Best Fusion of Folk and Food (2001)

La Bella Cucina's Food Filling Station

Housed in a vintage gas station (hence the name), the Food Filling Station should be included among Houston's funky folk-art environments on the Orange Show's Eye-Openers tour. Surrounded by colorfully painted wrought-iron fencing, interspersed with wine bottles overturned in cement, its authentic gas pumps stand at attention alongside such collectibles as antique toys, plaster chickens and a ceramic Big Boy statuette. But it's most likely the food that keeps this odd little patio spot buzzing as Heights locals squeeze in for a deli sandwich or belly-busting hot dog, all served on homemade bread. Chalkboard specials occasionally tempt them to try the gourmet dishes the owner has brought from her Heights cooking school, La Bella Cucina. Promising plate lunches include stuffed pork chops, Cornish hen with a raisin/rice stuffing, and manicotti with marinara sauce. Homemade sweets include cookies and slices of pie. You can also find rosemary biscuits and scones every morning, but -- like everything else here -- when they're gone, they're gone.


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