Served With a Side of Nostalgia: Houston's Top 10 Time Warp Restaurants
4. C&D Burger Shoppe
Photo by Troy Fields C&D cranks out the burgers at lunch.
A faded T-shirt hangs from one wood-paneled wall over a decades-old jukebox at C&D. "I Survived Alicia," reads the shirt's ironed-on bubble letters, as if you needed any other indication that this South Houston burger joint was a relic of the 80s. Like Burger Park, prices here are retro, but the burgers are better, the service is friendlier and the Frito pies are sheer, Little League-inspired magnificence.
3. City Cafe
Photo by Troy Fields City Cafe has been serving Texas-style breakfasts for half a century.
Depending on which side of the house you sit in, City Cafe is either a throwback to the late '80s or the mid '50s. It's the latter that I prefer, and not just because you can smoke (!) on that side of the building (although the anachronistic sight of cigarettes and coffee at City Cafe's long diner counter is pretty mesmerizing). It's because this side is closer to the bustling kitchen, steam table and counter, which ensures you'll get plenty of sassy service and people-watching in while you wait for your golden malted waffles at breakfast.
2. Barbecue Inn
The phone at Barbecue Inn rings off the hook in the evenings as neighborhood residents call in to-go orders of fried chicken and mashed potatoes. If the ringing of the phone sounds oddly retro, that's because the restaurant still uses a wall-mounted rotary phone, curly cord and all. The waitresses have all been there since well before I was born, and the recipes likely haven't changed in that same timespan, and that's exactly what makes the classic comfort food here so reliably good.