The Slow End of the Avenue Grill at the End of Center St.


The Avenue Grill could close sometime soon, but not if somebody doesn’t hurry up and buy the place. Or maybe buy the place and keep it running for the cops, firefighters, judges, judges, lawyers, and other frequenters of the neighboring municipal court and police complex that regularly eat breakfast and lunch there? To hasten either outcome, a small sign went up a week or 2 ago at the corner of Houston Ave. and Center St., a block north of Washington Ave., indicating that the 1940 building and a total of 19,600 sq. ft. of land is available for sale. That spurred attention from a Swamplot reader who — like most people — hadn’t been aware that the property had been on the market since last August.

The $1.5 million asking price includes 4 lots — one where the building sits at 1017 Houston Ave., 2 adjacent parking lots, and an additional surface parking lot across Center St., just where the Houston Ave. underpass begins. That lot is visible just beyond the building in this view from the corner of Washington Ave:


Avenue Grill, 1017 Houston Ave., First Ward, Houston

Although the sign says the Avenue Grill has been serving “homestyle food” since 1962, the institution’s owner (who’s operated it for 15 years) tells Swamplot the Avenue Grill actually opened 12 years earlier than that, across the street from its current spot.

Photos: Rachel Dvoretzky (sign); LoopNet (Houston Ave.)

Over Not So Easy

14 Comment

  • first dibs on those bricks….

  • I was serving jury duty at Riesner St. several years ago and when we broke for lunch, I thought I’d try the Avenue Grill. Terrible mistake. Or, maybe it was just my choice or lack of same. I remember that my first, second and third choice plate lunches were all gone so I had the meat loaf. It was absolutely swimming in grease, orange grease. I barely could get around the veggies (which were forgettable) and left 90% of the food on the plate. I paid the bill and when the cashier asked if my food was OK, I told her that it was not, that it was horrible and that I couldn’t eat it. She just looked at me and took my money.
    One experience, one time but there must be something good to eat in there. I just didn’t find it.

  • For the life of me I could never figure out this place. It is terrible. All these fake good ole boy types would go eat there…but just not good food and dirty. Don’t understand. Maybe when there were a lot less options around downtown, but no thank you. My buddy Gislar (had an apartment by work) used to hit it up on the reg, but his lady like whoa! Anyways, i’m sad to see it go. Neat old place, but just don’t get it.

    Lemme know

  • yeah, the food there is pretty bad. Have no idea why people eat there.

  • I went with a sandwich under similar circumstances, and it was quite acceptable. But I have not been back.

  • If the place closes without a sale, will the landlord lease it out to Mattress Firm?

  • $1.5m? Is that what dirt goes for out there? What am I missing?

  • @Cody “out there”? you mean in the very center of the city? It’s 19,600 sqft, nearly a half acre. A 14,000 sqft lot in the 6th ward went for about $900,000 a couple years ago

  • I love the Texas-style, home-cooked food at the Avenue Grill. I also love the unpretentious, relaxed atmosphere. It’s not McDonald’s or Uptown Sushi… just country style comfort food.

  • Has anyone noticed if the lawyers, judges and cops actually eat the food they order? Could be they don’t go there to actually eat. . .just a thought.

  • I have eaten there several times and will be sad to see it go. The traditional steam table is slowly disappearing. Maybe the hipsters can save it.

  • even the coffee is bad …. buts its still a big legal eagle hangout..

  • Been meeting my coffee klatch there once a week for almost 20 years for breakfast. Several of the waitresses were also waitresses at One’s A Meal near Memorial Park (now Starbucks). Breakfast is good and hear the chicken and dumplings at lunch is good, but have never been for lunch. And the breakfast prices have always been cheaper than most other breakfast places – try the Fireman’s Special, or the SWAT, Policeman, (insert your public serviceman’s name here) Special. Gonna miss this place.

  • I Love: Fair enough… I guess we have some stuff not that much further, but just east vs. north, and it would trade in the teens PSF — despite its proximity to downtown.
    I’m far from an expert on such matters. The price just seemed high to me..