Best Eight Houston Businesses to Visit in Case They Ever Close for Good
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.
Photo by Chris Lane You don't find places that look like this in the mall.
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
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.
Photo by Chris Durst The produce at Canino Produce is amazing and colorful.
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.