Facundo Cafe Overcomes Its Car Wash Schtick, Makes Great Food

Categories: Local Spotlight

Photos by Troy Fields
The stools at the counter overlooking the kitchen are the best seats in the house at Facundo Cafe.
I still remember a comment from the second time I wrote about Facundo Cafe, in a post about chef Danny Harper's signature bacon, avocado and spinach burger landing a spot on our list of 100 Favorite Dishes in Houston.

"I guess I'm not trendy enough to want to eat at the car wash," wrote commenter laurenmcqueen. Later in the comments section, she elaborated on her statement by writing:

It just seems like you're trying to get a jumpstart on the ever-growing trend of hipster trash-irony. Like people who take dressed-up engagement photos in landfills. But enjoy your lovely burger on the KSBJ-blaring patio overlooking the giant pothole on Ella.

Aside from the fact that the increasingly meaningless word "hipster" is now being thrown around far too often, I took issue with the idea that Facundo Cafe was attempting to be ironic or trendy. One step inside the place would dispel even the harshest critic of that notion.

Betcha by golly wow.
In this week's cafe review of Facundo -- a burger joint inside a car wash -- I addressed that same idea: The idea that just because a place is in a gimmicky location, it can't possibly be good.

That's just not true at Facundo Cafe, where Danny Harper and his sous chef, Marco Venicio Lopez, are anything but "hipster trash" and instead devote themselves to turning out great meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The meals are just elevated enough through thoughtful touches -- an outstanding housemade salsa, freshly baked buns from Sheila Partin's Sweet Sourdough or a well-constructed macchiato at breakfast -- as to rise above the gimmicky location and make the cafe a destination in its own right. It's still diner food in almost every sense, right down to the way the stools at the counter overlook the bustling kitchen, but -- again -- rises above that designation through these small flairs.

Of course, you don't have to take me at my word: I encourage you to experience Facundo for yourself. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a meal with Harper and his crew is worth a million dispelled, erroneously preconceived notions.

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Location Info

Facundo Cafe - CLOSED

3103 Ella, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

Seems a little unnecessary and petty to single out one specific commenter. Is this more personal than you're letting on?

So someone doesn't like the setting...who cares? Isn't part of the restaurant experience enjoying where you're eating? Not everyone wants Jesus music blaring at them while they eat, and it's their right not to go there.

I'm sure you've reviewed places where the decor/aesthetics/whatever weren't to your liking. How is this any different?


Apart from having great food, Facundo has some of the best service I've had in this city- on every occasion I've eaten there.  The level of attention was noteworthy judging by any location, but especially considering it's counter service at a car wash.  If that's what a Jesus burger gets me, then I'll take it.


" wrote commenter laurenmcqueen." --it's laurenmAcqueen. And I'm still not eating at the carwash. More delicious Jesus burgers for the rest of you.

The carwash does just fine. If you want to save someone, cross the street to 'That Pizza Place on Ella,'--who offers a huge selection of beers on tap and has Saint Arnold Divine Reserve in house right this very minute...lest it change hands AGAIN and we get another CAR WASH.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I'm sorry if it seemed petty; it certainly wasn't meant that way. I was just struck back then -- and still am -- at how two people could see the same place so very differently: one of us seeing it as a quirky little burger joint inside a car wash, the other seeing it as ironic hipster-trash.

Captain Obvious
Captain Obvious

Because the commenter's impression was so far off, and the expression of it so caustic and bitchy, it merited mentioning as a means to highlight the true nature of the establishment. There is a difference between having varying tastes, which should be respected, and simply being wrong about the nature of a restaurant.

I also believe the critic did not attack the commenter in any way. She simply refuted her ideas.

Trust me on all these points. I'm a captain.


 it's nobodygivesAshit


They know me by name at Facundo Cafe.

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