Mama’s Café

Long a favorite for late night meals, San Antonio-based Mama’s is worth visiting even before midnight. The crowds during the weekday lunchtime attest to that. Mama’s is popular because it provides commendable versions of the comfortable regional dishes in a pleasant setting for a reasonable price. The service is always cheerful and efficient. The food is Tex-Mex-tinged with a heavy Central Texas accent with a clear lineage from its Central European antecedents; at least the food is reliably heavy. The fact that it’s part of a small chain, other than the efficiency, is not really in evidence. Even on a busy part of Westheimer, it manages to be a friendly, almost homey place.

The lunch and evening menu contains many of the familiar local favorites. There are soups, salads, half-pound hamburgers with several variations, sandwiches, ribs, a half-dozen flat-grilled steaks, Texas home-style cooking, several fish and shrimp dishes, and Tex-Mex. The small Tex-Mex section has fajitas, a tomato-y King Ranch casserole served in an individual-sized skillet, an enchilada dish, chalupas, and something called “Sancho Panza.” Though of doubtful healthiness, this is a potentially mouth-watering combination of chopped sirloin stuffed with sliced pickled jalapenos and cheddar cheese then topped with chili and more melted cheese.

The Texas diner dishes, listed under the heading, “Mama’s Specialties,” include liver and onions, meatloaf, a handful of chicken breast dishes, and a fine version of the requisite chicken fried steak. All of the dinner plates come with a choice of two vegetables and bread. If you need some more food than these hearty plates, Mama’s has appetizers like Buffalo wings and fried mushrooms to start the meal.

The breakfast offerings are probably the most popular ones at Mama’s. The signature morning dish is the Huevos Hofbrau: two very large scrambled eggs with onions, fresh chili peppers, pico de gallo and crushed tortilla chips topped with chile con queso that is served with refried beans, hash browns and flour tortillas. Other unique egg-based dishes are termed “skillet breakfasts”: two eggs any style, hash browns and biscuit served in a sizzling skillet with a choice of three toppings.

Mama’s also does a nice job with the more traditional American breakfasts. The eggs, pancakes and French toast are all reliably tasty. Pancakes are available with fruit toppings, or filled with blueberries. Reflecting this area, there are also biscuits and gravy, and Eggs Benedict Mexicana. This consists of toasted English muffins topped with Canadian bacon, poached eggs and chile con queso, and served with hash browns, refried beans and salsa. Continuing with that theme, there are also breakfast tacos.

Mama’s has all of the extra Sides and beverages, so it is easy to have a very pleasing filling and usually cholesterol-laden breakfast that hits the spot either in the morning or late at night.

Mama’s Café
6019 Westheimer (between Fountain View and Voss)
Houston, Texas 77057
(713) 266-8514

Copyright Mike Riccetti. Adapted from Houston Dining on the Cheap, and used with permission.

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