Closed restaurants you miss most [TX]

Has this been done on Hungry Onion? I did a quick search a year and a half ago, didn’t see any but it was a quick search. It was done on Chowhound but anyway here goes. I’ll start old school.

My top two favorites will be listed first.

Zorba the Greek on Tuam. The best fried shrimp I have ever had. I have an old Houston City magazine complete with disco ads that states the day you can no longer go to Zorba’s for fried shrimp and cold retsina will be a sad day. Indeed. I go back to when it was more or less a shack with the sloping floor.

Angelo’s Fisherman’s Wharf, South Main. All you can eat raw oysters, boiled shrimp, fried shrimp and chicken, and oysters Rockefeller. I have the recipe if any one wants it. Back in my young days the fellas and I crushed six dozen raw oysters, {that’s 72 for any millennials trolling that can’t multiply}, plus all of the afore mentioned.

The original Ninfa’s on Navigation. The current occupants claim to be but they’re not.

Loews Drive-In theatre snack bar. I learned to cook multiple items at the same time at the tender age of fifteen, plus all the popcorn you could eat right out of the popper.

Mykono’s Island for shrimp almost as good as Zorba’s and a simply perfect chargrilled red snapper, with retsina of course.

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Yes this was well covered on CH. I check it last week to see what’s up and people were still commenting on this topic!

I did love an old Italian cafe on the southwest side called Pino’s I think. It seemed so elegant at the time! I think it had red checked tablecloths.

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I went there once and had the only veal chop I’ve ever had, delicious.

C’mon Lambsy, you can come up with more.

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Haven’t been in Houston for a couple decades. Your mention of the original Ninfa’s reminded us of some names/locations that surely no longer exist: 1) there was a roadhouse-like steakhouse on North Shepherd [?] near I-10 that had a framed Earl Campbell jersey – think’s it’s near Cadillac Bar?; 2) before “Chili’s” became today’s nationwide “Chili’s”, there was a Chili’s in a converted gas station on Chimney Rock [?] near Richmond?; and 3) Captain Benny’s by the Astrodome was in a beached boat surrounded by a parking lot paved with oyster shells. Last, this doesn’t count as a restaurant, but someone must miss it: the late Gilley’s in Pasadena where the Styrofoam ceiling panels emblazoned with the Gilley’s logo probably were meant to remind you where you were when you woke on the floor looking up after ordering breakfast after the band left and the bull was turned off? – not that we had the experience.

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I’ll address #1 now, it had to have been The Hofbrau, an ode to Austin. I’ll check in for the rest tomorrow.

You’ve gotta be right, because Mr. Campbell was a Longhorn. Now faded memory asks another question after Internet search: Is it so that the San Jacinto Inn of the one menu item being “all you can eat” (but you can’t go back to the previous course (because it was table service, not buffet – so we were heavy on oysters and shrimp before redfish) is now Monument Inn? Speaking of faded as in “Faded Love”, there was a West Loop nightclub/cowboy disco with sunken dance floor with rails all around that appeared in “Urban Cowboy” and might have been named San Antone Rose:

at 1:35:

Still The King:

Back to Austin (not Tulsa) for its signature band:


Remembering more – Bellaire’s Winchester Club on Bissonnet and Issac Payton Sweat’s band:

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No Verona Pizza? How quickly they forget!

Mine are pretty much the same as they’ve always been and represent the vestiges of a misspent youth.

Rusty Pelican, (Mainly for the bar)
Great Charcoal Chicken, (Counter Service but awesome)
Danny Wong’s, (Several restaraurants over thirty-five years)
Nam, (My first Vietnamese and still some of the best)
Rotisserie for Beef and Bird, (Celebration place)

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Your reading comprehension suffers, fella. I said I’d start old school. Here are three very recent.

Verona Pizza
Triple A
Hong Kong Chef

I gots many more.

I always wanted to try Beef and Bird but I think they closed.

Monument Inn was across the road from San Jacinto Inn. It was smallish and after a fire it moved into it’s present location on the ship channel where the former Lynchburg Crossing was. The road was Battleground Road, now Independence Parkway. Why they changed the name I have no clue, sounds pc to me.

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I went to that Captain Benny’s many times. You’d go to the cash register, tell 'em what you had, and pay by the honor system. One night I had some of the finest oysters I’ve ever had, plump, briny, Matagorda Bay beauties. They’ve relocated further south on South Main.

Gilley’s. I had two polar opposite experiences. First a relative was in town and wanted to go. This was just after Urban Cowboy and the line stretched thirty five miles or so to Baytown. We didn’t even try to get in.

Second, I was selling tools to NASA among other places. National accounts guy comes down to try and squeeze blood out of a turnip that was NASA GSA contracts. Clueless, he saw the rockets on display out front and wanted to know if they launched rockets out of Nassau. Nassau!

Guy being from Wisconsin, liked to knock back a few, insisted we go to Gilley’s. This was a good five years after the movie and there couldn’t have been seven people in the place.

I easily convinced him we should spend the rest of his week here at the Hotel Galvez which had an awesome happy hour with prime rib and boiled shrimp. We’d have a night cap at the Poop Deck Club on the Seawall.

Theses are my two Gilley’s experiences.

Don’t remember Chili’s.

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Well, since you brought up Earl Campbell I’ll relate a story. I must say on this weekend I have no idea what we ate but there was plenty of beer involved.

Late 70’s, a buddy got us area passes to Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic so we parked by the putting green in Willie’s country club.

We didn’t have stage access but helicopters were landing on the putting green bringing in the acts. Johnny Paycheck landed and ask if we could carry some equipment on stage, sure.

I’m standing next to Earl, and Willie is playing fifteen feet away while hordes of unwashed peasants pressed against a chain link fence. I’m an Oilers season ticket holder at the time so this was nirvana.

We were ejected back to the putting green after about 45 minutes and spent most of the rest of the weekend chilling in the nice pool listening to music.

Oh yeah, we went to the press party Friday evening at the Driskell Hotel. Lot’s of working girls there.

Keeping this about food, no clue what we ate.

One of the best weekends of my life.

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In those heady times, Gilley’s had someone go through the parking lot and slap a bumper sticker on every vehicle. When you pulled into the Hertz return at IAH, it looked just like the Gilley’s parking lot.


Amazing musician. His phrasing and that saxaphone-like voice.

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I remember Circus Circus and Strawberry Patch fondly. I think Strawberry Patch was an early Pappas family venture. Also, over on Bob White off the SW freeway where I once lived, I loved the “Argentinian Pizza” at Lalo’s, I always ordered jalapeno and pepperoni. I guess it was on West Bellfort.


Yes - Strawberry Patch, where Pappas Steak House is now, I think. Was Circus Circus a Pappas place? I think Dot was the Pappas first place as restauranteurs, or maybe it was the brisket place near St. Joseph. There was a Dot downtown as well as the one on 45 @ Woodridge, which is still there and showing it’s age.

I worked on San Felipe just off 610 at the time and only went to Strawberry Patch once. Mostly we hit little places close by and got take-out - like the original location of Niko Niko’s further out San Felipe.

Good Golly - I lived on W. Bellfort in that era and never heard of Lalo’s; but I was eating mostly at home, cooking a lot more then than I do now, and had a very small rotation of places I liked to go - Alfred’s in the Village or on Stella Link, Hamburger’s by Gourmet, Nielsen’s, uh, uh, uh — I’m sure there were more :blush:.

And that article - Alison Cook from 1983. I knew she’s been around since the late 70s at least. 35 international cuisines — I had never heard of most of them.

Can’t believe I haven’t commented on this thread but maybe I told all I know on the CH thread.

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Wasn’t Pino’s on West Gray?

Yep. San Antone Rose was on Voss @ San Felipe.

The honor system was used at all Capt. Benny’s until the family started splitting up, as I understand it. The one on Westheimer, just inside 610, long gone, was the first to expand the menu beyond the basics and the first to take credit cards and present you with a check, I think.

I remember that Chili’s. Didn’t realize the place had been a gas station. Never went because, well, you know, my recipe is better than anybodies and I only eat mine :grin:.

ETA: Richmond at Fountainview.