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Solid Comfort: Every Neighborhood Needs a Place Like Adair Kitchen

If you've been missing your mom's cooking, try Adair Kitchen

Get a behind the scenes look at Adair Kitchen in our slideshow.

It's a little like eating at your mom's house, if your mom's house is spacious and airy and looks like a page out of a West Elm catalog. Your mom will bring you solid comfort food like French toast and chicken enchiladas, and sometimes she'll even get a little fancy and chop up bacon and put it in the waffle mix. She'll heat up water for your tea, and if she's feeling really generous, she might make you some fresh juice. She won't rush to get your food out to the table, but it will arrive hot and in a fairly timely manner.

When you're done eating, Mom will ask only for a few hugs and words of thanks, not your life savings in kisses and accolades. She'll pack you a lunch, but she'll forget to tell you it's sitting on the counter waiting for you. She's a busy woman, and there's only so much she can do. Then you'll head off to school or work full and happy and eager to sit down at Mom's table again sometime soon.

If your cute Southern grandma made chicken and waffles with an old family recipe, this is what they would be.
Troy Fields
If your cute Southern grandma made chicken and waffles with an old family recipe, this is what they would be.

Location Info

Map

Adair Kitchen

5161 San Felipe St.
Houston, TX 77056

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Galleria

Details

Hours: Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

House bacon batter waffles: $5.95
Omelette: $6.25
Crispy chicken and waffles: $9.50
French toast: $6.25
BYOS (Build Your Own Salad): $8+
Sirloin burger: $9.95
Simple green chicken enchiladas: $11.95
Fresh juices: $8
Cocktails: $7



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Slideshow: A Closer Look at Adair Kitchen


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Perhaps Adair Kitchen reminds me so much of eating at home because it's inspired by the family dinners of Nick Adair and his sister, Katie Adair Barnhart. The siblings grew up in the restaurant industry because their parents, Gary and Betsy Adair, started Adair Family restaurants. The company opened the first Skeeter's Mesquite Grill in 1988 and went on to purchase Los Tios Mexican Restaurants in 2000. Nick and Katie could have opened another Skeeter's in town but instead decided to start their own restaurant with a straightforward menu; uncomplicated home cooking; and clean, sleek style.

The duo have created a fast-casual dining joint that's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. It turns into a slightly more upscale spot at dinner, when orders are taken by waiters instead of placed at the counter. The menu for each meal fits on one very well designed page, so it's not overwhelming or too minimal. Everything on the menu is reasonably priced, and there seems to be something to appeal to any palate or dietary restrictions. There are coffee drinks, juices and inexpensive cocktails. The salads are fresh and healthy (depending on what you add to them), and the old standbys like chicken sandwiches and green enchiladas are simple and familiar without being boring. Adair Kitchen gets nearly everything right — from the crispy-but-not-greasy fried asparagus to the huge portion of creamy bread pudding with green apples — but nothing about the place is earth-shattering. And I wouldn't want it to be.

This is where I would take my friends who get freaked out by things like cumin and sriracha and the term sous vide. This is where I would go to have a pleasant, casual meal with no surprises. And I think every neighborhood needs a refreshing, no-frills place like Adair Kitchen.
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Adair Kitchen was packed every time I went, which tells me the area was clamoring for a restaurant like this. It was a different crowd for each meal, but they always seemed to be enjoying themselves and the food. At breakfast time, the place is populated by middle-aged men in button-down shirts and ties, presumably on their way to an office somewhere nearby, and college girls in gym clothes rewarding themselves with French toast after a successful workout.

The lunch crowd sees more women and groups engaged in what appear to be business meetings. In spite of the packed house, people carry on interviews in booths and look over charts and graphs while attending to burgers and fresh-squeezed juices. At dinner, it's all older women and young yuppie couples enjoying a few cocktails and comfort food. You probably won't find any dirty hippies or gentlemen with their pants down around their behinds here, but the atmosphere is casual enough that they'd certainly be welcome. My date was worried that he'd feel out of place in shorts, a T-shirt and tennis shoes at dinner (though he wasn't worried enough to change), but he found that he fit in somewhere on the continuum from polo shirts to khaki slacks to gym clothes.

The menu is as inclusive as the clientele. I appreciate that the dinner menu — the longest of the three — has only 13 entrées and five large salads, as well as a few appetizers to choose from. Though all three menus are short, there's enough diversity among the offerings to please burger lovers and vegans alike. And when a menu offers less than 20 regular dishes, the chefs are able to ensure that the offerings are consistently well prepared.

Where Adair Kitchen really shines is breakfast or brunch. Again, the breakfast menu is fairly short, but the variety and the prices mean you can satisfy nearly any morning craving without feeling like you won't be able to afford lunch or dinner later. A large Belgian waffle with bacon mixed into the batter is a hearty meal for only $5.95, and a three-egg omelette with any ingredients you want will keep you full for hours for $6.25. The French toast tastes exactly like what my mother used to make, though, sadly, without the real maple syrup. It's fluffy, full of cinnamon and way more food than I could eat before 10 a.m.

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10 comments
JayFrancis
JayFrancis

I really wanted to enjoy the chicken and waffle at Adair's. As many of you know, I have dedicated this year to exploring fried chicken (www.thefriedchickenblog.blogspot.com). And I always hesitate to say anything negative about a local restaurant in print. But I have to throw out a real caveat emptor on this dish. The waffle comes to the table soaked in about 1/2 cup of syrup, a lot of butter and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Sugary sweet. Gratefully, no micro greens. But if your thoughts on this dish lean toward "savory" I don't think you will be happy with it. The chicken...well, three chicken "strips", dry and nothing to write home about. On the day that I went, the waffle was also half cooked. I advised the staff and they offered me a "pancake" instead. I guess my point is that the Adair family may want to have a closer look at what is coming out of the kitchen for this dish. If it gets a lot of return business, then please don't hesitate to ignore my comments. But if you find that diners order this dish once and never again, you may want to re-think it.

Nate
Nate

Best hash browns in town.

Great Memorial area people watching.

Very popular every time I have gone.  Packed at lunch, busy at breakfast.

ShitThrowingMonkey
ShitThrowingMonkey

Kaitlin,

You should go try the enchiladas suizas at Hugo's for another great enchilada dish that is not Tex Mex.  And for the best Tex Mex enchiladas, should you ever get over your irrational fear, Lopez.

NickAdair
NickAdair

Kaitlin-

Thank you so much for the write up. We really appreciate all the kind words. Its obvious you took the time to get a thorough feel for Adair Kitchen and it means so much to us. We know we are a work-in-progress and are excited to keep improving into our second year.  Please ask for me next time you stop-by as I would love to thank you in person! Thanks again!

Nick Adair

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Another quality review, I'm not waiting an hour plus in line at the breakfast klub for chicken and waffles, this sounds like a fine alternative.


JayFrancis
JayFrancis

Clarification: they did offer to make me a fresh waffle, but when I declined, they then asked me if I would like a pancake. Apologies for the incomplete chronology.

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@ShitThrowingMonkey I love Tex-Mex in general, but yeah, I'm still a little scared from what my school cafeteria used to call "enchiladas."

KaitlinS
KaitlinS topcommenter

@gossamersixteen I definitely recommend it. The food won't blow your mind with its cutting edge exoticism, but you'll leave happy and super full!

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

@KaitlinS @gossamersixteen We're talking comfort food here; I'm not expecting Ferran Adria or David Chang to show up and whip up some unholy gastronomically pure version of chicken and waffles in a test tube or foam. :)

 
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