Food & Drink

The Best Lunch Spot in 21 Different Houston Neighborhoods

Published On 11/25/2015 Published On 11/25/2015

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

Address and Info

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

Address and Info

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.

Saigon Pagolac

Chinatown

Saigon Pagolac

Address and Info

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.

Courtesy of Steven Garcia

Downtown

The Honeymoon Café & Bar

Address and Info

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.

TOUT SUITE

EaDo

Tout Suite

Address and Info

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.

Andes Cafe

East End

Andes Cafe

Address and Info

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).

Kenny & Ziggy's New York Delicatessen

Galleria

Kenny & Ziggy’s

Address and Info

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.

Shepherd Park Draught House

Garden Oaks/Oak Forest

Shepherd Park Draught House

Address and Info

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

Revival Market

Address and Info

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.

Lazybrook/Timbergrove

Pappa Geno’s

Address and Info

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.

Perry's Steakhouse & Grille

Memorial

Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille

Address and Info

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.

Weights and Measures

Midtown

Weights + Measures

Address and Info

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

Address and Info

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.

Little Bigs (Houston)

Museum District

Little Bigs

Address and Info

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.

BRC American Gastropub

Rice Military

BRC Gastropub

Address and Info

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).

Local Foods - Upper Kirby

Rice Village

Local Foods

Address and Info

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?

Brasserie 19

River Oaks

Brasserie 19

Address and Info

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.

Flickr/Kaleb Fulgham

Shady Acres

Hubcap Grill

Address and Info

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.

Urban Eats

Washington

Urban Eats

Address and Info

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.

JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers

West University

JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers

Address and Info

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.

Cafe Pita +

Westchase

Café Pita

Address and Info

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.

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1. Cafe Pita 10890 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77042

Prepare for a truckload of homestyle Bosnian eats better than your baba made at Cafe Pita, a warm and inviting strip-mall spot serving up authentic plates like béchamel-smothered musaka, heaping gyro platters, and hadzijski cevap, a traditional dish of beef kabob and sausage swimming in a rich tomato cream sauce. The star of the menu, though, is the cevap sandwich: beef sausage links mixed with flavorful spices and served with fresh onions and kajmak on doughy lepinja bread.

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2. Bernie’s Burger Bus Stop 5407 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77401

Some of Houston's best burgers and fries come straight out of a big yellow school bus, otherwise known as the kitchen of Bernie's Burger Bus. Bernie's still has waiters and seating though, not to mention milkshakes, wines, and beers on tap. The gourmet burgers, all of which have school-themed names like "The Principal" and "Homeroom," are constructed from a blend of house-ground black Angus beef and served on locally-baked buns. Add in homemade condiments and you've got the best school lunch ever.

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3. Saigon Pagolac 9600 Bellaire Blvd #119, Houston, TX 77036

This Chinatown spot's Vietnamese cuisine is authentic, with hot pot, skillets, and whole roasted fish all included on the menu. The local favorite is the bò 7 món, or beef seven ways.

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4. The Honeymoon Cafe & Bar 300 Main St, Houston, TX 77002 (Downtown)

The guys behind Boomtown Coffee teamed up with the dudes behind Lei Low, Bad News, and Grand Prize Bar to bring us this Main St hangout that’s part coffee house, part cocktail bar, and part awesome. The kitchen impresses with breakfast and lunch dishes like oyster BLTs and beignets, while the bar slings serious coffees and libations – all made with top flight ingredients, of course. It’s like living in NOLA, but without the stank of Bourbon.

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5. Tout Suite 2001 Commerce St, Houston, TX 77002 (Downtown)

This 7,000-square-foot draws a busy yet quiet lunch crowd via scratch-made pastries, entree options like Vietnamese steak and eggs, and a coffee program curated by none other than Greenway Coffee’s David Buehrer, making it easily one of the best in the city. Including espresso-based classics, the lineup runs the gamut from flat whites and nutty cortados to a creamy ca phe sua da, which is also available by the bottle.

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6. Andes Cafe 2311 Canal St Ste 104, Houston, TX 77003 (East End)

Andes Café is a casual dining concept that gathered roots from South American home cooking inspiring tasters with more than a sense of nourishment, but a sense of culture.

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

Kenny & Ziggy's is a shining oasis of Jewish deli goodness right in Uptown Houston. Whether you get a sandwich, burger or knish, expect it to come in the kind of colossal portion only a Brooklyn grandmother would force on you. But that probably won't stop you from ordering sides of matzo ball soup and pastrami cheese fries, two too-good-to-ignore menu staples.

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8. Shepherd Park Draught House 3402 N Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77018

This amazing space, nestled in Garden Oaks, features a modern-pub feel, adorned with an incredible collection of punk, pop, and rock memorabilia from the private collection of owner/executive chef, Ken Bridge. Shepherd Park boasts an amazing full menu, including an incredible pick of Texas Wagyu Kobe beef burgers. You can also enjoy a wide variety of Texas craft beers, wines, and specialty drinks on the beautiful wrap around patio.

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

This craft butcher and cafe in The Heights offers breakfast, lunch and full-service dinner and even has an in-house charcuterie program. Most of what Revival sells is made in-house, from all of the butchered meats to bottled jams, pickled vegetables and condiments. What is not made from scratch is sourced from other local and artisanal vendors.

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10. Pappa Geno's Steak & Cheese 1801 Ella Blvd, Houston, TX 77008

The cheesesteak exists beyond the confines of its birthplace. In fact, it’s got quite a reach… all the way to Texas. By the looks (and taste) of the cheesesteaks at Pappa Geno’s Steak & Cheese, you’d swear you were actually there -- or at least somewhere within Pennsylvania’s borders. Pappa Geno’s showcases Philly-inspired cuisine with classic cheesesteaks, cheesesteaks with a Texan twist, hoagies, burgers, and cheese fries. And with multiple locations across the city, you can readily get your Cheez Whiz fix, no flight necessary.

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11. Perry's Steakhouse & Grille 9730 Cypresswood Dr, Houston, TX 77070 (Memorial City)

Award-winning menu set in comfortable, casual elegance. Hand-selected, USDA-aged prime beef cut fresh daily. An incredible dining experience featuring Perry’s Famous Pork Chop, chateaubriand and flaming desserts – each with a tableside presentation. Amazing soups, salads, fresh seafood and more. A spectacular selection of world-class wines.

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12. 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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13. 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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14. Little Bigs 2703 Montrose Blvd, Houston, TX 77006 (Montrose)

Head here to stuff your face with as many Sriracha mayo-loaded beef, pulled pork, chicken, and chili-cheese-smothered hot dog sliders as you can. The calories totally don’t count because they’re so small.

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15. BRC Gastropub 519 Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77007 (Washington)

This spunky bar and kitchen in The Washington Corrider is named after a big red cock (truthfully) and serves as haven for beer and comfort food lovers. Burgers and mac and cheese are always in the menu, in addition to other pub grub favorites and over 20 taps of craft beer. If you're an adult but a kid at heart, order one of their boozy milkshakes for dessert.

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16. Local Foods 2555 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77019 (Rice Village)

A gourmet selection of sandwiches, salads, and prepare meals with local ingredients.

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17. Brasserie 19 1962 W Gray St, Houston, TX 77019 (River Oaks)

Brassiere 19 is true to its roots, serving French classics like Croque Monsieur, steak tartare, and creme brulee. The best part about this trendy River Oaks date spot, besides the excellent French press coffee, badass champagne selection and stellar fare, is that you can feel like you’re brunching in Paris without having to deal with actual French people.

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18. Hubcap Grill 1133 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008 (The Greater Heights)

Hubcap Grill, which has a couple of locations across Texas, is known for its burgers and sandwiches. When faced with one of its incredibly juicy, crispy seared patties, the logical next step is to get another. The counter-serve also pours craft beer, which you order at the window before taking your food out to the massive, colorful patio. The space features games like ping pong and horseshoes so you can burn off all that grease to the tune of the outdoor jukebox.

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19. Fat Bao 3419 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX 77098

The Kirby outpost of this Asian Fusion bao mini-chain is known for its fresh-cut fries with kimcheenaise and pork belly. Creative baos include curry beef, "Big Byrd" (fried chicken and sweet basil sauce), and "New Yorker" (house smoked salmon, avocado, green onions, and cream sauce).

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20. Urban Eats 3414 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007 (Washington)

From sit down to grab-and-go, Houston dines out; it’s a part of our culture. In the city that always eats, Urban Eats crafts modern, comfy gourmet delicacies and epicurean carry-home to meet your needs. Urban Eats is inspired by family culinary treasures, crafted in house, procured locally, and delivered in three innovative dining experiences; our full service Bistro + Bar, fast-casual eatery, and gourmand market.

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21. JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers 3501 W. Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77025 (The Woodlands)

This sleek, industrial-style spot serves up burgers and dogs that are Texas-sized and made with all-natural, humanely raised beef. A must-try is the build-your-own-dog, which adventurous eaters can top with add-ons like chili, fried egg, and jalapeño cream cheese. Or, go with the house cheeseburger, grilled over an open flame and topped with American cheese, griddled onions, and Ernie’s sauce (mayo, ketchup, and relish). Another fresh pick? The bacon avocado burger. No matter what, pair your choice with a thick, hand-spun milkshake.

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