What Are You Famous For? Houston's Best Baked Potato at Old Hickory Inn

My mom drilled table manners into my brothers, sisters and me, so when we went out to dinner she could count on us not to embarrass her. In return, she was gracious and watchful and didn't do anything to make us feel uncomfortable, either.

Except for The Question. Fortunately, we didn't have to worry about The Question at familiar restaurants, but at new or out-of-town places, we knew it was coming. "What's good here?" our mom would ask. On the face of it, The Question was a reasonable one, and any well-trained staff member should be able to answer it, but mostly she got the same flummoxed answer, "Uh...everything?" from an unprepared server.

Well, I never learn, so when I go to unfamiliar places, I ask an equally annoying question: "What are you famous for?" Very few restaurants execute every dish perfectly, so the question narrows down the menu to what the restaurant is known for, or at least what the most popular orders are.

Old Hickory Inn in Meyerland knows what they are famous for. In fact, the item is the first thing bolded on their online welcome page: The Chopped Beef Baker. It's a huge baked potato, big as a kid-size football, and it's widely known as one of the best lunch choices thoroughout the Meyerland area.

The Baker comes with butter, an ample amount of cheddar cheese and a large dollop of sour cream. Rather than the chopped beef, I prefer chopped sausage links on the side. The barbecue sauce is thin and forgettable, so I just get a little on the side, mostly for show.

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If sour cream and lots of cheese aren't your thing, ask for those on the side, and go to the fixin's bar for remarkably good ranch or blue cheese dressing, and do up your potato however you want.

When I was in Old Hickory Inn on a recent occasion, a large group of men from Grocers Supply (who presumably know a lot about food) filled two tables nearby. One man had a brisket sandwich, and the rest of the guys had baked potatoes. That would be pretty odd in most barbecue joints, but these men knew what Old Hickory Inn is famous for.

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