Food & Drink

The Best Lunch Spot in 21 Different Houston Neighborhoods

You like eating lunch, right? But does that usually consist of you Googling “lunch near me,” only to realize there’s a Whataburger really close so you put down your phone and hit the drive-thru for the third time that week? Because if it does, then this is the guide for you:

Upper Kirby

Fat Bao

Upper Kirby

Stuffed with things like braised pork belly, curried beef, and soft-shell crab, it’s easy to take down FB’s soft, yeasty bao buns in two bites. So you’ll definitely want at least three of them. Get the lunch special, which comes with twiggy frites and a fountain drink.

Courtesy of Kimberly Park/Bernie’s Burger Bus

Bellaire

Bernie’s Burger Bus

Bellaire

Fact: BBB is better than Whataburger. Other fact: while you may be tempted to go for Bernie’s double-patty, double-cheese, grilled-cheese sandwich bun-ed Detention Burger, you probably have to go back to work after this. Stick to the classic Principal burger, smothered with all the usual suspects and made in-house.

Chinatown

Saigon Pagolac

Chinatown

Save the Bò 7 Món (that’s seven courses of beef, y’all) for dinner. Instead, hit the Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall in the back of the Dynasty Mall during lunch to get cheap as hell plates loaded with roasted Cornish game hen, char-broiled beef, and steamed pork cakes. Those goods will only run you $5 to $7.

Downtown

The Honeymoon Café & Bar

Downtown

The fact that you can finish your midday meal with beignets is only a small part of this café’s charm. The other part lies in the laid-back NOLA vibe, boozy cocktails, and standout selection of sandwiches filled with things like fried Gulf oysters and beet pickled eggs.

EaDo

Tout Suite

EaDo

This massive, 7,000sqft warehouse was transformed into the kind of place you want to hangout all day. Most especially at lunch, because the crowd is quiet, the pastry case is full, and you can chase your Sriracha-aoili-smothered BLT and roast corn soup with a cupcake.

East End

Andes Cafe

East End

This vibrant cafe and juice bar boasts an all-star lineup of South American comfort foods. Go loco on Argentinean choripan, Peruvian tamales, or Equadorian Hornado -- a succulent roast pork leg smothered in pork gravy and served with addicting “llapingachos” (potato cheese cakes).

Galleria

Kenny & Ziggy’s

Galleria

Ziggy Gruber is the king of Brooklyn-style sandwiches bigger than your head. Get the triple deckers stuffed with crazy good corned beef, triple smoked pastrami, and roast brisket, all made in-house. But split them if you want any chance of finishing your matzoh ball soup and potato knish you “accidentally” ordered on the side.

Garden Oaks/Oak Forest

Shepherd Park Draught House

Garden Oaks/Oak Forest

This brewbar from the guy behind Pink’s Pizza serves up upscale pub eats with a Houston punch. Go madman on some drunken mussels soaked in creamy garlic-wine-butter, Texas-kobe beef pies, and Korean short rib tacos. Oh, and some craft beers if you’re not working that afternoon.

Revival Market

You still find a sign for The Mink hanging outside this discreet speakeasy. Though that spot has since closed, don’t let that st

Grass-fed roast beef, Gulf fish salad, and Texas red hot lamb sausage are allllll on the menu at this newly renovated craft butcher and cafe. So is a standout house cured meat plate complete with whipped lardo and whiskey pate.

 

A photo posted by PappaGeno's (@pappagenos) on

Pappa Geno’s

Lazybrook/Timbergrove

Greasy-as-hell Texas-sized cheesesteaks with Whiz, gravy, and hot oil pepper blankets are what you want for lunch. A three hour long nap is what you want for after lunch.

Memorial

Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille

Memorial

You may be thinking, “Wait a minute, a steakhouse for lunch? What am I made of monies?” Well now you are. Because when you can get a lunch-cut of Perry’s famous, table-side carved, butter-drenched pork chop for under $20, you do... no matter what it takes. Pro tip: go on Fridays, when the lunch cut is only $13.95.

Midtown

Weights + Measures

Midtown

With foodstuffs ranging from house-cured pressed salumi sandwiches to roasted local carrot pizza, this bake shop, bar, and resto is a most-welcome addition to the hip neighborhood. BTW, the famed roasted carrot pizza also comes with creamy onion béchamel, Redneck cheddar, and dukka (an Egyptian condiment of herbs, nuts, and spices).

Brooke Viggiano/Thrillist

Montrose

Lankford Grocery

Montrose

It doesn’t matter how many newer, shinier spots flock to Neartown, Lankford’s sloppy-as-all-hell burgers and seriously good sandwiches will beat them every time. Get beef bombs loaded with accoutrements like mac and cheese, jalapeños, and all the stuff in a Frito pie. Just don’t forget your cash.

Museum District

Little Bigs

Museum District

What’s better than having a trio of sliders for lunch? Having a trio of sliders AND a boozed up “No Minors” milkshake for lunch. The old ‘trose favorite recently moved a few blocks south towards the Museum District, but with the new location came more space and a bigger menu. Choose from classics like the caramelized onion & beef or go for newbies like the “Freddy Fender” -- a hot dog wrapped in a fried tortilla and topped with all kinds of goodies.

Rice Military

BRC Gastropub

Rice Military

Look for the Big Red Cock just a few blocks South of Washington Ave. That’s where you’ll find gut-busting eats, from appetizers to dessert. Start with a skillet of pork belly mac & cheese for the table, then absolutely smash one of their killer burgers, sandwiches, and salads (don’t worry, one of those has a burger on it, too).

Rice Village

Local Foods

Rice Village

These sandwich kings clearly know what they’re doing, as evidenced by their salt & pepper roast beef smothered w/ horseradish aioli and curried cauliflower, or the refreshingly delicious shrimp and crab number, loaded with green goddess dressing, pickled onion, and tomato. Think you can handle two sandwiches for lunch?

River Oaks

Brasserie 19

River Oaks

Sitting in this brasserie’s sleek dining room, you’ll forget you’re living in a city whose main waterfront is a swampy bayou. You’ll also forget you don’t fit in with the Lululemon-clad, freshly bandages ladies who lunch here. But that won’t stop you from chasing your croque monsieur with a glass or three of champagne.

Shady Acres

Hubcap Grill

Shady Acres

Chef Ricky Craig’s hand-formed, aggressively seared burgers are just as on point as the things that smother them. Everything comes stacked in custom-baked buns that can withhold all that burger juice, so don’t worry about holding out on the toppings. Go for the gold with Fritos, chili, and cheese, or stick to the classic Hubcap Decker, a two-stack with two kinds of cheese and house mayo.

Washington

Urban Eats

Washington

Grab gourmet salads and sandwiches in the market, or sit yourself down for a beer alongside a 3 Pig Truffled mac & cheese, and a flourless chocolate torte at the bistro. Both are good ideas. Do both.

West University

JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers

West University

There’s nothing shoddy about these JerryBuilt burgers. Get a full lineup of them plus dogs, salads, and sandwiches, all of which have serious street cred thanks to the joint’s attention to using humanely-raised, all natural beef & chicken, and locally sourced ingredients.

Westchase

Café Pita

Westchase

At lunch, $7.99 can get you a truckload of homestyle Bosnian eats better than your baba made. Get everything from a béchamel-smothered musaka, to heaping gyro plates, to hadzijski cevap (a traditional dish of beef kabob and sausage swimming in a rich tomato cream sauce).

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Brooke Viggiano is a Houston writer who’s eaten lunch literally dozens of times, and considers herself something of a pro. Follow her at @BrookeViggiano.