Top 5 290 Eateries

Categories: Top Five

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Places right off the freeway often get a bad rap. But if you're stuck in traffic, hungry, and need a quick bite, these five excellent options are located a stone's throw away. Establishments directly off Highway 290 out to Highway 6 are accounted for on this list.

5. Willie's Grill & Icehouse

If you can stand some sand in your fried pickles from the little shits playing about, this place is for you. Willie's, located a little ways out, takes family-friendly to an entirely new level with the kid sand pit, but does deliver in the food department. Everything they do, they do well--cheeseburgers, fried mushrooms, grilled chicken. You won't be disappointed. Willie's is a perfect Friday-after-work place, when all you want to do is drink a cold beer and eat fried food.

4. E-Star Chinese Buffet (17440 Northwest Freeway, 713-856-0788)

I love Chinese food--in fact, it's my favorite cuisine. Before I hit my thirties, I routinely frequented buffets. Those days are long gone, but every so often (about once a year), I get that craving to stuff my face with Asian delights. When I do, I head to E-Star. You've never been to E-Star? Think China Border, sans post-meal diarrhea. They've got all the regular pseudo-Chinese dishes you associate with the standard feeding troughs that are buffets. Plus, E-Star has sushi, and it's pretty good sushi--falling somewhere between that rancid mess that sits on a typical buffet, to the good stuff at fine Japanese restaurants.

3. Cafe Red Onion

Red Onion is good, a little overpriced, but very solid food. The margaritas will knock you down a few pegs, but they are delicious, and the options are plentiful. Red Onion is known for taking simple dishes and jazzing them up with cool presentations. I love their chicken pupusas, and don't get me started on what this restaurant does with plantains.

2. Russo's Pizza

I'll just say it--Houston doesn't have many quality pizza places. There are a few, but given the city's size, there should be more. Russo's, in my humble opinion, is about as good as it gets for Houston pizza. Expect a wait, but the coal-fired pizza makes all the agonizing worth it.

1. Olde Towne Kolache

This is the best kolache in Houston. Period. In fact, I can't think of another food in this city with one version so far above its competition. The standard sausage-and-cheese is magnificent, but everything at Olde Towne is magnificent. It's the fresh bread with its hint of sweetness that makes the difference. My favorite of their offerings is the ham, egg, and cheese ranchero kolache. Warning, if you go to Old Towne, you'll never be able to eat at Kolache Factory. Ever. Again. You're ruined, but in a good way.

Location Info

Russo's New York Coal-Fired Pizzeria

19817 NW Freeway, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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52 comments
Cheryl C
Cheryl C

You forgot Larry's BBQ!!!!

Sarah
Sarah

Next, could you please profile the restaurants on the way to Austin via I-10/71? Specifically those near Columbus. Thank you.

Pegleg3
Pegleg3

TONY THAI....mountain frog legs, great curry and Thai..

Marie
Marie

Lyndon's Pit BBQ at 290 & Hollister. Best brisket, always tender, never fatty. And I love their bbq sauce. It's vinegar-based instead of tomato-based, so if you're a fan of the tomato kind you might not like it.

Dragana
Dragana

Rockwell's has a new management. The former owner is opening a restaurant in Cypress called Love Shack.My husband likes Fratelli's Italian Restaurant near 34th, but I hear they are moving to a new location. Lindy's on Hollister does a great pulled pork sandwich and BBQ.Kim Kim at FM1960 for Vietnamese (relatives of Thu Thus on Antoine)

Kyle
Kyle

Isn't there some place in a railcar off Hempstead Highway or something? Is it any good? Can't remember the name.

Bill
Bill

Fratelli's - between 34th and Mangum

trisch
trisch

I love Russo's Pizza, too! I even plan shopping expeditions to the outlet mall so I have an excuse to be in that part of town. Some may see this as heresy, but last time I was in NYC, I dragged the hubs to Lombardi's to get a taste of "the original" pizza. Waited in line over an hour for a table. The pizza was a severe disappointment -- tasteless, soggy crust; too much scorch, more like cremation; and the sausage was a spice-rack catastrophe rather than a meaty satisfaction. Russo's any day!

Kelli
Kelli

You missed Rudy's, Brickhouse Tavern, Rockwell Tavern, Litty Bitty Burger Barn, etc. Really this list is just crap with the exception of Red Onion, someone needs to do a lttle more eating than just spinning in a circle and pointing.

Kyle
Kyle

Ahh, Itty Bitty Burger Barn. That's another good one.

Jack Reynolds
Jack Reynolds

Let's not forget Taqueria Ruby at 290 and Huffmeister, the only non-chain 24/7 restaurant in the region. Their prices are reflective of that by the way, but I think they also eagerly fleece the middle class high school kids of Cy Falls. Their quesadillas are the greasiest things I've ever eaten, but their tortas and gorditas are nice.

Albert Nurick
Albert Nurick

I'd heard amazing things about Rockwell Tavern, but when I visited, the burgers were good but nothing special. Management change?

say what
say what

You left out Mambo's and The Captains. Both of these places are packed all of the time. That is a clear indication they serve good food

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

A few years ago, my business unit was developing a new in house accounting system. My boss held a contest to name it. I won. Our accounting system is now called E-STaR (Energy Settlements, Tracking and Reconciliation). The prize for naming the software: $100, which I spent on dinner at Da Marco. Never been to the buffet, though. Now I'm thinking I need to take my boss there.

Patsyqwerty
Patsyqwerty

I'm confused. OTK's website says it's on Westheimer...which is not right off of 290.

Am_Bro_Se
Am_Bro_Se

Maybe I found a new Chinese place? We drive all the way to I-10 and Bingle for our bi-annual Chinese buffet excursion.

SirRon
SirRon

I'll wait for Lennie to let me know if this post was fairly interesting and grammatically correct. Just saying.

Jason M
Jason M

How could you possibly forget Rudy's BBQ?

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

Los Cabos in Columbus, solid food, plus ice cream for the kids.Nancy's Steakhouse in Columbus, get the steak tips in gravy. Also, they've got great fried mushrooms.

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

I too like Lyndon's, especially those monster onion rings. And I agree, their brisket is very good. And, I know it seems a little ridiculous, but I really wanted to limit this list to places with actual 290/NW Fwy address. Thanks so much for reading and responding. I appreciate it!

PS...Mambo's would have been #6. I like their gumbo and fried rice. #7 Pappasito's, love those pork tamales there, but that's about it.

ashley
ashley

ever had the limmer at lyndons??

Jason M
Jason M

Fratelli's is opening a 2nd location off Wirt, they are not closing the original location off 290 and 34th.

Dragana
Dragana

Sorry, Kim Kim is on the Hwy 6 side of 290, facing the feeder road near Starbucks.

Jason M
Jason M

No, not at all. Read their reviews on Yelp.

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

Average tacos. Also, not directly off 290.

Melissa H.
Melissa H.

Rudy's BBQ? Seriously? That place is pure crap. Someone needs to venture out and get some real BBQ.

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

Thanks for reading Kelli, let's take this point by point...Rudy's: bad experience last time out, dry brisket.Brickhouse: noRockwell Tavern: please read entire article, location doesn't fit the parameters.Little Bitty: please read entire article, location doesn't fit the parameters.Red Onion: you got that one right.Me spinning in a circle and pointing: Feel free to join me at Olde Towne this Saturday morning at 8am, kolaches on me*.

*offer only valid for Kelli.

ashley
ashley

brickhouse? you're kidding, right?

Jason M
Jason M

Little Bitty Burger Barn is off of Pinemont, not 290. I think they were trying to establish restaurants directly off of highway 290.

SirRon
SirRon

This post has 40+ comments, that is a clear indication that it is... eh never mind. I kid, Kevin.

Jason M
Jason M

Using your logic ... McDonalds serves millions of burgers each day.. this must mean they're delicious.

Kyle
Kyle

Ugh, Mambo's. Ugh, Captain's.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

No, that's a clear indication that lots of people eat there. You, sir, have fallen victim to the fallacy of the undistributed middle in syllogistic arguments.

Jason M
Jason M

I was just trying to figure that out myself.

Ganglygal35
Ganglygal35

E-Star...lowering the common denominator on the 'Chinese' quotient.

Kimmceee
Kimmceee

You have to try Pete's BBQ in Ellinger. That's off of Hwy 71 headed to Austin right outside of Columbus. Amazing brisket sandwhich and all you can eat sides for under $10.

Djohns
Djohns

I know this is an old post, but I talked to the owner of Fratelli's and she said that the person who opened the other Fratelli's was just going to pay them for the recipes and the name and open up.  They opened, but decided not to pay for anything.  The owner of the original Fratelli's didn't want to spend the money fighting it, so she let it be.  Please don't go to the Fratelli's off Wirt.

SirRon
SirRon

Seriously. What is the line of demarcation between crap and real BBQ? Hyperbole much?

Kevin, my bad, this was the greatest Top 5 of all time!

Kyle
Kyle

Just providing some helpful suggestions for people looking for food in the area, not discounting your very narrow top 5 290 eateries within a stone's throw of 290.

Kyle
Kyle

Feels more like argumentum ad populum.

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

Thank you Kimmceee...I've passed that place numerous times and have always wondered. I'll stop on my next trip to Austin. Thank you for the suggestion.

nobigdeals
nobigdeals

@Djohns that is true and I will not go the "fake" Fratelli's  there is no comparison to the original!

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

Yeah, I guess you could apply that, as well. I was thinking more along the lines of Say What's argument looking like A=B, C=B, C=A. I suppose, really, this is a compound fallacy, since the validity of the first term in the syllogism is, as you point out, based on argumentum ad populum.

CathyMat
CathyMat

Thank you, I fixed the link.

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