100 Favorite Houston Dishes 2016, No. 100: Chicken Fried Steak at Hickory Hollow

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

To me, the one true Hickory Hollow will always be the location at 8038 Fallbrook in northwest Houston. There are a few reasons for this.

The first is that the Heights location didn’t impress me with the food the first time I went. The second is that the Fallbrook location offers a ridiculous amount of rustic charm. The third is that the Fallbrook location is the one that my mom and I went to when she was still alive.

Some dishes are etched in memory because they are fantastic — the best examples of their kind. Some are etched in emotion and nostalgia.

When I was a teenager in the late 1980s, my eyes probably grew as wide and round as the aluminum platters the chicken-fried steaks are served on when I saw how huge they were. Mom and I shared a great love for chicken-fried steak, and she would even try to make it at home. Her renditions always came out more rustic (even maybe a little burned, truth be told), but there is, of course, nothing I wouldn’t give to have a taste of my mother’s home cooking again.

Since that’s not possible, at least I can occasionally haunt a few of the places at which we used to dine together. Yes, a few are still around. One is Shanghai Inn on Fairbanks North Houston and 290, and the other is the Hickory Hollow on Fallbrook.

As far as the chicken-fried steak goes, it narrowly escaped being included on the 100 Favorite Dishes list of 2015, mainly because I do believe the gravy is made from a mix. (Hickory Hollow says the gravy is in fact housemade. The unusual color stems from it being a chicken-based gravy and they call it.) That said, the chicken-fried steak itself is excellent. The batter is crispy and parts easily without simply falling off the tenderized round steak. It comes in small, medium and large sizes. The one in the photo is “medium.” The large hangs off both sides of the platter.

Places like Hickory Hollow may not serve gourmand fare, but they serve another purpose. They are time capsules — windows into Houston’s food history. Such things should be preserved. 

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.