Snag the double-patty Pharmacy Burger with American cheese and a slew of toppings that don’t detract from the meatiness: mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion. As good as burgers get in Houston, it may not actually be the most comfort-conveying thing on the menu. The challenger? Fried chicken that’s ultra-crispy thanks to an exhaustive two-day process of brining and drying before the bird hits the fryer.
You can’t go wrong at this longtime Thai favorite (once a combo grocery store and restaurant in the Heights, it has since relocated to Fulton, which we’re classifying as on the very farthest edge of the Heights), because there’s magic in this food. The steamed rice tastes lighter, fluffier, and subtler than any other rice you’ll come across, while the curries—we prefer the chicken kang supparos, a red curry composed of coconut milk, pineapple, tomato, basil, and onion—offer symphonies of flavor that will leave you wondering why you bothered with any other Thai spot in Houston all this time. Be warned, though: even the “mildly” spicy version of this dish will make a diner sweat, so spice it up with caution.
Beef ribs. Need we say more? The husky hammer of melt-in-your-mouth meat that comes off of Grant Pinkerton’s smoker is available for takeout every day that the lunch-and-dinner pit is open. Of course, the chopped beef sandwich with its tart sauce and jalapeño cheese bun always hits the spot, too, if you’re scared of dino-size bones. Do order the jalapeño cheese rice and bacon mac ‘n’ cheese on the side—sinful, perhaps, but worth it.