More than 30,000 students have plunged from the skies above Skydive Houston's private Waller airport. You'll spend 20–30 minutes in a classroom going over expectations and basic safety precautions while certified technicians pack your parachute and prepare the latest of the latest equipment designed specially for tandem jumps. After an inspirational speech about how the sky is more afraid of you than you are of it, you'll load into the safe, sturdy Twin Otter turboprop, strap onto your jumpsperienced dive guide, and soar as high as 14,000 feet before it's time to fall into the open arms of sky. Securely fastened to your partner, you'll plummet for a 60-second free fall, hooting and spinning while your instructor manages the details of swerving around clouds and asking hawks for directions. When the time is right, he or she will pull your chute, and during the next five to six minutes of canopy glide, you'll be able to admire the sights of downtown Houston, the Galleria area, and Lake Conroe.
Back when Greek Brothers first opened, diners had three options: oysters on the half-shell, boiled shrimp, or pizza. Today, the menu is home to more than 50 items, and the roadhouse-style restaurant has transitioned from pizzas to grilled-to-order steaks hand-cut in house. But the roadhouse-style restaurant?characterized by exposed brick walls and Budweiser posters from the '80s?hasn't gotten above its raising. It still serves classics such as chicken-fried steak or mama Blanche's seafood gumbo.
Frequent live acts add to the light grittiness of the ambiance, and keep the dining room buzzing with the sounds of live country or classic rock bands.
Inside each 59 Diner location, friendly chatter ripples from booth to booth and white-capped servers scurry around dishing out retro classics. Recognized by the Houston Press as among the city's best in 2009, 59 Diner's made-from-scratch milk shakes and malts slide across tables in old-fashioned glasses before coating tongues in such flavors as mocha, fudge, and Oreo. Sweet sips offset savory burgers, patty melts, and all-day breakfast specials, which can also be ordered in pint-size portions for younger patrons. Meals transport tongues to the past, and jukeboxes release vintage tunes into the air, inspiring guests to try to catch their favorite notes inside empty glasses.
Each day, the chefs at Pepperoni's Pizza's eight locations crush premium tomatoes into sauces, roll out homemade dough, then cover the freshly baked pies with natural mozzarella. Diners can build their own creations from more than 30 toppings, including bacon bits and pineapples, or opt for more than 10 specialty pizzas such as the New Yorker, smothered with heaping amounts of sauce, cheese, and pepperoni. Their menu also sates hearty appetites with more than 20 oven-baked subs, as well as local favorites such as calzones and smokey BBQ Buffalo wings.
Hailing from humble beginnings in a renovated Mississippian gas station, McAlister's Deli has revolutionized the concept of fast food with healthy fare recognized by Parents in 2009. Premium ingredients, such as Black Angus roast beef and black forest ham, pile upon stuffed potatoes or artisan bread, sating hungers and silencing stomachs before they recite bank-account numbers. As patrons wait for servers to deliver meals, they sip signature sweet tea, swirled together onsite daily from pure cane sugar and a rainforest-certified black-tea blend as dictated by a closely guarded recipe.
Another Time Soda Fountain transports patrons to a simpler time, with old-timey appliances and diner fare and shakes made the same way they were in the 1950s. Plant pincers in a patty melt ($7) or two chili-cheese dogs ($6.50), both garnished with fries, before washing them down with a slew of sweet elixirs. Phosphates, a fountain drink that hearkens back to the Depression era, are available in an array of flavors ($2), and milkshakes are crafted from traditional ice-cream flavors, such as chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, and the nontraditional coconut, butterscotch, peach, and pineapple ($4).