One of Houston’s oldest continuously-operating restaurants is turning a century old in the Heights this year. And as the calendar has flipped to 2023, it is still going strong.
First opened in 1923, the Yale Street Grill at the corner of 21st Street and Yale Street, will be celebrating its 100th year in operation later this year.
And local residents greeted the recent announcement of its impending anniversary with an outpouring of support for the diner, which has operated in the Heights for nearly a century.
“If you haven’t been in a while, and you’re craving good (old) American Diner comfort food, this is the place,” local realtor Robert Griffeth wrote on Facebook.
The restaurant, however, was not originally a restaurant. When pharmacists Abel and Mildred Dupuis originally founded the business in 1923 as a pharmacy in the historic Heights neighborhood. Soon after opening, they brought in a soda fountain and began serving sandwiches and breakfast for people coming into the store to pick up their prescriptions.
As time went on, a blog from Visit Houston said the store also added a post office and gift shop to their offerings as they expanded their services. According to the blog, it is the second-oldest continuously operating restaurant in Houston, and the longest continuously restaurant north of downtown.
But regardless of how it has changed over the years, however, it has still kept people coming back. And it is not just about the food, though it is a full-service restaurant and soda shop.
Though Yale Street Grill serves up homestyle cooking such as hamburgers and turkey burgers along with milkshakes and more, things like the gift shop and other unique aspects of the interior have been just as popular with visitors to the restaurant. It is what has kept some coming back for decades – in some cases, nearly 30 years.
“Right after our meal it's like digging in a time capsule going (through) all the unique items they sell,” Manny Ortiz wrote.
Added John Lapeyrolie: “This place is also a treasure chest for those that appreciate antiques and collectibles with all their unique items located next to the seating area.”
Throughout the years, the Yale Street Pharmacy evolved into the Yale Street Grill. It has undergone some changes and evolution over the years. But it is clear that it has staying power, and that the area will still flock for as long as it stays around.
“(I have) eaten breakfast there many times, and a few milkshakes too,” Roshan Gerhart wrote on Facebook. “But to me it will always be Yale Street Pharmacy.”