As one of Houston's hottest neighborhoods, the Heights has a reputation for being where to go when you're looking for the best things to eat, buy, and do in the city. The area — which extends roughly from Shepherd to I-45 and from I-10 to I-610 north, just northeast of downtown — boasts so many edgy, innovative, and highly rated eateries, it can be hard to pick a favorite. Thankfully, you don't have to. Whether you're looking for a great place to brunch, celebrate, or grab a quick bite, these are the best places to eat in the Houston Heights.
Located on iconic Heights Boulevard just off the Heights hike and bike trail, Revival Market is a locavore's dream. All of the meat here is sustainably sourced, free from antibiotics and pasture-raised — much of it here in Texas. While the real star is the meat, the cafe has a full menu for breakfast and lunch seven days a week that features food prepared with seasonal ingredients and artisanal products from local producers, as well as a coffee bar with a range of pastries — including some dairy- and gluten-free options.
If you like what you eat, Revival Market is a fully functioning butcher shop, ready to slice you up whatever cuts and weights you want of beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and even some wild game.
Great for: Brunch, studying
It's harder to find better comfort food than at Sam's Fried Chicken and Donuts. In addition to its namesake dishes, this diner offers heart-warming (clogging?) sides like mashed potatoes with cream gravy, collard greens, and black eyed peas with rice. When you're done enjoying a few pieces of the crunchy, tender pieces of their signature bone-in chicken and mouth-watering sides, you can wash it all down with some fresh-brewed ice tea — and a Mexican chocolate donut for good measure.
While the calorie count might be high, patrons can take comfort knowing all of the restaurant's chicken is American Humane Certified and raised free of antibiotics, hormones, and growth stimulants.
Great for: Families, quick eats
As bar and grills go, Cedar Creek is as laid-back and family-friendly as they come. The spacious restaurant features both a full menu and bar with quality-made versions of American and Tex-Mex classics like crispy tacos, Frito pies, and pulled pork sandwiches.
Ample space both inside and out provide more than enough seating even when it gets busy — and it does get pretty busy. Weekends bring in Houstonians of all kinds, from families to book clubs to sports fans. Kids, especially, love to tromp over the little bridge that connects the restaurant's patio with its parking lot and spot turtles often swimming in the creek below.
Great for: Groups, families, date night
Yale St. Grill
As far as spoons go, Yale St. Grill is about as greasy as it gets. This old-school diner/antique shop has a menu full of diner classics, including tuna melts, Coke floats, and apple pie. In addition to booths and tables, you can sit at a long bar and chat with the friendly staff when business is slow. Come the weekend, however, Yale St. Grill fills to the brim with patrons chowing down on French toast, bacon, and black-as-night coffee. In an area known for its trendiness and hipsters, Yale St. is a nod to old-school Americana.
Great for: Breakfast, quick eats, families
Torchy's Tacos might call Austin its first home, but Houstonians have embraced it with open arms. And who could really blame them? This quirky taco shop offers a wide selection of flavor combos with eyebrow-raising names like the "Mr. Orange" (a blackened salmon taco with grilled corn and black bean relish, cheese, and cilantro) or the "Alabama Shake" (a cornmeal-crusted catfish taco, complete with cojita cheese and poblano slaw).
Its true claim to fame, however, is having some of the best queso in Houston. The melted cheese is infused with green chiles and topped with a touch of cilantro and diablo sauce. Served up with a big basket of Torchy's house-made chips, its signature queso can be a meal all on its own.
Great for: Quick eats, families
In a city where summer lasts practically year round, great hot dog places are a must. Good Dog satisfies the desire for a picnic barbecue 12 months a year with its wide selection of gourmet hot dogs. Its owners promise to "buy it local or make it by hand," and Good Dog doesn't disappoint. Condiments are all made in house from scratch, the meat and buns are locally sourced, and even the beers it serves are local craft brews. When you're ready for dessert, try one of the hand-spun milkshakes, made in an old-school malt machine using Fat Cat Creamery ice cream.
One of two in the Houston area, its Heights location is on Studewood near the Woodland Heights and offers a modest amount of both indoor and outdoor seating, as well as adjacent parking.
Great for: Families, pets
On the other end of the Heights, Fat Cat Creamery is a neighborhood institution, beloved by neighbors and visitors alike. The small shop nearly always has a line out the door, especially on weekend nights when the weather is warm. Like many Heights mainstays, Fat Cat tries to use local ingredients for everything it makes. The dairy used to churn its rich, creamy frozen desserts, for example, comes from Mill-King Creamery in McGregor, Texas. The dedication to sustainability extends to its packaging, as well. Even its spoons are made from bio-plastics and cornstarch.
Fat Cat's menu features some year-round favorite flavors like Mexican vanilla and coffee and cream, but it also rotates in a number of fun seasonal flavors — including more than a few made with booze (locally sourced, of course).
Great for: Date night, families
Eight Row Flint
In a neighborhood as trendy as this one, Eight Row Flint fits right in. This open-air cocktail bar is a magnet for the area's hipsters and happy hour enthusiasts — as well as pretty much anyone who loves a good whiskey with a side of tacos.
While the whiskey flights Eight Flint is known for are certainly a must-try, the carbonated cocktails and frozen drinks are worth a shot as well (no pun intended). Soak it up with some small bites from its dedicated taco truck like the Brussels sprouts tacos or charro bean nachos. Then sit back, and enjoy a relaxing time in the always interesting Houston Heights.
Great for: Happy hour, date night