Our first stop on the Burger Tour of Houston was at Lankford Grocery & Market - part of the Texas grocery-store-turned-cafe restaurant sub-genre. All the Houston food web sites and eatery referral places rave about this place so we began our quest for the definitive burger here. Our first experience rated an "okay" from me. Jack gave it his usual "better than McDonalds" but really, I was underwhelmed. The burger was big, which is good, and loaded with whatever toppings we requested, also good, but I thought the flavor of the meat was flat - it didn't appear to be hand-patted - and lost in the add-ons.
This place is known far and wide and the general public talks about it all the time so we went back for a second taste after visiting several other eateries. This time I ordered my burger plain - meat and bread. Jack still gave it a "better than McDonalds" rating and I still found the meat lacking, but the atmosphere was better and the place had that "grows on you" feel.
The story of the business is rather interesting - family owned for multiple generations, began as a grocery store now just a restaurant. Still operated by a Lankford. An in-law was manning the cash register on our most recent stop, which I suppose said something about their trust in him. It also told me the owners placed greater emphasis on the food and service than on the money, which goes a long way toward explaining why this place is always packed. They serve many other dishes besides hamburgers, including breakfast, which we intend to try, but that's for another tour.
The picture below shows the interior.
Lankford Grocery & Market is located at 88 Dennis Street in the Montrose section of Houston