Local Spotlight

Facundo Cafe Overcomes Its Car Wash Schtick, Makes Great Food

I still remember a comment from the second time I wrote about Facundo Cafe, in a post about chef Danny Harper's signature bacon, avocado and spinach burger landing a spot on our list of 100 Favorite Dishes in Houston.

"I guess I'm not trendy enough to want to eat at the car wash," wrote commenter laurenmcqueen. Later in the comments section, she elaborated on her statement by writing:

It just seems like you're trying to get a jumpstart on the ever-growing trend of hipster trash-irony. Like people who take dressed-up engagement photos in landfills. But enjoy your lovely burger on the KSBJ-blaring patio overlooking the giant pothole on Ella.

Aside from the fact that the increasingly meaningless word "hipster" is now being thrown around far too often, I took issue with the idea that Facundo Cafe was attempting to be ironic or trendy. One step inside the place would dispel even the harshest critic of that notion.

In this week's cafe review of Facundo -- a burger joint inside a car wash -- I addressed that same idea: The idea that just because a place is in a gimmicky location, it can't possibly be good.

That's just not true at Facundo Cafe, where Danny Harper and his sous chef, Marco Venicio Lopez, are anything but "hipster trash" and instead devote themselves to turning out great meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The meals are just elevated enough through thoughtful touches -- an outstanding housemade salsa, freshly baked buns from Sheila Partin's Sweet Sourdough or a well-constructed macchiato at breakfast -- as to rise above the gimmicky location and make the cafe a destination in its own right. It's still diner food in almost every sense, right down to the way the stools at the counter overlook the bustling kitchen, but -- again -- rises above that designation through these small flairs.

Of course, you don't have to take me at my word: I encourage you to experience Facundo for yourself. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a meal with Harper and his crew is worth a million dispelled, erroneously preconceived notions.

Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Katharine Shilcutt