A Bountiful Breakfast at Fountainview Cafe

The last time I wrote about Fountainview Cafe, I got a lot of flack in the comments section -- not all of it undeserved -- for talking more about the atmosphere of the old-school restaurant and less about what really mattered: the food.

And while there are some things about Fountainview Cafe that might continue to bother me, there's at least one thing that it does very, very right.


It can admittedly be difficult -- and sometimes inadvisable -- to try and name a "best" anything in a city this big. But if questioned as to the "best" something in Houston, I could quickly and easily name Fountainview Cafe as having the best pancakes in town, perhaps even the best in the state. They're that amazing. And that's just the tip of the breakfast iceberg there.

"Good diner coffee" is how my best friend describes the coffee at Fountainview. It's nothing fancy or overly special, just good stuff. That focus on providing quality, simple food extends to the menu as well. Bacon, eggs, pancakes -- just well-made basics. It's like the Gap of restaurants.

An egg and cheese sandwich on toast (you can get meat on it, too) is a triumph of simplicity. Just wheat bread, no acai berry-spelt loaf; just regular American cheese, no wine barrel-aged Gouda. Delicious breakfast smoothies are just apple juice and various fruits thrown into a blender. Simple pleasures.

I like getting the Cafe II on those weekend mornings that I manage to drag myself out of the house for breakfast: two eggs, four pieces of bacon, hashbrowns and a croissant. The bacon is consistently crispy, never burnt or undercooked. That's tough to ask of many upscale breakfast joints in town, although places like Waffle House always seem to manage it. The hashbrowns get the same treatment: consistently crispy and with a pleasant added touch of butter.

The croissant, like the pancakes, always arrives with a mostly melted pat of that same butter. Swiping a fresh croissant idly through a puddle of butter while sipping coffee over the Sunday New York Times is one of those supremely underrated activities in life. It's one that can be ably accomplished at Fountainview Cafe, however, nestled into one of the wooden chairs with the sunlight streaming over your shoulder, a stack of pancakes still waiting for your attention and the rest of the day waiting ahead.

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Katharine Shilcutt