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A Wash and a Burger

Facundo Cafe is a one-stop shop for your car, your appetite and more.

Harper's father was in the restaurant business in The Woodlands, while Harper himself made a career with the Mandola family and the Pappas family prior to landing here. The Facundos, who own everything from the car wash to the hair salon to the palapa-topped patios outside, also run Facundo Home Builders and live just down the street in neighboring Garden Oaks. To offer anything less than his best would be an insult to Harper's own family and to the families he's worked for in Houston, and so he makes his salsa from scratch.

Two kinds of tomatoes, two kinds of onions, two kinds of peppers, garlic, and a few other secret ingredients go into each batch. Harper dices them all up and divides the batch in two: He roasts half, and leaves the other intact, like salsa fresca. It's the combination of the roasted and fresh salsas that makes it so deeply flavored, so crave-able that I have found myself topping all manner of inappropriate items with the stuff.

Breakfast sandwich on Texas toast with delicate slices of ham and handfuls of shredded Cheddar cheese? Top it with salsa. Croissant with bacon and eggs? Top it with salsa. In the case of the latter, it helped enormously to moisten the otherwise tough croissant — Harper needs to get a Sheila Partin-style connection for breakfast breads, as the croissant bordered on inedible.

The hot wing burger is lovingly constructed.
Troy Fields
The hot wing burger is lovingly constructed.

Location Info

Map

Facundo Cafe

3103 Ella
Houston, TX 77018

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Outer Loop - NE

Details

Facundo Cafe
3103 Ella, 713-880-0898. Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Breakfast sandwich: $3
Breakfast croissant: $3.50
Breakfast taco: $2.25
Cheeseburger: $8.75
Hot wing burger: $8.95
Spinach-bacon-avocado burger: $9.95


READ MORE
SLIDESHOW: Tiny Kitchen, Big Flavor: Behind the Scenes at Facundo Cafe>br /> BLOG POST: Facundo Cafe Overcomes Its Car Wash Schtick, Makes Great Food


It's in the breakfast tacos, though, that the salsa truly shines. Harper fluffs up two eggs into a warm flour tortilla and tops them with shredded cheese. Pan sausage is crumbled into the taco and gives it a rich, salty allure. If you order a potato taco, you'll get crispy, browned home fries diced and folded into the eggs. You can also order bacon, although it invariably becomes too tough in the tacos, and doesn't take the salsa quite as nimbly as the others do.

And while you wait for your tacos to be made to order, from scratch, you can watch Harper at work. He huddles over the grill, works the fryers deftly, never misses a beat between anecdotes and eggs. He wants you to be here, as much a part of the restaurant and the family as he is. He also wants to make you a truly good burger, a truly good macchiato. And he succeeds every time.

katharine.shilcutt@houstonpress.com

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