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Vanished Restaurant you miss most

txpickyeater Jul 5, 2013 06:45 PM

Leo's Mexican Restaurant
Pino's Italian

  1. j
    James Cristinian Feb 17, 2014 06:39 PM

    Ravin Cajun, not Ragin, on Richmond in an old house west of Mandell in the 70's. Nothing better after a day at the beach with the very limited menu of gumbo, shrimp creole, beef tips, and French bread all high quality at very low prices. Do people still go to the beach? I go to fish but am out of there early. There used to be massive traffic jams at Surfside and West Beach.

    2 Replies
    1. re: James Cristinian
      tgail Feb 26, 2014 03:54 PM

      we love the gumbo & seafood, casual atmosphere @ Floyds Cajun Seafood.It looks like a boat on Gulf Frwy League City..also one in Houston..not a chain.

      1. re: tgail
        James Cristinian Feb 26, 2014 04:40 PM

        Went to the one when it was on 1960 quite a few times. Never a bad meal and Floyd was always pressing the flesh.

    2. 3MTA3 Sep 11, 2013 08:16 PM

      West Lafayette, IN. Crain Family had a few joints in the 1950's-80's on Rt-52. The Knife and Fork was a fancy place with a Pizza King around the back. I worked at Morris-Bryant Smorgasbord, both places Rocked, until I-65 was built and took all interstate traffic away. Also a Park and Eat (drive in) down on the (Wabash) Levy, we called it the Squat and Gobble. yeah.... Go Boilers!

      1. k
        kolasu Sep 8, 2013 01:54 PM

        Denis' Seafood on Westheimer. Ate there many dozens of times and only once or twice was it not absolutely excellent fish, perfectly cooked. (Still miss that Louisiana-style crawfish bisque).

        Which reminds me: any recommendations for a comparable place - what's the best seafood restaurant in Houston?

        20 Replies
        1. re: kolasu
          brucesw Sep 8, 2013 05:57 PM

          I'll wager lambowner will have a suggestion but I won't steal her thunder (since I still haven't been). Hint: it also begins with a D.

          1. re: kolasu
            rondl Sep 8, 2013 06:44 PM

            I am not sure if it is the same ownership but there is a Denis' Seafood on the Katy Fwy. between Gessner and Bunker Hill.

            1. re: kolasu
              Lambowner Sep 9, 2013 03:03 PM

              Haha! Yes, I am at Denis's on the Katy Freeway about once a week. Twice last weekend. It's corporate owned, but consistently good. Have had few visits with hiccups. My favorites are the rainbow trout and red beans & rice with catfish or sausage (delicious sausage). They have a lunch menu 7 days with good deals and mix an outstanding martini. I think they are better than the original Denis's. As I recall, they cooked over wood which I found overpowering at times. You can order your selection of fresh fish off the chalk board grilled, fried, sauteed or blackened. Many to choose from.

              1. re: Lambowner
                kolasu Sep 10, 2013 02:30 AM

                I wish!!! It's unfortunately not the same ownership, not quite sure of the story but Denis sold his restaurant and name to a corporation (Babin's?), I've been to the Katy Freeway one and I don't think it's up to par with the original. I am pretty sure that Denis' did not cook over wood. That's my pet peeve with Goode Co Seafood, they do the mesquite-grilled thing and it is very overpowering, totally ruins the fish IMHO. I never had that experience at Denis' and I am not exaggerating when I say we ate there a lot! Probably every other week for years! After Denis' closed, his next venture was the short-lived Jimmy Wilson's in the Galleria area (which was also great) I did just hear he has a new restaurant in Missouri City, need to find out the name and check it out.

                1. re: kolasu
                  FarleyFlavors Sep 10, 2013 03:24 AM

                  After the sell-off of the Denis' Seafood House name, the place on Westheimer became Jimmy Wilson's for a while before it moved to San Felipe. I ate at the Westheimer branch once and wasn't too impressed, so I never tried the Galleria area one. Sounds like I should have given him another chance.

                  1. re: FarleyFlavors
                    kolasu Sep 11, 2013 07:15 PM

                    The one by the Galleria was upscale (including the prices) but the food was quite good, with a similar selection to the old Denis. We didn't go there often, maybe half a dozen times before it closed. The one on Westheimer that replaced the Denis was pretty much the same as Denis but I admittedly did not go there with the same frequency, so it could have slipped.

                  2. re: kolasu
                    brucesw Sep 10, 2013 03:26 AM

                    Robb Walsh's original report:


                    There was a second location in Missouri City that I almost went to once but according to b4 they are both closed:


                    1. re: brucesw
                      kolasu Sep 11, 2013 07:16 PM

                      I can't believe I never heard of this but it sounds like I didn't miss anything!

                    2. re: kolasu
                      Lambowner Sep 10, 2013 06:23 AM

                      Babin's is a Fertitta (Landry's) establishment. Let's not go there. Denis on Katy Freeway is corporate owned but not by Landry's. Sorry you don't like it, but it is my current hands down favorite seafood place. To each!

                      Do let me know though if you are aware of any other places in Houston where you can choose from a list of 15 or so fish options and have it cooked to your preference. I love Danton's and like Reef, but as with most other seafood restaurants in town you can order catfish or red fish, except on weekends, when you can order red fish or catfish, and you can always order the ubiquitous salmon. I only jest a little. I really would like to hear of other places like Denis.

                      I am considering the lifestyle of a pescatarian. :)

                      1. re: Lambowner
                        DoobieWah Sep 10, 2013 08:19 AM


                        Heck, you don't look a day over 35!

                        1. re: DoobieWah
                          Lambowner Sep 10, 2013 09:08 AM

                          Aw, shucks...

                          1. re: Lambowner
                            rexster314 Sep 10, 2013 05:36 PM

                            The original Denis' had a mesquite grill. Saw it every time through the windows that were open to the kitchen. Never got anything grilled there so can't judge it. My favorite was usually the catch of the day, broiled, with the Pontchartrain sauce with shrimp and crab. I still drool over that dish. Used all the French bread and would wipe the plate clean!. Loved the men's restroom with the ice cubes in the old style urinals.

                            1. re: rexster314
                              Lambowner Sep 10, 2013 06:46 PM

                              Ice cubes? I'm afraid to ask.

                              1. re: rexster314
                                kolasu Sep 11, 2013 07:32 PM

                                Well, i guess i should just shut up, because i would swear they did not use mesquite, but then i guess i always ordered broiled. At least they asked, unlike Goode Co!

                                My favorite was also the catch but with that lemon butter caper sauce with lump crab! And the crawfish bisque, Louisiana style, I haven't found that anywhere! Now I am drooling!

                          2. re: Lambowner
                            kolasu Sep 11, 2013 07:26 PM

                            Well, maybe we should give it another chance, may have caught them on a bad day or two....

                        2. re: Lambowner
                          Lambowner Feb 16, 2014 01:19 PM

                          So Denis' Seafood House on I-10 @ Bunker Hill closed this weekend. MetroNational Corp is bringing in another establishment. Hoping all the best for the crew there, good people.

                          Is Doobs still here? Haven't seen much in a while from him.

                          1. re: Lambowner
                            James Cristinian Feb 16, 2014 04:43 PM

                            That's a shame, we went there quite a few times and always enjoyed it. Other closed places I miss, Magnolia Bar and Grill for half shell oysters, oyster toast, gumbo, and crawfish before it got ridiculously expensive everywhere. I cook my own now, much to the Wifeacita's chagrin. King Fish Market had all you can eat lobster plus other treats. I maxed out at six. Doobs' plane is overdue but I'm not ready to declare him missing in action. Maybe he ditched in the Gulf and is enjoying seafood, or crash landed in the Polonia parking lot, the only place I've seen him and Jaymes.

                            1. re: James Cristinian
                              Lambowner Feb 16, 2014 10:34 PM

                              Haha!! King Fish was GREAT! Miss it! Now appearing, in that same spot, uh, Twin Peaks? Now under attack by angry neighborhood parents of elementary and high school kids adjacent, and rightfully so, google it. As to Doobs plane, check the sushi places nearby. Surely crash landed there.

                              1. re: James Cristinian
                                Jaymes Feb 18, 2014 07:33 AM

                                Doobs is "taking a break." Says he's still reading.

                                1. re: Jaymes
                                  Lambowner Feb 19, 2014 10:11 AM

                                  Thanks, I've been hanging out at Sushi Jin trying to catch a glimpse. Come back soon! And bring OBD.

                        3. a
                          amazinc Jul 27, 2013 11:29 AM

                          Lee's Den...Chinese, cannot even remember where it was, but I had my first marriage's wedding dinner there. Have the
                          photos, somewhere, but not the husband.

                          What was that "English" place on South Main....something like the Lion and the Rose, but can't remember it's name.
                          Heck, I'm old.

                          Sonny Look's Steak House
                          San Jacinto Inn
                          Maxim's downtown, used to eat lunch there when I worked at Foley's...had the Crab Louie every time.
                          The Azalea Dining Room at Foley's...Chaud et Froid delicious
                          Edgewater Inn in Kemah...absolutely loathe that boardwalk

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: amazinc
                            brucesw Sep 8, 2013 05:55 PM

                            Red Lion was the English place, with an English Ford taxi and red call box out front. That's a little before my time. I think Lee's Den was also on S. Main, between Holcombe and the Loop (which wasn't there then) but I'm not sure where. There were a lot of famous restaurants on S. Main - Sonny Look's, Kaphan's, Gaido's, Angelos Fisherman's Wharf, and more.

                            1. re: amazinc
                              tgail Feb 26, 2014 03:43 PM

                              Red Lion..I think. Near by, I really miss The Stables..esp when HLSR is going on.Great service, food & cocktails. Are there any comparable places..besides chain restaurants on 610..in that area ?

                            2. s
                              specktaker Jul 26, 2013 04:26 PM

                              Forgot to mention that the crab place I remember was across the channel and called the Crab Shack. Also, those are some great photos of Kemah.

                              1. s
                                specktaker Jul 26, 2013 04:23 PM

                                Regarding the old Kemah boardwalk, yes, it was quite different and better. The Clear Creek Inn was a place (now the parking lot) that we went to. We were friends with a waiter at Jimmy Walker's which really made it special when we would take out of town guests and was even the place the company I signed on with out of college took me to during my interview day lunch. Agree original Flying Dutchman was pretty good. Alicia changed it all for good.

                                1. j
                                  James Cristinian Jul 25, 2013 04:09 PM

                                  Early 60's but too young to go, Sorrento's on Bissonnett where the FBI neighbor looked in on the back room and brought back lobster and my first pizza, pre Pizza Hut.

                                  1. j
                                    James Cristinian Jul 25, 2013 03:54 PM

                                    Mid 70's Sharpstown

                                    Henry's BBQ and Massey's BBQ both on Bissonnett, a sad day when runaway inflation raised sandwich prices to 1.25 from a buck and beer to 2 bucks. Tough on the 18 year old budget, remember the WIN buttons. Whip Inflation Now.

                                    Zinnante's Deli

                                    60's way back machine

                                    Wyatt's Cafeteria and Walgreens, which had a restaurant, both at Sharpstown Mall
                                    Corn Fed Catfish
                                    Burger Chef
                                    Youngbloods Fried Chicken
                                    Sacco's Grocery Store, sawdust on the floor in the meat market, and the freshest shrimp, red snapper, and speckled trout

                                    1. DoobieWah Jul 25, 2013 01:39 PM

                                      Rusty Pelican (For the bar mainly)
                                      Boston Sea Party
                                      Hot Dogs by Harlan
                                      Charlie's Hamburgers
                                      Las Casuelas
                                      Sonny Look's
                                      Rotisserie For Beef and Bird

                                      1. r
                                        rondl Jul 24, 2013 07:05 PM

                                        Felix's Mexican Restaurant. Although El Patio has the recipes, it just is not the same.

                                        Gugenheim's Deli. I miss the blintzes and french toast. To me Kenny and Ziggy's does not hold a candle to it (Neither does Katz's). And before that, Alfred's.

                                        Agree with Ruby Reds. Big thick juicy burgers. And also Joe Lee's. They had the best stuffed jalapenos. The boardwalk will never be the same.

                                        Piatta di Santi. It was a great italian restaurant.

                                        Panjo's Pizza.

                                        Maxim's for a nice meal. Loved the dip and the lobster bisque.

                                        Tokyo Gardens was always such a good and fun restaurant to go to.

                                        Original Harlow's on Hilcroft. ONe of the first after hours restaurant in Houston.

                                        Otto's on Memorial Drive. New locations don't hold a candle to the original.

                                        Hebert's Ritz. Good steakhouse.

                                        Bud Bigelow's. Another great steakhouse. At one time it was on the edge of town.

                                        Green Parrot. Great family style southern restaurant.

                                        Hamburgers by Gourmet. Yum!!!

                                        Jo Jo's. My 24 hour hangout.

                                        Cellar Door. Good BBQ and even better burgers.

                                        Rudy's on Post Oak Blvd. Always had a mafia feel to it thanks to Joe Lucia, the owner.

                                        Bo Bo's on Westheimer. One of our Sunday night rituals. Before that, it was Lee's Den on S. Main.

                                        Across the Street on Westheimer. You used the phone to place your order. And Rumpleheimers in Westbury Sq.

                                        Roy Rogers Roast Beef.

                                        Sonny Looks.

                                        The Magic Pan in the Galleria.

                                        Nighthawk. Still miss their chopped steak.

                                        Lukes. The burgers weren't so good, but their breakfast tacos were great and cheap.

                                        Trader Vic's and Don the Beachcomber.

                                        The 1st Chili's on Richmond. Great place to take a date. Nothing over $2. And they offered free refills. It is NOT the same so I consider it vanished.

                                        Farrell's in the Galleria. I had my I don't remember how old I was birthday party there and got the "zoo."

                                        Boston Sea Party. Good seafood buffet. Went crazy on the snow crab and got my moneys worth.

                                        End it with the best pizza anywhere...Vallian's. Enough said.

                                        Wow. I have a nostalgia headache. And for some reason I'm hungry.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: rondl
                                          brucesw Jul 24, 2013 09:18 PM

                                          Your mention of Bud Bigelow's reminded me of The Courtyard on the Katy Fwy, another of the Steakhouse Associates restaurants (along with the Stables, I think), CY was known for prime rib, king crab legs and margaritas.

                                          +1 on your comments on Otto's and Boston Sea Party.

                                          Never got to go to Guggenheim's or Tokyo Gardens.

                                          1. re: rondl
                                            James Cristinian Jul 25, 2013 04:19 PM

                                            Panjo's Pizza lives with locations in Corpus Christi and Rockport, with the black spotted crispy thin crust. Resist the urge to pile on toppings, the crust won't hold up. I usually get just cheese or 1/2 cheese one topping. No trip to Rockport is complete without a stop at Panjo's.

                                          2. b
                                            brucesw Jul 24, 2013 06:05 PM

                                            Alfred's in the Village or on Weslayan
                                            Kahn's Deli in the Village when it was still run by Mike, Alfred's son.
                                            Hamburgers by Gourmet - local chain (2 or 3 locations?)
                                            Jaime's - hamburger joint on S. Main @ Braeswood, famous for a complimentary bowl of ranch beans that accompanied each order plus curly fries.
                                            Gaido's on S. Main
                                            Valian's on S. Shepherd
                                            Yamin's/Stefano's pizza
                                            San Jacinto Inn
                                            The Night Hawk - short lived location of the Austin/SA steakhouse on Westheimer. TNH on the Drag was my fav restaurant during my years in Austin and I was thrilled to have one here but it didn't last.

                                            There are undoubtedly others but memory fails me.

                                            1. s
                                              specktaker Jul 24, 2013 02:20 PM

                                              Yes on Crazy Cajun (he wouldn't give out the recipe for his awesome thin and rich gumbo!), Louie's was great fun with fried frog legs and the entire buffet and I also miss Leo's - dinner picture in the Tres Hombres album is all we have left!

                                              Missing several other great Clear Lake area places - The Shrimp Hut ($1 doz oysters then down to Crazy Cajun for gumbo), Delasandri's (behind Classic Café), Cesar's Cantina on I-45 and the original Clifton's By the Sea...

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: specktaker
                                                James Cristinian Jul 24, 2013 03:55 PM

                                                I miss the entire original Kemah Boardwalk, not the roller coaster, parking garage, souvenir stand behemoth there now. Joe Lee's had 99 cent oysters in the winter, there was Jimmie Walker, original Flying Dutchman, a place that sold boiled crabs served on picnic tables, and others I forgot. Anybody remember the crab place name. Check out these old Kemah photos.


                                                1. re: James Cristinian
                                                  Cheflambo Jul 31, 2013 11:31 AM

                                                  My late husband and I had our first date (a Saturday lunch) at Joe Lee's -- the food was good, fresh and cheap. You could sit there as long as you wanted and watch the boats come and go in and out to Galveston Bay. He would be horrified to see the Disneyfication of that land now.

                                              2. c
                                                Cookie Baker Jul 6, 2013 12:13 PM

                                                Down here in Clear Lake area we seriously miss Sonny's Crazy Cajun and South Shore Beer Garden. Use to love the breakfast at El Nopolitas in Galveston.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Cookie Baker
                                                  James Cristinian Jul 6, 2013 12:27 PM

                                                  Yes to Crazy Cajun. As far as Galveston, I'll call your El Nopolitas, lunch for me, and raise you the Seafood Depot on 61'st and Stewart, run by cantankerous Sonny Martini. Turtle like service, but the key was to call in the double fish basket ahead. It's now occupied by the Cajun Greek.

                                                2. i
                                                  INDIANRIVERFL Jul 6, 2013 11:50 AM

                                                  Louie's on the Lake. Just past Johnson Space Center. Every time Dad would inspect the US Steel mill in Baytown, I would try to get free from Ft. Polk and we would visit for the weekend.

                                                  A seafood buffet that still brings back wonderful memories.

                                                  1. j
                                                    James Cristinian Jul 6, 2013 10:53 AM

                                                    Zorba the Greek and Mykonos Island. I have an old circa 70's Houston City magazine and it says of Zorbas the day we can no longer get the fried shrimp and cold retsina would be a sad day. Indeed. The disco club ads are hilarious.

                                                    1. j
                                                      James Cristinian Jul 6, 2013 10:26 AM

                                                      Ruby Red's Steakburgers on I-10 where Pappy's is now. Perfect medium-rare steakburgers, peanut shells on the floor, a better burger than Pappy's.

                                                      1. Lambowner Jul 6, 2013 07:22 AM

                                                        Awww Pino's! (*single tear dripping*) Strawberry Patch on Westheimer, Lalo's Argentinian Pizza on Bob White, Old San Francisco Steakhouse, Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor in the Galleria. Of the old restaurants I recall enjoying, it still amazes me that Los Tios and Pancho's have survived.

                                                        1. j
                                                          James Cristinian Jul 5, 2013 07:09 PM

                                                          Leo's yes, Pino's went once, another yes. More, Bill Williams Chicken in the Rough, San Jacinto Inn, Angelo's Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 21, The Stables for prime rib, and mostly, the original Ninfa's on Navigation, not the current occupant gravy training the name. Also, the snack bar at Loew's Drive In Theater where I learned to juggle many kitchen orders at age 15.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: James Cristinian
                                                            rexster314 Jul 5, 2013 11:27 PM

                                                            Valian's on S. Main. Vargo's in the 70's. Rumpleheimer's in Westbury Square. Gallagher's Steakhouses. Timmy Chan's at Greenway Plaza.

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