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Avalon Diner

2417 Westheimer, Houston, TX - (713) 527-8900
Posted By Michael Stern on 12/24/2012 7:15:00 AM
In the deluxe neighborhood of River Oaks, the Avalon Drug Store and Diner is evidence that even fancy people appreciate plebeian meals. A single inconspicuous door leads from pharmacy to a dining area where the lunchtime din is like a party. Eating here is a happy event – 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 with eye-popping manicures pick up fork and knife to slice into smothered pork chops and scoop up mustard greens and candied yams.

The lunch counter dates back to 1938, and although this location is a new one, the booths are upholstered in out-of-date white-piped green leatherette, and food is made the old fashioned way. At the counter you watch waitresses squeeze lemons for lemonade and make milk shakes at the five-wand multi-mixer. Shakes and malts are served in their mixing can, which arrives at your place with frost going three-quarters up the outside, indicating the liquid level within. They are thick enough that the waitress has to jiggle the silver beaker to encourage the stuff to pour out into a glass.

The Avalon is known for consummate lunch-counter hamburgers, served well-dressed with tomato, lettuce, pickle, onion, mustard, and mayonnaise. They are available with American cheese, of course, as well as with Swiss; and possible companions include French fries, chili fries, chili cheese fries, wet fries (topped with brown or cream gravy), and onion rings.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Cheeseburger
Milk Shake
Lemonade
Waffle
Drugstore Chili (cup)
Chocolate Malt
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Lemons are squeezed to order for this superb lemonade.
"Lemons are squeezed to order for this superb lemonade."
Michael Stern





Of course you want French fries with your cheeseburger.
"Of course you want French fries with your cheeseburger."
Michael Stern


A close-up vision of lunch counter heaven: an Avalon Diner cheeseburger
"A close-up vision of lunch counter heaven: an Avalon Diner cheeseburger"
Michael Stern


Chili at the Avalon is hearty stuff, Texan in that it lacks beans, but festooned with cheese, which chili purists disallow.
"Chili at the Avalon is hearty stuff, Texan in that it lacks beans, but festooned with cheese, which chili purists disallow."
Michael Stern


Here is a waffle the way we like it: thin, crisp, elegant, glistening with the tastebuds-thrilling mix of savory melted butter and sweet syrup.
"Here is a waffle the way we like it: thin, crisp, elegant, glistening with the tastebuds-thrilling mix of savory melted butter and sweet syrup."
Michael Stern


The fragile, lightly coated onion rings were one of the highlights of our meal at Avalon Diner.
"The fragile, lightly coated onion rings were one of the highlights of our meal at Avalon Diner."
Cliff Strutz


A great shake, served in its silver beaker, which holds enough for nearly three glasses full.
"A great shake, served in its silver beaker, which holds enough for nearly three glasses full."
Michael Stern


Between breakfast and lunch, there are actually available seats at the counter and in booths. At mealtime, that's not usually the case.
"Between breakfast and lunch, there are actually available seats at the counter and in booths. At mealtime, that's not usually the case."
Michael Stern


There's nothing particularly alluring about the outside of the Avalon Diner (which originally opened around the corner), but the moment you step inside, the ambience is irresistible.
"There's nothing particularly alluring about the outside of the Avalon Diner (which originally opened around the corner), but the moment you step inside, the ambience is irresistible."
Michael Stern



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