The cultural diversity of Houston is one of its greatest selling points, and one of the best ways to experience it is to start with breakfast. The convergence of Southern, Texan—which we all know is a world all its own—and international cultures and foodstuffs creates a landscape that is deliciously varied, if not sometimes overwhelming. But making sense of it comes easily if you’re willing to brave the morning rush hour and conquer the urban sprawl. Just make sure you come packing a Texas-sized appetite, a full tank of gas, and an open mind. This is breakfast, done Houston-style.
Shipley Do-Nuts, Glazed Doughnut
While fancy doughnut places are the new hotness, there’s nothing that can top a fresh out of the fryer, just been glazed yeast doughnuts from Shipley (often mistakenly referred to as Shipley’s). There are multiple locations throughout Houston, so finding one should be as easy as eating an entire dozen of warm, glazed doughnuts in one sitting.
Villa Arcos, Bacon Super Breakfast Taco
There are breakfast tacos, and then there’s the Bacon Super. It’s a combination of potatoes, eggs, cheese, beans, and bacon (of course) wrapped up in a homemade flour tortilla. It’s filling, it’s super, it’s a hell of a way to combat a hangover.
Pondicheri, Breakfast Frankie
Think breakfast burrito, but with Indian ingredients. It’s roti bread wrapped around scrambled eggs seasoned with masala, accented with cilantro chutney. Keema—a spiced, ground meat mixture is available for a slight upcharge, and always worth the expense. Try the house made chai while you’re there.
Hugs & Donuts, Brisket and Cheddar Kolache
If a fluffy yeast roll married a chopped beef sandwich, this would be the result. Kolaches are a Czech pastry traditionally eaten for breakfast here in Houston (and Central Texas as well), stuffed with various forms of meat or fruit. The Hugs & Donuts version is generously filled with locally smoked brisket and offers the best of both breakfast and barbecue in each bite.
the breakfast klub, Wings and Waffle
Things you should know about the breakfast klub: 1. They don’t capitalize their name in the logo. 2. They substitute Ks for Cs in their menu kopy. 3. Their fried chicken wings are the most delicious thing to happen to breakfast maybe ever. 4. The Belgian waffle is also freakishly good. 5. There’s always a line to get in, and this is partially due to items three and four on this list. 6. The line moves quickly and staff is friendly AF, which makes the wait downright pleasant.
Bò Né Houston, Steak and Eggs
Brave the sprawl that is Houston, and head outside of the 610 Loop to revel over a sizzling plate of Vietnamese-style steak and eggs. Chunks of highly seasoned beef are served on a hot iron platter next to two fried eggs, with accompaniments of a baguette, butter, paté, and a small salad dressed with a light vinaigrette.
Frank’s Grill, Catfish and Grits
If you’re looking for a pristine dining room and cloth napkins, this is definitely not the place, particularly the Mangum Road location. It’s a bona fide greasy spoon, but that layer of grime just comes from years of serving up diner classics and Southern favorites like fried catfish and grits.
Harry's Restaurant & Cafe, Pancake Omelet
Terrible at making decisions? You might want to see a therapist. But if it only applies to breakfast, the pancake omelet at Harry’s might be just the thing. It’s a two-egg omelet stuffed with meat and cheese and wrapped in a giant pancake. Because sometimes you can have it all.
Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen, Challah French Toast
A New York deli in the heart of the Galleria neighborhood is no joke when it comes to breakfast. In fact, it’s served all day, every day. On the massive menu, look for the challah French toast, which is cut thick and generously portioned. Pair it with their pastrami bacon for maximum effect. It’ll make you holla. Pun definitely intended.
Buffalo Grille, Cinnamon Coffee
Sure, there are plenty of local coffee roasters serving up complex espresso drinks, pour overs and such, but it wouldn’t be fair to single out one in this particular context. Instead, head to one of a few locations of Buffalo Grille and fill your mug with their signature cinnamon drip coffee. Free refills are a nice bonus, plus it’s the perfect pairing for their giant, spongey pancakes.
Andes Cafe, Cachapas
For South American breakfast offerings, Andes Cafe is the place to be. Sweet corn pancakes are griddled and filled with a mild, but melty queso de mano cheese, with a side of creme fraiche. Unless you’re a vegetarian, it cannot be recommended more to upgrade your cachapas with carne mechada (braised, shredded beef). It’s the best $2 you’ll spend all day.