Lucille’s: Best Southern Restaurant Award in Houston

Updated on April 5, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

A dining alcove at Lucille's
A dining alcove at Lucille's | Source

Best Southern Restaurant in Houston

In 2016, the Houston Press named Lucille’s the Best Southern Restaurant in the city. That is merely one of the many accolades for this casual dining place that offers top-notch and mouthwateringly delicious food.

I was introduced to this restaurant in 2016 by a good friend of mine, Lisa, when she treated me to a birthday lunch. My husband and I shared lunch there during Houston Restaurant Weeks one year. It was his visit. In both instances, the food was delicious and artfully displayed on our plates.

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Sign on buildingExterior of the restaurantExterior of restaurant
Sign on building
Sign on building | Source
Exterior of the restaurant
Exterior of the restaurant | Source
Exterior of restaurant
Exterior of restaurant | Source

Houston Museum District

Lucille's is located in the Houston Museum District. The address is 5512 La Branch Street, Houston, Texas 77004.

Numerous museums of different types are located in this area north of the Texas Medical Center and Rice University. It is also only a few blocks away from the McGovern Centennial Gardens, which is on the north side of the expansive Hermann Park. Nearby you will find the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, as well as the Holocaust Museum, Contemporary Arts Museum, and others.

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Interior bar A small dining room  Interior of the restaurant
Interior bar
Interior bar | Source
A small dining room
A small dining room | Source
 Interior of the restaurant
Interior of the restaurant | Source

Homey Atmosphere

Located in an older Mission-style home, this restaurant has a comfortable atmosphere. It is so lovely when buildings like this one, which dates back to the 1920s, are still utilized. No amount of decorating by interior designers can quite capture the pleasantly comfortable and cozy character of the rooms in a long-established home such as this.

Like most houses in a residential neighborhood, this one has a backyard put to a useful purpose. Lights hang in the trees as well as shade awnings. There is an outdoor bar, picnic tables, and gardening areas.

Fresh produce from their gardens is utilized in cooking. It is hard to get anything better than something picked that very day for freshness, flavor, and nutrients!

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 Backyard dining area plus gardenHerbs grown in backyard Backyard dining area plus garden
 Backyard dining area plus garden
Backyard dining area plus garden | Source
Herbs grown in backyard
Herbs grown in backyard | Source
Backyard dining area plus garden
Backyard dining area plus garden | Source

Lucille’s Namesake

Lucille Bishop Smith was quite a lady! She was a good cook. That goes without saying. What she accomplished in her 92 years leaves quite a legacy! She was named one of the "100 Women of the Century" by the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Texas.

Her great-grandsons Ben and Chris Williams, who purchased this older home, turned it into a restaurant naming it in her honor. Classically trained and well-traveled, Chris Williams is the noted owner-chef. With the assistance of Chef Khang Hoang, the Chef de Cuisine, they routinely turn out fabulous food for lunches, dinners as well as brunches. Special meals are often created, celebrating different events, and frequently benefit various charities.

Many of the items on the menu reflect the time-honored recipes from Lucille. Of course, these trained chefs also embellish and create recipes of their own. Old standards like chili and biscuits are always on the menu. Sometime I would like to try their Southern fried chicken. It is sure to be a winner!

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Photo of Lucille, the restaurant's namesakePhotos on wall Wall chalk boardPhotos inside the restaurant
Photo of Lucille, the restaurant's namesake
Photo of Lucille, the restaurant's namesake | Source
Photos on wall
Photos on wall | Source
Wall chalk board
Wall chalk board | Source
Photos inside the restaurant
Photos inside the restaurant | Source

My First Visit: A Birthday Lunch

Lisa ordered a small plate of green fried tomatoes to start the celebratory lunch. The sliced green tomatoes were coated with seasoned cornmeal and served with goat cheese and spicy aioli. They were delicious. When I make them at home, I dredge them in plain flour and fry them in oil with a little bacon fat, salt, and pepper.

Lobster Cobb salad what was Lisa chose to order that day. It was an elegant version of Cobb salad with poached lobster tail, avocado, bacon, sliced hard-boiled egg, mixed greens and the dressing which was described as grapefruit nuoc mam vin. Lisa certainly enjoyed it!

I am still drooling over the shrimp and grits that I ordered. It is without exception the best version that I have ever eaten! I raved about it so much that when my husband dined there for the first time, it is the entrée that he also chose to eat. He enjoyed it immensely. Gulf shrimp and andouille sausage are served over stone mill grits with a sherry tomato broth.

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Shrimp and grits Lobster Cobb salad Green fried tomatoes
Shrimp and grits
Shrimp and grits | Source
Lobster Cobb salad
Lobster Cobb salad | Source
Green fried tomatoes
Green fried tomatoes | Source

Second Visit With My Husband

The Caesar salad was delicious. Described as little gem lettuce (and a gem it is!), the plate is finished off with a soft-boiled egg, tomato, tarragon dressing, shredded cheese, and cornbread croutons. The cornbread croutons give that salad a southern spin. The tarragon dressing also makes for a flavorful difference from traditional Caesar salad dressings.

The roasted butternut squash was a vegetarian delight! It is a generous plate full of tasty caramelized butternut squash with roasted pumpkin seeds, spiced soy yogurt, cilantro purée and topped off with fennel fronds and a few pieces of Italian parsley. It is scrumptious! Roasting vegetables brings out the natural sweetness and seems to intensify flavors. Whichever chef created this masterpiece should be given an award!

My husband, per my suggestion, ordered the shrimp and grits and enjoyed it as much as I did on my first visit. Tempted as I was to order the shrimp and grits once again—it is that good!—I ordered the miso quail, which was one of the choices for entrées during Houston Restaurant Weeks. Like everything else tasted so far from their menu, it was delicious. It would not be something that we would routinely cook at home, making it an even greater treat.

Texas farmed quails are expertly cooked and served over flavorful serrano cheddar grits with collard green kimchi and a sorghum miso drizzle. The waitress serving it said the idea was to take a bite of everything at once for maximum flavor. It was great, and I appreciated the tip.

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 Caesar salad Roasted butternut squash Miso quail
 Caesar salad
Caesar salad | Source
 Roasted butternut squash
Roasted butternut squash | Source
 Miso quail
Miso quail | Source

Southern Classics

This restaurant is one that we would certainly put on our return list of places to once again enjoy. Look for Lucille’s parking sign in a lot across the street in a hospital parking lot. Restaurant customers can park there at no cost.

You will find delectable Southern food classics and more in this part of Houston at Lucille’s.

5 stars for Lucille's

It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.

— Lewis Grizzard

© 2020 Peggy Woods

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    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ruby,

      That is the way we like our green fried tomatoes. Most of them in the south are coated with cornmeal. We prefer regular flour.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Chitrangada,

      So glad you liked learning about the Lucille's Restaurant.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Pamela,

      Whenever I spot a green tomato in the grocery store, I grab it. My mother and I dearly loved eating fried green tomatoes. One time we were visiting my aunt and uncle in Bettendorf, Iowa. He had a vast garden. We had our fill of green fried tomatoes at that time. I don't think that they ever got to liking them that way.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I would definitely eat at Lucille's. I love fried green tomatoes and they would laugh if you tried to order them anyplace around here. I grow my own tomatoes and the first green one is salt and peppered rolled in flour and fried. YUM.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Lucille’s sounds great and your pictures are descriptive of it. Everything one would look for, when planning to dine out with family. The ambiance, the food, and all the other details are inviting indeed. I really enjoyed reading it.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Liz,

      I am the same. Whenever we travel, we avoid chain restaurants that we know. We would rather try something new and local. I also like to try items that I have never before eaten. Occasionally that does not work out well, but most often, it does.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 months ago from Sunny Florida

      The food at this restaurant sounds delicious and your pictures are making me drool. I really like fried green tomatoes and I can't imagine not loving the shrimp and grits. It is so nice they actually have a garden of fresh vegetables. I would love to dine there.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      4 months ago from UK

      When eating out in a new place, I like to try local places with character. This ticks a lot of boxes in your thorough review.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi FlourishAnyway,

      Most of the Houston restaurants are still open for business for carryout orders...or drive-throughs if they have that capability.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Nyesha,

      It would be fun to sit outdoors with those awnings and the garden areas in view. Thanks for your visit.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Kyler,

      It is hard to judge what others may think, but I thought that the portion sizes were more than adequate.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 months ago from USA

      What a beautiful presentation on the plate and I’m sure it tastes just as good as you say. Imagine what this pandemic is doing to pent up demand for their food. At least people in the area can look at your photos and read your descriptions and dream.

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      4 months ago from USA

      Hi Ms. Peggy,

      I hope that you've been doing well. This looks like a great restaurant with a pretty interior. The outside seating area looks nice too. I like the awnings. Thanks for sharing the photos. The food looks fabulous! I love seafood. Talk to you soon.

      - Nyesha

    • Kyler J Falk profile image

      Kyler J Falk 

      4 months ago from Corona, CA

      I can't tell by the pictures, but how would you describe the portion sizing as compared to cost? I'm infamous for my every meal being "anyone else's three days of food" and though this food looks delicious I feel like I'd be dropping over one-hundred dollars on my own meal.

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