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Jeff Balke

The Express Grocery and Deli

Jeff Balke
Good-natured proprietor Mike Baba presides over a rich array of customers in this longtime fixture at the southeast end of downtown. The small grocery, grill and deli that he and his family operate is a corner business in the Houston House apartments - and a cornerstone for a legion of loyal patrons. More than mere foodstuffs - great burgers, sandwiches and the like - are served up in this place. Regulars find themselves developing strange appetites for the other offerings dispensed: news and gossip, helpful advice, humor from the give-and-take of customers and staff, mutual respect and heartfelt first-name interest in the lives that intersect here, however briefly.