Houstonians love a few things above all others: burgers, Tex-Mex barbecue, pizza, crawfish and breakfast. These are the foods that get us crazy passionate, the meals that fuel endless debates here in the city where residents eat for sport. We even have breakfast sub-categories that we love to jaw about: brunch, Mexican breakfast, diner breakfast and the all-important all-day breakfast.
There's nothing quite as restorative as all-day breakfast after a long, wild night spent...helping the blind cross streets and delivering meals to the elderly. Yup. Sometimes you just don't have the energy (or the materials) to cook breakfast, and sometimes you just sleep past noon because -- man -- helping people is such tiring work and leaves you with such a tremendous, full-body headache and a fuzzy tongue.
That's when all-day breakfast rides in on its biscuit horse with pancake shield and sausage sword to save you through the expert application of fried eggs and coffee. Here are the 10 places in town that do it best.
Although equally well-known for its stacked-up sandwiches (the Day After Thanksgiving is a a seasonal favorite), this modern diner in the Heights from Pink's Pizza owner Ken Bridge is a favorite for its big Texas breakfast plates. Try the chicken-fried steak with creamy cheese grits or the "Breakfast Lola," three eggs with thick applewood smoked bacon and hashbrowns.
Pecan Creek Grille may feel a little like the west side version of Buffalo Grille, and that's because it was started by two Buffalo Grille ex-pats: Brock and Stacy Silverstein, who've transformed an old pizza parlor into a cozy, Southwestern-style space that feels instantly warm and welcoming. Enjoy the Texan breakfast -- heaped high with grits, biscuits, gravy and bacon-studded eggs -- with a cup of cinnamon-laced coffee, or spend time on the sun-drenched patio at lunch over a plate of pecan-crusted chicken in a sweet molasses sauce.
Unlike some all-day breakfast spots that are only open until the late afternoon, Natachee's offers breakfast until it closes late at night. In true Southern fashion, you can get everything from biscuits and gravy to a porkchop with two fried eggs, but because it's Houston there are also the requisite migas and huevos rancheros on the menu too.
This Mexican-Jewish bakery and cafe is famous for Latin-American pastries like its dulce de leche-filled alfajores, but there is also a full menu of Mexican breakfast dishes (there were nearly 20 different egg dishes at last count) along with unlikely fusion dishes such as Jewish cheese blintzes filled with fruit preserves and topped with crema or breakfast tacos that can be filled with chorizo and cream cheese if you so desire..
The migas at La Guadalupana landed near the top of our recent list of 100 Favorite Dishes, and the cafe de olla (cinnamon coffee) and tartly sweet jamaica can't be beat. But those aren't the only things that make La Guadalupana (or, as we've started calling it, Iguana Lupana) special: Chef and owner Trancito Diaz is always on hand to make sure his diners are having a wonderful first meal of the day on the sunny patio, or slipping extra, freshly-baked ojarascas or fat marranitos into their bags of pastries upon checkout. What's Spanish for lagniappe?
This Western-themed counter service cafe is a breakfast bonanza on weekends, when the line snakes out the door with singles in need of morning-after migas, and soccer moms and dads feeding the clan giant apple-wheat pancakes and peppered bacon. This casual cafe also has a dinner menu. Breakfast has a strong Mexican accent -- try the bulging burrito stuffed with egg, sausage and green chiles -- but still speaks in more traditional Southern tones, too, with wake-up plates like hotcakes, creamy cheese grits and pecan-smoked sausage.
There's a reason why there is a constant line outside the door here -- breakfast. The hustle and bustle of this place is all part of the show, from hungry onlookers on the outside eagerly watching the food being delivered to tables, to the expression of satisfaction on the faces of customers leaving this shrine of soul food cuisine. Signature dishes include the incredible Katfish & Grits, the equally good Wings & Waffles or the knockout combo platter: Wings & Grits. While catfish and chicken may strike some as not fitting for breakfast, they simply don't know what they're missing.
Since 1948, Harry's has served reliable and tasty steam-table lunches to the Midtown and Montrose neighborhoods, but is more well known now for breakfast. Take a seat in the sunny, bustling dining room in the morning -- get there early to avoid the inevitable wait -- and enjoy American classics like biscuits and gravy alongside Greek and South American-tinged dishes, like the crowd-pleasing Larissa plate. Fresh-squeezed orange juice, blueberry waffles and enormous Greek omelets are can't-miss breakfast items.
There are simply no other pancakes in Houston that come close to the lacy, vanilla-perfumed, plate-sized pan-crêpes that are served at this Galleria-area favorite from open to close. Build-your-own omelets allow you to make triumphant concoctions like a chili, Cheddar and sour cream omelet topped with jalapeños, while the rest of the egg dishes are cooked perfectly to order, and are particularly great atop a mound of hashbrowns -- crispy on the outside, soft on the inside -- and spiked with Cholula sauce.
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SHOW ME HOW
A sign out front used to read "Best Breakfast in Texas," and had they merely added the word "Cheap", it wouldn't have been a boast. Where else can you get two eggs, to your exact specifications, thick bacon at the nexus of chewy and crisp, a mound of Helen Corbitt-worthy hash browns, and two fist-size biscuits for $4.75?
Even CBS News and Mo Rocca made Tel-Wink their breakfast spot of choice when doing a national feature on the battle between breakfast and lunch, concluding: "At the Telwink Grill in Houston, Texas, it's breakfast all day, seven days a week. What the menu lacks in fancy European hot beverages, it makes up for abundantly. Deep inside breakfast country, the law of the land is clear. Asking for your eggs to get poached is not enough to get you shot. Eggs Benedict will get you shot."