If you lived in Houston during the 1980s and 1990s, you listened to Outlaw Dave, plain and simple. There was no avoiding Rock 101 KLOL on your radio dial in those days, when DJs like Outlaw Dave, Mark Stevens, and Jim Pruett ruled the airwaves. During its heyday, KLOL wasn't just one of the top stations in Houston—it was one of the most popular radio stations in the country before closing shop in November 2004. The last song it broadcast was also the first one KLOL ever played when it debuted in 1970: "I'm Free," by The Who.

Outlaw Dave's Worldwide Headquarters
6502 Washington Ave.
713-862-3283
www.outlawdaveshq.com

Although Mark Stevens—one half of the Stevens & Pruett DJ duo—passed away three years ago, you can still find KLOL's Outlaw Dave in the DJ booth every day at his bar/restaurant, where the Outlaw Dave Show still broadcasts from Outlaw Dave's Worldwide Headquarters six days a week. You can catch the show itself from 5 to 7 p.m. on 950 AM on weeknights, and 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturdays—and catch Dave himself in person at Worldwide Headquarters.

It's a bit of a thrill to see the Outlaw himself (whose real name is Dave Andrews) prowling around behind the bar, grabbing a Dr Pepper when he's not on the air or in his glass DJ booth working on fundraisers for The Outlaw Dave Foundation. Combined with the late-'80s rock 'n' roll soundtrack and raven-haired bartenders who look straight out of a Poison video, his presence gives Worldwide Headquarters a distinctly throwback feel that's a blast of pure nostalgia.

"I'm gonna be pissed if Locke Siebenhausen isn't our waiter," my boyfriend joked as we settled in, waxing about his favorite DJ sidekick from the KLOL glory days. And as we settled in under the neon glow of a Runaway Radio sign, more memories of rock 'n' roll at its most fevered pitch began to pour out.

We were interrupted in our reverie by a waitress reminding us that Monday was steak night. And here we'd come to Worldwide Headquarters for a cold beer and the cheap thrill of watching Outlaw Dave at work. For $13, she explained, we could get a steak, salad, and baked potato. I was sold. My boyfriend held out and decided to dive face-first into the menu, ordering a chicken fried steak and a side of brisket-stuffed jalapeños.

Our food came out at the same time as our second round of beers, with impeccable timing. While I was already pleased to see Worldwide Headquarter's terrific selection of local draft beers (everything from Buffalo Bayou's Summer Wit to No Label's excellent Ridgeback amber ale), I was even more impressed with the food. Everything—even down to the chunky, skin-on mashed potatoes served with the CFS—was clearly made from scratch.

That CFS was served the true Texan way, with gravy on the side, and with a light but crispy batter that clung neatly to the tender steak underneath. My strip steak was cooked to its requested rare temperature and marinated in a barely sweet balsamic sauce that gave it an extra kick of flavor. The side salad of spring mix and my own "baked potato" (in reality, a dish of mashed potatoes topped with cheese, bacon, and sour cream) were average, but made up for by the excellent stuffed jalapeños. You could taste the smoke from the brisket, complemented by the sweet smokiness of the bacon that had been twined around each pepper.

I was a little surprised that there wasn't a crowd at Worldwide Headquarters on a Monday night—especially steak night. The location has been an icehouse since the 1920s, and was in fact the very first location of what is now Christian's Tailgate, just across the Katy Freeway on the other side of Washington Avenue. The atmosphere, food, and beer can't be to blame, but the service could be the culprit. My boyfriend, a bartender himself, termed it "apathetic '80s-style bar staff," complete with one nervous-looking waitress who never left her well. Regulars were tended to sufficiently, but newbies like us were mostly on our own. We struggled to get our flippant bartender's attention throughout the evening, and we weren't alone; a table on the patio was near riot-ready after being ignored for long stretches of time.

But maybe that's the schtick here at Worldwide Headquarters, where everything else about the place screams 1989—including the service, for better or worse. You take the good with the bad.

 

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