someone from Texas City who wanted to keep the name but bring in some of his people and tweak the recipes. The new owner was super engaged, if not overly so, and was incredibly enthusiastic when he probably shouldn't been. The recipes changed to seemingly include too much chili powder in everything from the enchilada sauce to the rice and beans. We swore them off till the original owner was involved again and that resolved many of the issues. It later was converted to a Los Cucos and has struggled to keep a tenant since they closed about a decade ago. About 2009 or 2010, Camino Real re-appeared at a small space on Lane Drive, just south of Avenue H that has never really had any success keeping a concept. I was able to visit a couple of times during the brief time they were open and it was THE Camino Real of days past. The recipes were the same and even that slogan was there on the menu. Too bad it didn't last. Was always curious if they had anything to do with another Camino Real that was open in the late 90s on Westheimer & Windchase in the small strip center there. Food was about the same and that slogan was used as well. The Peppermill / Ninfa's - Rosenberg Opened just east of the intersection of 36 & the Southwest Freeway in 1994. I think the intent was to provide somewhat of a higher-class but down home cooking restaurant in the area. I just remember they leaned into the "pepper" part of their name as it seemed everything that I had from there had a bit too much of the spice. They went for a rustic design, but I think they were just ahead of the curve in opening there since I think that corner was just starting to support mostly fast food outlets at the time the Super K-Mart opened a few months before. They weren't open for terribly long under that name. The space became a franchised Ninfa's location later that year or maybe in 1995. Seemed to do fairly brisk business over the years. Some of the folks that had started at Camino Real ended up here and one of the women who was a server worked her way up to manager in the process. It was the traditional Ninfa's menu so it was easy to find a few favorites. They closed in the 2000s and then it became El Acapulco, which I never chose to visit. I always figured it would be a lesser experience than Ninfa's and I wanted the memories more than anything. That restaurant closed in the not too distant past and the building itself was demolished in March of this year. Since then, the Ninfa's in Waco seems to get the closest to what I experienced growing up so we make a detour that location at least once most times we're in that area. Wyatt's / Luby's - Rosenberg Perhaps the classiest cafeteria around? I don't know if I could quantify that, but as a kid growing up it was certainly a nice place to eat. We would get certificates to Wyatt's for perfect attendance or honor roll or something in elementary school. They would occasionally bring out big spotlights at the entrance during the evening hours when they were promoting a special or big event they were having there. Always though it looked cool going over the copper trimmed roof. Food was quite good, and really, the quality didn't drop off when it became a Luby's. Furniture and fixtures would get worn a bit more before they were repaired, though Luby's generally had a good crowd as well. My family was happy when they put in the drive-through and it made getting dinner easy if we were pressed for time. It's still weird to see the building now, as it's subdivided for multiple tenants. Chinatown - Rosenberg Small, but nice Chinese restaurant in Chamber Plaza on Avenue H, across from the Chamber of Commerce. This was the first Chinese restaurant I went to as a kid so I was introduced to a number of the mainstays of Americanized Chinese here. The pork dishes were always done well, whether it was fried or seared, and the rice had just the right amount of seasoning and flavor to my taste. What I also appreciated was the decor and atmosphere as it was closer to a more intimate steak restaurant in terms of lighting and furnishings from what I recall. I know everyone locally back in the day (and maybe even today) still would probably cite Hunan Garden as tops (and they're still quite good), but Chinatown was always first in my little heart as a kid. Jordan's Bakery - Rosenberg I think this was the first place I actually got my first taste of Kolache as a really little kid. Reminded me of the kind you would get from Hruska's in Ellinger. Good and doughy, though I don't recall if they sold klobasniky or not, but when Shipley's came to town in the 90s, that filled the void for that item as far as I'm concerned. If I remember, they stopped selling them at some point and focused on cakes and cookies more than anything, which were excellent. Still want to know what happened to the sign with the big neon donut on it that hung over their entrance for years. Don Bravo - Rosenberg I don't remember which way it was - if this location was a branch of the one in Missouri City or the one in Missouri City was a branch of the one in Rosenberg. Either way, the Rosenberg location was located at Avenue I and Mahlmann Street in the strip center there. For some reason, I remember that our family liked the grilled items and fajitas more there than anything else. I think they folded in the 2000s when it became La Casona, and that restaurant was there for some time until they moved into a space at the Old Super K Mart. I think it is still vacant at the moment. Two Pesos / Cici's Pizza - Rosenberg Avenue H, just west of the intersection with Lane Drive. I was so excited when they built this in the early 90s as it was an option that wasn't then available in the area up to that point, and it generally seemed busy most of the time we went to get something from there. It was nice having a not Taco Cabana since they were about the first fast casual option in town that I can think of as well. Given the time they opened, and the trademark ruling from the court, they didn't last all that long and the building was vacant for a few years. It re-opened as a Cici's with a decent sized game & party room in the mid to late 90s and I recall a few birthday parties with some of my friends there, just enjoying lots of cheap pizza and drinks in the process. They only closed in the past year or two, and the place has reopened as a regional Mexican restaurant. Since Two Pesos closed, there's never been a replacement for that specific kind of concept (fast casual Tex-Mex) in the area. I think a Taco Cabana or a Rosa's Cafe or something similar could do well enough, especially at one of the major intersections. Mr. Gatti's - Rosenberg I think they opened in the small strip center at Herndon Drive and Avenue H in the late 80s. I remember having one of my birthday parties there since it was a more reasonably priced Showbiz/Chuck E. Cheese, and we didn't want to force people to go to the one in Stafford/Meadows. The sauce on the pizza itself was pretty decent in terms of quality and I recall it was a fairly distinct flavor with a bit more garlic and onion than most. The game room was amazing to me at the time since it wasn't super overwhelming but it had plenty of options for you to drop your tokens in and walk away with a bunch of tickets. I may still have one of those tokens in my old bedroom at my parents house, as I recall saving a few for a rainy day. I never got to use them as Mr. Gatti's closed in the 90s and the DQ from across Herndon Drive moved into the space. They added more lighting and opened up the dining room a bit more and kept the game room for a while before removing it. 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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