City Cafe: South Houston's Charmingly Old-School Diner

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Inside City Cafe, it's like time itself has paused for a cigarette break and a cup of black coffee. Here in the City of South Houston, a few short blocks away from Pasadena, smoking is still allowed at the long, diner-style counter (although, as a stern black sign points out, there's no cigar smoking allowed in here). Patrons take their chicken-fried steak and eggs in the morning with a red pack of Marlboro 100s, lined up in a row as they catch up with each other in the familiar rhythms that only regulars in small-town cafes possess. PHOTOS BY TROY FIELDS