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.
No matter what the hour, the lights are always on and the pies are always fresh at House of Pies. Staff serve up classic diner fare 24 hours a day, and breakfast is served at all hours so clients can dig into an acapulco breakfast––scrambled eggs with taco meat, cheese, veggies, and hot flour tortillas––or a stack of belgian waffles whenever a craving hits. Though the servings are generous, seasoned patrons know to always leave room for a slice of Bayou Goo pie, which layers sweet cream cheese, vanilla custard, chunks of chocolate, and whipped cream into a pecan crust. The rich creation is just one of more than 30 other pie options, ranging from classic apple and Washington cherry to southern-style buttermilk or french silk. Of course, if a customer is looking for a slimmer dessert, they can always opt for one of the bakers’ sugar-free creations or gaze at a full-calorie slice through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars.
Thanksgiving only comes once a year, but at Lola, everyday can taste like the day after Thanksgiving. The shop's Day After Thanksgiving Sandwich is one of its most popular dishes, and compiles all the requisite components of the holiday meal––roasted turkey, cranberry, cornbread dressing, and a side of brown gravy––into one easily hand-held nosh. Of course, there are plenty of other eats to give thanks for at Lola, starting with the all natural chicken and waffles, made with hormone-free chicken breast, or old-fashioned pancakes paired with local eggs and smoked maple bacon. The only thing homier than the heaping breakfast plates is Lola's atmosphere. The diner is housed in a 70-year-old building and keeps the vintage vibe alive complete with a long serving counter that allows customers to watch as chefs prepare their food and sing nightly lullabies to baby spinach.
Omelette & Waffle's philosophy is as straightforward as the cozy, casual restaurant's no-nonsense name. Sure, you won't see tuxedo-clad sommeliers or dishes with fancy names, but what you will find is fresh food, made to order and served by waiters who take the time to learn regular customers' names and childhood phobias. And while it goes without saying that the specialties here are the thick, fluffy waffles and perfectly folded omelets—loaded with ingredients such as chorizo and cotija cheese or spinach and feta—the menu still offers a few surprises: customers rave about the enchiladas and lobster bisque.
Opened in 1938, Avalon Diner is the quintessential American diner. “Drug store” burgers, milk shakes, and daily specials are all reminiscent of the eateries of yesteryear. Guests continue to praise the chicken-fried steak and unusually expansive kids’ menu.
Since a bar fills most of its space, Yale Street Grill & Gifts almost feels like a tavern. But a smorgasbord of apple juice, hash browns, and biscuits with gravy proves that this place is 100% diner. Yale Street only stays open until 4:30 p.m., so it’s perfectly acceptable to order a sundae before suppertime.