$7 at Huddle House

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Where: Huddle House, 8619 Richmond off Dunvale, 713-785-0003

What $7 gets you: A chicken fried steak with hash browns, two eggs, buttered toast and jelly. It'll also get you (with change in most cases) the Patty Melt, Philly Cheese Steak, Huddle Burger, most of the rest of their sandwiches, and their egg and waffles dishes. It's only when you get into the dinner platter area that you need to get into the $13 range.

Huddle House has been open only since January 5 on Richmond. The Georgia-based chain is looking to expand and serves up breakfast, lunch or dinner 24 hours a day, every day of the week. We talked to Houston Huddle House General Manager John Schilling by phone before going over, noted that his place sounded a lot like Denny's, and asked about the difference.

Schilling, who grew up in Venezuela, said he didn't know much about Denny's but that his restaurant has lower prices than the better-known chain, and not quite the selection.

The name Huddle House comes from Georgia folks "huddling up" there after local high school football games. But it can be anything that brings diners there, including late night visits after clubbing along Richmond.

Since we didn't have a photo, we decided to go over there for a late lunch. We were the only customers so it was hard to tell whether the terrific service we got is always that good. I got the chicken fried with eggs for $6.99. The once-over-easy eggs were done about perfectly and the hash browns were nice and brown and crinkly. The chicken fried steak was a dark color brown and in taste and texture could have used a little less time cooking. The cream gravy had some black pepper in it, but wasn't really too zippy. The portions were substantial.

My dining companion got a cheeseburger with fried onion rings. She said the burger was nice and juicy, but alas, the onion rings were a little bit dry. Recommended? Yes, especially if you're pretty hungry. You get a lot of food for your money here and the smiling and prompt service is a plus.

Bonus point: Schilling kept referring to the 'freshness" of his products and that certainly seemed to be the case with the lettuce on the cheeseburger and the eggs. Plus the interior is well lighted and clean.

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