Lankford Grocery

Diner | Hamburgers | Southwestern | Tex-Mex
Memorable
One of the best
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The Lankford Grocery cafe has the lumpiest upholstered booths in which we’ve ever tried to get comfortable. And it also has one of the most uneven wooden floors in any restaurant. Tables are blanketed with vintage rose-pattern oilcloth and the plastic that covers menus is peeling off the ancient paper documents like skin off salted peanuts. Condiments are set out in cardboard beer totes; in lieu of napkins you get a roll of paper towels. When the staff is busy, it would be appreciated if you got up and helped yourself to refills of coffee, which is served in a bunch of mismatched mugs that are souvenirs of the Austin Museum of Art, New York City, and K-Lite radio. Continue reading

The Lankford Grocery cafe has the lumpiest upholstered booths in which we’ve ever tried to get comfortable. And it also has one of the most uneven wooden floors in any restaurant. Tables are blanketed with vintage rose-pattern oilcloth and the plastic that covers menus is peeling off the ancient paper documents like skin off salted peanuts. Condiments are set out in cardboard beer totes; in lieu of napkins you get a roll of paper towels. When the staff is busy, it would be appreciated if you got up and helped yourself to refills of coffee, which is served in a bunch of mismatched mugs that are souvenirs of the Austin Museum of Art, New York City, and K-Lite radio. We got ours in a mug that declared, “After 50 Gravity Takes Over.”

Is it apparent yet that we love this place? If not, let us describe the hamburger. It is Houston’s best – and that’s saying a lot in a city with high hamburger consciousness. Each patty is a gnarled, uneven circle with crunch to its crust and juices that ooze the moment that crust is severed. It is deliciously beefy – not an effete gourmet burger, but neither a skinny lunch-counter patty. It is improved by American cheese on top, and even better than that with a layer of thick, crunchy bacon strips; and for those of unlimited appetite, there are double meat patties and even triple meat patties. Just after having breakfast at the Lankford Cafe, we ordered a triple meat bacon cheeseburger, and our waiter broke out into a big grin. “It’s hard to keep a straight face when someone thinks they’re going to eat one of those,” he said.

Needless to say, there was no way we could eat it. Not only because our appetite had vanished from beautiful plates of chilaquiles (a Mexican casserole of cheese, hot salsa, and strips of tortilla topped with three fried eggs) and French toast with bacon, but because there is quite literally, no way to eat it. No human could put any significant section of it between his or her jaws. We consulted with the staff, as well as with several customers at nearby tables who were enjoying the presentation of the triple, and they all said that the only way to go at it was with fingers, knife, and fork, tearing off portions as you go.

By the way, there are a few other items on the menu – grilled cheese, ham sandwich, some Mexican specials – and breakfasts are excellent, especially on Saturday when fresh, hot biscuits are served with sausage gravy. But on the menu, under the heading “Appetizers” is this proclamation: “We ain’t got none.” It is hamburgers that has put this infinitely charming out-of-the-way former grocery store on Houston’s good-eats Roadfood map.

Dishes to try
Lankford Grocery, Triple Bacon Cheeseburger
Triple Bacon Cheeseburger
Must-Try
Three hand-formed patties sizzled to crusty succulence, plus cheese and bacon. Condiments are applied with abandon and the bun is impeccably fresh.
Lankford Grocery, Chilaquiles
Chilaquiles
Must-Try
Chilaquiles: a Tex-Mex breakfast casserole of salsa, hot peppers, fried tortilla strips, and cheese, topped with three eggs. The texture of the tortilla strips is magic, some soft and mushy, others chewy in parts and crisp at the edges. And that heap of bacon on the left is a single order.
Lankford Grocery, French Toast
French Toast
Good ol' American French toast awaits a spill of syrup.
Directions and Hours
open now
SundayCLOSED
Monday7am - 3pm
Tuesday7am - 3pm
Wednesday7am - 3pm
Thursday7am - 3pm
Friday7am - 3pm
Saturday7am - 3pm
Roadtrips
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
7 stops | 3 hr 15 min total driving
Information and Policies
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch
Credit Cards Accepted
No
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
Yes
Reservations Accepted
No
Delivery Available
No
Takeout Counter
Yes