Ricky Craig has just opened Hubcap Grill (1111 Prairie, 713-223-5885), with a little financial backing from his dad. "I did this for my son," says Richard Craig of Craiganale's Italian Deli Café, which has long been a favorite spot downtown for homemade Italian food. "You know, I had to get him off my payroll some time."
Ricky is obsessed with making the perfect hamburger and the perfect fries. "I went all over town tasting all the best burgers. Some places make a great hamburger, but the fries are soggy. Other places make great fries, but their burgers are not that good. We wanted to excel at both," Ricky says. "Everything is homemade. Even the buns are made exclusively for us. The hamburgers are made from 100 percent beef that we hand-form every day. The beef has never been frozen. We wanted to bring back the real, old-fashioned burger that drips and oozes when you bite into it. I can't stand a dry burger. We don't have a soda fountain; all we serve is the bottled sodas, because they taste so much better. I want to be an A+ on everything."
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On opening day, we were one of the first to be served, and all we can say is wow. We were blown away by the "triple decker burger," which comes with Craiganale's special sauce. But as good as the hamburger was, it paled in comparison to the sweet potato fries, which may well be the best that Houston has to offer. -- Paul Galvani