A Cafe Bites Nibble

"The 'W' stands for Washington, since we're on Washington Avenue," says Gene Monteaugudo of his new W Grill (4825 Washington, 713-861-9933). Monteaugudo has worked lots of high-power hospitality-industry jobs, but he's happy to have his own place now. "I used to leave the house at five every Monday morning and get back late on Saturday night," he says. "I just decided to stop traveling and being away from my family, so one day, as I was riding around the neighborhood on my bike, I saw this place for sale and decided to call them."

Monteaugudo points out that there are lots of fast food joints in the area, and that's not what he wanted to make of the place, which used to be Bright And Early Coffee. "I want to do everything right, he says, "so we let everyone who drives up know that everything is made to order, and they are happy to wait the six or so minutes it takes to make it from scratch." Soon Gene will add beer and wine to the offerings of burgers, sandwiches, wraps, wings and salads.

When Café Bites visited, what impressed the most was that, even though there was a line of cars at the drive-thru (there are two), things moved reasonably quickly. An early breakfast visit (the place opens at 6 a.m.) netted a great chorizo-and-egg breakfast taco and a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich on a croissant. A lunch visit was rewarded by a big, juicy, 100 percent Angus beef burger with Swiss on a wheat bun, served with steak fries. Eating this in the car proved to be challenging, but not impossible.

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