Food & Drink

Houston's Best Lunch Spots to Get You Out of the Office

Published On 06/20/2016 Published On 06/20/2016
The dining room at Local Foods in Houston
Local Foods Houston | Courtesy of Local Foods
Revival Market

Revival Market

Heights

Agricole Hospitality’s first-born child – its other operations include heavy hitters Coltivare and Eight Row Flint – is pretty hard to beat at lunchtime. Not only does the craft butcher shop & cafe make its salumis in-house, it also has deliciousness like whiskey pate, lardo, local cheeses, and lamb pastrami up for grabs. Get a buttered-up Cuban or standout roast beef on challah alongside daily soups, salads, and sides; then finish with a slice of good old-fashioned buttermilk pie, lest you want to put an end to making poor life choices.

Local Foods

Upper Kirby (& Rice Village & Tanglewood)

Things are no-joke-local when it comes to this trio of sandwich, soup, and salad aficionados, as you can see by the lineup of local farms and artisan shops repped on the menus. Things are also no-joke-good, as stuff like truffled egg salad or rotisserie short rib smothered with horseradish aioli will prove. Every sandwich, which can also be turned into a salad upon request, comes stacked high with your choice of two sides, ranging from Tuscan kale salad to soba noodles. Add local wines and suds to make lunch an extra-happy occasion.

B&B Butchers and Restaurant

B&B Butchers & Restaurant

Washington

Chances are you walked into B&B’s tiny butcher shop the first time you came here, then walked out confused before stumbling over to the steakhouse side of things. Well this time, stay put, because it’s there that you’ll find some of the best sandwiches in town. Go for RJ’S roast beef with hot peppers, or the Sicilian, a crusty hero loaded with a generous heap of fresh mozz, Roma tomato, basil olive oil, and the imported prosciutto you are no doubt adding (remember that thing we said about life choices?). If you’re looking for a lengthier, more elegant affair complete with burgers and wagyu steak frites, that steakhouse you were failing to find will fit the bill nicely.

Lankford Grocery

Montrose

While newer, shinier spots open up every day, this Montrose standby proves that classic, sloppy-as-all-hell burgers & sandwiches will always stand the test of time. Get beef bombs loaded with accoutrements like mac & cheese, pineapple, and wasabi, and all the stuff in a Frito pie. Or go “lighter” with tuna melts, grilled cheese, and daily lunch plates. Just don’t forget to bring cash.

Treebeards Restaurant

Treebeard’s

Downtown

With a handful of locations Downtown, this busy lunch-only kitchen serves Cajun and Southern grub cafeteria-style (or at some of the locations, to go). Not only is it wallet-friendly, but you also won’t be a serial long lunch offender and have to sneak past your boss' office like a businessman ninja. The Market Square location is the choicest spot, so hit that one for duck, chicken, sausage, and seafood gumbo (depending on the day), smothered crawfish étouffée, chicken-fried chicken & mashed taters, and bread pudding soaked in whiskey sauce that you can bring back to your boss in case you do decide to take advantage of your afternoon freedom.

BB’s Cafe

Montrose (& other locations)

Though we can’t say enough about the life-saving abilities of a plate of queso and roast beef gravy-smothered cheese fries in the middle of the night, this Cajun staple is equally as worthy of a visit when it’s light out, i.e. for lunch. Fully dressed and sloppy po-boys come in renditions like “Half and Half” (fried Gulf shrimp and oysters) and “Bullet for the King” (a loaf stuffed with chicken which is stuffed with  cream cheese and jalapeño, then wrapped in bacon and topped with bacon ranch sauce), the entire lineup of which pairs perfectly with a cup of Maw-Maw’s gumbo or paper-thin fried pickle chips.

Weights and Measures

Weights & Measures

Midtown

In-house bakery crafting top-notch breads and pastries? Check. Open kitchen dishing out everything from wood-grilled burger and house-smoked salmon to a roasted local carrot pizza spiced with dukkah and packed with redneck cheddar? Check. Exceptionally good bar program going in for the kill? Check. If this cool-looking, bright, and airy triple threat isn’t on your lunch radar, you need to remedy that immediately.

Cafe Brasil

Montrose

Keeping Westheimer cool since the early '90s, this stalwart offers an eclectic range of cafe fare, plus one of the most pleasant patios in Montrose. Burgers, tacos, and sandwiches sit alongside bistro eats like chalkboard quiche with buttery crust, duck salad with blackberries & goat cheese, fig & prosciutto pizza, and craft beer and wine there to help make your lunch hour a little cozier. Order at the counter, grab a seat, and don’t forget the cookie.

Kenny & Ziggy's New York Delicatessen

Kenny & Ziggy’s

Galleria (& West University)

Sandwiches. Burgers. Knish. Whatever you’re getting at this Jewish delicatessen, expect it to come in the kind of colossal portion only a Brooklyn grandmother would force on you. Triple-deckers come absolutely packed with corned beef, triple-smoked pastrami, and roast brisket, all made in-house, of course. They are best split with a friend if you want any chance of finishing the matzo ball soup and pastrami cheese fries you “accidentally” ordered on the side.

Cafe TH

EaDo

Fact: you will find this Vietnamese eatery with a packed house during weekday lunch. But that’s OK, because service goes at lightning speed, or you can call ahead and take one of Houston’s freshest, most excellent bánh mì sandwiches to-go. Hungry patrons should go for the quadruple-pork meatball "Porter’s Balls" or the everything-topped "Zombie," then tack on spring rolls, or one of the city’s best banh bot chien, a Cantonese-style crispy fried rice flour cake that you definitely want in your lunch roster.

Backstreet Cafe

Backstreet Cafe

River Oaks

Ease into the afternoon at this '30s-era house, which lures a steady crowd thanks to its charming space and tree-lined patio, extensive menu, and inviting lunchtime libations. Get one of those (the seasonal mojito never fails to quench your thirst), then dig in to Gulf Coast beignets, pecan-crusted chicken, and chef and restaurateur Hugo Ortega’s juicy, chipotle-and-Chihuahua-cheese-studded burger.

Conservatory

Downtown

Houston’s first food hall, which you can find sittin’ pretty underground right next to Prohibition, offers lunch-goers the chance to get ramen and gyoza from Samurai Noodle, crepes from Melange Creperie, BBQ Tex-Mex from El Burro & the Bull, and spot-on Mediterranean fare from Myth Kafe, all in one sitting. Since that’s a lot of food, you may have to make multiple visits. We’re sure the 60+ craft taps will help make those visits an easy decision.

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1. Revival Market 550 Heights Blvd, Houston, TX 77007

This craft butcher shop and cafe in The Heights offers breakfast, lunch and full-service dinner in addition to its in-house charcuterie program. Revival prides itself on preparing sustainable, thoughtfully grown food, from butchered meats to bottled jams, pickled vegetables and condiments. The butcher case offers beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and seasonal game (all cut and ground to your specifications), while the café serves house-made bagels, kolaches, salads, soups, and sandwiches. With plenty of seating in the open, industrial-chic space, you’ll be able to enjoy your bites in a friendly, relaxing atmosphere.

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2. Treebeards 1100 Louisiana St, Houston, TX 77002

This bilevel lunch-only kitchen serves Cajun and Southern grub cafeteria-style. Treebeard's has been in operation for over 30 years, catering to those who need a quick weekday lunch at a reasonable price. The menu rotates, but you can expect to find various gumbos, étouffées and other Southern classics. They even serve desserts like toffee bread pudding, in case you want to feel really lethargic before heading back to the office.

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3. B&B Butchers 1814 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007 (Washington)

You can’t get more Texas than in-house dry-aged USDA Prime and Texas Wagyu served in cuts larger than your head. Or a chicken-fried pork chop with sausage. Or a Carpet Bagger on the Half Shell, a filet with bacon, blue cheese, and a fried oyster on top, all housed in an oyster shell. Fill up on all this and a couple of superb cocktails, like the Blood Orange Sky or the French Diplomat at Houston’s B&B Butchers & Restaurants, a butcher shop-steakhouse hybrid in the Sixth Ward. While we suggest hunkering down at a table in the elegant, exposed brick dining room, the antsy among you will head to the deli counter, where you can grab the same delicious meats, either by the pound or stacked in a sandwich.

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4. Local Foods 2424 Dunstan Rd, Houston, TX 77005 (Southampton)

The wide-open, retro aesthetic of this Southampton deli sets the stage for sandwiches crafted with the same TLC that Texans have been accustomed to for generations. Each sandwich purchase nets you two sides, which they swap out based on what’s available or in-season. There's lineup of local farms and artisan shops repped on the menus for reference, and you can pair your food with local beer and wine, as well.

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5. Lankford Grocery & Market 88 Dennis St, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

This Houston institution on Dennis St has been in business since 1939, selling groceries to locals alongside old-fashioned tuna melts and huge burgers. Everything is made to order, so the service takes time, and you simply pay at the counter when you're finished eating. The space itself is kitschy and quaint with shaded picnic tables outside for some greasy al fresco dining.

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6. BB's Cajun Cafe 2710 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

This Cajun eatery in Montrose is a neighborhood staple serving up Texas and New Orleans cuisine in a laid back atmosphere. Get your hands on Cajun classics like ettouffe and crawfish boils in addition to full loaded po-boys. All of the food is pretty gut-busting, so bring some friends to go in on shareable apps like loaded fries. BB's is open late, making it the perfect stop after a night out.

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7. Weights + Measures 2808 Caroline St Ste 101, Houston, TX 77004

Weights + Measures in Montrose is a restaurant, bakery, and bar triple threat that delivers exceptional and inventive takes on meals and drinks. The 70s-esque decor contrasts with the industrial exterior, and the huge space can accommodate bar-goers and diners all in one open space. Stop by in the morning for daily-baked breads, pastries and coffee, or swing by at night for a more relaxed meal.

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8. Cafe Brasil 2604 Dunlavy St, Houston, TX 77006

Keeping Westheimer cool since the early '90s, this stalwart offers an eclectic range of cafe fare, plus one of the most pleasant patios in Montrose. Burgers, tacos, and sandwiches sit alongside bistro eats, and craft beer and wine are available to round things out. Order at the counter, grab a seat, and don’t forget the cookie.

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9. Kenny & Ziggy's 2327 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX 77056 (Uptown)

Kenny & Ziggy's mission is to give Houstonians an ultimate New York deli dining experience right in Uptown. Breads and cakes are made in-house, and pickles and meats are cured onsite. Fish are flown in daily from the Big Apple, and master slicers are on call to properly cut them in the European tradition, ensuring a silky and tender texture. The menu spans cabbage, Hungarian goulash, Romanian chicken fricassee, latkes, grilled Mediterranean tuna, and sweet potato pancakes, in addition to signature cut-to-order pastrami and corned beef sandwiches. And whether you get a sandwich, burger or knish, expect it to come in the kind of colossal portion only your grandmother would force on you.

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10. Cafe TH 2108 Pease St, Houston, TX 77003

This Vietnamese eatery is packed for lunch because of its banh mi sandwiches and for dinner because of its banh mi bo tho, a beef stew that's so damn good you'll crave it even during Houston's hottest months. The aforementioned dishes, plus phos, curries, and vermicelli bowls, have given Cafe TH a cult following, even among the vegetarian crowd. Located in a strip mall, the tiny spot is BYOB and a great place for a cheap, casual, and hella good dinner.

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11. Backstreet Café 1103 S Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77019 (Montrose)

Backstreet serves up American eats in a '30s style converted house with garden seating. The menus are constantly being updated to reflect the freshest seasonal flavors, and they feature Southern, Hispanic and Asian cuisine. During brunch hours, an advance reservation is an advisable (if not required) move for this happening spot.

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12. Conservatory 1010 Prairie St, Houston, TX 77002

Conservatory, an underground beer garden and food hall in Downtown, Houston, has everything you could possible want to consume and imbibe. Descend the Art Deco staircase into a lofty warehouse space and you’ll find a modern, open food hall filled with things like a wall bejeweled with 60 taps for craft beer and wine, rotating food stands like Melange Creperie, El Burro & The Bull, and Samurai Noodle, and a verdant under-the-steps greenhouse.