Tucked away between the spiffy lofts and towering town homes of Midtown, Lankford Grocery and Market (88 Dennis, 713-522-9555) is a throwback. The 1940s icehouse comes complete with wood-paneled walls, lumpy booths, plastic tablecloths, down-home service and a dandy retro burger ($3.50). Lankford handles this all-American classic with unwavering attention to detail, starting with choice ground beef and a deft griddling technique that leaves the burgers charred-black but still moist. Expect a right-on ratio of crisp iceberg lettuce, pungent onions and tomato slivers, slapped between sweet toasted buns (just like Mom used to make). There's no place like home -- except maybe this place. They don't take credit cards, so bring cash or checks. Yep, it's that old-fashioned.
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Robin Barr Sussman