Best Eight Houston Businesses to Visit in Case They Ever Close for Good

Categories: Best of Houston

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Photo by Chris Lane
You don't find places that look like this in the mall.
Houston is a city of constant evolution and rebirth. And I think more than anything else, the ever-changing landscape is what defines this city for me. Houston seems to continually be in a state of flux, modernizing or reinventing parts of its past in favor of newer development.

This cycle of renewal is one of the things that makes Houston an exciting city to live in, but it also means that some of the unique places that give Houston it's flavor are not guaranteed to be around forever. Most people get used to certain businesses being "around." We pass them in our cars, taking note that the cool old-fashioned looking store has always been there, and then one day we're shocked to see that place is closing down, and will soon be gone forever.

It's probably a good idea for us to enjoy some of these establishments while we can. Places like..

8. AAA Restaurant - 2526 Airline Drive

Triple A Restaurant is a throwback to an era of eating out that seems out of place in modern Houston, and I mean that with great affection. Serving "Traditional American Style Food" and family owned and operated, this place looks like it was last renovated sometimes in the 1970's, and that's a good thing. It has wood paneled walls that were probably in style when Nixon was President, and most of the waitresses seem to be in their 60's, probably having worked there for decades.

The comfort served at AAA Restaurant is simple but delicious. Don't expect a fancy kale salad or craft beers, but do expect to leave satisfied and well fed with the sense that you just stepped back in time 40 years. The place is located in the slightly seedy part of Airline that looks like the nearby Heights did several decades ago, which somehow adds to the restaurant's charm.

7. Canino Produce Company - 2520 Airline Drive

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Photo by Chris Durst
The produce at Canino Produce is amazing and colorful.
Sharing the same huge, pitted parking lot as AAA Restaurant is Canino Produce Company, which has operated since 1958 as an inner loop farmers market. The place has grown to over 20,000 square feet, and is one of the area's best places to find locally grown produce and other goods. Behind the main produce building is a flea market-style area with all sorts of stuff being sold in the stalls. Whether you're looking for local honey, hot sauces, or produce, or want to browse a selection of weird statues and piñatas, Canino Produce Company is a great place to start.

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Photo by Chris Lane
Almost every surface at Doug's is interesting to look at.

6. Doug's Barber Shop - 219 E. 11th Street

This barber shop is about as unique as possible, and it would be a true loss to Houston if it ever shuttered it's doors for good. Made slightly famous when it was used as a location in Wes Anderson's film "Rushmore", the place has fortunately not succumbed to any kind of touristy kitsch. It's about as old school as a barbershop can be, and a person could spend multiple visits taking in the environment. The walls are plastered with everything from old newspapers declaring events like the JFK Assassination and the end of WWII, to odd paintings and other weird stuff. It's almost like visiting a museum, or the home of some time-traveling hoarder.

During my last visit there, even the magazine stand proved to be a surprise, as an issue of National Geographic from 1923 was sitting near the top of the stack. There's also a friendly three legged cat calling the place home.

If you're a guy that wants an old fashioned haircut from barbers that still remember how to do them right, look no further. Doug's is also inexpensive, the last haircut I got there only set me back $16.

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16 comments
palamnaeus
palamnaeus

Does anybody know anything about Crescent City Beignets?

CB22
CB22

I'd throw in Texas Junk Company on Welch. Perfect place for the international transplant to pick up their first pair of cowboy boots

Becky Bean
Becky Bean

wow Kim, i HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN TO THREE OF THESE!!!!! See OLE mom DOES GET OUT SOME!

Bex Meanie
Bex Meanie

I second Wabash and add G&G model shop. G&G is a relic!!

Elmo Marsene Johnson
Elmo Marsene Johnson

Yeah what isnt in the Heights is in an area I wouldnt recommend any single lady travel through

Brian Arthur
Brian Arthur

Pretty Heights-centric, but that is ok. I would have put Wabash Feed Store and Barbecue Inn.

Jason McDaniel
Jason McDaniel

Shame on you for telling people that AAA is edible, and since you're on a heights kick... The Shiloh has been around way longer than Alice's

Weimarguy
Weimarguy

Who in hell claims Canino sells local produce? It's the same suppliers as HEB and Kroger. Resting on their laurels.


TexTaxAtty
TexTaxAtty

Don't forget the Surfhouse on W. 34th next to Ella.

Anse
Anse

Last fall I'd heard a rumor that Doug's Barber Shop was closing. Is that not true? I started getting my hair cut at a place closer to my hood (north of 610) because I assumed they were closing.

kmaher23
kmaher23

I still remember that visit to the Village when I discovered a gaping hole where the Variety Fair Five & Dime used to be.  I'd missed the news it was closing, after so many years.....


For now, the Village still has G &G Model Shop and Universal Fabric Shop (including buttons & ribbons) for your non-Hobby Lobby crafting needs....


Kaplan's Ben Hur in the Heights was a bubble of lost time--not trendy enough to last. 

chrislane
chrislane

That's a great suggestion. I'd driven by recently, and thought it might be closed. I'll have to find out, always loved the place.

chrislane
chrislane

My understanding is that there was a temporary "crisis" involving the landlord, but that it was averted. I've been to Doug's several times over the last couple of months, and they seem to still be going strong.

chrislane
chrislane

Yes, I'm always very sad to see older independent businesses close down, and that happened a lot it seems. I try to frequent the ones I stumble across as much as possible.

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