Breakfast Forever at Tel-Wink Grill

Categories: Breakfast

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Down the Texas Independence Trail (610 South), up Telephone Road, past the Little Toy Club, Smile Lounge, and the Blue Cat, lies the Tel-Wink Grill.

A sign out front used to read "Best Breakfast in Texas," and had they merely added the word "Cheap", it wouldn't have been a boast. Where else can you get two eggs, to your exact specifications, thick bacon at the nexus of chewy and crisp, a mound of Helen Corbitt-worthy hash browns, and two fist-size biscuits for $4.75?

I didn't know what to expect the first time we went, four years ago. The parking lot was packed with a curious mix of pickups, Mercedes, police cars, 18-wheelers, and Escalades. Inside is a cross-section of Houston fueling up for a hard day of work - truck drivers, utility workers, necktie men striking a deal for a new business - as well as young families, veterans and wealthy retirees.

There's a holy trinity of great breakfast joints, which is excellent food, decent coffee and interesting people-watching, and the Tel-Wink has all three. It's so popular, the queue was snaking through the grill, and a waitress chased out the men lingering over coffee and a newspaper with, "This ain't a library!"

On our recent visit, my dining companion took note, "Your food looks exactly the same as the last time we were here." That seems to be the draw -- consistency. It's the same buttermilk pancakes, rib-eye and two eggs, grits, ranchero omelette, biscuits and gravy, or Belgian waffle the cooks have made for decades, perfected as much as a McDonald's breakfast, but twice as good for a similar price.

After realizing that the John Wayne découpage and the "Texan Spoken Here" sign weren't old-timey, but rather just old, I asked the cashier how long the Tel-Wink Grill had been around. "Nobody really knows, oh, like forever." We won't wait forever to go back.



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Location Info

The Tel-Wink Grill

4318 Telephone, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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9 comments
John Seaborn Gray
John Seaborn Gray

Developed a great affection for Tel-Wink when I would lunch there while attending class for my food safety certification. Their chicken fried chicken is incredible, better even than their chicken fried steak.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham

Tel-Wink, Frank's Grill, and original Kolache Shoppe down on Telephone were around when I grew up in that area in the 60s, and had been there forever back then. Well worth a trip across town for breakfast. Nice writeup.

Jessica
Jessica

what's up with all the jelly packets on the counter?  

Brian Poirier
Brian Poirier

I've hit Tele-winks on and off for about 20 years (used to live in that scary area).

Another place with a bargain and great Bfast is New York Coffee Shop (next to it's sister New York Bagels) on Hilcroft between Braeswood and Belfort.  Their Daily special (mon-fri) is 2 eggs, bagel and choice of side (their home fries ROCK, or potato pancakes or grits).  I think it's still about $3.25.

Mari Taylor1961
Mari Taylor1961

You Always seem to educate me on such lovely treasures! Thank you can't wait to try this place.

csoakley
csoakley

Best breakfast value in town. Viva El Tel-Wink!

Kevin Shalin
Kevin Shalin

Great piece, I've never heard of this place, but am always looking for hidden gems.

Dan
Dan

Hidden?  Unforunately people don't bother to learn about what Houston has to offer food-wise.  I've found that the foodie types here write about the same places repeatedly instead of seeking out places that have been staples in Houston for 50 years!

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