First, I would like to clarify that this is not the article I originally envisioned writing. It was originally supposed to be much more extensive and tie in with Brazos Buildings & Businesses' post on the sister restaurant in College Station. I hope to change that in the future, but for now, it merely expresses some facts that must be clarified.
I bought Lost Restaurants of Houston in early 2019, and while it was an entertaining enough read, there were some restaurants that weren't covered that I wish there were (Las Alamedas, Shanghai Red's, and a few others). Most of the book covered many of the inner-loop restaurants (in or near downtown). For instance, information on the late Felix restaurant in Montrose (lasting from 1948 to 2008) seemed to check out. The first edition of Fearless Critic: Houston Restaurant Guide referred to the chili con queso as "incredibly greasy, leaving your entire mouth saturated". The recipe listed in Lost Restaurants involved flour, a pound of American cheese, and three-quarters cup of oil. As I looked into it a bit more, there were some things that clearly weren't up to snuff as far as research went. The entire Sonny Look's article was largely a rewritten version of this article written by Debbie Z. Harwell for Houston History Magazine or heavily sourced from it, depending on how you look at it.
Most disappointing was the article on Confederate House. Nothing was mentioned of a College Station spin-off I had hoped they would mention, and they phoned it in on the date of the closure, it's fairly easy to find through archives that although the building was sold in 2006, the closure date was two years later.
In May 2019, I interviewed Bill Edge, who revealed that much of the information about Confederate House in Lost Restaurants was inaccurate.
Kay's was not the restaurant that Gordon Edge founded as Lost Restaurants states, but rather, his father-in-law founded it prior to 1946, and was not related to Confederate House in its lineage. What Confederate House was a successor to was not Kay's, but rather a restaurant in Bellaire called Richmond Grill, which opened in May 1942 in a converted house but forced out when the city of Bellaire decided the house-turned-restaurant was in violation of its zoning rules passed in 1939. A court case followed, but Edge lost.
The "nine friends" also mentioned in the book were millionaires from River Oaks, not friends, and owning either oil stock or banks. Finally, the restaurant (by this point State Grille) didn't quite close in 2006 when the land was sold, it closed in May 2008, and the building torn down within three months.Return to Features