Avalon Diner | Lunch Counter Burgers at their Best | Houston

Review by: Jane & Michael Stern

Chat & Chew

The Avalon Diner began as a drug store in 1938. It included a short soda fountain and a little dining room. So it was until 2008 when the drug store finally closed. Today, Houstonians and Roadfood explorers know it as a great place to eat and to share a meal with friends or family.

The Avalon moved from its original location in 1993. But it was a short move. It remained in the Houston neighborhood of River Oaks. It feels as much like a community center as a diner. Come at lunch and experience the vibe. The din is like a happy party – for singles, couples, and families. Clientele are white collar, blue collar, blue blood, and redneck. Business men toss their tie aprons over their shoulders to shelter them from burger-juice drippings. Immaculately coiffed women hoist fork and knife to slice into smothered pork chops.

From-Scratch Milk Shakes & Lemonade

Avalon Diner food is made the old fashioned way. Behind the counter, waitresses squeeze lemons for lemonade and make milk shakes from scratch. Shakes and malts come in their mixing can. The can arrives with frost going three-quarters up the outside. Frost indicates the liquid level within. Shakes are thick enough that the waitress must jiggle the silver beaker to encourage the liquid to pour out into a glass.

The Consummate Lunch-Counter Hamburger

Fans of the Avalon know it best for its consummate lunch-counter hamburger. Listed on the menu as the “1938 Original Hamburger,” it comes well-dressed with tomato, lettuce, pickle, onion, mustard, and mayonnaise. You can have it with American cheese, of course, or Swiss. Variations include a crunchy jalapeno burger, a zesty avocado burger, an ooze burger (with a fried egg), and an open-face chili cheeseburger. Curly fries, crinkle-cuts, onion rings and fried pickles are possible accompaniments. Sweet-tooth eaters get sweet potato fries with marshmallow sauce.

Vast Menu, Including Breakfast

Avalon’s menu extends far beyond burgers. Chicken fried steak, fried chicken, meat loaf, roast turkey & dressing, blackened catfish and grilled pork chops are just a few of the week’s blue plate specials. Frito pie comes topped with house-made chili and shredded cheese.

Many regular customers visit the Avalon just for breakfast. A near-infinite number of omelets and egg dishes crowd the menu. Breakfast classics include huevos rancheros, corned beef hash, migas, chilaquiles, and a bagel melt.

Two other locations of the Avalon Diner: 11611 Katy Fwy (281-977-4554) and 8823 Katy Fwy (713) 590-4377

Directions & Hours

7am - 4pm
  • Monday: 6:30 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 6:30 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 6:30 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Thursday: 6:30 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Friday: 6:30 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Saturday: 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Sunday: 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM

What To Eat

Cheeseburger

DISH
Drugstore Chili (cup)

DISH
Lemonade

DISH
Milk Shake

DISH
Waffle

DISH

Avalon Diner | Lunch Counter Burgers at their Best | Houston Recipes

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One Response to “Avalon Diner | Lunch Counter Burgers at their Best | Houston”

Tim Holmes

September 13th, 2008

My friends and I stopped at Avalon Diner recently for the first time. We were greatly impressed to say the least. While the outside of the building leaves a lot to be desired, the aura of an old diner comes to life once you walk through the doors. Visitors are greeted by what appears to be a half-century-old Dr Pepper clock (the red 10, 2, 4 faded and barely visible) hanging on the light green wall.

The diner was very crowded, and many people were standing against the glass wall, waiting for an empty seat. Service was very quick, and our waitress took our orders almost as we sat down. Two of us ordered the chicken fried steak with crinkle cut fries while the others ordered the big breakfast, the club sandwich, and a hamburger. The orders were delivered quickly, considering the crowd that was there.

The chicken fried steak is huge, with a massive amount of delicious cream gravy smothering the plate. The fries are a welcome addition to the steak, and I skipped adding ketchup and used the cream gravy as a fry condiment. The Big Breakfast is massive. French toast was substituted for the pancakes that normally come with them. This is not just a small order of French toast, as six half-pieces of toast are arranged vertically on a large platter.

The club sandwich was so large that my friend had to take half of it home. She intended to get something small because she was going to a wedding shower later that day. Needless to say, she was surprised at its size! The hamburger looks as good as it does in the Roadfood.com pictures. It is heartily recommended.

All in all, Avalon Diner is a wonderful place to visit, but remember that it closes at 4 on Saturdays, so you have to go early!

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