Prince’s Diner… Nostalgia and Comfort Food

Prince’s Diner on North Post Oak Road.  In 1934 when Prince’s was founded, my parents hadn’t met yet and I was 10 years from being born.  So, all of my life, I remember the Prince’s on Main at Pierce.  I remember carhops on roller skates serving 57 Chevy convertibles and hot rods.  At some point around 1957 or 1958 I attended an Elvis concert in the Coliseum and went to Prince’s after that for fried shrimp (they have served the same fried shrimp basket for over 72 years!).

I was also attracted to Simpson’s Diner on Main Street, and when I feel nostalgic, I think about those days.  That’s why I was pleased to see that Prince’s had started a new concept in Houston that seemed to be the best of both worlds.  Prince’s Diner, on North Post Oak a few blocks north of I-10 attracted us on the 4th of July and again on the Labor Day weekend.

The King

Immediately upon entering, I could feel the old days (for those of you who are old enough to have HAD old days). There’s a life-size statue of The King rocking in a corner and above the red upholstered booths there are vintage photos of Houston and decades-old photos of Prince’s Drive in. 

I immediately spotted someone drinking what I knew was to be part of my future… a hand-dipped Chocolate Malt! They are as good as they look and I thought about what passes for a shake these days… coming out of a machine… and the blank look on the face of a waiter in many other places when you ask for a “malt”.
Fried Chicken and Waffles

Three people on two visits were able to sample and pass around a lot of food and treats.  Years ago, I was taken to a restaurant in Harlem to have my first experience with Fried Chicken and Waffles… a real day-starter.  Prince’s Diner has its version of it as on Fridays and I was amazed by the perfectly-fried chicken wings on it. Houston has three or four restaurants that serve this combitation  and no one does it any better, in my opinion. As this is a breakfast special and may not always be available, a look at the menu and the daily breakfast specials on the website is in order.
Texas Stuffed French Toast
The Texas Stuffed French Toast is three pieces of Texas Toast dipped in egg batter, grilled golden brown, and dusted with powdered sugar. It is served with hash browns and strawberry preserves.  This beautiful dish called out to me as I saw it on a nearby table and I told the staff “I want what she’s having.”
Fried Jalapeño Cheeseburger
Lately, there have been a lot of pics in the blogosphere of hamburgers in the “food porn” category.  The Fried Jalapeño Cheeseburger fits very well in that category with a full ½ pound patty with battered and fried jalapeños (They look a little like fried okra.), a spicy house-made mayonnaise, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, chopped white onions and pickles. This one is a real handful and is a lunch special on Tuesdays. 
Smoky Pig

While I’m on sandwiches and buns, I believe that the Smoky Pig has a lot of potential (not that it lacks anything… it has too much), but this Prince’s version of the North Carolina pulled pork sandwich has all of the necessary components.  It is served with slaw which is requisite on the original N.C. version and the slow-roasted pulled pork is good. However, it is drizzled with a signature tomato-based hickory barbeque sauce. For the sake of authenticity, I recommend that you ask them to put the sauce on the side or hold it all together.
Patty Melt
Another sandwich (excellent) with a Prince’s twist on an American favorite is the Patty Meltwith grilled onions added for a change on the usual.  It’s a half-pound patty also topped with Swiss cheese and  tucked into rye toast.
Chicken and Dumplings
 A really tasty comfort-food offering here is a delicious Chicken and Dumplings with pulled white and dark meat chicken and tender puffy dumplings in a creamy white sauce studded with peas and carrots like my mom made when I was growing up. It’s served with a dish of peas andhot corn bread.
Speaking of “comfort food”… We were surprised that the Meatloaf (a Blueplate Special) looked and tasted like it was homemade in a loving Southern home kitchen.  It’s topped with a red, rich tomato, onion and bell pepper sauce and is served with a choice of sides… I picked black-eyed peas and mashed potatoes and gravy.  I suggest that you do the same.
Shrimp Platter
The Shrimp Platteris hand-breaded and deep-fried and are the same that they have served at Prince’s for 72 years and I don’t think that it needs to be said that they know full-well how to perfectly fry shrimp. They are served with house-made tartar and cocktail sauces.
Chicken Fried Steak
Many will be unable to bypass the Chicken Fried Steak and it is really good.  The coating is crispy and well-attached to the meat and the cream gravy is plentiful, thick and peppery, as it should be.

The menu is on their website and I recommend that you visit there and check out which of the above (and MANY other items) are served on what days.  Any day you go, you will be pleased.  My only gripe is that I would like to see all items available every day, but I am, frankly, VERY happy to have a new place for Sunday brunch that’s not too far from my home and is serving dishes that take me back to my childhood.

1201 N. Post Oak Rd. Houston, TX 77055.
Phone (713)686-1950 | Fax (713) 659-5555
Hours Mon-Sun 10am-10pm

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