Truman's fleet of patty-flipping pros grills up 12 varieties of half-pound specialty burger, each of which sports custom ground beef or pork with eclectic and delightful toppings. The Italian Job burger plans a Venetian heist of pepperoni dimes and rich marinara sauce, while the Volcano burger charts a detour to Pompeii with a smothering of habanero barbecue sauce, jalapeños, and melted pepper jack cheese. The Harley with honeyed sauce and Hawaiian Big Kahuna sandwiches sing pork-filled variations on the barbecue theme with sugary aplomb. All burgers perch atop a king-size kaiser bun with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and royal velvet finery.
Tastee Buddies serves up a wide-range of American classics, including wings, burgers, and corned beef sandwiches, all made fresh-to-order. Signature sandwiches include fresh-fried perch, catfish, or tilapia piled atop a grilled bun with a tangy blend of tartar sauce and hot sauce, or philly chicken melts, stuffed with grilled seasoned chicken breast, sauteed onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Southern sides such as fried okra and green beans round out meals, while guests also have the option to "Texasize" their meal, which means adding extra meat, fries, and onion rings, and has nothing whatsoever to do with serving sandwiches inside a cowboy boot.
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.
Blu Water snatches piscine fare fresh from the water before transforming it into the dishes that populate its swiftly served menu. Veggie-centric selections star the grilled-salmon salad, in which strips of succulent salmon, surrounded by grape tomatoes and sweet peppers, lay upon field greens and spot familiar shapes in the clouds above. Pairs swap nibbles from a duet of tacos, made from grilled or panko-breaded fish or shrimp resting in the curves of corn and flour tortillas made in-house daily. Punch dishes with extra flavor from 14 scratch-made sauces, spanning the gamut of spiciness with flavors from mild southwest pesto to fiery mango habanero. A triumvirate of rice bowls blends salmon, cod, shrimp, or chicken into Asian or Cajun flavors. Any taco or sandwich selection, including the shrimp po boy, can transform into a combo meal by stepping into a phone booth, tearing off its business suit, and emerging with a drink and a side. Finally, triangular desserts such as lemon cheesecake play a sugary coda to the aquatic meal.
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.
At the heart of every dish on Candelari's menu—including its signature thin- ($17–$22), thick- ($18–$23), and deep-dish-style ($19–$24) pizzas—are the famous Italian-sausage recipes of Alberto Candelari, all of which are made with choice meat, natural spices, and hints of liqueur. The T-Rex's spread of pepperoni, ground sirloin, useless forearms, Canadian bacon, and Candelari’s andouille and original Italian sausages lets you sample all of the finest meat-fruits of Candelari Sausage Company founders Greg Wheeler and “King of Sausages” Michael May (Alberto’s grandson). Build up to its bounty beforehand with a plate of sausage misto ($7), which features grilled Italian, turkey-jalapeño, and chicken-apple sausages piled atop provolone polenta. Diners that look suspiciously like flocks of seagulls inside a trench coat can find out what a grilled salmon ($14) tastes like when complemented by gulf shrimp, lemon-caper butter sauce, and veggies. Otherwise, avoid all the menu botheration and opt for the daily lunch buffet ($9–$9.50), which includes unlimited pizza, pasta, salad, and a drink.