Houston, TX

Waffles and Tuna Melts Served up With a Healthy Side of Nostalgia at Yale Street Grill

Betsy Denson

The Yale Street Grill has been around since 1923Photo by author

I didn't grow up in 1950s, but every time I eat at Yale Street Grill (2100 Yale St.) I feel like I'm getting a taste of what it would have been like to sidle up the counter in my polka dot skirt and cardigan to enjoy a malt with the gang.

The place looks like it hasn't changed much over the years and that's precisely why I like it. In an area that is fancifying fast, it's comforting to go to a longstanding joint and know exactly what your experience is going to be like.

Yale Street does a brisk breakfast business on weekends.Photo by author

That means plastic menus, plastic tablecloths on the tables and old vinyl booths along the divider between the restaurant and the antique mart. The service isn't super fast but it's not unbearably slow either. The menu touts "Delicious Char Grilled Hamburgers and Creamy Shakes." I've had their shakes, which are indeed creamy, but I've never had a burger. The closest I've gotten is a patty melt once or twice and it hit the spot.

Regular Migas at Yale Street GrillPhoto by author

Breakfast is the meal that I go to Yale Street Grill for and I've gotten the same thing 99 percent of the time - Migas Regular served with refried beans. Eggs, chips, salsa, cheese and beans - simple, yet satisfying. My husband is a little more adventurous, but there's nothing on this menu that you haven't had before. And that's not a bad thing.

We went to Yale Street for breakfast before we had kids but once we did, the restaurant was on heavy rotation. We didn't let them run wild but we weren't self-conscious with them either. Yale Street caters to kids in ways that are intentional - you can get the Happy Face Pancake there until you are twelve - and in ways they may not realize.

The walls at Yale Street are covered with singers and celebrities from the not so distant past.Photo by author

The walls contain a number of framed photographs of people from the 50s, 60s and beyond who were of inordinate interest to my two kids.

"Who's that?"

"Elvis Presley."

"Was he famous?"


"Who's that?"

"Grandpa Munster."

"Was he famous?"

"Not as famous as Elvis."

The antique mart, which used to be a gift store, on the other side of the building is also fun for browsing. A rotary style phone will blow your kids' minds. There's a lot of merchandise crammed in there and some of it is breakable, so be careful if you have little ones. You know the rule: you break it you buy it.

After a long hiatus, we recently went back to Yale Street and I remembered again why I like it. My oldest is too old for the Happy Face Pancake so he got a waffle with whipped cream and my daughter got the grilled cheese, for breakfast. The restaurant seems pretty flexible about lunch for breakfast or breakfast for lunch. They close at 4:30 p.m. so unless you plan to eat dinner really early, forget about it.

Yale Street Grill wafflePhoto by author

With all of the new eateries moving into The Heights, it's nice to keep some of the old timers around as well. When I want to eat my migas next to Sammy Davis Jr. in five years, I'll know just where to go.

2100 Yale St. Houston, TX 77008


Open Daily 7 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

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