The Canada family has been serving Southern classics to local families since 1935. James Canada continues in his forefathers' tradition at Canada's Hole in the Wall Grill, where he whips up juicy steaks, crispy fried catfish, and handmade Angus beef burgers. The skilled chef bustles about behind the counter of his open kitchen, folding beef, chicken, and pork into tacos and showering hefty beef hot dogs with chili and cheddar. For dessert, he doles out thick slices of apple cobbler, key-lime pie, and chocolate cake.
It's not uncommon to spot James and his family strolling around the tables of the dining room, greeting newcomers, refilling coffee cups, and considerately spoon-feeding customers while making rocket-ship sounds upon request. When discussing the warm and friendly atmosphere at the restaurant with the Conroe Courier, James said, "It's nice to be able to have a place where regulars can come and enjoy a meal and see their friends."
The staff members at Tortilleria La Buena Vida abides by the idea that "the tortilla makes the taco," which is why they crank out fresh corn and flour tortillas each day. They fill these tasty tortillas with a variety of fixings, including chicken, pork, and shrimp, drawing from recipes that span Mexico. To wash down meals, the casual taqueria offers authentic Mexican drinks including aguas frescas which are fresh water fruit drinks.
Winner of 13th place for the 50 Best Burgers in Texas by Texas Monthly, the team of chefs at Burger Fresh crafts classic diner fare from poboy sandwiches and thick malts to burgers made from wild game or certified Angus beef. Its wide range of wild-game choices includes buffalo and elk, and Burger Fresh further sets itself apart from typical counter fare by serving bottomless fries, tater tots, or homemade onion rings with each burger-basket order. Southern-inspired appetizers include sweet-corn nuggets and crispy fried-pickle chips sprinkled with parmesan cheese, adding appeal to veggies more efficiently than gold-plating a head of lettuce. Burger Fresh also features Blue Bell ice cream in a wide variety of flavors.
Chef Andrew Carlisle is living the dream at Cafe N'Dulge. Hailing from California, he spent time as a restaurateur and executive chef in New Orleans, then moved to Houston to head up kitchens in several hotels. He always envisioned running a restaurant and catering company, though, and that's exactly what he's doing at Cafe N'Dulge. It's one part catering business, one part café—and both are boons to the hungry. On the café side, you get shrimp po' boys with fries or fruit, and Santa Fe burgers topped with roasted green chili, pepper jack cheese, and baja sauce. Andrew's creativity flavors his catering menu, too, which includes breakfast buffets, pasta bars, and build-your-own meals that erase all memories of sad bag lunches past.
Begin your culinary journey with an order of spring rolls or cheese rolls, stuffed with raisin-studded rice paper and deep-fried (both $4.25). Classic dishes done well appease traditionalists, including spicy Tom Yum soup ($4.25–$5.25), pad Thai ($8.95), pad see eiw ($8.95), and five kinds of curry ($8.95–$9.95). Build a balanced meal with the entree and rice dishes including garlic and pepper lover ($8.95) with stir-fried meat tossed in black pepper sauce over cabbage. Diners can also pick from grilled selections ($10.95–$12.95), served with shrimp fried rice and steamed veggies. Cool off a spice-saturated palate with a sweet scoop of coconut ice cream ($3.50) for dessert. Expect friendly service, carefully curated curry, and a cozy ambiance at any of the eight outposts. Like the recipe for Play-Doh, Thai Cottage adheres to simple, timeless standards.
For the past 15 years, Smoothie Factory has grown countrywide as a trusted supplier of puréed produce and nutritional supplements. Made with all real fruit, Smoothie Factory's flavorful creations ($3.99 for a 20-oz.; $5.78 for a 32-oz.; $6.48 for a 44-oz.) make a fine component for both mouths and abandoned food pyramids. Concoct a blended beverage from numerous taste-bud stimuli such as strawberry, açai, and pomegranate, which can be infused with flavorings including honey or peanut butter as well as nutritional boosts such as a body-balancing multivitamin or amino-acid-rich bee pollen formula. Fans of un-slurpable sustenance can opt to abandon straws in favor of cups piled high with swirls of green tea or original flavored frozen yogurt ($2.95+). Already ripe with calcium, protein, and potassium, the healthful helpings are further enhanced by the addition of toppings ($1 for one topping; $1.50 for wo toppings; $2 for three toppings), including fresh fruit, nuts, sprinkles, candies, and spoons.
With parents hailing from Sicily and Naples, Anthony Russo enjoyed an Italian upbringing. By age 12, he spent much of his time in the kitchen, learning to prepare Old World recipes with his family and family friends. And from the flurry of Italian phrases and conversation, one quote of his father's stuck with him most: "If you can't make it fresh, don't serve it!" Several decades later, Anthony has hand-tossed his own Italian restaurant franchise and, true to his father's words, employs fresh ingredients in the same family recipes that were passed down to him. Amid exposed brick and walls the warm hue of marinara, skilled chefs craft New York–style brick-oven pizzas with toppings such as spinach, sundried tomatoes, and capers. Servers stand ready to answer questions about the restaurant’s wine lists, letting guests know which wines pair best with the pizzotto sandwich or whether pinot noir can really turn dogs invisible.