Food & Drink

Houston's Best Comfort Foods

Published On 11/01/2015 Published On 11/01/2015

Fried chicken

Max’s Wine Dive

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Roughly 36 hours in a buttermilk & jalapeño bath makes this three piece chicken plate way beyond moist, while a healthy dunk in well-seasoned flour makes it crisper than Dwight Howard’s free throw (okay, maybe that’s pretty easy to do). Eating it kind of feels like home. That is, if your home is also filled with a pile of sautéed collard greens, buttered up mashed potatoes, and a huge piece of Texas toast.

Goode's Armadillo Palace

Brazos Bottom pecan pie

Goode’s Armadillo Palace

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Upper Kirby

Remember how you thought your great aunt Gertrude made the best apple pie in the world? Maybe she does. But do you really feel like waiting until Christmas to get some? Thanks to Grandma Goode, you don’t have to. Handcrafted and packed with Texas pecans, this ooey gooey darling is all kinds of excellent.

Mel's Country Cafe

Chicken fried steak

Mel’s Country Café

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Hit Mel’s for down home country cookin’ at its greasiest, sloppiest, and finest. The menu runs the gamut of comfort eats, from roast beef and potatoes to Cajun. And their larger-than-the-plate, CFS smothered in thick white gravy tastes just like the one your nanny made. Only this time you can get it with a side of TATER TOTS.


Mac & cheese


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Remember when you felt homesick at college so you popped an Easy Mac in the micro then forgot about it and almost blew up your dorm room? Well the only thing that’s going to be blowing up with Beaver’s mac & cheese is your mind. The super cheesy skillets get topped with heart-stoppingly delicious things like crawfish etouffee, meatballs, and what is basically a Frito pie.


Bone marrow pho

Pho Binh By Night

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In a city with a Vietnamese community so on point, bone marrow pho totally counts as good ol’ American comfort good. Adding the silky, jiggling bone marrow to the already rich and fatty beef broth is like wrapping up in a blanket and Netflix and chilling yourself to sleep on a particularly hungover Sunday. Basically, it’s the only way to survive.

Hunky-Dory Tavern

Cake stand pork chops

Hunky Dory

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This British-American tavern -- from the Treadsack restaurant group and helmed by the chef behind the much beloved Feast -- has only been around a short while. Yet in just a short time, they’ve managed to hook us all on their modern comfort cuisine. Take their crispy pork chops, for example, which get stacked in groups of four on a cake stand before being dolloped with schmaltz. They are also served with both mashed potatoes AND fries. We don’t know if it’s pure evil or genius.

Roost Houston

Smoked salmon hushpuppies


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If a Brooklyn hipster married a Southern belle, these sweet and smoky salmon-infused hushpuppies with charred lemon and jalapeño tartar sauce is what we’d imagine their babies would taste like. Not to say that we’d actually taste their babies, but you get the point, right? Right?!?

Hugs & Donuts

S’mores sundae donut

Hugs & Donuts

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You never have to choose between S’mores and a donut again! So long as this brick-and-mortar shoppe from the guys behind food truck H-town StrEATs hasn’t run out of this Franken-donut, which features scorched marshmallow topping and creamy chocolate pudding center.

Frank's Americana Revival

Sunday meatloaf

Frank’s Americana Revival 

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River Oaks

This ain’t your mama’s ketchup-loaded meatloaf (and come to think of it, how did she ever convince you to eat that crap?). The Americana kitchen gives the old school loaf a new ‘do with a mix of veal, pork, and beef, and a crazy good bacon-y tomato jam. See you next Sunday.

Biskit junkie

Hungry Man

Biskit Junkie

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Garden Oaks/Oak Forest

Just in case regular old gravy-smothered, fat-laden biscuits weren’t satisfying enough for you, Biskit Junkie came along to fill the void in the form of this monster breakfast sandwich -- in which fried chicken and American cheese get a big, fluffy biscuit bed and thick sawmill gravy blanket. Oh, and you can also get it with a skillet of Jus Mac’s mac & cheese, if you’re looking to go to bed FOREVER!!!

Killen's Steakhouse

Pumpkin bread pudding

Killen’s Steakhouse

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It’s safe to say Chef Ronnie Killen knows his way around beef. But you’d be sorry if you don’t save room for the kitchen’s super moist and decadent bread pudding. The sweet stuff reaches galactic levels of excellence when mixed with seasonal flavors, like the pumpkin spice number topped with tres leches, cayenne-spiced pecans, and old-fashioned caramel sauce. Game over.

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1. MAX's Wine Dive 4720 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007

At Max’s Wine Dive, dining is a celebration. The exposed brick-walled joint, lit dimly by track lights and the glow of a green jukebox, boasts a buzzy energy that will spark your night. Embrace all the joys of Texas cuisine at Max’s: Get your hands on Nacho Mama’s Oysters on wontons with garlic aioli, then order a plate full of bison sliders topped with lip-puckering house-made pickles, ketchup, and grilled onions. At this point, you’ve already made the decision to stuff yourself silly, so add the fried egg sandwich to your order: three gooey eggs, a giant pile of applewood smoked bacon with melted Gruyere, a smear of black truffle aioli, and huge slices of buttery bread keeping it all safe inside.

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2. Goode's Armadillo Palace 5015 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77098

Customers can find live Texas music and great comfort food -- such as chicken fried steak, Frito pie, and burgers -- at this vibrant mainstay.

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3. Mel's Country Cafe 24814 Stanolind Rd, Tomball, TX 77375

Started in the ‘70s as a fried chicken joint, this place was transitioned by the Weirich family to a burger-centric operation in the mid-’80s. The decision proved apt: their meat masterpieces, with a penchant for excess, remain objects of obsession today (take, for instance, the Mega Mel burger with one and a half pounds of ground beef, a full pound of bacon and a quarter pound of cheese). Even if you aren't coming for the challenge, come hungry because your other options include big portions of country fried chicken, grilled catfish and shrimp with hush puppies.

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4. Beaver's 2310 Decatur St, Houston, TX 77007

Although this Sixth Ward BBQ spot offers top notch ribs and brisket, it has two main attractions: the first is a smoky queso (made with smoked asadero cheese, green chillis, and pico de gallo), while the second is a bacon omelette biscuit: an expertly crafted cheese omelette stacked with copious amounts of bacon and sausage with a chipotle honey and cream gravy blanket. Other menu items include Southern-style fare like fried pickles, barbacoa empanadas, and creative mac 'n' cheese.

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5. Pho Binh 12148 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77072

You'll find these pho joins dotted all over the city, but this location near Westchase is the only one open late, specifically until 3am on Friday and Saturday (the perfect landing spot after a bar crawl). The menu's full of standard pho options, but you won't even need to look at it, for there are only three little words that need be said here. Bone. Marrow. Pho. The flavorful broth and noodle soak the flavor of the baked bone marrow right up, and the Vietnamese spice gives it an edge you don't normally get in a pho bowl.

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6. Hunky-Dory Tavern 1801 N Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77008

Built around a wood-fired hearth, this dark, sophisticated Heights restaurant serves British-American cuisine like black pudding, pork belly, and game pie in a romantic dining room. At the full-service bar, a shorter pub menu features steaks and chops along with a selection of wines and around a dozen specialty cocktails. Polished wood tables, classic white-rose centerpieces and low lighting makes Hunky-Dory the ultimate date spot -- just be sure to come hungry and ready to share because they don't fool around with portions here.

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7. Roost 1972 Fairview St, Houston, TX 77019

Roost is small and cozy, with New American style dishes with many ingredients from local farms. Their fried cauliflower has become famous and helped make the little bistro so popular with locals.

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8. Hugs & Donuts 1901 N Shepherd Dr Ste 4, Houston, TX 77008

Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, the owners of popular food truck H-town StrEATs opened a brick-and-mortar donut and kolache shop. Gorge yourself on freshly baked gourmet goodness, including (but not limited to) options like lemon-curd filled lemon meringue pie donuts and Gatlin’s BBQ brisket kolaches.

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9. Frank's Americana Revival 3736 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77027

This family-owned eatery serves up classic American comfort food in sophisticated digs. The White Star Bar, located in Frank's, offers an impressive selection of international wines.

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10. Biskit Junkie 2925 W. TC Jester , Houston, TX 77018

This place serves biscuits made from scratch and served with a whole lot of goodness. Favorites are the Daddy Warbucks (with CFS, raspberry preserves, and sawmill gravy) and the El Chapa (with scrambled eggs, chorizo, and habanero salsa).

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11. Killen's Steakhouse 6425 W Broadway St, Pearland, TX 77581

Chef Ronnie Killen's Houston steakhouse pairs so-tender-it-falls-off-the-bone Allen Brothers USDA prime beef with sides like corn risotto and jalapeno fontina cheese. If you feel like going slightly lighter on the arteries (in preparation for dessert), opt for the crisp greens salad with walnuts, blue cheese, red onion, and apples or the delicate grilled branzino. Killen’s will end your meal off sweetly with a chocolate tart made with caramelized gingerbread crème, raspberry jelly, and toasted meringue or a caramel half-apple with mousse and maple cinnamon sponge cake. The interior of Killen’s offers, in typical steakhouse fashion, an open layout with plenty of room for white tablecloth-wreathed four-tops, which will certainly not stay white for long as you devour your dishes.