Cheap & Good Eats: Top 5 Budget Lunch Spots in Garden Oaks/Oak Forest

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Photo by Troy Fields
You'll find rockstar sandwiches, salads, and more at our No. 5 pick.
We've been rounding up our favorite budget lunch spots in different neighborhoods around town. So far, we've covered Montrose, River Oaks, Midtown, Upper Kirby, EaDo, Rice Village, the East End, and the Galleria. But we're not done yet ...

Today, we're moving just outside the loop to the neighborhoods of Garden Oaks and Oak Forest. Young families have been flocking to the area ... and a booming restaurant and bar scene has followed. With area favorites Petrol Station, Cottonwood, and Plonk Bistro, there are plenty of places to get your dinner-and-drink on. But that doesn't mean there aren't tons of great places for lunch, too.

Here's our list of the best cheap (less than $10) lunch spots that this area has to offer:

Note: For purposes of this post, Garden Oaks / Oak Forest is defined as north of Loop 610, east of Highway 290, south of Tidwell and west of Shepherd.

Honorable Mention: Mi Sombrero for their vintage Tex-Mex and all-day weekend breakfast, Miller's Café for old-fashioned burgers on poppy seed buns, and El Rey Taqueria for the superb tacos and sides (look out for a different location on an upcoming neighborhood list).

5. Shepherd Park Draught House

This local craft-beer house serves upscale pub grub at its best. Though not every item on the menu fits the bill, there are enough $10-and-under items for it to warrant a spot on our list. Like Texas Red's Chili ($6), a crock of spicy short rib stock, lean Akaushi beef, and shredded Cheddar that will knock your socks off; the hearty Black Bean Veggie Burger ($10), a teriyaki-smothered black bean patty topped with avocado, pepper jack, and sprouts and served with fresh-cut fries; or the Thai Curry Chicken ($10), a sweet-and-spicy coconut curry served over coconut rice. A pint of local brew may throw you over the limit, but some days you just need it.

4. Pho Dalat

This family-owned gem lies tucked away in a strip mall off of Tidwell and 290. Come for authentic home-style Vietnamese cuisine. A "small' bowl of beef pho will cost you just $6.50, but it's anything but small. Even better than the pho are the rice and vermicelli bowls ($7 to $8), loaded with shredded and char-grilled pork, lemongrass chicken, and shrimp. There's a $10 minimum for credit card transactions, so bring cash or come with a friend to keep your lunch on the cheap.

Location Info

Venue

Map

Miller's Cafe

3808 N. Shepherd, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Mi Sombrero

3401 N. Shepherd, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Petrol Station

985 Wakefield, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Plonk Beer & Wine Bistro

1214 W. 43rd St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Cottonwood

3422 N. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Pho Dalat

7758 W. Tidwell Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Shepherd Park Draught House

3402 N. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Facundo Cafe

3103 Ella, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Crazy J's Ice House & Wine Bar - CLOSED

5022 Pinemont Dr, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Little Bitty Burger Barn

5503 Pinemont Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Brother's Pizzeria

3820 N. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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11 comments
fayepaynter
fayepaynter

Rainbow Lodge isn't in Oak Forest or Garden Oaks...it's in Shady Acres.  That's the adorable little neighborhood to the south of 610.  An OF/GO restaurant review should include Crowbar, Petrol Station, Shepherd Park, Cottonwood, Plonk, etc.  But this story was about cheap eats, and there are a ton of options not even explored with this list.

rgwalt
rgwalt

FYI, for item #2, Crazy J's is no more.  It closed, then reopened as a coffee house earlier this year.

Sad I know.

GOOF
GOOF

Glaring omission of Mytiburger.

Jeff Berlat
Jeff Berlat

Why call it Oak Forest/Garden Oaks when your border goes up to 290 and Tidwell? Why not just call it Near NW Houston?

waxdragon
waxdragon

Pho Dalat is not in either one of those neighborhoods. Rainbow Lodge is in Lazybrook/Timbergrove.

jberlat1
jberlat1

Since when is Tidwell and 290 Oak Forest or Garden Oaks? 

Tangley
Tangley

No one will beleive this,  but Rainbow Lodge should be there too. You can lunch there for $7 if you order their sausage and duck gumbo, and for $9 if you order some other things, $15 if you do three courses. Given the ambience and all that just might be the best budget lunch imaginable.

Tangley
Tangley

@waxdragon 


Gotcha, thanks so much waxdragon....we should have a long lunch at Rainbow Lodge someday!

Jessica
Jessica

Rainbow Lodge is not in the geographic area used for this article.

Note: For purposes of this post, Garden Oaks / Oak Forest is defined as north of Loop 610, east of Highway 290, south of Tidwell and west of Shepherd.

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